Peter Pitzele conducts a variety of Bibliodrama workshops with Christian, Jewish and Interfaith groups with a special interest in training and in the use of art. In Europe Peter trains students in how to conduct Bibliologs, the name by which the Pitzeles’ work is known throughout much of Europe.
When not leading groups Peter is busy creating visual art and writing.
Peter has taught Bibliodrama to rabbis, scholars, educators, pastors, priests, lay-people, performers, and families. This method has appealed to people of all ages and to different faith traditions. It has aided community building and healing, served inter-religious dialogue, deepened the relationship of individuals to the biblical traditions, and has, for thousands of people, opened new insights into ancient sources.
Peter Pitzele has his Ph.D from Harvard University. He was a literature teacher for a number of years and later became trained in improvisational drama. For seventeen years he was Director of Psychodrama Services at Four Winds Hospital, in Katonah, New York.
Through his involvement with Jewish and Christian communities and seminaries, Peter and his wife, Susan, developed Bibliodrama, a form of biblical investigation and play, now recognized as a principal methodology in the field of contemporary midrash. He has shared his work as a scholar/artist at hundreds of congregations in the United States, Europe, and Israel.
Peter Pitzele was for many years an adjunct faculty member of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary, Dean of Faculty of Storahtelling, Workshop Director for the intergenerational theater company Roots&Branches, and Faculty Member at Large for Institute for Contemporary Midrash.
Peter has written many articles and two books: Our Fathers’ Wells: A Personal Encounter with the Myths of Genesis, published by Harper San Francisco and Scripture Windows: Towards a Practice of Bibliodrama, runner-up for the best book in Jewish Education, l998, published by Torah Aura.
See letter from The Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago
“I’ll never read the Bible the same way again.”
poet and author
“My most intense contacts with Peter Pitzele have been during an annual week long retreat called The Rabbi Training Institute, sponsored by the Jewish Theological Seminary for rabbis of the Conservative Movement. These retreats provide ongoing professional growth and leadership training for those in attendance. The mornings of the retreat are devoted to text study, the afternoon to professional training and the evenings to the exploration of the inner, spiritual life of the rabbis. Dr. Pitzele has been the most popular teacher/leader at these sessions, year after year. Through his special gift of doing Bibliodrama, he has been able to create an atmosphere of trust and openness in his sessions that enables the rabbis to explore with depth and energy the issues surrounding their role as leaders in the communities they serve. The sessions have enabled the rabbis to learn more about themselves and the impact they have on others. In their evaluations participants always insist that Dr. Pitzele must be invited back again next year.
“Many of the rabbis, after their encounters with Peter Pitzele have brought him to their congregations for weekend sessions with their laity to explore both leadership and personal/religious feelings. The rabbis have told me of the success they have had with these programs. One last comment relates to Peter’s work with rabbinical students at JTS. We bring him, at every opportunity, to the school to use his talents in getting students to explore their own religious development and to begin to assess their leadership inclinations. He has always left students with new insights and greater confidence.
“I would offer my strongest recommendation for Peter Pitzele as someone who would ignite interest and enthusiasm in any group that he would encounter. Each session with him has depth, reflecting the intelligent and sensitive way that he leads people to explore their personal feelings and find deeper meaning.”
Rabbi William H. Lebeau
Vice Chancellor for Rabbinic Development, Dean of the Rabbinical School
Jewish Theological Seminary
“An extraordinary method of teasing out new meanings from stories you think you know all too well. Important for Jews and Christians in dialogue with their own traditions and with one another.”
Rev. Chris Leighton,
Executive Director of the
Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies
“As a teacher of text and as a professional Peter Pitzele earns 5 stars! I’ve participated in Bibliodrama sessions with him in synagogue settings on several occasions, at a recent Hadassah shabbaton and in a one week workshop. In all situations I found his insight and ability to make Torah text accessible something to marvel at. As a format Bibliodrama is, for me, a contemporary way to engage in midrash and study/learn with others. I have yet to see a setting where it has not captivated a vast majority of the participants. At the Hadassah Leadership Academy, where Peter recently facilitated, nearly all of the 160 women gave him an “excellent” in the evaluation. Peter was professional and very easy to work with in terms of his responsiveness and decision-making about format and text selection. Feel free to contact me if you need more information.”
Program Manager, Hadassah Leadership Academy
“Where this work really flies is when you get kids and adults together. Bibliodrama creates a level playing field where the insights of innocence and of experience mingle in unique ways. You have to see it to believe it.”
Rector of the House of Inter-generational Dialogue.
“Peter’s guidance of students and faculty through the emotional layers of the text was of great importance to those who were there.”
Harper Collins SanFransisco, l995.
Torah Aura, l998.(runner up for the best book in Jewish Education, l998)
“Classical Psychodrama” in The Journal of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, l988
“Adolescents Inside Out” in Psychodrama: Inspiration and Technique, London), Routledge, l990
“Psychodrama and the Bible: Mirror and Window of Soul” in The Journal of Religious Education, Volume 86. Number 4, Fall, l991
In Bibliodrama workshops Peter uses Handmade Midrash, developed by Jo Milgrom, a way of working with torn paper which quickly gets at the creative potential of both adults and children in finding meaning in the Bible. This began his new career as a visual artist, creating collage and more recently working with paint and encaustic. He has exhibited in group shows and has had 2 one man shows as well as publishing a book of his early work, Torah Illuminations. His Biblical collages can be seen at Illuminated Torah. Peter’s most recent art can be seen at Peter Pitzele.com.