The Jewish Theological Seminary announced today that Dr. Barry W. Holtz has been named the next Dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education. Dr. Holtz, who will assume his post on July 1, 2008, succeeds Dr. Steven M. Brown, who served as Dean for the past five years.
Dr. Holtz is currently the Theodore and Florence Baumritter Professor of Jewish Education at JTS. Dr. Holtz leads courses on teaching classical texts, professional development for teachers, philosophy of Jewish education, and current issues confronting Jewish education. He also served for twelve years as codirector of the Melton Research Center for Jewish Education, where he supervised the writing and publication of several volumes of the Melton Graded Curriculum materials for Jewish schools across North America.
“I am extremely proud and delighted that Barry Holtz has agreed to be the next Dean of The Davidson School,” said Professor Arnold M. Eisen, Chancellor of JTS. “He has long been a leader in The Davidson School and in the field of Jewish education. A world-renowned scholar, an expert on curriculum, professional development and adult learning, Barry is an individual equally familiar with the issues of the academy and the issues in the field. In addition, Barry enjoys universal respect and affection among his colleagues. I look forward with excitement to working with him as he assumes this key post within the JTS community.”
Started as a school of education in 1996 through the generous and ongoing support of William Davidson of Detroit, The Davidson School is America's largest pluralistic school of Jewish education. Its mission is to prepare Jewish educational practitioners and leaders through research, professional training, and curriculum development in order to achieve uniform academic excellence and love of learning in Jewish educational settings across the country.
"I am delighted and honored to have been chosen to serve as the Dean of The Davidson School. I have the privilege of following in the footsteps of Dr. Aryeh Davidson and Dr. Steve Brown, friends and respected colleagues, who served as the first two deans of Davidson,” said Dr. Holtz. “The opportunity to work with the extraordinary faculty and staff of The Davidson School was and remains one of the greatest attractions of this position. Together, I hope we can move forward to exciting new ventures preparing educators, expanding research, and influencing educational institutions throughout the Jewish community.”
Dr. Holtz’s most recent book, Textual Knowledge: Teaching the Bible in Theory and in Practice (JTS Press, 2003), received the National Jewish Book Award for education in 2004. In addition, he has written and edited numerous publications in the field of Jewish education, including Back to the Sources: Reading the Classic Jewish Texts (Simon and Schuster), a guide to reading, understanding, and appreciating great Jewish books. A Book-of-the-Month Club selection, Back to the Sources is widely used as a textbook for university and adult-education courses.
Other publications include Finding Our Way: Jewish Texts and the Lives We Lead Today (Schocken Books, 1990) and The Schocken Guide to Jewish Books (1992), another Book-of-the-Month Club selection. His first book (written with Arthur Green), Your Word Is Fire: The Hasidic Masters on Contemplative Prayer, has been reprinted in a revised edition by Jewish Lights Press.
A native of Boston and a graduate of Tufts University, Dr. Holtz received his doctorate from Brandeis University.