Dennis shulman

Dennis G. Shulman (born May 19, 1950) is an internationally respected clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, author, teacher, public speaker, and ordained rabbi. In 2008, Dr. Shulman was the Democratic nominee for the United States House of Representatives in New Jersey's Fifth Congressional District.


Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Shulman was the second of three children of Israel and Helene Shulman. His father was a pharmacist. (Williamson, 2007) Dennis began losing his sight at an early age, from a degenerative nerve disorder (Hesse, 2008), but neither he nor his parents accepted that his disability would keep him from succeeding in life. He excelled in his studies and, midway through high school, he sought and won an unprecedented full scholarship to Worcester Academy. He graduated from the Academy third in his class in 1968.


By then totally blind, Shulman gained admission to Brandeis University, a liberal arts college in Waltham, Massachusetts. Dennis graduated in the class of 1972 magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. That same year Shulman’s volunteer activities, centering around his work with the developmentally disabled, earned him a Special White House Commendation for Outstanding Humanitarian Service and The David Aranow Award for Outstanding Achievement in Social Welfare.

Shulman next attended Harvard University where he began work toward a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Public Practice. There, Shulman won a Training Fellowship from the National Institute for Mental Health. In 1974, Dennis married his college sweetheart, medical student Pamela Tropper. Also in that period, he began what has become an extended and diverse series of teaching positions, professional publications, postdoctoral studies and speaking engagements.


In 1979 Shulman was licensed by New York State and opened his practice in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in New York City. Two years later, he moved to New Jersey, first Harrington Park and then Demarest, and received his license to practice in NJ in 1982. In 1990-91 he served as senior content designer and on-air lecturer in the nationally televised PBS series The World of Abnormal Psychology.

In 1997 he founded and directed the National Training Program in Contemporary Psychoanalysis at The National Institute for the Psychotherapies,[1] at which he continues to teach and supervise. The National Training Program was Shulman’s and Dr. James Fosshage's creation. It is unique in the world of psychoanalytic training institutes, attracting distance learning students (psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers) for full postgraduate psychotherapeutic/psychoanalytic training from throughout the United States, Canada, Asia, and Europe.

Meanwhile, in the mid-1990s Shulman began to explore the intersection between psychology and religion, discovering wisdom in the Bible that can inform contemporary life—“Taking the Bible not literally, but seriously” Shulman explains. Ultimately, Shulman felt a strong calling and took up study for the rabbinate. At age 53, in 2003, Shulman received his rabbinic ordination—the same year that saw the publication of his book, The Genius of Genesis: A Psychoanalyst and Rabbi Examines the First Book of the Bible. Since December 2001, Rabbi Shulman has been the leader of a Jewish spiritual and study community in Bergen County, NJ.

2008 Congressional campaign

Because of Dennis Shulman's concerns that, with the George W. Bush presidency, "America had lost its way," he entered the congressional race against arch conservative Republican incumbent Scott Garrett. On June 3, 2008, Dennis Shulman defeated challengers Camille Abate and Roger Bacon in the New Jersey Fifth District Congressional Democratic Primary.

Shulman garnered significant national and local attention and was endorsed by the New York Times, the Bergen Record, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governors David Paterson and Jon Corzine, Senators Frank Lautenberg and Russ Feingold, among many others, and supported in his bid by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

Despite the national attention, Shulman was defeated by Garrett on November 4, 2008.

Personal life

Shulman has lived in Demarest, New Jersey[2] since 1984 with Dr. Pamela Tropper, his wife since 1974, an Attending Physician and Director of Global Women's Health at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. The couple has two daughters: Holly, who graduated from Vassar in 2005, is international spokeswoman for the Federal Department of the Treasury; and Juliana, who graduated from the University of Chicago in 2009, is studying law at Northeastern University.

Recent Articles, Sermons, and Speeches

To listen to the Rosh Hashanah sermon Rabbi Shulman gave at Brandeis University, September 9, 2010, go to [1]

To listen to the graduation speech Rabbi Dr. Shulman gave at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA, June 18, 2010, go to [2]

For Rabbi Dr. Shulman's complete Curriculum Vitae, go to [3]

Shulman, D.G. (2008). Jonah: His story, our story; His struggle, our struggle: Commentary on paper by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 18:3, 329-364.

Shulman, D.G. (2008). A psychoanalytic perspective on Abraham, Isaac and the altar: Implications for who we are and how we change. Journal of Synagogue Music, 33: 23-43.

Shulman, D.G. (2007). What Hillel and Freud both see when gazing into Moses’ face: A response. Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 4: 95-100.

Shulman, DG. (2005). The analyst's equilibrium, countertransference management and the action of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic Review, 92, 469-479.



Monica Hesse. "Rabbi on the Roof: N.J. Candidate Gets Taste of Washington." Washington Post August 2, 2008, p. C1.

Dianne Williamson. "Time to Take a Stand, And Friends Join In." Worcester (MA) Telegram & Gazette, December 4, 2007, p. B1.

External links

  • Shulman for Congress official campaign website
  • Project Vote Smart
  • Federal Election Commission
  • Dennis Shulman professional website
    • Curriculum Vitae
  • Congresspedia
  • Shulman, Dennis The Genius of Genesis
  • Toobin, Jeffrey First Timer New Yorker, July 28, 2008
  • Goodman, Adam A Rabbi in Congress? Time, July 18, 2008
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