Rabbi Micha'el Rosenberg

Micha'el Rosenberg

Rabbi Micha'el Rosenberg
Assistant Professor of Rabbinics
Rabbinical School of Hebrew College
mrosenberg@hebrewcollege.edu 617-559-8804

Rabbinic literature of late antiquity (approximately 200-700 C.E.), with a particular interest in Rabbinic-Christian interactions, gender, and health and the body; the intersections of law, religious difference, gender, and power in the Babylonian Talmud; post-Talmudic Jewish law.


  • M.A., Ph.D. in rabbinic literature, Jewish Theological Seminary of America 
  • Rabbinical Ordination, Chief Rabbinate of Israel
  • A.B. in Religion, Harvard College 

Involvement in Rabbinic Education

"Rabbis are the channel, the means of translation, between the incredibly rich, but equally incredibly coded, wisdom of Jewish tradition, and the Jewish population at large. Rabbis are not smarter than other Jews, nor do they have greater access to general wisdom. This is a big difference from the situation in the US in the first half of the 20th century, when the rabbi of a congregation was often the most educated person in the room, and who therefore became responsible de facto for educating the congregation about current affairs, cultural developments, etc. Nowadays, the folks in the room know as much or more than the rabbi with regard to politics, literature, philosophy, etc. The rabbi's job, then, must return to what it was originally intended to be--helping people to make good decisions for themselves by translating (literally and metaphorically) the encoded wisdom of Jewish literature. I strive in my teaching first to help students understand what these texts are literally saying, then to understand what they actually _mean_, and finally, to think about how to convey that to others."


Rabbi Rosenberg joined the Hebrew College faculty in August 2012. He formerly served as rabbi of the Fort Tryon Jewish Center and an adjunct professor of Talmud and codes at the Jewish Theological Seminary, both in New York City. He has taught Bible, Talmud and halakhah in a variety of settings, including the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, the National Havurah Institute and the Northwoods Kollel and Beit Midrash of Ramah Wisconsin, and has a particular interest in the intersection of Jewish studies and legal theory. An alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship program and Harvard College, Rosenberg holds a doctorate in Talmud and Rabbinic literature.

Current Research

Rabbi Rosenberg's book on virginity testing and male sexual violence in Rabbinic and early Christian literature is currently under review. He is working on two other books; one looks at Rabbinic awareness of and responses to the Virgin Mary, and the other interrogates Rabbinic definitions of "life" by comparing and contrasting their legal and narrative discussions of newborns and the elderly.


  • Shanah aleph Talmud
  • Various other Talmud courses
  • Kashrut

Selected Publications

  • "The Conflation of Purity and Prohibition: An Interpretation of Leviticus 18:19," in Harvard Theological Review 107:4
  • "Penetrating Words: A Babylonian Rabbinic Response to Syriac Marilogy," in Journal of Jewish Studies 67:1
  • "Sexual Serpents and Perpetual Virginity: Marian Rejectionism in the Babylonian Talmud," Jewish Quarterly Review 106:4 (forthcoming)
  • "Physical Virginity in the Protevangelium of James, the Mishnah, and Late Antique Syriac Poetry," in Studia Patristica (forthcoming)
  • Gender Equality and Prayer in Jewish Law-with Ethan Tucker,  (Urim Publications, 2017)

Recent Presentations

  • Life at the Margins: Newborns and the Elderly in Jewish Law and Lore, National Havurah Committee Summer Institute, August 2016
  • Am I My Brother’s Keeper? Aiding Others in Transgression in Jewish Law, Chevy Chase, Maryland, May 2016
  • Bloody Branches and Divine Voices: Female Virginity, Interpretation, and the Assertion of Difference, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, November 2015