Walter Herzberg

Assistant Professor Emeritus of Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation and Professional Pastoral Skills

Department: Bible, William Davidson Graduate School, H. L. Miller Cantorial School, Rabbinical School

Phone: (212) 678-8904


Building Room: Brush 622A

Office Hours: By Appointment


BA, MA, Yeshiva University; MS, Columbia University; PhD, New York University

Dr. Walter Herzberg, assistant professor emeritus of Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation and Professional Pastoral Skills at The Jewish Theological Seminary, has devoted the bulk of his career to working directly with students in the United States and Israel. He teaches introductory and advanced courses in Bible and traditional biblical commentary in The Rabbinical School, H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music, and the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education of JTS, and guides students in the classroom and online in the reading of the Bible, using a methodological approach and integrating modern literary close reading techniques with the study of traditional Jewish commentary.

Knowing that what he teaches will add far-reaching benefits to the personal and professional lives of his students, Dr. Herzberg’s primary goals are to facilitate the study of Bible and Torah lishmah (for its own sake) and the educational process. He teaches students “what they cannot teach themselves,” and helps them become fluent readers of the Hebrew Bible and independent, analytical close readers of the texts. In 2009, Dr. Herzberg was the first recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Teaching in The Rabbinical School. 

Dr. Herzberg walks well and determinedly in the footsteps of his mentors: Bible studies innovator Dr. Nehama Leibowitz, noted for her unique pedagogical methods and preference for the title teacher over the more prestigious professor; and Dr. Cyrus Herzl Gordon, world-class scholar of Near Eastern culture and ancient languages, who was known for his skills in teaching texts to students at different levels of readiness at the very same time.

Prior to coming to JTS, Dr. Herzberg served as senior lecturer and chair of the department of Jewish Studies at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles (now the American Jewish University), and as an instructor for Jerusalem’s Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and the senior educators program of the Melton Center, Hebrew University. 

Dr. Herzberg earned his bachelor’s degree in History and a master’s degree in Jewish Education from Yeshiva University; a master’s degree in English as a Second Language from Teachers College, Columbia University; and a doctorate in Bible and Near Eastern Studies from New York University (NYU). He was also a postdoctoral fellow at NYU in the Jerusalem Fellowship program and studied at Hebrew University. 

At JTS, Dr. Herzberg has worked closely with Dr. Nitza Krohn, assistant professor of Hebrew Language, developing a curriculum in which the teaching of Bible, biblical commentary, and Hebrew is coordinated. Dr. Herzberg also teaches the Davidson School’s course in Bible and biblical commentary, helping students develop an appreciation for the process of translating Jewish texts for pedagogical use. He also teaches this course online to Davison School students enrolled in the online master’s degree program in Jewish Education. At The Rabbinical School, he teaches a class on the psychological, theological, and moral implications of the commentaries and at the H. L. Miller Cantorial School, a course on the weekly parashah that considers the evolving role of the cantor.

Grants, Fellowships, and Awards

  • Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Teaching in The Rabbinical School (JTS)