Record Group 34: Manpower Study of the Conservative Movement

  • Dates: 1947-1958
  • Size: 3.75 linear ft.
  • Number of Boxes: 3 (card file boxes are inside boxes 2 and 3)
  • Languages: English
  • Location: Special Collections Reading Room, Jewish Theological Seminary Library.
  • Restrictions: Jewish Theological Seminary records are available for research, with permission, through 1972; records dating from 1973 and afterward are currently closed. For permission to see records of The Jewish Theological Seminary write to: Archivist, Ratner Center for the Study of Conservative Judaism, Jewish Theological Seminary, 3080 Broadway, New York, NY 10027. Reproduction of fragile items is not permitted; consult the archivist about literary rights.
  • Related Collections: R.G.1, General Files, in particular files 1N-165-26 and 1N-167-38, 39, and 40. See also Eli Ginzberg's "Manpower for Conservative Judaism" in Proceedings of the Rabbinical Assembly of America XXIV (1960): 19-31. The draft of this essay is in R.G.27-2-5.

JM, 3/14/94

Table of Contents:

A Note on Folder Headings

Individual folders are identified in the following way: record group# -- box# -- folder#, as in R.G.1-10-32. Please use this format in citations and when referring to files for any other reason.

Historical Note

The Manpower Study of the Conservative Movement was a survey of personnel use in the movement's institutions. Its principal focus was on the recruitment, distribution, and role of rabbis. Columbia University economist Eli Ginzberg undertook the direction of the study at the request of Seminary chancellor Louis Finkelstein.

As the son of long-time JTS faculty member Louis Ginzberg, Eli Ginzberg brought an element of personal insight to his qualifications as a specialist in personnel management. Ginzberg was assisted by a Manpower Study Committee composed of representatives of The Jewish Theological Seminary, the Rabbinical Assembly, and the United Synagogue. Minutes of this committee are in the General Files, R.G.1N-167-40. Two research assistants, first Muriel Greenhill, and, after June 1956, Anne Goldin gathered and computed the data. From 1955 or 1956 to 1958 Greenhill and Goldin gathered data on Rabbinical School applicants and graduates, the Seminary's Teachers Institute, Rabbinical Assembly and United Synagogue membership, and rabbinical and synagogue associations of all three Jewish denominations. After tabulation of the data, Ann Goldin wrote the following seven reports:

"The Jewish Theological Seminary of America: The Rabbinical School Graduates, 1902-1956"

"Rabbinical Assembly of America"

"Rabbinical and Synagogue Associations in the United States"

1956 "Replacement Study for Rabbinical School Graduates"

"Study of Applicants for The Rabbinical School of The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1946-1957"

1958 "A Study of the Teachers Institute, 1912-1958"

 1958 "The United Synagogue of America"

In 1958 Eli Ginzberg presented the results of the study at the Jewish Theological Seminary and at the annual conference of the Rabbinical Assembly's New York Metropolitan Region. His report, "Manpower for Conservative Judaism" (see the citation on the cover page of this inventory), presents his conclusions. Among these was the fact that the population from which the Seminary's rabbinical students had traditionally come - lower-income, foreign born, Orthodox - was drying up. At the same time JTS needed to replace deceased of retiring rabbis with approximately ten JTS graduates each year in order to maintain the number of active Conservative rabbis. Ginzberg suggested ways of cultivating a pool of potential rabbinical school applicants - which included making the rabbi's job more attractive to a generation that had a greater number of professional opportunities open to it. Ginzberg was also concerned about the secular education level of Conservative rabbis, particularly in relation to the generally well-educated Jewish public. As he remarked to the Rabbinical Assembly, "I would say that many of your congregants, present and potential, are better educated than you are." (Ginzberg, "Manpower for Conservative Judaism," 25). Ginzberg also noted the high dropout rate of Teachers Institute students (most of whom were women); remarked on the length of time rabbis spent in their careers; rabbis' geographical distribution, and other matters. All of this is described in more detail in Anne Goldin's reports and can be followed in the raw data she and Greenhill gathered and the maps, charts, and tables they created.

Collection Description

The research material is a mixture of raw and tabulated data. Included are: notes, tables, and charts; lists of Seminary alumni, Rabbinical Assembly members and congregational members of the United Synagogue; index cards with information about rabbis and synagogues; a series of maps showing the geographical distribution of Rabbinical Assembly members; data on the Teachers Institute; and printed background material, including publications of the United Synagogue, a Jewish Statistical Bureau report by H.S. Linfield titled "The Rabbis of the United States," and other material. Of particular note are tables of data about Rabbinical School applicants, including information about their Jewish and secular education, birthplace, father's occupation, and the reasons they chose the rabbinate. Equally useful are charts listing United Synagogue members, including data about the size of their congregations, the amount of dues collected, and whether or not their rabbis are Seminary graduates or Rabbinical Assembly members.

Series List

I. Files, 1947-1958
II. Index Cards

Box List

Box Folder(s)Description
  I. Files, 1947-1958
1 1Alumni, lists of
 2Camp Ramah (enrollment application; report on educational program, 1957
 3Conferences and meetings, notes on, 1958
 4Correspondence and memoranda, 1956-1958
 5Finkelstein, Louis, memoranda to, 1956-1957
 6Ginzberg, Eli, conferences and correspondence with, 1956-1958
 7Graduates, death dates
 8-10Printed background material
  Rabbinical Assembly of America:
 11Membership committee minutes (members accepted), 1947-1948
 12-14Membership lists, 1948-1957
 15Membership, maps I-IX showing geographical distribution
 17Research material
  Rabbinical School of The Jewish Theological Seminary:
  Applicants, 1946-1957:
 18Data re admissions
 19Data sheets
 20Denials and withdrawals, worksheets
  Graduates, 1902-1956
 24Research materials
  Rabbinical and Synagogue Associations in the U.S., 1956:
 26Research materials and report
  Replacement Study:
21Resources Analysis Unit, advisory material, 1955-1956; n.d.
  Teachers Institute
22Historical and background data
 3Questionnaire data
 5Worksheets, alumni data
 6Worksheets, analysis of admissions, 1946-1957
 7Worksheets, basic data
  United Synagogue of America:
28Affiliated congregations, list, 1955
 9Data and worksheets
 10Forms, pamphlets, conference notes, other information
 11Metropolitan Council, printed material, notes
 13Printed background material
 15Research materials, report
 16Youth activities, notes, printed material
  II. Index Cards
2Filebox 1Jewish Theological Seminary graduates, 1902-1957; miscellaneous cards
 Filebox 2  Rabbinical Assembly members, including deceased, resigned, expelled
3Filebox 3Rabbinical Assembly, geographical file
 Filebox 4 Master file of rabbis
 Filebox 5United Synagogue geographical file
 Filebox 6Fundraising files?