|Jewish Theological Seminary|
Jewish Theological Seminary Building at 3080 Broadway in Manhattan
|Motto||והסנה איננו אכל|
|Motto in English||And the bush was not consumed – Exodus 3:2|
|Religious affiliation||Conservative Judaism|
New York City, New York, United States|
The Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism.
The Jewish Theological Seminary operates five schools: Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies, which is affiliated with Columbia University and offers joint/double bachelors degree programs with both Columbia and Barnard College, The Graduate School, The William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education, H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music, and the Rabbinical School.
Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau
Rabbi Zecharias Frankel (1801-1875) at one time was in the traditional wing of the nascent Reform Judaism movement. After the second Reform rabbinic conference (1845, Frankfurt, Germany) he resigned after coming to believe that their positions were excessively radical. In 1854 he became the head of a new rabbinical school, the Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau. In his magnum opus Darkhei HaMishnah (Ways of the Mishnah) Rabbi Frankel amassed scholarly support which showed that Jewish law was not static, but rather had always developed in response to changing conditions. He called his approach towards Judaism 'Positive-Historical', which meant that one should accept Jewish law and tradition as normative, yet one must be open to changing and developing the law in the same historical fashion that Judaism has always historically developed.
Positive-Historical Judaism in America
About this time in America, Rabbi Sabato Morais championed the reaction to American Reform. At one time Rabbi Morais had been a voice for moderation within the coalition of Reformers. He had opposed the more radical changes, but was open to moderate changes that would not offend traditional sensibilities. After the Reform movement published the Pittsburgh Platform, Rabbi Morais recognized the futility of his efforts and began the creation of a new rabbinical school in New York City. He was soon joined by Rabbi Alexander Kohut and Rabbi Bernard Drachman, both of whom had received semicha (rabbinic ordination) at Rabbi Frankel's Breslau seminary. They shaped the curriculum and philosophy of the new school after Rabbi Frankel's seminary. The first graduate to be ordained was Rabbi Morris Mandel who went to lead Adas Israel congregation (Washington, D.C.).
In 1902, Professor Solomon Schechter assumed presidency of JTS. In a series of papers he articulated an ideology for the nascent movement. In 1913 he presided over the creation of the United Synagogue of America. (The name was changed in 1991 to the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.)
In 1930 the organization commissioned a new headquarters for 122nd Street and Broadway in a neo-colonial style, with a tower at the corner. The architects were Gehron, Ross and Alley.
Between 1940 and 1985, The Jewish Theological Seminary produced a radio and television show called The Eternal Light. The show aired on Sunday afternoons, featuring well-known Jewish personalities like Chaim Potok and Elie Wiesel. Broadcasts did not involve preaching or prayer, but drew on history, literature and social issues to explore Judaism and Jewish holidays in a manner that was accessible to persons of any faith.
Admission of LGBT students
Since March 2007, the Jewish Theological Seminary accepts openly gay students into their rabbinical and cantorial programs (the Seminary's other three schools upheld such non-discrimination policies prior to this date). An announcement in the press, first posted on the school's website and reported by the press. has been made about the admission of and ordination of homosexual students for the rabbinate and the cantorate.
A Conservative Jewish seminary in New York has agreed to admit gays and lesbians who want to become rabbis and cantors, but declined to take a stand on whether rabbis should officiate at same-sex unions.
The Jewish Theological Seminary announced its decision yesterday, more than three months after the Rabbinical Assembly's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards authorized the ordination of gays and lesbians.
In March 2008 JTS held a day long program titled Hazak Hazak V'Nithazek: Celebrating Strength Through Inclusion, marking the one year anniversary of Chancellor Eisen's decision to admit gay and lesbian students into the rabbinical and cantorial schools. A survey conducted prior to Chancellor Eisen's decision indicated that 58% of the rabbinical student body supported a change in admission policy. Some students who opposed the change in admission policy said they felt excluded from the day's program because it did not sufficiently recognize the pluralism in the student body.
- Cyrus Adler
- Arnie Eisen
- José Faur
- Louis Finkelstein
- Louis Ginsberg
- David Weiss Halivni
- Judith Hauptman
- Abraham Joshua Heschel
- Max Kadushin
- Mordechai Kaplan
- Saul Lieberman
- David Marcus
- Alexander Marx
- David G. Roskies
- Joel Roth
- Solomon Schechter
- Ismar Schorsch
- Gordon Tucker
- Burton Visotzky
- Jack Wertheimer
- Yochanan Muffs
- Ben Zion Bokser
- Daniel Boyarin, Hermann P. and Sophia Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, Departments of Near Eastern Studies and Rhetoric, University of California at Berkeley.
- Menachem Creditor, rabbi of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, CA and founder of ShefaNetwork.org, co-founder of Keshet Rabbis
- David G. Dalin, historian
- Matthew Eisenfeld, student killed in the Jerusalem bus 18 massacres
- Ben-Zion Gold, Rabbi of Harvard Hillel
- Jonathan A. Goldstein, Bible scholar
- David Gordis, former President of Hebrew College
- Arthur Green, Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis and Rector of the Rabbinical School at Hebrew College.
- Joseph H. Hertz, British Chief Rabbi and Author; first graduate of JTS
- Arthur Hertzberg
- Irwin Kula, Director of president of CLAL, the Center for Learning and Leadership.
- Lee I. Levine, Scholar of Ancient Judaism
- Marshall Meyer
- Jacob Neusner, Chair of the Judaic Studies Department at Bard College.
- Norman Podhoretz, former Editor, Commentary magazine
- Chaim Potok, author, and rabbi
- Paula Reimers, Rabbi
- Samuel Schafler, past president of Hebrew College, superintendent of the Chicago Board of Jewish Education
- Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah
- Mordecai Waxman, prominent rabbi in the Conservative movement and senior rabbi of Temple Israel of Great Neck. Opened dialogue with Pope John Paul II in 1987
- Rabbi Joseph Wolf, current rabbi of Congregation Havurah Shalom in Portland Oregon and a member of the board of Rabbis for Human Rights, North America.
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- Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau
- JTS library fire
- Rabbinical Assembly
- United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
- American Jewish University
- ↑ This was at http://www.jtsa.edu/about/communications/press/20062007/20070326.shtml but is currently unavailable
- ↑ shamir, Shlomo (2007-03-28). "NY Jewish seminary to accept gay students". Haaretz.com. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/842238.html. Retrieved 2009-01-06. "A Conservative Jewish seminary in New York has agreed to admit gays and lesbians who want to become rabbis and cantors, but declined to take a stand on whether rabbis should officiate at same-sex unions."