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Research interests

Prof. Rabbi Daniel Sperber was the incumbant of the Milan Roven Chair of Talmudic Research at Bar-Ilan University and President of Bar-Ilan’s Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies. He is also the rabbi of the Menachem Zion Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem. He holds a Ph.D. from University College London in Classics, Ancient History and Hebrew Studies, and rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Kol Torah. Sperber is the winner of the Israel Prize for his research in Talmud and the history of Jewish Customs, and is the author of the 8 volume series, Minhagei Yisrael [Hebrew] as well as many other books such as, The City in Roman Palestine and On Changes in Jewish Liturgy: Options and Limitations.

Research interests

Born 4 November 1940 in Gwrych Castle, Wales, where my parents had organized a German children's refugee camp. Moved to Manchester and then to London, where I studied at school until 1958, when I came to Israel, where for the next four years I studied at Yeshivat Kol-Torah (1958-59) and Hevron (1959-62). In 1962, I returned to England where I studied Art, gaining a BA in 1965. From 1965-58, I studied at University College London, in the Departments of Ancienct History and Hebrew Studies, studying under Prof. A. Momigliano and S. Stein, where I received my Doctorate. In 1968, I received an invitation to come to teach at Bar-Ilan University in the Departments of Jewish History and Talmud, and have been there ever since.

In 1970, with the help of friends I founded an independent community of Yad Tomer, in Rehavia, Jerusalem, where I have since served as Rabbi. I have served as scholar-in-residence, in a number of major synagogues in the USA, including Lincoln Square, the Riverdale Jewish Center, etc.

During the years 1979-86, I served as a member of the Planning and Grants Committee of the Council for Higher Education, and during this period was also an active member of the Academic Committee of the Open University. I serve as a member of the Academic Committee of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, Jerusalem and the Hebrew Language Academy, as well as on committees of the Israel Academy of Science, the Rothschild Foundation, Beit Morasha, where I now serve as the Rosh Beit Ha-Midrash, Michlelet Lindenbaum, Touro College, Jerusalem, etc.

From 1978 onward, I held rank of Full Professor and am the incumbent of the Milan Roven Chair of Talmudic Studies. Was Chairman of the Talmud Department, of the Basic Jewish Studies Programme and of the newly-formed Department of Jewish Art. I founded and headed the Bar-Ilan University Press since its inception in the late 70s. I am also a visiting Professor at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University, New York since 1982. Served as Dean of the Faculty of Jewish Studies at Bar-Ilan University during the years 1985-89. In 1994 I was appointed Chairman of the Committee on Zionist Religious Education at the Ministry of Education.

I have published 22 books to date, and over 300 scientific articles in all the major journals of Judaica (and Classics). I have written in the fields of: Jewish History of the Roman Period from a social-economic and agrarian viewpoint, Talmudic philology, test editing and commentaries on Minor Talmudic Tractates, ancient Jewish Numismatics, everyday life in Talmudic times, and history and development of Minhagim (customs). For almost two years (1989-90) I had a regular weekly radio spot entitled: Minhag va-din.

In 1992 I received the Israel Prize for my academic achievements in the above-mentioned fields. I am married and have nine children, ranging from 10 to 22 and our youngest is an adopted Ethiopian orphan girl.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PhD

Jan 1965Jan 1968

Award Date: 1 Jan 1968

Bachelor

Jan 1962Jan 1965

Award Date: 1 Jan 1965

Jan 1965Jan 1968

Bachelor

Jan 1962Jan 1965

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