Jewish Theological Seminary Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen, one of the foremost authorities on American Judaism, announced that he will leave his position at the end of the current academic year after 12 years of leadership. He will return to teaching and scholarship as a full-time member of the JTS faculty.

In the spring of 2020, Eisen will preside over the opening celebration of the educational institution’s reimagined campus, a project he helped envision.

“We have accomplished a great deal together,” he said. “We have significantly diversified the JTS student body, and changed the way JTS trains future Jewish professional and lay leaders. We have maintained and enhanced the excellence of JTS’s distinguished faculty and continued our long tradition of world-class scholarship. We have expanded our ability to share far more widely the rich Jewish learning and exchange of ideas that define JTS. We have increased our partnerships with organizations both inside and outside of Conservative Judaism. And we have built our endowment, and transformed our campus, doubly ensuring the future strength and vitality of this institution and the kind of Judaism we serve and transmit.”

The search has begun for Eisen’s successor, who will be the eighth person to fill the role in more than 130 years.

“Chancellor Eisen’s tenure has strengthened and renewed all that has made JTS a pre-eminent center for Jewish learning and scholarship, while bringing the kind of transformation needed to speak to and lead a rapidly changing Jewish world,” said board of trustees chair Alan Levine.

During his tenure, Eisen led a number of initiatives, including

  • JTS’s 21st-Century Campus Project, opening this year, to encourage community and innovation with a new residence hall, library, performing-arts center and atrium.
  • Expanding access to the JTS Library through digitization and a new state-of-the-art facility.
  • Enhancing the faculty and advancing the quality of teaching.
  • Sharing JTS scholarship by creating the JTS Fellows program, new community courses and online learning opportunities.
  • Developing JTS Torah Online, a collection of contemporary Jewish content used by thousands of people each year.
  • The creation of JTS’s Block/Kolker Center for Spiritual Arts; the Center for Pastoral Education; the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue; and the Hendel Center for Ethics and Justice.
  • Programs to strengthen early childhood, experiential, adult and Israel education.

Before coming to JTS, Eisen served on the faculties of Stanford, Tel Aviv and Columbia universities. He is also an award-winning writer and advocate for the Jewish community, whose publications include Rethinking Modern Judaism, and most recently, Conservative Judaism Today and Tomorrow, a collection of personal essays.

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