JTS Celebrates Its Reimagined Campus With an “Opening Season” of Events

This spring’s virtual and in-person events will explore the intellectual, artistic, and religious breadth of Jewish life, featuring conversations with Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects, Roberta Kaplan, Dahlia Lithwick, Jonathan Greenblatt, and others.

March 9, 2022 — New York, NY  The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), one of the world’s preeminent centers of Jewish higher education, is kicking off a series of “Opening Season” events celebrating JTS’s newly reimagined campus that explore the intellectual, artistic, and religious breadth of Jewish life.  

Starting this weekend, with a panel discussion by renowned architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, JTS will begin welcoming the community to share in events on its new campus. Featured conversations throughout “Opening Season” include those with thought leaders like Dahlia Lithwick, Roberta Kaplan and Jonathan Greenblatt that present diverse viewpoints on pressing ethical questions and engage people in the issues of the day through Jewish text, literature, conversation, arts, and academics. Other events include a staged reading of The Spanish Prayer Book by playwright Angela J. Davis, and a screening of “Spiritual Audacity: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story.” 

Events are open to the public and many will be accessible both in-person and online. For a full list of events, please visit: www.jtsa.edu/news/opening-season/

“We are excited to officially launch Opening Season. Our renovated spaces signify our desire to invite the community to join us in experiencing the breadth of Jewish learning and tradition and engage with the key issues of our time,” said Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz, Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary. “Over the next three months, we will invite the public onto our campus, welcome leading scholars and thought leaders to engage the broader community and foster bold conversations that bring Jewish thought into dialogue with the issues that challenge our world.”

This year’s Opening Season calendar events include:

Space, Place, and Communities of Faith (March 13, 7:30 p.m. ET; in-person and virtual)

Renowned architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien speak to Professor Barbara Mann about their design philosophy and how it is reflected in their design of the new JTS campus. 

Staged Reading of “The Spanish Prayer Book” (March 20, 3:00 p.m. ET, and March 21, 7:00 p.m. ET; in-person)

A staged reading of The Spanish Prayer Book by playwright Angela J. Davis. Inspired by true events, this intimate drama is set in motion by a plan to auction rare Hebrew manuscripts decades after their disappearance in 1941 Berlin. Director Susan Einhorn leads a cast of veteran actors for this special event.

Hate On Trial: The Charlottesville Case (March 30, 7:30 p.m. ET; in-person and virtual)

Roberta Kaplan, a lead attorney in the recent legal victory over white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, joins University of Virginia Law School Dean Risa Goluboff to discuss how organizers of violence can be found liable and held accountable. Moderated by Alan Levine, JTS board chair and a member of the legal team in Charlottesville.

The Future Of Catholic-Jewish Relations (March 31, 1:00 p.m. ET; virtual)

His Eminence Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory will briefly discuss some of the history of Catholic-Jewish dialogue, which has flourished since the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council’s 1965 decree on non-Christian religions, Nostra Aetate. Cardinal Gregory will then reflect on current topics in Catholic-Jewish dialogue and consider how these topics might guide Catholic-Jewish relations in the future.

Spiritual Audacity: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story (April 4, 7:00 p.m. ET; in-person)

A new film about the great theologian and JTS professor Abraham Joshua Heschel, followed by a discussion with director Martin Doblmeier, Dr. Susannah Heschel, and Dr. Claire Sufrin.

Talking Points: What Our Public Discourse Says About Us (April 6, 7:00 p.m. ET; in-person and virtual)

Legal journalist Dahlia Lithwick and Acting Rabbinical School Dean Rabbi Jan Uhrbach offer fresh perspectives on our contemporary public discourse. Moderated by Rabbi Gordon Tucker, chancellor for Religious Life and Engagement.

Voices Of Jerusalem (April 11, 1:00–2:15 p.m. ET; in-person)

Rabbi Donna Sisselman Cephas, a graduate of JTS’s William Davidson School, and Rev. Dr. Ursula Rudnick, who received her PhD from JTS, teamed up to interview Jewish, Christian, and Muslim women in Jerusalem. Using videos of the interviews and a photo exhibit of these remarkable Jerusalem women, Rabbi Cephas and her team will lead a discussion on how we might learn to live together in the Holy City and beyond.

“It Could Happen Here” (April 25, 8:00–9:00 p.m. ET; virtual)

Join us for this urgent conversation with Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of ADL, who will speak to Chancellor Shuly Rubin Schwartz about ways that we as individuals, as organizations, and as a society can strike back against antisemitism and hate. 


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.