Rabbi Stephanie (Fingeroth) Ruskay Named New Associate Dean of The Rabbinical School of JTS

The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) is pleased to announce the appointment of alumna Rabbi Stephanie (Fingeroth) Ruskay as the new associate dean of The Rabbinical School. Rabbi Ruskay, who will assume her new post on July 1, 2015, succeeds Rabbi Lisa Gelber who has served as associate dean for twelve years.  

Rabbi Ruskay comes to JTS from AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, where she served for seven years as director of Alumni and Community Engagement and national director of Education and Training, and from JOIN for Justice, where she recently served as clergy organizer. Prior to receiving her rabbinic ordination and a master’s degree in Jewish Education from JTS, Stephanie served in leadership roles at American Jewish World Service and Auburn Theological Seminary, and as a Jewish Service Corps volunteer in Bulgaria for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Stephanie teaches at JTS’s JustCity Leadership Institute, a precollege program, and serves on the Social Justice Commission of the Rabbinical Assembly as well as the Advisory Council of Tivnu. She is also a graduate of the List College Joint Program of JTS and Columbia University’s School of General Studies, where her focus was Talmud. 

“I am delighted to welcome Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay back to JTS, this time to serve as associate dean of The Rabbinical School,” said Rabbi Daniel Nevins, Pearl Resnick Dean of The Rabbinical School and dean of the Division of Religious Leadership. “She is a triple-alumna of JTS, with her bachelor’s degree, MA in education and rabbinical ordination. Moreover, she has established herself as a leader in community organizing and social justice activism. We are eager to augment the preparation of our students to serve as catalysts of social change in their rabbinate, and Rabbi Ruskay brings depth, creativity, and experience to the task. She is a smart, kind, and capable person, and I look forward to working with her in the years ahead.” 

“It is an enormous privilege to join the JTS Rabbinical School leadership,” said Rabbi Ruskay. “JTS and the Conservative movement have played central roles in shaping my own Jewish identity, and my career and rabbinate have focused on making social justice and service more normative components of observant Jewish life. I am thrilled by the opportunity to bring this to JTS. With the help of many talented colleagues, I believe we can train and develop Jewish leaders who will advance justice and see it as part of their spiritual leadership.” 

“During Rabbi Gelber’s twelve year tenure at JTS, she brought nuanced spirituality, compassion, and deep learning to the JTS community and drew attention to important issues, such as domestic violence,” said Rabbi Nevins. “She has been a source of strength for JTS and for all blessed to know her. I have grown as a person and as a professional from working with her.” 

The Rabbinical School offers a five-year program of intensive text study, professional training, individual guidance, and mentoring, culminating in rabbinic ordination. A JTS rabbinic education is rooted in Jewish living and enlightening scholarship. Students are absorbed in Torah study, grow from spiritual mentorship, and join a community engaged in examining ideas sensitively and implementing them creatively. Since 1887, graduates of The Rabbinical School have become known around the world for creating sacred centers of Jewish faith, rearticulating 3,000-year-old traditions, and creating new opportunities to live out a meaningful Jewish life.