Published On: Thu, Jan 22nd, 2015

Bar Ilan’s Dr. Elie Holzer Awarded National Jewish Book Award

Dr. Elie Holzer

Bar Ilan University in Israel’s Dr. Elie Holzer, of the Churgin School of Education, will receive the prestigious 2014 National Jewish Book Award for his work “A Philosophy of Havruta: Understanding and Teaching the Art of Text Study in Pairs, ” published by Academic Studies Press.

Dr. Holzer’s book (including one chapter by Dr. Orit Kent), was selected “as the best written, most comprehensive and engaging book” in the category of Education and Jewish Identity, according to the panel of judges.

The book combines philosophical analysis and pedagogical guidance for understanding and advancing a distinctive form of Jewish learning – the study of texts by a pair of learners (havruta text study). It breaks new ground by offering a model of havruta learning situated in philosophical hermeneutics – an art of interpretation — and learning theories and by treating havruta learning as composed of interpersonal, intra-personal and textual practices, which can be taught and learned.

“As I think about what I have tried to achieve in this book, ” said Dr. Holzer, “I am reminded of Leo Strauss’ words: ‘Genuine fidelity to a tradition is not the same as literalist traditionalism, and is, in fact, incompatible with it. It consists in preserving not simply the tradition, but the continuity of the tradition.’”

A native of Belgium, Dr. Holzer is a practice-oriented philosopher of Jewish education. His research integrates text-based Jewish studies, philosophical hermeneutics, pedagogy and ethical-spiritual traditions. He serves as a Senior Lecturer at the Bar-Ilan University Churgin School of Education and as assistant editor of the International Journal of Jewish Education Research.

Dr. Holzer’s expertise extends to Jewish education in Israel (e.g. as a member of the academic committee for the teaching of Jewish thought in state schools in Israel) and in academic institutions in North America (e.g. he served as a senior research associate at Brandeis University’s Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education). Dr. Holzer holds a BA in psychology and Jewish thought from Bar-Ilan University, and an MA and PhD in Jewish Thought from the Hebrew University. He is the author of numerous publications in education and Jewish thought.

The Award will be presented by the Jewish Book Council at the 64th annual National Jewish Book Awards ceremony on March 11th in New York City.

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