Writer and founder of Revisionist Zionism. He came from an assimilated Jewish family in Odessa, Russia. He studied law and Russian literature. As a student he won recognition as a Russian writer and orator. At the age of 25, he was already a leading figure among Russian Zionists. During the early part of World War I, he served as war correspondent in France for an important Moscow newspaper. When Turkey entered the war in 1915 and drove many Palestinian Jews into exile, Jabotinsky conceived the idea of a Jewish Legion that would fight on the side of the Allies and help capture Palestine from the Turks. In his efforts to establish such a legion he approached the British, Italian, and French authorities. Success came finally in June 1917 when the British officially announced the formation of Jewish battalions to serve with the British Royal Fusiliers in the Palestine campaign. Jabotinsky, who enlisted as a private, was the only foreigner to be made an honorary lieutenant by the British during World War I.

After the end of the war, Jabotinsky remained in Palestine, and in 1919, when the country was threatened with Arab riots, he joined Pinhas Rutenberg in organizing a Jewish self-defense corps. On April 4, 1920, Arab rioters attacked the Jewish quarter in old Jerusalem, and the self-defense corps tried to defend the area. The British arrested them and later tried them before a military court. Jabotinsky and twenty comrades were sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment. There was great public protest, and after three and a half months in the Acre prison, Jabotinsky was freed. He returned to England and joined the Executive of the World Zionist Organization. On this body he differed sharply with its leader, Chaim Weizmann, whom he considered too conciliatory toward Britain, and he resigned in 1921. In 1925, he organized the Revisionist Zionist party. His program pressed for the speedy creation of a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan. The last years of Jabotinsky’s life were shadowed by Hitler’s rise to power in Germany and the beginning of World War II. He who had fought the British for so long because they obstructed the realization of the Jewish homeland in Palestine now pleaded for a Jewish army to fight on the side of England against Hitler. He died in 1940 before the formation of the Jewish Brigade.

Jabotinsky was a brilliant, versatile writer in six languages. He wrote the novel Samson the Nazirite and translated voluminously from Hebrew into Russian and from English, French, and Italian into Hebrew. Jabotinsky was a master of prose in English, French, and Yiddish. As an orator he was dramatic and incisive with a magnetic personality.


Literally, one who supplants another. The younger of Isaac and Rebecca‘s twin sons; third of the biblical patriarchs. Jacob bought the family birthright from his elder brother, Esau, “for a mess of pottage,” and with his mother’s help received the blessing of the firstborn from his father, whose eyes were dimmed by age. Jacob then fled from Esau’s anger to his mother’s father, Bethuel, in Padan Aram. On his way he slept in a field with a stone for his pillow and had a strange dream: he saw a ladder reaching up to heaven with angels ascending and descending it. God promised Jacob that he would inherit the land upon which he had slept. When Jacob arose in the morning, he called the place Bethel, meaning “House of God.”

In Haran, Jacob served his uncle Laban for twenty years, marrying Laban’s two daughters, Leah and Rachel. Then he started back to the land of his fathers, taking with him his wives and children, his flocks and rich possessions. On the banks of the river Jabbok he wrestled all night with an angel and received the name of Israel. His brother Esau came to meet him, and Jacob made peace with him. Later, on the way to Bethel, God appeared to Jacob and confirmed his promise to give him the Land of Canaan as an inheritance. There, his beloved wife Rachel died giving birth to his twelfth and youngest son, Benjamin. Jacob lived in Canaan with his twelve sons and prospered, until grief came to him in his old age: his favorite son, Joseph, disappeared, having been sold by his envious brothers as a slave to Ishmaelite traders who took him to Egypt. Eventually Jacob and his sons settled in Egypt, where Joseph had become the Pharaoh’s second-in-command. Jacob died in Egypt in his 147th year. His body was borne to Canaan where he was buried in the patriarchal burial place, the cave of Machpelah.


German mathematician, born of Jewish parents. Along with the Norwegian Abel, Jacobi established the theory of elliptic functions. Jacobi was one of the greatest mathematicians of all time.


Biblical Joppa. Situated on a steep rocky promontory 116 feet above the sea, it was Israel‘s oldest seaport and the natural outlet for Jerusalem, with whose fate it was linked. King Hiram of Tyre floated the cedars of Lebanon down to Jaffa for the building of Solomon’s Temple. From Jaffa the prophet Jonah set out for Tarshish. Although allotted to Dan during the conquest of Canaan, Jaffa did not become a Jewish city until after the Maccabean victory. Ships from Jaffa played a part in the Bar Kokhba insurrection against Rome. Jaffa figures in the history of the Crusades and in Napoleon’s invasion. Its modern Jewish community dates to the early 19th century. Jaffa remained, however, an Arab town with a Jewish minority until it was captured by Israel in 1948 and incorporated into Tel Aviv. Most of the Arabs fled, leaving only 4,000 behind. The city has become a center for the new Jewish immigrants. The “Jaffa orange” developed in the coastal area of Israel is internationally famous.


Island country in the Far East consisting of four main islands and many smaller ones, lying off the northeast coast of Asia. By the 9th century C.E., Jewish merchants from the West were trading in Japan, but no permanent colony had been established. Legends that some Japanese clans are of Jewish origin may refer to the descendants of these early visitors. After Japan was opened to the West by Commodore Perry in 1854, Jews came from Europe, Turkey, Iraq, and India. The first synagogue was built in Nagasaki in the 1890’s. It belonged to Russian Jews. A Sephardic colony was soon settled in Kobe and is still there. Yokohama was settled next, then Tokyo. Jewish refugees from Germany arrived during the 1930’s. At first there was no antisemitism, but Japan’s signing of the Axis Pact with the Nazis brought familiar trouble. Many Polish and Lithuanian Jews, including the entire Mir yeshiva en route to the Americas were caught in Japan by World War II. They were sent to the Hongkow ghetto in Shanghai. Although some Jews left Japan at the end of the war, others entered when the Communist conquest of China imperiled Jewish life there. The arrival of American Jewish chaplains to serve the occupation forces stimulated Japanese interest in Judaism. Several Japan-Israel Friendship Societies were formed. In 2007, there were about 1,000 Jews in Japan.

JAVITS, JACOB K. (1904-1986).

U.S. Senator and attorney. Javits grew up on New York‘s Lower East Side with his immigrant parents. After receiving a law degree from New York University in 1926, he was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1927 and practiced law in New York until his appointment as special assistant to the chief of the Chemical Warfare Service. He began his political career in 1946 when he was elected as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives from New York City’s 21st Congressional District. In 1954, Javits was elected New York State Attorney General and, in 1956, U.S. Senator from New York. Throughout his career, Javits favored increased foreign aid, national housing, and rent control legislation. He drafted a Selective Immigration Act establishing an immigration quota based on skills of prospective immigrants rather than their national origins. Javits took a consistently pro-Israel stand. He was a member of the Board of Overseers of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

JEREMIAH (ca. 640-580 B.C.E.).

Second of the major prophets. His book is a masterpiece of biblical literature. Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, a priest of Anathoth, witnessed the tragic events in the history of Judea that ended in the destruction of Jerusalem and in the exile to Babylonia. He is deeply affected by his people’s betrayal of their God. His prophecies foretell the doom of his people as punishment for their sins. Jeremiah envisions a universal God governing all humankind, forgiving even those sins that had been “written with a pen of iron and a point of diamond.” The people will survive only if they uphold justice, and each person is responsible for his own acts. At the end of days the Lord will bring the people of Israel back from their captivity, and a righteous Israel will dwell in safety in its own land (Jer. 33:14-16). Jeremiah’s love for his people is unsurpassed in the Bible. With the birth of the state of Israel, Jeremiah’s prophecy regarding Israel’s return to its land was fulfilled a second time.


Literally, the Moon City or Fragrance. Also known in the Bible as the City of Palms. Situated five miles north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is a rich tropical oasis in the salt encrusted plain, nourished by the springs of Elisha and other rivulets. It is 820 feet below sea level. The strategic key to Jerusalem and all Canaan from the east, it was stormed by Joshua and all the succeeding conquerors attacking the land from that direction. Destroyed and rebuilt many times, modern Jericho stands on the foundation of the Crusaders’ city. It is now a small town where a thousand farmers live in mud huts. Orange groves and banana trees replace the balsams, sycamores, and palms of antiquity.


Capital of Israel, ever since David established his throne there about 1000 B.C.E.; the Holy City of Judaism, from the time David had the Ark of the Covenant borne in triumph into Jerusalem and Solomon built the Temple to house it on Mount Moriah. Jerusalem has also been called Zion, the citadel of peace and faith, since the days of the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah.

The city is situated in the heart of the hills of Judea more than 2,000 feet high. It sits at the crossroads where the highway running from north to south intersects the road leading from the sea to the Jordan. A triad of hills


See Stage and Screen.


Galilean Jew who lived in the beginning of the common era, during the Roman rule of Judea. Contemporary Jewish sources do not provide any information about his life, which is described in the New Testament, written after his death. Some of the teachings of Jesus concerning kindness and tolerance are reminiscent of the Jewish sage Hillel, who preceded him. While Jesus himself did not found a religion, but rather lived and died a Jew, the stories about him and the sayings and parables attributed to him were compelling enough to give rise to a worldwide religion called Christianity (Christ means messiah or savior). Jesus lived at a time when there was great turmoil and messianic fervor in Judea, and the stories about him can be understood against the background of an entire people yearning for salvation or redemption.


From the Hebrew Yehudah, or Judah, meaning “Praise to the Lord.” Judah was one of the twelve tribes of Israel, descended from the fourth son of Jacob. After the exile to Babylonia, the term Jew came to be used synonymously with Hebrew and Israelite.


Term which has become popular in the U.S. with the recent increase of conversions to Judaism. Refers to those who choose to become Jewish, unlike those who are Jews by birth.


Originally, the World Zionist Organization was designated as the Jewish Agency in the mandate for Palestine given by the League of Nations to Britain and ratified in 1922. According to Article IV of the mandate, the World Zionist Organization was the appropriate Jewish agency “for the purpose of advising and cooperating with the Administration of Palestine” in matters concerning the establishing of the Jewish national home. In order to speed the work of building, a movement began among Zionists in 1923 to obtain the support of all Jews, including non-Zionists, for the national home in Palestine. To achieve this aim, it was suggested that an extended Jewish Agency be created with 50 percent non-Zionist representation. This idea, actively supported by Chaim Weizmann, had many opponents who feared that Zionism would be weakened by the non-Zionists. The discussions lasted until 1929 when at the 16th Congress in Zurich, the enlarged Jewish Agency was launched, and its constituent assembly met immediately. Among those who took part in it as non-Zionists were Louis Marshall from the U.S., Sir (later Viscount) Herbert Samuel and Lord Melchett from England, Albert Einstein and Oscar Wasserman from Germany, and Leon Blum from France. After the death of the two outstanding non-Zionists, Louis Marshall and Lord Melchett, many of the non-Zionists drifted away and the Jewish Agency Executive became almost identical with the World Zionist Executive. (See Zionism.)


An infantry brigade in the British army during the close of World War II, formed to enable Jews from Palestine to fight against the Nazis. The Brigade saw action in Italy in 1945, then made contact with Holocaust survivors and helped start the process of rescuing them and taking them to Palestine.


Anglo-Jewish weekly, founded in London in 1841. Over the years the journal has acquired an unchallenged position as the central press organ of Anglo-Jewry, and one of the best Jewish newspapers in the world.


Founded in 1891 by Baron Maurice de Hirsch, a wealthy French philanthropist, who felt that antisemitism could be lessened if Jews were dispersed geographically and occupationally, especially to farm areas. This organization, known as ICA, aided immigration and agricultural projects for Jews in many places, including southern Russia, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Poland, and the U.S. Since 1932, ICA funds, originally more than $10 million, have also been used to aid refugees and to supplement the work of other groups that help immigrants.


First organized under the name Young Men Hebrew Association (YMHA) in the mid-19th century in cities such as Baltimore and New York, most have become known as JCC’s, or Jewish Community Centers, and today there are close to 300 such centers throughout the U.S.

The JCC’s have made a great contribution to Jewish communal life in the U.S., unlike the synagogue which is basically a religious center with added social activities.


Militant Jewish group in the U.S. Founded in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1968, the JDL was originally organized to protect Jews in poor neighborhoods from physical attacks. Later, under the leadership of Meir Kahane, who was assassinated in New York by an Arab in 1990, and using the slogan “Never Again” with reference to the Holocaust, the JDL engaged in sometimes violent demonstrations and employed physical force to draw public attention to the plight of Jews in Soviet Russia and in Arab lands and to the precarious situation of the State of Israel.


The vast majority of Jewish children in the U.S. who receive Jewish education, attend Jewish school after public school hours. It is estimated that between 60% and 70% receive some kind of Jewish education during their school years, quite remarkable considering that Jewish education is voluntary in the U.S. No one can force parents to send their children to a Jewish school. But the vast majority of American Jews do so because they believe, as Jews have always believed, that a Jewish education is essential for their children to understand what it means to be a Jew and respect themselves.

While almost all American Jews agree on the need for Jewish education, they differ as to the kind of Jewish education that is best for their children. Thus, different types of Jewish schools function on the American scene.

Congregational Schools. The majority of American Jewish children attend synagogue schools conducted by various Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform congregations. The synagogues conduct two types of schools.

Week-Day Afternoon Schools. Children attend from three to five days a week after public school hours and receive from three to eight hours of instruction weekly. These are conducted largely by the Orthodox and Conservative synagogues. The Hebrew language, prayers, Jewish customs and ceremonies, Jewish history, and the Bible are the major subjects studied. These schools conduct their own children’s services on the Sabbath and holidays, and many of them also conduct a variety of club activities. The course of study covers four to six years.

The One-Day-A-Week School (Sunday School). Children attend either Saturday or Sunday mornings and receive from one to three hours of instruction. These are conducted chiefly by the Reform synagogues, and more than 35% of the total number of children attending Jewish schools are enrolled in this type of school. Jewish history, Bible, and Jewish customs and ceremonies are the major subjects studied. More and more synagogues are adding one or two sessions a week for Hebrew studies. Most of the Orthodox and Conservative synagogues also have one-day-a-week departments attended by young children before they enter the weekday Hebrew school. In the Reform religious schools, the course of study usually leads to confirmation at age sixteen.

The Yeshivot Ketanot, or All-Day Schools. This fulltime program combines Jewish studies and all subjects covered by the general public school. This type of school offers the most thorough Jewish education. Pupils receive about fifteen hours a week of instruction in Jewish studies (in the Hebrew language or Yiddish, in some instances), prayers, the Bible in its original Hebrew, Mishnah, Talmud, Jewish history, and Jewish laws and customs. This has been the fastest growing type of school in recent years. In 1935, there were 17 such schools in three communities. In 1959, there were over 230 such schools in more than 50 communities. Today, there are more than 500 such schools in the U.S. Most of these day schools are Orthodox institutions, but in recent years the Conservative movement has developed its Solomon Schechter Day School program, the Reform movement has begun to establish its own day schools, and there are non-denominational day schools in many large Jewish communities, some of which rival the best private schools in the U.S. Many consider the day school the best hope for Jewish survival outside Israel.

The Communal Talmud Torah is a non-synagogue weekday Hebrew school that children attend five days a week after public school hours and receive from six to ten hours of instruction weekly. The subjects covered are similar to those in the congregational weekday afternoon school. The communal Talmud Torah, the most flourishing type of school a generation ago, has declined rapidly in recent years and been replaced largely by the congregational school and the all-day school. It is still found in the larger Jewish communities.

Yiddish Schools are sponsored by the Workmen’s Circle and the Sholom Aleichem Folk Institute, national organizations which originated among Jewish socialists. In these schools, Yiddish is the language of instruction. Children attend three to five afternoons a week and study Yiddish language and literature, Jewish history, Jewish holidays, and the Bible in Yiddish. In some of these schools, Hebrew is taught in the upper grades. The Jewish National Workers Alliance (Labor Zionists) conducted similar schools, except that in these schools Hebrew as well as Yiddish was taught from the outset. These are generally small schools, and only a small percentage of the total number of Jewish children attend them.

Yeshivot. During the 20th century, especially with the destruction of European Jewry, yeshivot, or Talmudical academies or rabbinical colleges, have assumed a place of increasing importance in American Jewish religious life. Some of these institutions were transferred to the U.S. from Europe. Among the most prominent American Yeshivot are the Yeshiva of Mir, the United Lubavitcher Yeshivot, Yeshiva and Mesivtah Chaim Berlin, Yeshiva and Mesivtah Tifereth Jerusalem and Yeshiva and Mesivtah Torah Vodaath (all in the New York area), the Yeshiva of Lakewood, N.J., the Yeshiva of Spring Valley, N.Y., the Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, Maryland., and the Yeshiva of Telz in Cleveland.

History. The various systems of Jewish education now existing in the U.S. did not come into being all at once, but rather developed gradually with the growth of the American Jewish community. Jews came to this country from different countries, each group bringing its own traditions and ways. The schools they set up at the beginning followed the patterns of their homelands, but soon these schools were modified to conform more closely with the type of schools that were growing up on the American scene.

The first Jewish school in the U.S., the Yeshivah Minchat Areb, was founded as an all-day school in 1731, and was associated with the first synagogue established in New York City. At first, only Hebrew subjects were taught, but later general subjects, such as reading, writing, arithmetic, and Spanish, were added. At this time, the Jewish community was responsible for the education of its children just as other religious groups provided education for their children. As time went on, these schools became private schools where the attention was given mostly to general subjects and little to Hebrew subjects. In the early 1800’s, synagogues began to provide some instruction in Hebrew subjects after school. For a brief period from 1845 to 1855, a number of all-day schools similar to present-day yeshivot began and flourished, but they went out of existence soon after that. After 1850, the free public school became the generally accepted type of school, attracting the greater proportion of American children. Almost all Jewish children attended public schools for their general education, and the Jewish school became largely supplementary.

In 1838, the first Sunday school was established in Philadelphia and became the most widely accepted type of school by Jews during the last half of the 19th century. The majority of Jews who immigrated to America during this period came from Germany, from where they brought Reform Judaism. They minimized the importance of Hebrew and considered one day a week of instruction sufficient. They patterned their Jewish religious schools after the Protestant Sunday Schools which had grown up in America.

After 1880, when Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe swelled into the millions, the heder entered the American scene. This was a private one-teacher school, conducted by poorly trained teachers. Gradually the heder gave way to the Talmud Torah, also an East European type of school, but on a much higher plane. The Talmud Torah was well organized and provided a rich program of instruction. Its teachers were well trained, its textbooks challenging, and its school buildings new and substantial. Hebrew was taught as a living language. The Zionist goal of establishing Palestine as a Jewish homeland was an important part of its program. Talmud Torah became the heart of intensive Jewish education in America and held that position until recently. Shortly before World War II the congregational and all-day schools supplanted the Talmud Torah to a large extent. During the period after 1880 the Yiddish schools were also organized.

As schools grew and became better organized, the demand for American-trained teachers increased. In 1867, the first teacher training school, Maimonides College, was established in Philadelphia. Thirty years later, Gratz College was established in Philadelphia for the same purpose. There are now fourteen recognized teacher training schools throughout the country.

In 1910, New York City’s Jewish community established the Bureau of Jewish Education, the first of more than 40 community bureaus of Jewish education which now exist in the U.S. These central bureaus were established to meet the problems that the individual schools could not handle alone. In many instances, these bureaus of Jewish education give subsidies to schools to enable them to provide more scholarships. They help schools get qualified teachers; they prepare better textbooks and other teaching materials to improve instruction; they offer expert guidance to help teachers improve their methods; and they provide other services through which the community helps its Jewish schools to improve.

In today’s Jewish school, teachers use well prepared and colorful textbooks, workbooks, filmstrips, records, movies, and other modern teaching aids. In today’s Jewish classroom children learn not only from books, but also through play, art, dance, and other activities.

Jewish education has spread to the summer camps. In various parts of the country there are camps where Hebrew is spoken as a matter of course, and children actually attend classes for part of the morning. Other camps provide a rich program of Jewish educational activities, such as Sabbath services, Jewish music, dance, arts, and drama. Thousands of Jewish children today take their Jewish education with them on vacation and make camp life a richer and more meaningful experience. (See also Education in Jewish History.)


Comprehensive educational agency in American Jewish life, founded in 1938. JESNA aims to advance instructional and professional standards, engage in research and experimentation, stimulate communal responsibility, certify teachers, provide supervisory and administrative personnel conduct local surveys, supply educational materials, and assist other national agencies. It publishes newsletters, bulletins, curricula programs, and the widely distributed Pedagogic Reporter and Jewish Audio-Visual Review; and it sponsors the National Council of Jewish Audio-Materials. The Association organizes local and national conferences on Jewish education, and sponsors the National Curriculum Research Institute.


See Legion, Jewish.


Located in the former family mansion of Felix M. Warburg, presented to the Jewish Theological Seminary of America by his widow, in memory of her husband, her father, Jacob H. Schiff, and her brother, Mortimer L. Schiff. The present building on New York‘s Fifth Avenue was first opened to the public in May 1947. The museum’s collections, which started in 1904, now comprise more than 9,000 objects. The Jewish Museum is dedicated to the exhibition of Jewish ceremonial art and the promotion of the visual values in Judaism. The first floor is reserved for temporary exhibits of artistic and historical merit. The second and third floors are devoted to the display of part of the museum’s collections of Jewish ceremonial art; the fourth contains a display of coins, plaques, and medals, as well as a Junior Gallery of interest to young visitors. In 1963, a modern wing, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Albert A. List, was completed on an adjacent Fifth Avenue plot. It provides more room for the museum collections and serves as a showcase for young modern artists.


(Keren Kayemet LeIsrael). Agency responsible for afforestation and land reclamation in Israel, established in 1901 by the World Zionist Organization at its fifth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. Its initial purpose was to purchase land in Palestine through small donations from Jews around the world. The JNF’s principles were greatly influenced by the agricultural laws of the Bible. They provided that land purchased by the JNF must remain the inalienable possession of the Jewish people. It cannot be sold or mortgaged; it may be leased only to individual pioneers or groups of settlers at a normal rental period of 49 years, renewable only by the original contractor. In 1903, the Jewish National Fund made its first land purchases in the lower Galilee and continued to make purchases that would form the foundation of what would become the State of Israel. These purchases determined the future sites of forests, cities, kibbutzim, universities, settlements, and strategic outposts. Many of the first Jewish settlements in Palestine were founded with the aid of the JNF which, in addition to land, provided farm equipment, livestock, and expert advice. Arab riots and the British Mandatory government’s legal restriction on land purchase failed to curtail JNF land acquisition. The United Nations’ 1947 Partition Plan for Palestine drew Israel’s borders along the lines of the JNF’s land holdings. After the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, JNF work shifted from land purchase to reclamation and afforestation. The JNF’s major projects have included the reclamation of thousands of acres for agriculture, recreation, housing, industry, tourism, reservoirs, and roads. The JNF’s historic achievements include the planting of more than 200 million trees; the reclamation of 875,000 acres of difficult terrain for farming, housing, and industry; the preparation of land for 1,100 rural villages; the building of more than 3,750 miles of rural roads, and the creation of 440 major parks and picnic areas throughout Israel. Thirty percent of Israel’s population lives on land which the JNF has prepared.


Founded in 1888, the JPS‘s purpose was the “publication and dissemination of literature, scientific and religious works, and also the giving of instruction in the practices of the Jewish religion, history and literature.” Its first publication was an Outline of Jewish History; in 1890, its first popular success, Israel Zangwill‘s Children of the Ghetto, appeared in 1892. The next year, plans for a new translation of the Bible began, a task not completed until 1917. Another translation of the books of the Bible was released in the 1960’s. Beginning in 1899, the JPS published the American Jewish Yearbook, now prepared by the American Jewish Committee with the JPS collaborating in its distribution. Several important series have been published by the JPS. These include the Schiff Memorial Library of Jewish Classics; a Historical Jewish Communities series; a series of commentaries on the Bible; and a series of children’s books. Among the Editors of the JPS have been Henrietta Szold, Solomon Graysel, Chaim Potok, Maier Deshell, and Ellen Frankel.


Seminary of Conservative Judaism for the training of rabbis, teachers, and cantors. Founded in 1887 with a class of seven students, its program now includes projects for the advancement of Jewish scholarship and research. Rabbi Sabato Morais, first Seminary president, and H. Pereira Mendes, its cofounder, were also its first instructors. In 1902, Solomon Schechter was brought from Cambridge University in England to become the second president of the Seminary. The establishment of the Seminary Library by Judge Mayer Sulzberger came under Schechter’s auspices, and he transformed the Rabbinical School into a graduate institution. Upon Schechter’s death in 1915, Cyrus Adler succeeded to the presidency. The Seminary then moved into its new buildings on Morningside Heights in New York City, where it presently resides. Since 1940, Louis Finkelstein became president of the Seminary in 1945, having been chancellor. The Seminary chancellor in 1979 was Gerson D. Cohen, succeeded by Ismar Schorsch in 1986. Among the activities launched by Finkelstein was the Institute for Religious and Social Studies which aims “to develop a keener awareness of the unique contributions which the various religious traditions have made to the advancement of civilization.”

Besides the Rabbinical School, the Seminary includes a Teacher’s Institute, Cantor’s Institute, Seminary College of Jewish Studies, Seminary College of Jewish Music, and the Seminary School of Jewish Studies. The University of Judaism in Los Angeles operates on the West Coast. The Bet Midrash/Seminary of Judaic Studies in Jerusalem is its Israeli affiliate. Other global affiliates include the Seminario Rabbínico Latino Americano in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of Hungary in Budapest.

     In more than a hundred years of existence, it has graduated thousands of rabbis and teachers who now serve synagogues and schools through­out the U.S. and Canada.

    The Rabbinical Assembly of America is the organization for rabbinical graduates of the Seminary. Two programs with strong ties to the Jewish Theo­logical Seminary are the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism and the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs which strive to instill ideals of Judaism into the lives of its members and promote youth-oriented projects.


Organization of Jewish men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces. The JWV is an outgrowth of the Hebrew Union Veterans Organization, founded in 1896 by 78 Jewish veterans of the Civil War. Limited to veterans of the Civil War, its membership became depleted over the years, and the remnants were ultimately absorbed into the Hebrew Veterans of the War with Spain, organized as an independent veterans’ group after the Spanish-American War. After World War I this organization changed its name to Hebrew Veterans of the Wars of the Republic to include veterans of all wars. The organization adopted its present name in 1929.

The Jewish War Veterans has its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and a post in every major city and many suburbs throughout the U.S. It is the official representative of Jewish soldiers and sailors confined to the various hospitals for veterans under the care of the U.S. Veterans’ Administration. It aids the families of deceased Jewish veterans to obtain their entitled benefits. It officially represents American Jewry at patriotic functions. In its program to promote Americanism, the JWV is vigilant of ideologies which pose a threat to American freedom. Each year it presents an award for Americanism.


Rabbinical seminary in London, England. It is the main agency for training Orthodox rabbis, cantors, and teachers in Great Britain. The college, now known as London School of Jewish Studies was founded in 1855 by Chief Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler, and has been incorporated into the University of London. According to the constitution of the college, the chief rabbi of Great Britain is always its president. The college library, particularly rich in items on Anglo-Jewish history, is larger than that of any other European theological seminary.


Biblical queen in 9th century B.C.E.; wife of King Ahab. She is considered one of the evil persons in the Bible, who brought Baal worship to Israel. In English, her name became synonymous with a scheming and devious woman.