Acclaim for Judy as Teacher

“Judy is not just a teacher of Torah, but like her own teacher, Nehama Leibowitz, she is a creator of Torah. Judy grasps the tree of life and swings, lovingly showing her students how to do the same.
Pirkei Avot says to make your Torah keva. Keva means a fix, and the Rabbis equate the Torah that Moshe gave to a drug. Judy made me a Torah junkie. After leaving Pardes, I needed a fix and then another and another. Eventually, I became a pusher myself, turning other students into Torah junkies…”

Rabbi Shai Cherry Ph.D

“Judy completely transformed the way I read the Torah and, in fact, all Jewish texts. Her literary connections were mind-blowing for me, and opened up a whole new way of understanding the Tanakh.”

Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, Co-founder and Director, Mechon Hadar

“Judy was magic. Before my class with Judy, the Hebrew text was an impenetrable wall of stone. After my time with Judy, it was an open gate.”

David J. Shapiro, attorney

“Anyone who has ever learned Humash from Judy, even in one lecture, will know what I mean when I say that time in her class was more formative, more engaging, more challenging than anything else I had experienced. Judy has this incredible way of teaching—where she is simultaneously empowering her students and also sharing her vast knowledge with us. I went to class every single day excited, eager to learn, prepared to be challenged. And I always was. Judy helped me develop a critical thinking about the Humash that I had never used before, and brought me so much closer to the text than I had ever been… I am now excited to open up a Humash, and each time I do, I think of Judy. And I feel grateful to have learned from her.”

Jenna Statfeld, attorney

“Without exaggeration, Judy, you are my all-time favorite teacher. In my many other learning experiences since attending Pardes, I have never encountered another teacher who makes me as excited about learning Torah as you do. Your dynamic and creative approach to textual study, your interactive style of teaching, along with your wonderful sense of humor, make you the most unique and special teacher ever. Thank you for instilling in me a deep love of learning and the skills to learn Humash in such a rich and meaningful way.”

Joanne Davis Rose

“I was lucky to study Shemot with Judy, and have tried to attend every class of hers that I possibly can since then. What draws me to Judy as a teacher is her sharp and incisive mind, the tremendous kavod and rigor that she insists students bring to her class, and the integrity of her responses to the more challenging parts of the text. She approaches the text with love, but not with blindness. The incredible originality and creativity of her readings always feels completely true to the material, grounded in language, tone, and just a sense of how Tanakh works.”

Jessica Lissy Trey, Judaic studies teacher

“Learning Bereishit with Judy was quite simply my favorite Torah learning experience ever. Judy brought alive the struggles and challenges, the triumphs and setbacks of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs in ways that were relevant to her to her students in the here and now. In Judy’s class, we were encouraged to take ownership of the text, to delve into the meanings of words and phrases with loving care, to grapple with medieval commentators and with our own notions of what the text means. For me, during that intensely difficult year, our exploration of Yaacov’s struggle with the ish by the Yabbok River was more than an academic exercise; it was a real-time mirror of my own experience. Each shiur brought opportunities for reflection and for finding meaning.”

Michael Simon
Executive Director, Northwestern Hillel