The blogosphere’s been buzzing for a few days now, so this is likely not news to anyone, but the new chancellor of JTS will be…
Professor Arnold M. Eisen of Stanford University.
So sayeth Gershon Kekst in the email I just got from JTS:
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.
To sum up…mightily degreed–with degrees from Penn, Oxford and Hebrew U; expert on Jewish life in America; not a rabbi; the seventh JTS chancellor; has been in California; is widely published; sings on stairways; and rides (or at least poses with) a bike. (See this profile from several years ago.)
Ahead for the chancellor-designate (as he will be known during a year of transition and relocation from Stanford): dwindling movement numbers, the importance and unaffordability of dayschool education, the tendency of Conservative youth to either become more or less religious, and…wasn’t there one other thing? Ah yes…the gay issue.
Let the discussion begin.