History of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Tue, 09/01/1992
End Date: 
Thu, 08/31/1995

Jack Wertheimer prepared the first comprehensive history of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the "fountainhead" of Conservative Judaism. JTS holds a unique place in both the Jewish community and in seminary education. Founded in 1887 for rabbinic studies, the seminary has touched most areas of American Jewish religious life through its personnel and programs. The project resulted in two written works and three conferences. The first publication a two-volume, multi-author work examining the history of JTS, evaluating its programs in theological education and placing these efforts in the context of both Jewish and Christian seminary history. A one-volume interpretive history, tracing the mission of JTS as it evolved against the backdrop of American society and Jewish life, was also prepared. Three public conferences were held at JTS: one designed to convene faculty and administrators of all major Jewish seminaries; another, intended for Jewish educators and community leaders, addressed the formation of future Jewish religious leaders and the transmission of religious identity in the next generation; and the third brought together historians and social scientists working in the field of American religious history. (KA)