Dean Michael Shmidman of Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies Chosen Fellow at University of Pennsylvania

Date: December 12, 2012
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New York, N.Y. – Dr. Michael Shmidman, dean of the Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies, has been chosen to be an Adjunct Fellow of the Herbert Katz Institute of Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania for the spring semester 2013.

Dean Shmidman will join approximately 25 fellows and adjunct fellows chosen from leading universities around the world to conduct research on a specific theme within Judaic studies. The theme for 2012-2013 is “Institutionalization, Innovation and Conflict in 13th Century Judaism: A Comparative View.”

Dr. Shmidman said he was “honored and excited” to serve as a fellow at the prestigious Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, and to join a distinguished group of scholars from a broad spectrum of disciplines in exploring intellectual and social currents of 13th century Judaism. “The Center is dedicated to post-doctoral research on Jewish civilization in all its historical and cultural manifestations, and indeed has become a model for institutions of its kind,” the dean said.

Dr. Alan Kadish, president and CEO of the Touro College and University System, praised Dr. Shmidman for his deep intellect, commitment to Judaic studies, and for his numerous contributions to the growth and academic reputation of Touro College. “As founder and dean of the graduate school, Dr. Shmidman has created a highly-respected program that is widely recognized for its rigorous standards of scholarship and its successful alumni,” President Kadish said.

During the fellowship, the scholars work on their individual projects and meet to discuss their research. At the close of the year, their research results are presented at a two-day public colloquium, and selected work is published by the University of Pennsylvania Press as part of a series, “Jewish Culture and Contexts.” The fellows’ work is also incorporated into a library web exhibit.

Dean Shmidman has served as dean of the Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies since 1986, and was appointed Victor J. Selmanowitz Professor of Jewish History in 2003. He has been a member of Touro’s faculty and administration since 1981, when he was recruited to serve as the first director of the newly-established graduate school. He earned a bachelor of arts from Yeshiva University, a master of arts from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He taught at Harvard, the University of Cincinnati and Yeshiva University prior to his appointment at Touro.

Dr. Shmidman has published numerous articles and lectured extensively in his areas of research, medieval Jewish history and Maimonidean studies, and often serves as a scholar-in-residence at synagogues and Jewish communal institutions. He edited and contributed to a two-volume Festschrift entitled Turim: Studies in Jewish History and Literature Presented to Dr. Bernard Lander, and established a Touro College Press imprint in publishing. He is also co-author of a two-volume Hebrew textbook on Maimonides entitled Law and Philosophy: Perspectives on Maimonides’ Teaching, and was editor of Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought. An ordained rabbi, Dr. Shmidman served as Orthodox rabbi of Harvard Hillel and of Congregation Keter Torah in Teaneck, New Jersey. He is a member of the Association for Jewish Studies, the Medieval Academy of America, the Rabbinical Council of America, and was a member and officer of the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County.