Chancellor Emeritus Arnold M. Eisen Discusses Pluralism with Reform, Orthodox Colleagues

Date: Mar 27, 2022

Time: 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Sponsor: Public Lectures and Events

Location: Online

Category: Livestream Public Lectures & Events

Benjamin Botwinick Award Ceremony: “Denominations and Pluralism: Comparing Jewish Journeys” 

Sunday, March 27, 2022, 4:00-5:30 p.m.

The Benjamin Botwinick Award Ceremony honors Chancellor Emeritus Arnold M. Eisen and features
him in conversation with Rabbi Ysosher Katz and Rabbi Rachel Timoner on the subject “Denominations and Pluralism: Comparing Jewish Journeys.” Rabbi Katz is chair of the Department of Talmud at Yeshiva Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Timoner is spiritual leader of the Reform Congregation Beth Elohim.

PROFESSOR ARNOLD M. EISEN, one of the world’s foremost authorities on American Judaism, is chancellor emeritus of The Jewish Theological Seminary and professor of Jewish Thought. Professor Eisen became chancellor in 2007 and stepped down in spring 2020 to become a full-time member of the JTS faculty. During his tenure as chancellor, he transformed the education of religious, pedagogical, professional, and lay leaders for North American Jewry, with a focus on graduating highly skilled, innovative leaders who bring Judaism alive in ways that speak authentically to Jews at a time of rapid and far-reaching change. As chancellor, Professor Eisen placed significant emphasis on strengthening Jewish learning in our communities, creating programs that extend the reach of JTS’s scholarship and resources beyond the campus to Jewish learners around the world. His initiatives also included the Block/Kolker Center for Spiritual Arts; the Center for Pastoral Education; the Hendel Center for Ethics and Justice; and the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue. Before coming to JTS, Professor Eisen served on the faculties of Stanford, Tel Aviv, and Columbia Universities. He is the author of several books, including Galut: Modern Jewish Reflection on Homelessness and Homecoming and Rethinking Modern Judaism: Ritual, Commandment, Community, and co-author of The Jew Within.

RABBI YSOSCHER KATZ is the chair of the Talmud Department at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and a former senior rabbi of the Prospect Heights Shul in Brooklyn. He studied at the Satmar, Brisk, and Beit Yosef Navaradok yeshivot. Receiving his semikhah shortly after high school, Rabbi Katz has taught Talmud and halakhah at a wide array of institutions. For nine years, he delivered a daily daf yomi shiur—twice a day in Borough Park—attended by many. In the past years, he has taught weekly Jewish thought and Talmud classes for professionals on the Upper East Side and Park Slope, and at the NYU Skirball Center for adult education. A graduate of HaSha’ar’s educators program, he also worked as the Judaic studies coordinator for the innovative Luria school and taught at Ma’ayanotSAR, and Ramaz High Schools. 

RABBI RACHEL TIMONER is the senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Her initiatives include weekly classes in prayer experience and peoplehood and nationalism, a rabbinic conversation on antisemitism, a study series on systemic racism in America, a sukkah about the refugee experience, a dialogue and study series on Israel, and a revival of the synagogue’s youth group. Additionally, she is a part of the Dismantling Racism team, which successfully campaigned to Raise the Age of criminal responsibility and to win bail, speedy trial, and discovery reforms in New York. Rabbi Timoner served as associate rabbi of Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles from 2009 to 2015. She currently serves on the board of the New York Jewish Agenda, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the New York Board of Rabbis, the UJA-Federation of New York, and the International Council of the New Israel Fund. She is the author of Breath of Life: God as Spirit in Judaism.

THE BENJAMIN BOTWINICK AWARD is an honor bestowed upon an exceptional individual who epitomizes the philosophy and practice of Jewish pluralism. Established by the Botwinick-Wolfensohn Family Foundation at JTS, the award recognizes outstanding leadership and commitment to furthering interdenominational understanding and cooperation within Judaism, the vision of philanthropist and businessman Benjamin Botwinick (z”l).