The Jewish Theological Seminary Appoints Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz Chancellor

The renowned scholar is the first woman to lead the institution in its 134-year history.

June 02, 2020

The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) has selected Shuly Rubin Schwartz to be its eighth chancellor. An expert on Jewish American history with more than three decades of experience as a professor and institutional leader, Schwartz will be the first woman to lead JTS as chancellor in its 134-year history.

Schwartz will assume her new role on July 1, 2020, as current JTS Chancellor Arnold Eisen steps down after a 13-year tenure. Following a year-long sabbatical, he will become a full-time JTS faculty member. 

“It is my honor and privilege to assume the leadership of JTS at a moment that requires nimble action and creative solutions,” said Schwartz. “For over a century, JTS has played an essential role in fueling the intellectual, religious and communal vitality of Jewish life. My priority will be executing our academic vision in a post-COVID-19 world.”

Most recently, Schwartz served as JTS’s provost, the first woman also in this position, and played an instrumental role in guiding the school’s transition to virtual learning amid the pandemic. 

Prior to serving as provost, Schwartz was dean of List College, JTS's undergraduate dual-degree program with Columbia and Barnard, for 25 years. As dean, she strengthened List College’s dual-degree programs, and was among the first women on the faculty.

For the last 10 years, Schwartz has also served as dean of JTS’s Gershon Kekst Graduate School, where she pioneered the creation of an MA program in Jewish ethics, a joint Jewish ethics MA/MPH with the Mailman School of Public Health and a new certificate program in ethics and social justice.

Throughout her tenure as dean and provost, Schwartz taught as a professor of American Jewish history. A longtime scholar and writer, her research, writing and teaching focus on modern Jewish life, Jewish American history, Jewish representation in American culture and Jewish gender studies.

Schwartz earned her BA from Barnard College, and her MA and PhD from JTS. Her many academic accomplishments include the publication of the award-winning The Rabbi’s Wife: The Rebbetzin in American Jewish Life and The Emergence of Jewish Scholarship in America: The Publication of the Jewish Encyclopedia. She has published numerous articles on American Jewish history and culture.

“I am thrilled that Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz has been appointed chancellor at JTS. As a graduate of Barnard College, an institution that graduates women who go out and change the world, it is fitting that Dr. Schwartz is the first woman to be appointed to this role. I look forward to continued partnership between Barnard and JTS and to working closely with Dr. Schwartz in the years to come,” said Barnard President Sian Leah Beilock.

“Shuly Rubin Schwartz is an extraordinary scholar, teacher and role model for so many of us who graduated from List College in the joint and double degree programs. Dr. Schwartz’s vision, brilliance, passion and kindness make her the perfect choice to lead JTS to new levels of distinction and innovation,” added Lisa Rosen-Metsch, Dean of the School of General Studies.