Vice Chancellor for Religious Life and Engagement, Assistant Professor of Jewish Philosophy
Building Room: Schiff 505
Office Hours: By appointment
As vice chancellor for Religious Life and Engagement, Rabbi Gordon Tucker focuses on enhancing Jewish life at JTS, enriching our study of Judaism with the joy and deep understanding that only lived experience can provide. A leading scholar and interpreter of Conservative Judaism, he also articulates the enduring power of JTS’s compelling approach to Jewish law and Jewish life, while strengthening JTS’s religious leadership through partnerships with organizations in the Conservative Movement and beyond.
Rabbi Tucker’s current role brings him back to JTS, where he served as dean of The Rabbinical School from 1984 to 1992 and as assistant professor of Jewish Thought from 1979 to 1994. He was ordained at JTS in 1975 after receiving his A.B. at Harvard College. He also earned a PhD in Philosophy from Princeton University.
Rabbi Tucker served from 1994 to 2018 as senior rabbi of one of North America’s foremost Conservative congregations, Temple Israel Center in White Plains, NY. Under his leadership, the synagogue flourished and was characterized by vibrant communal life and an exceptional devotion to Jewish learning. While at Temple Israel Center, Rabbi Tucker mentored numerous JTS Rabbinical School students who worked at the synagogue as part of the prestigious Gladstein Fellowship in Entrepreneurial Rabbinic Leadership. He served, as well, as an adjunct JTS faculty member, teaching courses in Jewish thought and ethics, the history and philosophy of Conservative Judaism, and leadership skills for rabbis.
In 1979-90, he was a White House Fellow, and served as assistant and chief speechwriter to the United States Attorney General Benjamin R. Civiletti.
Today Rabbi Tucker is Temple Israel Center’s senior rabbi emeritus and a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. He previously served as board chair of the Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel and was a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly.
His interests are in modern Jewish thought, religious ethics, and philosophy of halakhah. He has published a translation and commentary on Abraham Joshua Heschel’s magnum opus on rabbinic theology, with the English title Heavenly Torah, as well as many articles and essays in his fields of interest. His commentary on Pirkei Avot appeared more recently in Pirkei Avot Lev Shalem, published by the Rabbinical Assembly. He was a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly from 1982 to 2007. And currently, he is also a Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America.