I, along with the JTS Board of Trustees, am delighted to report that Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz has been selected as JTS’s eighth chancellor. She will succeed Chancellor Arnold Eisen, who will step down from his role on June 30, 2020, following a highly accomplished 13-year tenure.
Our search committee conducted a comprehensive, global search and received significant interest from a wide-ranging, diverse, and stellar pool of candidates. During the process, it became very clear that the right person to lead our institution was in our own midst, a beloved leader and respected scholar in the JTS and broader Jewish communities for almost 30 years. Dr. Schwartz will be the first woman to serve as chancellor of our treasured institution.
Many of you know Dr. Schwartz, a JTS alumna and our current provost. She earned her BA from Barnard College, and her MA and PhD from JTS. In 2018, she was named provost, and from 1993 to 2018, Dr. Schwartz served as dean of Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies, JTS’s undergraduate school. During this time, she strengthened and expanded List College’s dual-degree programs with Columbia University and Barnard College, mentoring over a thousand students as they determined their professional and personal life paths. Since 2010, Dr. Schwartz has also served as dean of the Gershon Kekst Graduate School, where she pioneered the creation of an MA program in Jewish ethics, a joint Jewish ethics MA/MPH with Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, and a new certificate program in ethics and social justice.
Dr. Schwartz has served for many years on the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society and the academic advisory boards of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, and the Jewish Women’s Archive.
Her many academic accomplishments include the publication of the award-winning The Rabbi’s Wife: The Rebbetzin in American Jewish Life (NYU Press) and The Emergence of Jewish Scholarship in America: The Publication of the Jewish Encyclopedia (Hebrew Union College Press). She has published numerous articles on American Jewish history and culture.
This is a challenging moment in our world, as we face uncertainty about what the future will look like following this public health and economic crisis. However, with crisis comes opportunity and we are grateful and optimistic about our path forward with Dr. Schwartz at the helm. Her deep leadership experience, expansive academic background, and broad communal perspective will propel us forward. Fortunately, JTS is poised to meet this pivotal moment in American Judaism, having completed under Chancellor Eisen’s leadership the reimagining and creation of the new JTS campus and the launching of the public phase of the largest capital campaign in JTS’s history. We look toward the future with anticipation and hope.
I would like to thank the many individuals and groups who participated in the search in ways small and large. From our search committee, co-chaired by JTS trustees Mimi Alperin and Daniel J. Beller, to the focus groups of alumni, students, and board members, to interest groups who shared feedback online and in person, to the hundreds of individuals who filled out our online questionnaire, and those who shared private emails and conversations with many involved in the search process. This outpouring of feedback brought home to us just how invested people are in the future of JTS. We took this feedback to heart and it benefited the process in significant ways.
We owe much gratitude to Chancellor Eisen, who has led JTS with thoughtfulness, grace, and strength. In beginning our next chapter, we know that Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz will have a firm foundation to build upon as she takes JTS from strength to strength. I invite you to learn more about Dr. Schwartz on our website.
JTS Board of Trustees