Brian Smollett

Brian Smollet

Dean, Academic Affairs; Associate Dean, Graduate Studies; Assistant Prof. of Modern Jewish Thought

Department: Academic Affairs, Gershon Kekst Graduate School, Jewish Thought

Phone: (212) 678-8826



BA (summa cum laude), MA Binghamton University, MA, with distinction, The Jewish Theological Seminary, MPhil, PhD, The City University of New York, Graduate Center

Dr. Brian Smollett is dean of Academic Affairs at JTS and associate dean of Graduate Studies for the Gershon Kekst Graduate School. He also serves as assistant professor of Modern Jewish History and Thought and Director of JTS Summer Sessions.

Before coming to JTS as a teacher and administrator, Dr. Smollett taught both Jewish and European history at Binghamton University, Queens College, and Hunter College, where he served as associate director of the Jewish Studies program. At JTS, he served for six years as assistant and then associate dean of List College, where he advised students in the dual-degree programs with Columbia and Barnard, and managed academic policy. 

As dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Smollett oversees academic policy, accreditation, and assessment for JTS, and ensures that curricular needs are met for each of JTS’s Schools. He also serves as the Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) for JTS to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. As associate dean of Graduate Studies, Dr. Smollett coordinates both the MA and DHL programs and is the advisor for students in the MA program in Jewish studies. Dr. Smollett’s courses focus on modern Jewish history and thought and the relationship of various modern Jewish thinkers to different forms of nationalism.

Edited Books

  • Reappraisals and New Studies of the Modern Jewish Experience: Essays in Honor of Robert M. Seltzer. Coedited with Christian Wiese. Leiden: Brill, 2014.
  • From Catalonia to the Caribbean: The Sephardic Orbit from Medieval to Modern Times Essays in Honor of Jane S. Gerber
    Coedited with Federica Francesconi and Stanley Mirvis. Leiden: Brill, 2018.


  • “Nationalism, Belonging and Crisis: The Paths of Koppel S. Pinson and Hans Kohn,” in Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook 15 (2016).
  • “The Rise and Fall of a Jewish Vision in the Life and Thought of Hans Kohn.” In Smollett and Wiese, Reappraisals and New Studies of the Modern Jewish Experience. Leiden: Brill, 2014.
  • “Abraham Joshua Heschel: Prophetic Leadership Confronts the Twentieth Century.” In Religious Leadership. Los Angeles: Sage, 2013.
  • Essays and reviews in: AJS Perspectives, Journal of the American Jewish Archives, and Eighteenth Century Studies.


  • “Varieties of Jewish Nationalism”
  • “The Thought and Leadership of Abraham Joshua Heschel”
  • “Totalitarianism and Jewish Thought”


Dr. Smollett’s research centers on the relationship between modern Jewish historical and political thought and the tension between universal and particular commitments.