A Celebration of Jewish Women’s Leadership

Posted on

Rabbi Rachel Ain, spiritual leader of Sutton Place Synagogue in Manhattan, was excited for many reasons when she learned that Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz was going to become chancellor of JTS. “She was my dean, and she has been part of my life for a long time. She and her late husband officiated at my wedding,” Rabbi Ain said. She is also a graduate of List College, having completed the Double Degree program between Barnard and JTS. Chancellor Schwartz, also a Barnard graduate, was dean of List of College for 25 years. 

“I wanted to celebrate this moment personally and professionally, and I decided I’d try to garner support from other Double Degree alumnae.”

In honor of Chancellor Schwartz, Rabbi Ain set a goal of $18,000 and started reaching out to women she knew. Enthusiasm for the project grew throughout the Barnard/JTS community. The campaign was a success and will now help support scholarships at List College, as well as name one of the beautiful wooden benches on the new campus in honor of Chancellor Schwartz.

Rabbi Ain and her husband, Rabbi David Levy, who met as List College undergraduates, have found several meaningful ways to support the Crossroads Campaign, JTS’s ongoing capital campaign. They contributed to two other benches in the new courtyard: one dedicated by JTS alumni who now lead Ramah camps and one dedicated by their classmates of the 2004 rabbinical and cantorial schools. They also dedicated a mezuzah for the apartment of the resident director in the new undergraduate residence hall—both Rabbi Ain and Rabbi Levy served as resident directors themselves.

When it was clear the fundraising project in honor of Chancellor Schwartz would be a success, there was a celebratory call with Dr. Schwartz and DD alumnae from all different decades, locations, and experiences. Said Rabbi Ain: “We updated each other and reminisced, and the chancellor shared thoughts on where JTS is at this moment. It was a beautiful celebration of women’s leadership.”