Arnold M. Eisen
Chancellor Emeritus; Professor of Jewish Thought
Department: Bible, Jewish Studies
BA, University of Pennsylvania; BPhil, Oxford University; PhD, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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 return to teaching and scholarship as 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.
Professor Eisen is the author, among other works, of Galut: Modern Jewish Reflection on Homelessness and Homecoming, and Rethinking Modern Judaism: Ritual, Commandment, Community, and co-author of The Jew Within.
In 2015, Professor Eisen announced that JTS would undertake a major project to re-imagine its Morningside Heights campus. The 21st Century Campus, opening in Fall 2020, is designed to foster innovation, learning and teaching, and a deep sense of community, while advancing JTS’s mission to be a center of inquiry, conversation, and inspiration for the Jewish community of North America.
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. These programs included expanded access to the treasures of The JTS Library through increased digitization, new online and on-campus courses for the public, a new JTS Fellows program to increase opportunities for adult learning, and the development of JTS Torah Online, a rich menu of videos, podcasts, and Torah commentary.
Professor Eisen’s initiatives also included the Block / Kolker Center for Spiritual Arts; the interfaith Center for Pastoral Education; the Hendel Center for Ethics and Justice; and the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue. Other initiatives strengthened early childhood, experiential, and Israel education.
Before coming to JTS, Professor Eisen served on the faculties of Stanford, Tel Aviv, and Columbia universities. He has contributed regularly to print and online media, including the Wall Street Journal, The Jewish Week, Huffington Post, Tablet, and Fortune, and he discussed Jewish education, philosophy, and values on his blog, On My Mind: Arnie Eisen. He is a lifelong and devoted Conservative Jew.
Professor Eisen sits on the advisory boards of the Tanenbaum Center, the Covenant Foundation, and the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture.
- The Jew Within: Self, Family, and Community in America. With Steven M. Cohen. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000.
- Rethinking Modern Judaism: Ritual, Commandment, Community. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.
- Taking Hold of Torah: Jewish Commitment and Community in America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997.
- Galut: Modern Jewish Reflection on Homelessness and Homecoming. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986.
- The Chosen People in America: A Study in Jewish Religious Ideology. Modern Jewish Experience. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983.