Esther M. Shkop, Ph.D. – Director
Dr. Esther Shkop is renowned for her dynamic and innovative approach to learning and teaching Tanakh, which has fascinated and inspired audiences of varied ages and levels of erudition and Biblical literacy. She recently withdrew from her position as Dean of the Blitstein Institute of Hebrew Theological College, where she served as Professor of Bible and worked for 32 years to develop the Institute into an accredited college for women that provides a widely respected undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences and focusing on various disciplines – including Accounting, Education, Health Sciences and Psychology – while advancing women’s opportunities for scholarship in Tanakh, Jewish History and Philosophy in primary sources.
A tenth-generation Yerushalmit, Dr. Shkop’s education was divided between Israel and the United States, and she is fluent in English, Hebrew and Yiddish. She earned a B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy, a Master’s Degree in Biblical Literature, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis. Her eclectic background has broadened her horizons and enriched her classic study of Torah. Dr. Shkop has published scholarly articles primarily related to Tanakh, but also on topics such as “Educational Vouchers,” and “Organizational Reward Structures and Leadership Styles.” Dr. Shkop has been active in various community service organizations, has won various awards for her public service and scholarship, including the Freedom Award of the Templeton Foundation.
Rabbi Yitzchak M. Shkop, Ph.D. – Co-Director
Rabbi Dr. Shkop was born and raised in Bnei Brak, and spent many years in the Yeshiva world, where he distinguished himself as a budding scholar and eloquent and persuasive speaker. In 1975, after many years in the Kollel and having received Semicha, he came to the United States on a doctoral fellowship to the University of Pittsburgh. During his five years in Pennsylvania, Rabbi Shkop earned an MBA and a Ph.D. in Business Administration. Even as a doctoral student, he published extensively in professional journals and won accolades and awards, including a prestigious US government grant for his dissertation research. During that period, Rabbi Shkop engaged in kiruv rechokim, and his classes drew a large number of highly educated men to the in-depth study of Gemara and practice of Yiddishkeit.
In 1980, Dr. Shkop joined the faculty of the Business School at the University of Illinois in Chicago where he taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in Management and Marketing. A seasoned businessman, as well as scholar, Dr. Shkop’s career has included membership on the Chicago Board of Trade; he has served as Chief Operating Officer of a medical research and development firm. Since 2005, he serves as the CEO of Prospect Resources Inc., a highly respected national energy procurement consulting firm based in Skokie, IL.
At the same time, Dr. Shkop has been active in Jewish communal affairs, serving on the boards of educational and charitable organizations, and continues to give Shiurim to various groups on a regular basis. In 2014 Dr. Shkop published “מאיש לרעהו” a highly acclaimed book about the Torah views on interpersonal relationships. The first edition was sold out and a 2nd edition is being prepared for print. The English version of the book – “To Be a Mentch”, was published by ArtScroll in August 2016.