Dr. Malka Z. Simkovich

Catholic Theological Union

Dr. Malka Simkovich is the Crown-Ryan Chair of Jewish Studies and director of the Catholic-Jewish Studies program at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She earned a doctoral degree in Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism from Brandeis University and a Masters degree in Hebrew Bible from Harvard University. Malka’s dozens of articles have been published in such journals as the Harvard Theological Review and the Journal for the Study of Judaism, as well on online forums such as TheTorah.com, The Lehrhaus, and the Times of Israel. Her second book, The Making of Jewish Universalism: From Exile to Alexandria was published in 2016. Her upcoming book, Discovering Second Temple Literature: The Stories and Scriptures That Shaped Early Judaism, will be published by the Jewish Publication Society in September 2018. Malka is currently working on co-authoring a commentary to the book of Zechariah with Dr. Leslie Hoppe that will be published in Liturgical Press' Wisdom Commentary Series. In addition to presenting papers every year at a variety of academic conferences, Malka speaks regularly at synagogues throughout the United States and Canada, and her most recent travels have taken her to synagogues in Seattle, Minneapolis, Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York. A native of Philadelphia, Malka lives in Skokie, Illinois, with her husband Aaron and their four children.

Sample lecture topics:


"Sefer Bereishit: The relationship between the Gan Eden story and the patriarchal narratives" 

Various Topics in Sefer Shemot (for instance, see the four lectures I'm giving on Shemot at www.skokieshul.org/miniseries)

5 Megillot, such as "The Image of Rut of Rabbinic Literature and Literary Stylistics in Megillat Esther" 

"The Historical Context of Ezra-Nehemiah" 

"Early Post-exilic Judaism: Chronicles, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemia, and the end of Isaiah" 

I can also speak on any parsha, and have given many parsha-related drashot on Shabbat here in Chicago, most recently at Skokie Valley Synagogue in December comparing Joseph with Judah Maccabee]

Second Temple Judaism and the Rabbinic Period:

"Jewish Novels in the Ancient World: Judith and Aseneth, Judith, and Greek Esther" 

"Women in Early Judaism: Salome Alexandria, Judith, Greek Esther" 

"Jewish Queens and the Flawed Men Who Love Them: Women Rulers in Early Judaism" 

"Salome Alexandra: The Forgotten Queen of Judea" 

"Was There a Doctrine of Zionism in Second Temple Judaism?" 

"The Ancient Roots of Apocalypticism and Messianism" 

"Universalism in Ancient Judaism" (my dissertation topic)

"What Did Jews Write About After the Babylonian Exile?" 

"Introduction to the Apocrypha" 

"The History of the Maccabean Age and Its Literature" 

"What Does the Holiday of Chanukah Really Commemorate?" 

"Jewish Life in the First Century" 

"The Figure of Moshe in Early Jewish Literature" 

"What Are the Dead Sea Scrolls and Why Do They Matter?" 

"How did the Jews in the Second Temple Period Interpret the Tanach?" 

"Sectarian Judaism and Common Judaism: What Made You a Jew in Second Temple Times?" 

"The Excommunication of Rabbi Eliezer and the Democratization of Rabbinic Judaism" 

"Creating the Universe and Creating Israel: The Nation as Microcosm of the World in Early Judaism" 

"The Jews of Egypt in the Second Temple Period" 

"The Decalogue versus the Shema: Two Theologies of Early Judaism" 

"The Rebellions of the Jews: From the Great War to the Bar Kokhba Revolt" 

"Ruth in the Rabbinic Imagination" 

"The Hebrew Bible in Greek: Understanding the Politics of Translation and Scriptural Sanctity in Early Judaism" 

The Modern Recovery of Ancient Jewish Texts:

"Solomon Schechter and the Discovery of the Cairo Genizah" 

"The Recovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and The Long Road to Their Publication" 

"The Ancient Jewish Documents Preserved In Catholic Monasteries" 

Contemporary Issues in Orthodox Judaism:

"The Ascent of Scripture in Christian and Jewish Reform Movements" 

"Women's Leadership and Ordination in Orthodox Judaism: Where are we now?" 

"The Emerging Interest of Orthodox Leadership in Jewish-Christian Dialogue"



  • Editor, Proceedings of the 2018 Haym Perelmuter Conference in Jewish Christian Dialogue, co-edited with John R. Barker, Judaism in Context Series, Georgias Press, expected 2019

  • Review of Stephen Greenblatt, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve, Christian Century, forthcoming 2018

  • Review of Irving Green, The Jews of Chicago, Chicago Jewish Historical Society Quarterly Journal, forthcoming 2018

  • “Bel and the Dragon: Introduction and Commentary,” in The Jewish Annotated Apocrypha, eds. Lawrence Wills and Jonathan Klawans, under contract, expected 2018

  • Zechariah, Wisdom Commentary series; co-authored with Leslie Hoppe, ed. Barbara Reid, under contract, expected 2018

  • The Lost Scriptures: Discovering the Sacred Library of Ancient Israel, Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, expected 2018

  • Review of Michael Segal, Dreams, Riddles, and Visions: Textual, Contextual, and Intertextual Approaches to the Book of Daniel, in AJS Review, Spring 2018

  • “The Book of Judith and the History of Hanukkah,” Shema BeKolah: A Journal of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, December 2017

  • Review of “Chana: A Life in Prayer,’ by Rabbi Yehiel E. Poupko. JUF News. September 6, 2017

  • “A Family’s Witness of Faith (2 Maccabees 7),” The Bible Today, May/June 2017

  • Review of Michael Segal, Dreams, Riddles, and Visions: Textual, Contextual, and Intertextual Approaches to the Book of Daniel, in AJS Review, Spring 2018

  • Review of Richard Kalmin, Migrating Tales: The Talmud’s Narratives and Their Historical Contexts, in Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 12.1, 2017

  • The Making of Jewish Universalism: From Exile to Alexandria, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017

  • “The Apocalyptic Visions of Abraham and Paul in Early Judaism and Christianity,” The Bible Today 54.4 (2016) 261–266

  • “Geography-Based Giving in the Jewish Tradition,” in Poverty and Wealth in the Sacred Texts of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, eds. Nathan R. Kollar and Muhammad Shafiq. New York: Palgrave, 2016

  • “The Book of Jonah,” entry in Encyclopedia of Biblical Reception (EBR), 2016

  • “Echoes of Universalist Testament Literature in Christian and Rabbinic Texts,” Harvard Theological Review, January 2016

  • “Interpretations of Abraham’s Circumcision in Early Christianity,” in From Enoch to Montreal and Back: New Vistas on Early Judaism and Christianity. Papers from the Fifth Enoch Graduate Seminar, Montreal, 20–24 May 2014, eds. Lorenzo DiTommaso and Gerbern S. Oegema. London: T&T Clark, 2015.

  • “Let All Life Be in Common: Jewish Universalism from the Hebrew Bible Through the Second Temple Period,” Doctoral Dissertation, July 2015

  • “The Book of Haggai,” entry in Encyclopedia of Biblical Reception (EBR), 2014

  • “Greek Influence on the Composition of 2 Maccabees,” Journal for the Study of Judaism, 42.3 (2011) 293–310

  • “Doors, Windows, and Boundaries in the Elijah-Elisha Stories,” Harvard University Masters Thesis, May 2006

Online essays:

“In Every Generation They Rise Up Against Us To Destroy Us: How We Keep Getting Chanukah Wrong.” December 14th, 2017.

“Rebecca in Early Jewish and Rabbinic Literature.” November 15th, 2017.

“A Love Letter to the Woman of Valor.” November 9th, 2017. The Lehrhaus.

“A Response to Ethan Tucker’s Interview with Dr. Alan Brill on Gender Equality and Prayer in Judaism.” Kavvanah. September 11, 2017.

Review of “Chana: A Life in Prayer,’ by Rabbi Yehiel E. Poupko. JUF News. September 6, 2017.

“Modest Living: Why Treating Appearance as a Religious Category Needs to go Out of Style.” The Times of Israel. June 27, 2017.

“The Christian Monks Who Saved Jewish History.” The Lehrhaus. May 11, 2017.

“The Decalogue in Rabbinic Literature.” Modern Torah Leadership. February 16, 2017.

“Heteronomy and Hierarchy: Are Partnership Minyanim Orthodox? A CTML Symposium.” Modern Torah Leadership. September 26, 2016.

“Wrestling With God: Leonard Cohen’s You Want it Darker.” The Lehrhaus. November 13, 2016.

“The Origins of Jewish Universalism: What it is, and Why it Matters.” The Lehrhaus. October 6, 2016.

“The Tale of Susanna: A Story About Daniel.” The Torah.Com. September 1, 2016.

“Working Hard for the Money: Breaking the Taboo of How We Pay Female Orthodox Educators.” The Times of Israel. August 17, 2016.

“Queen Berenice: A Woman of Contrasts.”

“Intimacy on the Sabbath: Was it Always a Mitzvah?”

“The Haggadah: A New Telling of the Exodus Story.”

“Uncovering the Truth About Chanukah.”

“The Making of Adam: Understanding the Midrash in Light of Plato and the Pseudepigrapha.”

“Abraham as the Great (Un)Circumciser: A Surprising Midrashic Portrait of Abraham.”

“Sefer Tuviah–The Book of Tobit.”

“The Portrayal of Abraham in the Testament of Abraham.”

“Why Jews Fast.” Co-authored with Dr. Rabbi Zev Farber.

“Jewish Attitudes Towards the Land of Israel During the Time of the Second Temple.”

“The Faith of the Martyred Mother and Her Seven Sons.”

Sample of teaching:



Article Excerpt


Target audience:

I usually teach adults, but taught at Maimonides Upper School in Boston for five years.

Speaking fee:

My speaking fee is $500 per lecture, and a minimum of $2000 for a weekend Scholar in Residence, which would include four talks.