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MAY 2006

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Professor Arnold M. Eisen
News and Op/Ed

It's Eisen

JTS names a new chancellor.

Professor Arnold M. Eisen has been elected to serve as the seventh Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary.

He is an extraordinary individual and, uniquely qualified to lead JTS at this important time in the history of Conservative Judaism and the American Jewish community.

Prof. Eisen is Chair of the Department of Religious Studies and Koshland Professor of Jewish Culture and Religion at Stanford University. He is one of the world's foremost experts in American Judaism. For the past twenty years, he has worked closely with synagogue and federation leadership around the country in analyzing and addressing the challenging issues of Jewish identity, the revitalization of Jewish tradition and the redefinition of the American Jewish community.

He is a strong advocate of JTS as the premier center of scholarship in the Jewish world and hopes to bring that scholarship to bear on the pressing issues of the day. He is also passionate about making Israel a greater part of American Jewish life.

He received a Ph.D. in the History of Jewish Thought from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; a B.Phil. in the Sociology of Religion at Oxford University; and a BA in Religious Thought from the University of Pennsylvania. His many publications include a personal essay, Taking Hold of Torah: Jewish Commitment and Community in America (1997), Rethinking Modern Judaism: Ritual, Commandment, Community (1998), and The Jew Within: Self, Family and Community in America (2000), co-authored with sociologist Steven M. Cohen (2000). Previous positions include Senior Lecturer in the Department of Jewish Philosophy at Tel Aviv University, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Columbia University.

He will serve as Chancellor-Designate effective July 1. As he fulfills his commitments to Stanford during the coming year of transition, he will engage with JTS students, faculty, staff and donors to fully understand their opportunities and challenges.

There is no doubt that the days and years ahead will be exciting, demanding and inspiring. I am confident that Prof. Eisen is the right person at the right time. His vision and energetic leadership will help to assure the vibrancy of JTS, the Conservative Movement and the Jewish people.

Gershon Kekst, Chairman of the Board, Jewish Theological Seminary