Jewish Theological Seminary

Adult Ed Growing, At A Distance

Online courses from WebYeshiva, JTS are expanding learning options, but challenges persist.


Julie Wiener

Associate Editor


For some students, Rabbi Chaim Brovender’s hour-long advanced Gemara class starts Sunday nights at 7 p.m.

Others show up at 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, the instructor begins the session bright and early the following day, at 5 a.m.

But all are participating simultaneously — just in different time zones and at different computer screens all over the world.

Rabbi Chaim Brovender.

Pastoral Education Edges Into Mainstream

As JTS adds clinical component, conference signifies greater Jewish awareness of new role for clergy.

Jewish Week Correspondent

Rabbi Mychal Springer, director of the Center for Pastoral Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, recalls the days 20 years ago when she first began studying the field. Her first two clinical supervisors were both nuns, she says, reflecting the field’s roots in Christian theology.

A counseling session. JTS rabbinical students will now have 400 hours of such fieldwork.

Conservative Movement Ordains First Openly Gay Rabbi


 (JTA) – The Conservative movement ordained its first openly gay rabbi during ceremonies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.

Rachel Isaacs, 28, was ordained at JTS on May 19. She told the Forward that she began her rabbinical training at the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, but switched to the Conservative seminary after it began admitting openly gay and lesbian students in 2007.

Rabbinic Ordination 2011: The World’s Newest Rabbis

Special to the Jewish Week

On Thursday afternoon of this week, twenty-six rabbis were ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan.

These young men and women were not the only graduates at JTS on that day. There were undergraduate degree recipients from List College, Masters and Doctoral degrees awarded from the Graduate School and the Davidson School of Education, and new Cantors, graduating from the H. L. Miller Cantorial School, who were invested with the authority to assume their important work.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Criticism Of Rabbinical Students On Israel Unfair

Special To The Jewish Week

Rabbi Daniel Gordis has maligned a generation of rabbinical students as being insufficiently Zionist (“Alienation From Israel Is Hitting Liberal Seminaries,” Editor’s column, May 6). Because I know and respect these students, I find his criticism to be not only inaccurate but also insulting to people who have collectively dedicated their lives to spreading the love of God, Torah, and Israel.

Conservative Judaism's New ‘Context’ For Adult Ed

JTS rolls out ambitious curriculum that resembles the Me’ah program.

Associate Editor

This fall, the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary expects to enroll several hundred new students, most of whom will never actually walk through its Upper Manhattan doors.

JTS’ Context course is similar to the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, above, a program that has a loyal following yet is more

Questioning My New Degree

Special To The Jewish Week

I received an honorary doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary this spring. I appreciate the recognition, but it has prompted some disquieting questions.

Reform and Conservative rabbis often get these diplomas, usually after about 25 years of service. So the honor has more to do with survival than accomplishment. I suppose it could be said that enduring 25 years in the rabbinate, particularly in the pulpit, is deserving of special recognition. There have been times when I wondered whether a Purple Heart might be more appropriate, or maybe a Nobel Peace Prize.

Kushner And Gillman: Still Wrestling With Uncertainty

Fifty years after their JTS graduation together, Harold Kushner and Neil Gillman reflect on their career paths.

Special To The Jewish Week

When, late this spring, 16 distinguished-looking silver-gray and white-haired gentlemen stood side by side on a stage at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) to pose for their half-century reunion photograph, you could almost see them blinking through their smiles, reflecting in their minds’ eyes on the younger selves that appeared in a similar photo of the rabbinic class of 1960.

Fifty years of influence, and counting: Rabbis Harold Kushner and Neil Gillman.

Grant Pushes Historic Partnership of Seminaries


NEW YORK (JTA) -- Spurred by a major grant from one of the largest Jewish foundations, the rabbinical seminaries of three major synagogue movements are forging a groundbreaking partnership to train Jewish educators.

The Jim Joseph Foundation announced Monday that it was giving a combined $33 million to the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute for Religion, the Modern Orthodox Yeshiva University and the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

The Virtual Minyan Revisited

It was 1998 and I was in my first semester of rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary. My Talmud professor, Rabbi Avram Israel Reisner, approached me after class one day to discuss a project he was working on. As a member of the Conservative Movement's Law Committee, he was examining the acceptability of a virtual minyan (prayer quorum).

Can Virtual Prayer Communities Work?
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