JTS Announces 2015 Commencement Honorary Degree Recipients

Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen will deliver the keynote address at the 121st Commencement Exercises of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) on Thursday, May 21. JTS will confer honorary doctoral degrees to the following distinguished guests in recognition of their service and achievements: 

Father Patrick Desbois, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa

Father Desbois is founder and president of Yahad-In Unum, which documents eyewitness accounts of executions of Jews and Roma in Eastern Europe. He is also director of the National Service of French Bishops for Relations with Judaism, advisor to the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews, and adjunct professor in the Program for Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University. 

Ms. Blu Greenberg, Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa

Ms. Greenberg chaired the First and Second International Conferences on Feminism and Orthodoxy, and founded the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. She is a co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women and author of On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition and How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household.  

Ms. Roberta Kaplan, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

A litigation partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, Ms. Kaplan successfully argued before the US Supreme Court the landmark United States v. Windsor marriage equality case that struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Dozens of courts have relied explicitly on the Windsorcase to accord gay couples equal rights under the law. 

Professor Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Doctor of Hebrew Letters, honoris causa

Professor Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is advisor to the director, and chief curator, Core Exhibition, of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and University Professor Emerita and professor of Performance Studies Emerita, at New York University. She has served numerous museums internationally as a consultant or member of the board or advisory board. She has also authored, coauthored, or edited many books and has served on the editorial boards of nearly 30 scholarly journals. 

Mr. Nigel Savage, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa

Mr. Savage is founder and president of Hazon, which encourages Jewish involvement with sustainability, the outdoors, and the environment and is one of only a very few groups included in Slingshot every year since the guide’s inception. He has also been named twice as one of the Forward 50, and was a founder of Limmud NY.