Prof. Elie Holzer - Expert on Education and Jewish Thought

A Senior Lecturer at Bar-Ilan University’s Churgin School of Education, Prof. Elie Holzer is considered an international expert on education of Jewish thought, whose expertise extend to academic Jewish education in Israel and in North America.

He is the Director of the Stern Institute for Studies in Religious Education, Head of the R. Dr. David Ochs Chair for the Teaching of Jewish Religious Studies and has also served as a senior research associate at Brandeis University’s Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education.

A native of Belgium, Prof. Holzer is a practice-oriented philosopher of Jewish education. His research integrates text-based Jewish studies, philosophical hermeneutics, pedagogy and ethical-spiritual traditions. Drawing on a rich traditional and academic background in rabbinics and Jewish thought, his research integrates text-based Jewish studies, philosophical hermeneutics, pedagogy, and ethical-spiritual traditions. 

His research pertains to both people's learning and teachers' professional development. It has impacted a vast number of professionals in the field of Jewish education, across the various Jewish denominations in Israel, the United States and Western Europe. 

Prof. Holzer holds a BA in psychology and Jewish thought from Bar-Ilan University, and an MA and PhD in Jewish Philosophy from the Hebrew University. In addition to his academic accreditation, he is also an ordained rabbi, a philosophical counselor certified by the American Philosophical Practitioners Association, and a Member of the Editorial Board and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Jewish Education.

He is the author of numerous publications in education and Jewish thought, and his acclaimed book, “A Philosophy of Havruta: Understanding and Teaching the Art of Text Study in Pairs,” was awarded the prestigious National Jewish Book Award by the Jewish Book Council in the US. The award was given in honor of the book being “the best written, most comprehensive and engaging book” in the category of Education and Jewish Identity, according to the panel of judges. 

The book breaks new ground by offering a model of Havruta learning situated in philosophical hermeneutics and learning theories and by treating this type of learning (a pair of learners studying Torah and Gemarah together) 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 Prof. 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.’”

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