The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Tamara Cohn Eskenazi

b. August 15, 1938

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Tamara Cohn Eskenazi until we are able to commission a full entry.

Rabbi Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, photo courtesy of Rabbi Eskenazi.

As editor of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, scholar and rabbi Tamara Cohn Eskenazi recovered the stories of women mentioned throughout the Bible and treated them with the academic rigor usually reserved for the patriarchs and other biblical men. Eskenazi emigrated from Israel to America as a teen and briefly studied architecture in New York, then moved to Denver, where she earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Denver in 1976 and her PhD at the University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology in 1986 while raising five children. She joined the faculty of the University of Denver, became director of the Institute of Interfaith Studies, and cofounded Denver’s Jewish Women’s Resource Center. In 1990 she moved to Los Angeles as the first female tenure-track professor in the rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion since its founding in 1875, and now serves as the Effie Wise Ochs Professor of Biblical Literature and History there. The author of numerous scholarly works, Eskenazi won the Jewish Book of the Year Award from the National Jewish Book Council for The Torah: A Women’s Commentary and the 2011 National Jewish Book Award in Women’s Studies for co-authoring the JPS Bible Commentary: Ruth. In 2013 Eskenazi was ordained as a rabbi by HUC–JIR.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Tamara Cohn Eskenazi." (Viewed on September 29, 2023) <>.


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