The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) was founded in 1886 through the efforts of two distinguished rabbis, Dr. Sabato Morais and Dr. H. Pereira Mendes, along with a group of prominent lay leaders from Sephardic congregations in Philadelphia and New York. Its mission was to preserve the knowledge and practice of historical Judaism. In 1887, JTS held its first class of ten students in the vestry of the Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue, New York City’s oldest congregation.
Since then, JTS has greatly expanded its mission, creating a beautiful campus and evolving into the prestigious center of Jewish learning it is today. A Jewish university with a world-class faculty and a diverse student body, JTS grants undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees through its five schools and offers enriching programs for the Jewish community in the United States, Israel, and around the world.
JTS schools and facilities include the Gershon Kekst Graduate School; The Rabbinical School; H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music; William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education; Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies; the Rebecca and Israel Ivry Prozdor High School, a model supplementary high school; a summer school; several research institutes; lay leadership and professional institutes; community education programs; student residence halls; and the incomparable collections of JTS’s world-renowned Library.
In addition, JTS’s affiliation with The Jewish Museum and consortia with prestigious academic neighbors support and enhance the scholarly ambience of its community of learning.
An engine for outreach, JTS is committed to introducing religious alternatives in Israel and eastern Europe through its collaboration with the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies; training a new Russian Jewish intelligentsia through Project Judaica, its Jewish studies program in Moscow; and raising a generation of literate and observant Jews in North America through its intensive work with the Ramah camps and Schechter schools. JTS is also committed to providing adults with Jewish knowledge and experience through a panoply of innovative programs, helping to create a responsible and informed Conservative Jewish voice on public issues, from religious pluralism in Israel to bioethics.
Our multifaceted community is committed to making Judaism come alive for new generations, to bring the richness and vitality of traditional Jewish values into the 21st century.