JTS Announces Four New Personnel Appointments

JTS prioritizes arts education and appoints rabbinic artist-in-residence as campus undergoes renovation

Press Contact: Tom Hopkins
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: publicity@jtsa.edu

The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) is delighted to announce four new personnel appointments which together will expand its capacity to train thoughtful, innovative Jewish leaders, bring JTS scholarship beyond the campus, and communicate the strength of JTS  in shaping vital Jewish communities now and in the future.

Rabbi Bronwen Mullin, a playwright, composer, and educator recently ordained by The Rabbinical School of JTS, will serve as rabbinic artist-in-residence. Elise Dowell, chief communications officer since 2008, will become vice chancellor for communications and external affairs. Associate Professor Amy Kalmanofsky, a JTS faculty member acclaimed for her engaging teaching style and fresh approach to biblical interpretation, will become associate vice chancellor, with responsibility for teaching in Jewish communities across North America. And Dr. Jason Rogoff, a gifted educator and accomplished scholar, will be academic director of Israel Programs and assistant professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at JTS’s Jerusalem campus located at the Schocken Institute.

“These are four exceptionally talented professionals who have already made a significant impact on our institution,” said Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen. “In these new and expanded roles, each will help further our mission of inspiring our students, as well as Jews beyond our campus, with the beauty and ongoing vitality of Torah.”

As rabbinic artist-in-residence, Rabbi Bronwen Mullin will use her extensive experience as an artist and educator to build on the work of the JTS Arts Advisory Board. She will add a performing-arts component to JTS’s Artists’ Beit Midrash, in which students link Jewish text study and the visual arts under artist-in-residence Tobi Kahn. Rabbi Mullin will work with students to create theater, dance, music, and film projects that allow them to uncover and share new insights and interpretations of the texts they study. In addition to teaching, she will cultivate relationships between JTS and alumni working in the arts and with Jewish artists and arts organizations in New York City and beyond. She will also build multidisciplinary collaborations between JTS artists and affiliates such as the Manhattan School of Music and the Jewish Museum. Finally, Rabbi Mullin will collaborate with other JTS personnel to plan and coordinate the arts programming for the inaugural seasons of the new JTS auditorium/performance space scheduled to open in fall 2019 as part of the 21st Century Campus.

As vice chancellor for communications and external affairs, Elise Dowell will use her extensive experience in strategic communications and her comprehensive knowledge of JTS to showcase the impact of its faculty, alumni, and programs in the larger Jewish world. She will guide the institution’s communications strategy across all media, as well as oversee government relations and serve as an ambassador for JTS at public events. In addition, she will advise the chancellor and senior administration on how to most effectively communicate with JTS stakeholders and the broader community.

In her role as associate vice chancellor, Amy Kalmanofsky will not only continue teaching JTS students but will travel to communities across North America, as well as Camp Ramah, to share her passion for finding contemporary meaning in Jewish texts. Professor Kalmanofsky brings a uniquely inventive approach to biblical interpretation, reflecting her belief that Jewish texts “can provide our lives with a kind of poetry and purpose” and must remain relevant to modern readers. She excels at combining contemporary ideas and critical methods with traditional text study, and teaches students to be careful, creative interpreters of Torah. Whether exploring the Bible’s use of horror tropes to terrify readers or the way it both conforms to and challenges gender norms, Professor Kalmanofsky’s approach is accessible and intellectually exciting.

Dr. Jason Rogoff, who has taught at JTS in both Israel and New York, was named academic director of Israel Programs and assistant professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at JTS’s Jerusalem campus, located at the Schocken Institute. A gifted educator and accomplished scholar, Dr. Rogoff will oversee the academic program for rabbinical and cantorial students at the Israel campus, where students immerse themselves in Jewish study and Israeli life. Dr. Rogoff, co-author of Reconstructing the Talmud: An Introduction to the Academic Study of Rabbinic Literature, will also teach Talmud and Rabbinics to JTS students as well as students of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary and Argentina’s Seminario Rabinico. Dr. Rogoff has spent several summers as scholar-in-residence at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, and this summer he will teach and mentor JTS rabbinical students who are working and learning at the camp as part of JTS’s Nishma program. In addition to his post at JTS, Dr. Rogoff is a faculty member at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

About The Jewish Theological Seminary | JTS is a preeminent institution of Jewish higher education, training thoughtful, innovative leaders—rabbis, cantors, educators, lay leaders, and scholars—who strengthen our communities with a vision of Judaism that is deeply grounded in the Jewish past and thoroughly engaged with contemporary society. JTS also provides high-caliber lifelong learning and professional development to our alumni, adult learners, and Jewish communities throughout North America. Through its Library, JTS preserves and makes accessible to students and scholars throughout the world the greatest collection of Judaica in the Western Hemisphere.