About Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz

Bio of Shuly Rubin Schwartz

Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz, selected as the eighth chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary on July 1, 2020, has served JTS both as a groundbreaking scholar and a visionary institutional leader. As dean of two schools and most recently as provost, she has shaped and strengthened JTS’s academic programs while teaching and mentoring countless students. She is the first woman selected as chancellor of JTS in its 134-year history. 

Dr. Schwartz plans to build on what she sees as JTS’s unique strengths as an institution—a place where critical academic inquiry coexists with a deep commitment to Jewish tradition, where Jewish living and Jewish learning happen side by side, and where students develop the skills to discern and share the continued relevance of Jewish texts and the enduring power of Jewish ritual and community.

Numerous Leadership Roles

In over three decades, Dr. Schwartz has held numerous leadership roles at JTS, most recently as provost, a position to which she was appointed in 2018, also as the first woman. From 1993 to 2018, she was dean of the Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies, JTS’s undergraduate dual-degree program with Columbia University and Barnard College. As List College dean, Dr. Schwartz strengthened the program and reimagined it as a place for all students who value serious Jewish learning and intentional Jewish living, not solely for future Jewish professionals. Under her leadership the school focused on developing a cadre of knowledgeable graduates who would work in varied professional fields while serving as committed lay leaders in the Jewish world. In 2010, Dr. Schwartz also became dean of the Gershon Kekst Graduate School, a post she retained while she was provost. In this position, she spearheaded innovations such as a new MA program in Jewish ethics, a joint Jewish ethics MA/MPH with Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, and a new certificate program in ethics and social justice.

Groundbreaking Scholarship

Dr. Schwartz, who earned her PhD at JTS, became one of the first women on its faculty and was instrumental in the addition of Jewish gender studies to the curriculum. As a scholar of American Jewish history, she brought to light the previously overlooked contributions of women to the development of American Judaism and expanded our understanding of modern American Jewish society and culture. During her career, she has taught courses exploring Jewish identity, the Jewish family, the depiction of Jews in American popular culture, and Jewish gender studies. Her award-winning book, The Rabbi’s Wife, is a penetrating examination of the role of rabbis’ wives in the development of American Jewish life. She is also the author of The Emergence of Jewish Scholarship in America: The Publication of the Jewish Encyclopedia and numerous articles on modern Jewish life, including pioneering research into the founding of the Ramah Camping Movement. Most recently, Dr. Schwartz has co-taught interfaith courses with a colleague at Union Theological Seminary, bringing JTS and Union students together to study women’s transformational religious leadership and the fraught history of Jewish-Christian relations.

As a leading scholar of modern American Judaism, Dr. Schwartz is often sought by the news media to offer insight into Jewish history and current affairs, and has written articles for various media outlets discussing modern Jewish history and the Jewish experience. She lectures frequently to audiences across North America and at JTS public events.  

Dr. Schwartz has served for many years on the academic council of the American Jewish Historical Society and the academic advisory boards of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, and the Jewish Women’s Archive.

As a third-generation JTS graduate, the wife of a late JTS-ordained rabbi, and the mother of a son who was ordained at the JTS Rabbinical School and received a master’s degree at The William Davidson School, Dr. Schwartz brings to the role of chancellor an unmatched knowledge and love of an institution to which she has been connected her entire life.


National Jewish Book Award in the category of Modern Jewish Thought, 2006, for The Rabbi’s Wife


  • The Rabbi’s Wife: The Rebbetzin in American Jewish Life. New York: New York University Press, 2006. 
  • The Emergence of Jewish Scholarship in America: The Publication of the Jewish Encyclopedia. Cincinnati: Hebrew Union Press, 1991.
  • “They Married What They Wanted to Be? Rebbetzins and their Unconventional Paths to Power,” in Gender and Religious Leadership: Women Rabbis, Pastors, and Ministers, ed. Hartmut Bomhoff, Denise Eger, Kathy Ehrensperger, and Walter Homolka (New York: Lexington Books, 2019).
  • “What Has Made the Jewish American Family Jewish? American? A Family?” in The New Jewish Family, ed. Len Sharzer and Burton Visotzky (New York: Louis Finkelstein Institute and JTS Press, 2018).
  • “From Kremenets to New York: My Personal Journey as a Historian,” in Conversations with Colleagues; On Becoming an American Jewish Historian, ed. Jeffrey S. Gurock (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2018).
  • “‘No Child’s Play’: Educating Jewish Women Jewishly,” in Sisterhood: A Centennial History of Women of Reform Judaism, ed. Carole B. Balin, Dana Herman, Jonathan D. Sarna, and Gary P. Zola. Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 2013.
  • “Henrietta Szold: The Making of an Icon,” in New Essays in American Jewish History: Commemorating the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Founding of the American Jewish Archives, ed. Pamela S. Nadell, Jonathan D. Sarna, and Lance J. Sussman, 455–66. Cincinnati: American Jewish Archives, 2010. 
  • “Rebecca Aronson Brickner (1894–1988), Benderly Boy?” in The Women Who Reconstructed American Jewish Education 1910–1965, edited by Carol K. Ingall, 63–74. Waltham: Brandeis University Press, 2010. 
  • “The Three Pillars of Ramah: Then and Now,” in Ramah at 60: Impact and Innovation, 93–104. New York: National Ramah Commission, 2010. 
  • “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Hebraist: The Life and Dreams of Aron Shimon Shpall,” in “From Rebbetzin to Rabbi: The Journal of Paula Ackerman,” American Jewish Archives 59 (2007): 99–206. 


  • Fake News and the Rise of Antisemitism
  • “Everyone Shall Sit in Safety Under His Own Vine and Fig Tree”? Jews and American Politics
  • American Jewry and Israel—An Ever-Shifting Relationship
  • Goodbye, Columbus, Hello Christopher: The Evolution of American Jewry
  • Merchants, Mah-jongg, and Menorahs: The History of Jews on Long Island
  • We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: Feminism and American Judaism
  • Beyond Fiddler: How Jews Became Part of Mainstream America
  • Havdalah at the Lake: Jewish Camping and the Cultivation of American Jewish Identity
  • Baskin-Robbins Has 31 Flavors—How About American Judaism? 
  • From Hank Greenberg to Heeb: The Evolution of American Jewish Culture 
  • From Jewess Jeans to Juicy JAPs: Clothing and Jewish Stereotypes
  • From the Pews to the Pew Study: How Our Past Can/Can’t Inform Our Future as American Jews
  • They Married What They Wanted to Be: Rebbetzins in American Jewish Life 


Dr. Schwartz focuses her research, writing, and teaching on American Jewish life, history, and culture, as well as Jewish gender studies. She is the author of numerous articles on modern Judaism and Jewish life, including groundbreaking research into the founding of the Camp Ramah movement.