Joel Roth

Louis Finkelstein Professor Emeritus of Talmud and Jewish Law



AB, Wayne State University; MHL, Rabbinical Ordination, and PhD, The Jewish Theological Seminary

Joel Roth is Louis Finkelstein Professor Emeritus of Talmud and Jewish Law at JTS and Rosh Yeshiva Emeritus of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Roth previously held four administrative positions at JTS, serving as dean of students of the Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies (then called Seminary College), director of the Melton Research Center for Jewish Education, and associate dean and dean of The Rabbinical School.

An expert in halakhah, Dr. Roth was appointed to the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards in 1978 and served on it until December 2006, including a period of eight years as chairman. In addition to articles and responsa for the committee, Rabbi Roth has written The Halakhic Process: A Systemic Analysis and Sefer ha-Mordecai: Tractate Kiddushin.

Dr. Roth received a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University in his hometown of Detroit. He also participated in the Herbert H. Lehman Institute of Talmudic Ethics, a special-studies program at JTS at that time. He received his master’s degree at JTS, where he was ordained in 1968. That same year, Rabbi Roth was appointed to the faculty of JTS, as he continued his studies toward a PhD in Talmud, which he received in 1973.

Grants, Fellowships, and Awards

  • Rabbi Louis Finkelstein Leadership Award of The Jewish Theological Seminary, 2008. 


  • The Halakhic Process: A Systemic Analysis. New York: JTS Press, 1986.
  • Sefer ha-Mordecai: Tractate Kiddushin. PhD dissertation at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1973.
  • “Melakhah u’Shevut: A Theoretical Framework.” Conservative Judaism 35, no. 3 (Spring 1982): 4–34. 
  • “Keruv and the Status of Intermarried Families.” With Daniel Gordis. Conservative Judaism 35, no. 4 (Summer 1982): 50–55.
  • “Ordination of Women: An Halakhic Analysis.” Judaism 33, no. 1 (Winter 1984): 70–78.
  • “An Halakhic Perspective on an Historical Foundation.” Judaism 34, no. 1 (Winter 1985): 62–67.
  • “Talmud: Jewish Study and Exegesis Of.” In Dictionary of the Middle Ages, vol. 11, 583–87. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1988.
  • “Communications.” Conservative Judaism 39, no. 1 (Fall 1986): 125–27.
  • “Halakhah and History.” In The Seminary at 100, edited by Nina Beth Cardin and David Wolf Silverman, 281–90. New York: The Rabbinical Assembly and JTS, 1987.
  • “Pluralism in the Rabbinic Period: What Are Its Limits?” Shofar 6, no. 2 (Winter 1988): 26–28.
  • “Ordination of Women.” In The Ordination of Women as Rabbis: Studies and Responsa, edited by Simon Greenberg, 127–87. New York: The Jewish Theological Seminary, 1988.
  • “Halakhah in Ramah.” In The Ramah Experience: Community and Commitment, edited by Sylvia C. Ettenberg and Geraldine Rosenfield, 63–68. New York: JTS Press, in cooperation with the National Ramah Commission, 1989.
  • “The Obligation of Educating the Young in Rabbinic Literature.” In Jewish Education and Jewish Statesmanship: Albert Elazar Memorial Book, edited by Daniel Elazar, 27–40. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, undated (c. 1996).
  • Shabbat and the Holidays,” 1455–59; “Midrash and the Legal Process,” 1470–74. In Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary, edited by David L. Lieber and Jules Harlow. New York: The Rabbinical Assembly, 2001.
  • Review of Studies in the Judicial Methodology of Rabbi David Ibn Abi Zimra, by Samuel Morell. AJS Review 31, no. 1 (April 2007): 192–94.
  • “Musings Toward a Personal Theology of Revelation.” Conservative Judaism 64, no. 1 (2012): 22–36. Appeared originally in Edut bi-Yehosef : meḥḳarim be-hisṭoryah, halakhah, derush ṿe-Tsiyonut: mugashim le-Rav Yosef Green be-hagi’o le-gevurot, edited by Esther Green and Dov Green. Jerusalem, 2008.
  • “Gufei Torah: The Limit to Halakhic Pluralism.” In Tiferet Leyisrael: A Jubilee Volume in Honor of Israel Francus, edited by Joel Roth, Menahem Schmelzer, and Yaacov Francus, 207–20. New York: JTS Press, 2010.
  • “Is Theology the Handmaiden of Halakhah.” In Personal Theology: Essays in Honor of Neil Gillman, edited by William Plevan, 104–29. Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2013.


  • The Observance of Yom Tov Sheni by Ramah Campers in Israel.
  • In Proceedings of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, 1980–1985. New York: The Rabbinical Assembly, 1988.
  • “May a Minor Read from the Torah?,” 45–50.
  • Hattafat Dam B’rit,” 69–71.
  • “Should the Kashrut of Conversions Be Investigated?,” 87–92.
  • “Synagogue Honors for the Intermarried Jew: Holding Office and Aliyyot,” 169–72.
  • “A Standard of Rabbinic Practice Regarding Determination of Jewish Identity.” With Akiba Lubow, 177–80.
  • “Sociological Reality and Textual Traditions: Tension in the Ketubbah.” With Daniel Gordis, 203–10.
  • Keruv and the Status of Intermarried Families. With Daniel Gordis, 152–57.
  • Toward a Definition of Davar Hadash. With Jeffrey Bocarsly.
  • Converting Married Gentiles.
  • The Kashrut of Cheese: A New Issue.
  • “The Status of the Daughters of Kohanim and Leviyim for Aliyyot.” In Proceedings of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, 1986–1990, 419–34. New York: The Rabbinical Assembly, 2001.
  • On the Ordination of Women as Rabbis, 736–86.
  • In Responsa: 1991–2000. By the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement, edited by Kassel Abelson and David J. Fine. New York: The Rabbinical Assembly, 2002:
  • “Leasing for Shabbat.” With Norman M. Krivosha, 53–57.
  • “Shackling and Hoisting.” With Elliot Dorff, 93–97.
  • “Organ Donation: Artificial Limbs,” 194–207.
  • “Organ Donation: Use of Animal Organs,” 208–11.
  • “Organ Donation: Live Donors: Blood and Bone Marrow,” 212–56.
  • “Organ Donation: Live Donors: Kidneys,” 256–318.
  • “Homosexuality,” 613–75.


  • “Jewish Law in the Conservative Movement”
  • “Processes for Change Within Jewish Law”
  • “The Evolution of Jewish Law”
  • “Are There Limits to Halakhic Decision Making?”
  • “The Law Committee: How Does It Work? Does It Work?”
  • Halakhic dimensions of political issues
  • Israel issues from a halakhic perspective
  • Additional topics of Jewish Law
  • Bioethics
  • Shabbat
  • Kashrut


Dr. Roth’s research focus includes the halakhic process and the investigation of issues as they arise in Jewish law.