Today was an exciting day here at The Jewish Theological Seminary—our 117th Commencement. One hundred twenty-four graduates from all five of our schools received their diplomas, degrees, and/or rabbinic or cantorial ordinations and will now—empowered by their incomparable JTS educations and guided by JTS’s unique vision for the Jewish future—enter a world of service and leadership to the Jewish community.
Also exciting is the new JTS initiative that I mentioned in my address, which has now gone live: a weekly blog entitled “Conservative Judaism: A Community Conversation.” The blog features a series of short essays on various topics related to the nature and distinctiveness of Conservative Judaism, such as covenant, community, mitzvah, and tefillah. The essays will be accompanied by responses from invited dialogue partners as well as a wide-ranging community discussion.
Why have we launched this blog now? My strong sense is that Conservative Jews want to hear from us, and from one another, about the ideas that we have for moving forward, our best thinking about what distinguishes Conservative Judaism from other forms of our tradition, and how we can most effectively translate the singular insights of our Movement into institutions that meet the needs of contemporary Jews.
As the preeminent institution of Jewish higher education—a place that integrates rigorous academic scholarship and teaching with a commitment to strengthening Jewish tradition, Jewish lives, and Jewish communities—JTS is the ideal venue for the launch of this compelling initiative. Our primary goal is to teach clergy, educators, scholars, and other leaders who can inspire their communities to ask the questions that define who we are as Jews and who our children will be. Therefore, it makes sense that the online discussion about the Conservative Movement of tomorrow begins at JTS today.
I invite you to play a key role in “Conservative Judaism: A Community Conversation.” Make your voice heard by joining the discussion at www.jtsa.edu/CJblog.
Arnold M. Eisen Chancellor The Jewish Theological Seminary