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Rabbi Dr. Bernard Grossfeld 1933-2013

Rabbi Dr. Bernard Grossfeld 1933-2013

Beloved professor, colleague, and friend Rabbi Dr.Bernard Grossfeld passed away suddenly on July 16, 2013.

Professor Grossfeld was one of the world's leading scholars in Aramaic, Biblical Hebrew, and the Targum (Aramaic translations and explanations of Torah).  He taught for 26 years in the Hebrew Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, serving for many years as chair of the department. When he retired from University of Wisconsin, he began a new chapter, serving as Professor of Hebrew and Rabbinics at Chicago’s Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership.

His Spertus classes in Biblical Hebrew attracted dedicated students who studied with him and each other for many years. Calling themselves the “Grossfeld Group,” they started in 1999 with a Beginning Biblical Hebrew class using An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew by Thomas O. Lambdin as their text. Two years later, a dozen students had finished the book and wanted more. Many of that original group continued to study with Dr. Grossfeld, meeting on Wednesday evenings until just before his death. Together they explored Tanach by translating the Hebrew, discussed classical commentaries from Midrash and Talmud, investigated translations of the Targum, and delved into selections from the Mishnah.

Professor Grossfeld was ordained by the preeminent Halakhist Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University, and served as military chaplain in the U.S. Air Force. He published widely, participated in symposiums around the world, and was a recipient of the prestigious Eli Elias Award from UCLA.  A recent book, The Pronominally Suffixed Verb In Biblical Hebrew, deals with a unique feature of Biblical Hebrew in a way that was called “highly readable and helpful,” with material that provides “new insights for students and scholars alike in an area of the language which most textbooks hardly touch.” (

We extend our deepest condolences to Bernard Grossfeld’s wife, family, and many students and friends.

Y'hi zikhrono l'ivrakha. May his memory be for a blessing.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rabbi Dr. Bernard Grossfeld 1933-2013