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History of the Jewish Bible Quarterly.

With this issue, we celebrate the 40th year (157 issues) of uninterrupted publication of the Jewish Bible Quarterly. The JBQ was launched in the Fall of 1972 by Dr. Louis Katzoff z"l under the title of Dor le Dor with the prompting and full financial backing of the World Jewish Bible Society, chaired by Professor Haim Gevaryahu z"l. In its initial phase, there were four members of the Editorial Board: Haim Gevaryahu, Michael Graetz, Joseph Halpern and Louis Katzoff. The journal's stated purpose: "Dor le Dor is published by the World Jewish Bible Society for the English-reading public and is directed primarily to the interests of Jewish laymen who wish to deepen their understanding of their heritage through Bible study and appreciation." This remains the guiding principle of the journal to this day.

Rabbi Dr. Louis Katzoff, who had been educational director of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Illinois, was greatly assisted by the Rev. Joseph Halpern. Joseph Halpern had founded the Bible Readers' Union in England in 1939, publishing a monthly bulletin for its readers, and initiated the Triennial Bible Study Cycle. Already in the first issue (Volume 1, Number 1) of Dor le Dor there was a section on Bible chapters to be studied. By the second issue, Dr. Katzoff was Editor, Jacob Gold was Managing Editor, and the following members joined the Editorial Board: Dr. Sol Liptzin (a former professor at City Col lege), Rabbi Kassel Abelson, Rabbi Solomon Goldfarb, Eliezer Livneh (editor of the Encyclopedia Hebraica), Rabbi Max Rothschild, Ben Zion Luria (editor of Bet Mikra), Rabbi Hayyim Halpern and Rabbi Henry Skirball. We are proud that Rabbis Halpern and Skirball still serve on the Editorial Board and are active in the Association's finance and Bible Museum committees. In 1975, Dr. Shi mon Bakon, who had been on the staff of Boston Hebrew College, joined the Editorial Board, and in 1976 was invited to be Assistant Editor. In 1978, Dr. Gabriel Sivan, the present Chairman of the Association, joined the Board after a number of years working as an editor of the Encyclopaedia Judaica and, later, as the South African Zionist Federation's Director of Education and Information. Dr. Shimon Bakon was invited by Dr. Louis Katzoff to serve as Associate Editor, with Chaim Abramowitz as Assistant Editor. In addition to his editorial duties, Chaim Abramowitz was responsible for arranging the triennial Bible reading cycle and the triennial index of articles. In 1980, Rabbi Dr. Chaim Pearl, who had served pulpits in London and New York and who had studied at Jews' College and the University of Birmingham, joined the Editorial Board. In 1983, Rabbi Joshua Adler joined the Board and in 1984 became Managing Editor, a position he holds to this day. He is also our representative at the International Bible Contest for Jewish Youth, on whose board he serves with distinction.


By 1981, the journal was already indexed or abstracted by Religious and Theological Abstracts, Internationale Zeitschriftenschau fur Bibelwissenschaft und Grenzgebiete, and later by Old Testament Abstracts.

1987 marked the passing of Rabbi Dr. Louis Katzoff (Editor: 1972-1987) and Chaim Abramowitz (Assistant Editor: 1978-1987). Dr. Shimon Bakon was elected Editor with Rabbi Dr. Chaim Pearl serving as Associate Editor and Dr. David Wolfers as Assistant Editor.

In 1989, the editors decided to change the name of the journal to the Jewish Bible Quarterly to better reflect the aims and scope of the publication. In 1990, we were saddened by the death of Professor Haim Gevaryahu. Until then we had been part of the World Jewish Bible Center, fully financed by the Jewish Agency's Department of Jewish Education and Culture in the Diaspora. With his passing, the organization became an Israeli non-profit association, the Jewish Bible Association, which was partially funded by the Jewish Agency. At this juncture, Dr. Joshua Backon joined the Association and became the Executive Secretary as well as editorial secretary of the journal. As a former medical editor for a British publishing house, he instituted broad changes in manuscript processing, computerized the databases and lists, started using the Internet in journal production, and broadened the indexing and abstracting services handling the journal to eventually include RAMBI, Index to Jewish Periodicals, Religion Index One, EBSCOnet, the British Library, and Google. With the help of Dr. Joshua Adler, we posted a weekly Internet quiz on Parashat ha-Shavu'a.

That same year, Rabbi Dr. Shubert Spero, Professor of Jewish Thought at Bar Ilan University, joined the Editorial Board. Although he declined serving officially as an editor, he became a highly valued member of the editorial staff. Indeed, until recently, he hosted the biweekly meeting of the editors. The years 1994-1996 were eventful for the JBQ. In 1994, Patricia Berlyn, a former editor of Foreign Affairs, joined as Assistant Editor and later as Associate Editor. She rendered great service as volunteer copyeditor in addition to her major editorial tasks. In 1995, we were saddened by the passing of Dr. David Wolfers (Assistant Editor: 1987-1995) and Rabbi Dr. Chaim Pearl (Associate Editor: 1988 1995). That same year the Jewish Agency reduced the financial subsidy that they had been providing. Attorney Alan Pfeffer of New York helped our Executive Secretary to set up the American Friends of the Jewish Bible Association, an American non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation which raises funds to support the activities of the Jewish Bible Association in Israel.

In 1996, Rabbi Dr. Theodore Steinberg, a former pulpit rabbi in the United States, became Associate Editor and in 1997 Professor Dan Vogel, former Dean of Stern College in New York, joined as a third Associate Editor.

That same year, under the supervision of Dr. Joshua Backon, we started our college program, first under the auspices of Baltimore Hebrew University and then through portfolio credits in Hebrew and Judaic Studies at Charter Oak State College. From 2004 until 2009, our 92 college credits in Hebrew and Judaic Studies were under the auspices of the New York State Board of Regents and, from 2010, under the auspices of the State of Connecticut Board of Regents CCAP program at Charter Oak State College.

By 2006-2007, negotiations had been concluded with indexing and abstracting services (EBSCO and GALE) that basically gave free full text access to the journal to hundreds of university and public libraries with a potential readership of tens of millions of people. Many JBQ articles were now being quoted in other academic books and journals ( and and academics were quoting their JBQ papers on their cv's and in their college syllabi.

In 2009-2010, the Jewish Bible Association sustained a grave loss with the passing of Rabbi Dr. Theodore Steinberg (Associate Editor: 1996-2009) and Patricia Berlyn (Associate Editor: 1994-2010). In 2009, Rabbi Dr. Zvi Ron, who has taught at a number of colleges in Israel, joined as Deputy Editor. In 2010, Dr. Ruth Walfish, head of the Bible Department at Efrata Teachers' College, joined as a new Associate Editor.

An accomplished author, editor and translator, Dr. Gabriel Sivan has begun correcting and harmonizing the transliteration of Hebrew in articles published in the journal. Dr. Ron and Avi Levine used their expertise to overhaul our Internet website and to oversee the optical scanning and indexing of all back volumes for full text access. Currently, more than half of the volumes are available on the website. The Editor, who has been with the JBQ since 1975, and all our deputy and associate editors volunteer their time and work tirelessly to make the Jewish Bible Quarterly the premier English-language academic journal dealing with the Tanakh under Jewish auspices.

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Author:Bakon, Shimon
Publication:Jewish Bible Quarterly
Date:Jan 1, 2012
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