My Academic Biography
I am an expert in the fields of Judaism, Talmud and Jewish liturgy. I am author of the bold work of constructive Jewish theology, God's Favorite Prayers.
I have taught courses in Judaism, Jewish history and culture, world religions, and seminars in classical Hebrew texts. My popular course at the University of Minnesota, "Introduction to Judaism" enrolled up to 400 students each year. I have taught Introduction to Liturgy, and the Liturgy of the Days of Awe at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.
My books include The Traditions of Eleazar Ben Azariah, Brown Judaic Studies, The Mishnaic Law of Blessings and Prayers: Tractate Berakhot, Brown Judaic Studies, The Talmud of the Land of Israel: Tractate Berakhot, University of Chicago Press, Studies in Jewish Prayer, University Press of America, The Talmud of Babylonia: An American Translation: Tractate Hullin, 3 volumes, Brown Judaic Studies.
I attended Yeshiva College and was graduated with a B.A. in mathematics as a member of Pi Mu Epsilon, the national mathematics honor society. I received a masters degree in Jewish History and rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University, where I studied for four years with Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.
After receiving my Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Brown University, I was appointed to the faculty of the University of Minnesota where I was promoted to full professor. I served as chairman of his department and as director of the Center for Jewish Studies.
I was a visiting associate professor at the University of California at Berkeley and at the College of William and Mary. I lectured at Macalester College, the University of Notre Dame, St. John's University, University of California at San Diego, Easton College, Trinity College, Spertus College, and Bar Ilan University. He has been a visiting scholar at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and presented a paper at the World Congresses of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. I lectured to academics in Religious Studies and Jewish Studies in Shanghai, Beijing and Nanjing, China.
I received prestigious honors and grants including the Distinguished Teaching Award from the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant and an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship.
I was the principal investigator, of an IBM sponsored grant for developing software to assist in teaching Hebrew, and Director of a Wexner Foundation Grant.
I write at Talmud, my popular Judaica oriented current affairs blog, which has logged more than 1.5 million page views. I am also active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I write the monthly Dear Rabbi Zahavy column for the Jewish Standard.
Some of My Publications
The Talmud in English free at
I have reviewed books for many academic journals. I produced "Ancient Synagogues Explored," an educational video tape, and a video tape, "Interviews with Twin Cities Jewish Leaders". I am primary author of three IBM computer software programs: Milim: Vocabulary Drill for Foreign Language Instruction, Milim for Windows, and VERBS, and is co-author of SENTENCES.
I have spoken to community groups and have written on Jewish subjects for encyclopedias and newspapers.