This page explores historical events through the lens of the JTS Torah commentaries that reflect a particular event or time. Starting in the 17th Century, sermons started reflecting not just concerns to the Jewish world, but those of the broader society in which Jews lived. In looking back at the ways in which Jewish thought leaders engaged issues around 9/11, immigration, or COVID-19, consider how we continue to feel the impacts of these events and issues today and how our thinking has shifted.
Tip the Scales (Chancellor Shuly Rubin Schwartz): U-netaneh Tokef during the COVID Pandemic
A Message for 9/11 (Chancellor Emeritus Ismar Schorsch): A meditation and prayer in the immediate aftermath of tragedy.
Good in the Face of Evil (Chancellor Emeritus Ismar Schorsch): Yom Kippur reflection from September 2001
9/11 in Perspective (Chancellor Emeritus Ismar Schorsch): Living life to the fullest in light of the first yahrzeit of 9/11 from 2002
A Call for Hope (Former Chancellor Arnold Eisen): A Reflection on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11
Remember the Children (Rabbi Daniel Nevins): Family Separation as an Immigration Policy
Teshuvah/Repentance (Rabbi Joanna Katz): Repentence as understood through the US prison system
Do Women’s Vows Count? A 21st Century Problem (Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay): Oaths in light of the overturning of Roe v. Wade
“Democracy is unfinished business in our land”
In this New Year, The Jewish Theological Society of America implores everyone…to take responsibility for the preservation of our common home
 Saperstein, Marc. “Changes in the Modern Sermon.” The Encyclopedia of Judaism (Volume 5, Supplement 2) Leiden, E.J. Brill: 2004. https://home.gwu.edu/~msaper/sermon.html