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Burton Visotzky

Burton L. Visotzky is an American rabbi and scholar of midrash. He is the Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS).[1]

Burton L. Visotzky
Occupation Rabbi, scholar



Visotzky was educated at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he received his BA, Harvard University, where he received his EdM, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he received his MA, Ph.D. and rabbinic ordination.[citation needed] He is a life member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge.


Visotzky joined the JTS faculty, teaching midrash, following his ordination in 1977. He also served as associate and acting dean of The Graduate School of JTS, and he was the founding rabbi of JTS's egalitarian worship service in the Women's League Seminary Synagogue.[1][2] Visotzky was appointed as director of the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2010.[3]

He has served in visiting faculty positions at a variety of schools including Oxford University, Clare Hall – University of Cambridge, Union Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, Hebrew Union College, Princeton University, the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow, the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. Rabbi Visotzky also serves on J-Street's National Advisory Council.[4][citation needed]

Interfaith dialogueEdit

Visotzky has been active in interfaith dialogue, including at a groundbreaking meeting of Muslims, Christians, Jews sponsored by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah in Madrid in 2008.[5] He also participated in interfaith dialogue in Doha, where he was in the first group of Jews invited by the emir of Qatar.[1]

Visotzky was appointed as director of the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2010.[3] His work as director of the Finkelstein Institute has focused on Muslim-Jewish-Christian dialogue.[6] In October 2010, Visotzky and Arnold Eisen organized a group of prominent Muslim and Jewish scholars and leaders, joined by the heads of several Christian seminaries, to meet at JTS for two days for a workshop comparing the situations of Islam and Judaism in America.[citation needed] In 2012 Visotzky was awarded the Goldziher Prize for his work in Jewish-Muslim relations.

In 2011, as a result of a naming gift, Visotzky became director of the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue at JTS. He also serves as Louis Stein Director of the Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies, charged with programming on public policy. Rabbi Visotzky is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. [7][citation needed]


Visotzky's books include:

  • Reading the Book: Making the Bible a Timeless Text (1991)
  • The Genesis of Ethics: How the Tormented Family of Genesis Leads Us to Moral Development (1996)
  • The Road to Redemption: Lessons from Exodus on Leadership and Community (1998)
  • From Mesopotamia to Modernity: Ten Introductions to Jewish History and Literature (co-editor, 1999)
  • A Delightful Compendium of Consolation: A Fabulous Tale of Romance, Adventure and Faith in the Medieval Mediterranean (2008)
  • Sage Tales: Wisdom and Wonder from the Rabbis of the Talmud (2011)
  • Aphrodite and the Rabbis: How the Jews Adapted Roman Culture to Create Judaism as We Know It' ' ( 2016)


  1. ^ a b c "The Jewish Theological Seminary - Burton L. Visotzky". Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  2. ^ "Burton L Visotzky". Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "The Jewish Theological Seminary - JTS Appoints New Director of the Louis Finkelstein Institute". 2010-08-17. Archived from the original on 2014-02-04. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  4. ^ J Street Advisory Council Retrieved 3 March 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Hay, Andrew. "Groundbreaking interfaith meeting shuns extremism | Reuters". Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  6. ^ Retrieved 3 March 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Retrieved 3 March 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External linksEdit