The ISJL Conference

I knew something was wrong when Delta called me at 10:30 in the morning to tell me that my flight from Atlanta to White Plains nine hours later was delayed by 75 minutes due to a “late inbound aircraft.” It was the second leg of my journey home from Jackson, so a delay would just mean an inconvenience, not a missed connection, but I had to wonder: How did Delta know nine hours in advance that my commuter jet would arrive late? Unless it was coming in from Rome, something else was going on.

So I checked the timing of my Jackson-Atlanta flight, and rebooked myself on a continuing leg to LaGuardia. It would mean a longer taxi ride home, but it seemed like a surer bet.

Just as I got to Jackson’s charming airport, though, Delta called me again. My Jackson-Atlanta flight was also delayed, by an hour, so I would miss the connection to my newly booked flight to LaGuardia. But the flight to White Plains was now delayed even more, so I had plenty of time to catch that, even with the delay on the first leg.

But I could see the writing on the wall. Even though Delta thought the plane would still take off for White Plains, experience told me that it would eventually be canceled. (I was right, and as it turned out, the flight to Atlanta would ultimately leave many hours late, too.) So rather than risk getting stuck in Atlanta, I opted to stay in Jackson one more night.

In the end I didn’t mind, though. Delta recognized that the delays were their fault, and took good care of me.

And in typical exemplary fashion, so did my conference hosts. I even got to follow up on a conversation I began during the conference that brought me to Jackson in the first place.

The conference, run by the ISJL, was among the most welcoming and enjoyable that I’ve attended. The ISJL staff were warm and friendly, the participants were engaging without being overbearing, and the program was well organized and well run. It was a joy to be there.

Mostly I was presenting on pedagogy, including why I allow cell phones in my classes. I also had two book-signing sessions.

Now I’m back in New York for a while, enjoying the beautiful summer weather. (In Jackson, I tried to go for a walk at dusk, but at 90+ degrees it was still too hot.) I’m also looking forward to my next education conference this summer, but I have to say, the ISJL has set the bar of excellence very high.


The Cape Cod Trip

Humpback Whale Feeding Off the Coast of Cape Cod (with Seagull)

Humpback Whale Feeding Off the Coast of Cape Cod (with Seagull)

I’ve just returned from a two-stop trip through Cape Cod. On Tuesday evening I lectured to a diverse crowd in Falmouth. Then on Wednesday I headed further east to Brewster. Both groups were engaging, welcoming, and enthusiastic.

I even managed to squeeze in a whale watch (thank you Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises) before I headed back to New York.

As usual, I have more pictures on Flickr.

June Giveaway: Win a Copy of And God Said

We’re giving away a free copy of And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning, autographed by the author.

For the best chances of winning, enter the sweepstakes via Twitter. You can also enter from the book’s Facebook page (and while you’re there, you can become a fan), or directly.

A winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries shortly after Saturday, June 30, 2012. So hurry!

Dr. Hoffman’s Interview on WKIP

WKIP logoLast week I spoke with Cameron Hendrix of WKIP about an interfaith book-signing event held at Vassar Temple. Because I also serve as the religious-school director there, I had the opportunity to talk about why I run a religious school, and why I think religious schools are so important. Here’s the audio:

Noted Bible Scholar Dr. Joel M. Hoffman to Offer Interfaith Lecture in North Chelmsford, MA


New York, May 10, 2012 — Noted Bible scholar Dr. Joel M. Hoffman will give an interfaith lecture on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at Congregation Shalom in North Chelmsford, MA.

The 7:00pm lecture is jointly sponsored by Congregation Shalom; Trinity Lutheran Church, Chelmsford; the Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation; St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Westford; First Parish Church United, Westford; Temple Shir Hadash, Westford; and St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church, Westford.

Hoffman will address significant and widespread inaccuracies in English Bible translations and explain how readers can see past the mistakes to find what Hoffman calls “the undiscovered beauty of the Bible.” The lecture is based on his popular book And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning (St. Martin’s Press, 2010).

The lecture will take place at Congregation Shalom, 87 Richardson Road, North Chelmsford, MA 01863 (phone: 978/251-8091). Admission is free, and refreshments will be served. Signed books will be available for purchase after the talk.

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman is a noted expert in translation, Hebrew, and the Bible. He holds a doctorate in linguistics and has served on the faculties of Brandeis University and of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. He is the chief translator for the 10-volume series My People’s Prayer Book (winner of the National Jewish Book Award) and My People’s Passover Haggadah, both from Jewish Lights Publishing. He is the author of the critically acclaimed In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language, from NYU Press and, most recently, And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning from St. Martin’s Press. He lives in Westchester, NY.

For more information about And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning, contact St. Martin’s Press Publicist Joseph Rinaldi: 646/307-5565 or

Dr. Hoffman can be reached at 718/834-1080 or