Transforming American Jewish Life: A Celebration of the Teachers Institute’s 100th Anniversary

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950

February 18, 2010, New York, NY

”The Teachers Institute was established in response to the problem of Jewish assimilation in America . . . By providing a model of an inclusive and integrated Jewish community, it suggested solutions to many of the ongoing challenges of American Jewish life.” —David Kaufman, “Jewish Education as a Civilization,” Tradition Renewed: A History of The Jewish Theological Seminary

Teachers Institute (TI) opened in 1909 as the official teacher-training department of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). TI’s visionary thinkers from Mordecai M. Kaplan (z”l) to Seymour Fox (z”l) to Sylvia Ettenberg will be forever linked to that which partially comprises today’s JTS. To commemorate this momentous occasion, JTS will host a daylong symposium entitled "Transforming American Jewish Life: A Celebration of the Teachers Institute’s 100th Anniversary," on March 7 at JTS, 3080 Broadway, New York City.

Symposium sessions are as follows:

  • 11:15 a.m.–Noon: “The Future of Higher Education,” a discussion with JTS Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen and Barnard College President Debora L. Spar.
  • 12:15–1:15 p.m.: Complementary lunch in honor of Dr. Sylvia Ettenberg (TI '37), a founder of JTS's Ivry Prozdor High School (1951) and Melton Research Center for Jewish Education (1959), and Camp Ramah.
  • 1:30–3:00 p.m.: “Camp Ramah” chaired by Rabbi Mitchell Cohen (RS ‘90), with Dr. Joseph Reimer and Dr. Seymour (Epi) Epstein (SC ‘68). This session honors the memory of Rabbi Joseph Lukinsky (RS ‘56) (z”l) with remarks by Rabbi Robert Abramson (RS '69).
  • 3:15–4:15 p.m.: “Hebrew at the Heart” with Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz (GS '76, '87) and Nessa Rapoport.
  • 4:30–5:45 p.m.: “The Teachers Institute: Creating an American-Jewish Counterculture” with Dr. Carol Ingall (SC '61) and respondents Dr. Ofra Backenroth (DS '04), Joshua Krakoff (DS '00), and Davidson School doctoral candidate Sarah Tauber.
  • 7:30–9:00 p.m.: Keynote lecture by Rabbi Harold Kushner (SC '55, RS '60, '72) in memory of William Davidson (z”l).

Throughout the day, Ivry Prozdor High School will host a book fair featuring publications by our speakers as well as books for Pesah. Coffee and sweets will be available at JTS, and guests will be given a list of neighborhood restaurants for an evening meal.

All events are open to the public and free of charge; RSVPs for this event are required. For additional information, contact Melissa Friedman, director of the Wohl Office of Alumni Affairs at (212) 678-8909.