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Burton L. Visotzky

Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at The Jewish Theological Seminary
Jewish Theological Seminary
Brush 511
678-8989 Ext: 8989
  • Director, JTS's Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue

Burton L. Visotzky serves as Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at The Jewish Theological Seminary, where he joined the faculty upon his ordination in 1977. Dr. Visotzky was associate and acting dean of The Graduate School of JTS, and founding rabbi of the egalitarian worship service of the Women's League Seminary Synagogue. He now serves as the Louis Stein Director of the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies of JTS, charged with programs on public policy. He also is director of JTS's Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue.

Dr. Visotzky holds degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Harvard University, and JTS. He has been visiting faculty at the University of Oxford, Cambridge and Princeton universities, and  the Russian State University of the Humanities in Moscow. He served as master visiting professor of Jewish Studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He will be teaching at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome in spring 2014.

With Bill Moyers, Dr. Visotzky developed 10 hours of television for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Their collaboration, "Genesis: A Living Conversation," premiered in 1996. He consulted with Jeffrey Katzenberg and DreamWorks Studios for the 1998 film Prince of Egypt. In December 2012, Dr. Visotzky served as consultant and onscreen participant in Christiane Amanpour's four-hour ABC-TV miniseries Back to the Beginning.

Dr. Visotzky's more than 100 articles and reviews have been published in America, Europe, and Israel. He is the author of 10 books, including Reading the Book: Making the Bible a Timeless Text (1991) and The Genesis of Ethics (1996). His historical novel, A Delightful Compendium of Consolation, was published in 2008. Dr. Visotzky's most recent book, Sage Tales: Wisdom and Wonder from the Rabbis of the Talmud, came out in spring 2011.

Dr. Visotzky serves on the boards of Fordham Law's Stein Center for Law and Ethics, the Journal for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Auburn Seminary's Center for Multifaith Education, and J Street's National Advisory Council, and is an officer of Kent Affordable Housing. He sits on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Committee on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust. Dr. Visotzky was national co-chair of Rabbis for Obama 2012, and served on the board and executive committee of CancerCare

Dr. Visotzky participates in international interreligious engagement, in capitals such as Washington DC; Warsaw; Rome; Cairo; Doha, Qatar; Madrid; and Muskat, Oman. He is the winner of the 2012 Goldziher Prize, awarded biennially by Merrimack College for work in Jewish-Muslim relations. Dr. Visotzky is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

An active lecturer and scholar-in-residence throughout North America, Europe, and Israel, Dr. Visotzky's has created study groups and books that have been hailed on radio, television, and in print. He is married to attorney Sandra Edelman. They make their home in New York City and Kent, Connecticut.

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