Jack Wertheimer

Dr. Jack Wertheimer is the Joseph and Martha Mendelson Professor of American Jewish History at The Jewish Theological Seminary. His area of specialization is modern Jewish history, with a particular focus on trends in the religious, educational, and organizational sectors of American Jewish life since World War II.

Dr. Wertheimer is the author or editor of more than a dozen volumes, including Unwelcome Strangers: East European Jews in Imperial Germany (Oxford University Press, 1987); The American Synagogue: A Sanctuary Transformed (Cambridge University Press, 1987); The Uses of Tradition: Jewish Continuity in the Modern Era (JTS/Harvard); and The Modern Jewish Experience—A Reader's Guide (NYU Press). He also wrote A People Divided: Judaism in Contemporary America (Basic Books), which won the National Jewish Book Award for the best study on contemporary Jewish life from 1993 to 1994. A People Divided was reissued by the University Press of New England in September 1997.

More recently, Dr. Wertheimer edited a two-volume history of JTS titled Tradition Renewed (JTS Press, 1997). This richly illustrated history contains freshly commissioned essays by forty scholars from the United States, Canada, and Israel. Dr. Wertheimer has also coordinated a major sociological study of Conservative synagogues under a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts. A volume of essays on the project, titled Jews in the Center: Conservative Synagogues and Their Members, was published in the summer of 2000 (Rutgers University Press). A two-volume edited collection of essays, titled Jewish Religious Leadership—Image and Reality (JTS Press) appeared in late 2004 and was based on two conferences Dr. Wertheimer organized at JTS.

In 2007, two additional volumes edited by Dr. Wertheimer were released by Brandeis University Press. Family Matters: Jewish Education in an Age of Choice is about the interplay between families and Jewish education, and Imagining the American Jewish Community consists of essays on the ways in which Jews have conceived of Jewish communal life in the United States. Most recently, Dr. Wertheimer has written a number of studies about the rapidly evolving field of Jewish education:

"Generation of Change: How Leaders in Their Twenties and Thirties Are Reshaping American Jewish Life"

"Talking Dollars and Sense about Jewish Education"

"Linking the Silos: How to Accelerate the Momentum in Jewish Education Today"

"Recent Trends in Jewish Supplementary Education"

"A Census of Jewish Supplementary Schools 2006–2007"

"Schools That Work: What We Can Learn From Good Jewish Supplementary Schools"

Learning and Community: Jewish Supplementary Schools in the 21st Century, an edited volume published in June 2009, contains portraits of ten Jewish supplementary schools that work. His latest book is an edited volume titled, The New Jewish Leaders: Reshaping the American Jewish Landscape.

From 1997 to 2007, Dr. Wertheimer served as provost, the chief academic officer of JTS. He also served as the founding director of the Joseph and Miriam Ratner Center for the Study of Conservative Judaism from 1987 to 2008. The Ratner Center preserves the records of the rabbis, synagogues, and organizations of the Conservative Movement and also promotes research on the history and contemporary state of Conservative Judaism.

Published Works

Books:

The New Jewish Leaders: Reshaping the American Jewish Landscape

Learning and Community: Jewish Supplementary Schools in the Twenty-First Century

Unwelcome Strangers: East European Jews in Imperial Germany

The American Synagogue: A Sanctuary Transformed

The Uses of Tradition: Jewish Continuity in the Modern Era

The Modern Jewish Experience: A Reader's Guide

A People Divided: Judaism in Contemporary America

Tradition Renewed: A History of The Jewish Theological Seminary of America

Jews in the Center: Conservative Synagogues and Their Members

Jewish Religious Leadership: Image and Reality

Family Matters: Jewish Education in an Age of Choice

Text and Context: Essays in Modern Jewish History and Historiography in Honor of Ismar Schorsch

Imagining the American Jewish Community

Articles and Other Publications:

"Generation of Change: How Leaders in Their Twenties and Thirties Are Reshaping American Jewish Life," AVI CHAI Foundation, November 2010

"The High Cost of Jewish Living," Commentary, March 2010

"Vital Signs: Torah and Service," part of a series on JewishIdeasDaily.com, February 8, 2010

"The Future of Jewish Education: Interview with Jack Wertheimer," Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, December 2009

"Straight-Talk About Assimilation: An Exchange," The Forward, October 2009

"Time for Straight-Talk About Assimilation," The Forward, September 2009

"Schools That Work: What We Can Learn From Good Jewish Supplementary Schools," AVI CHAI Foundation, March 2009

"A Census of Jewish Supplementary Schools 2006–2007," AVI CHAI Foundation, August 2008

"The End of the Jewish People," a three-part exchange of letters with Joey Kurtzman of Jewcy.com, June 2007

"Recent Trends in Supplementary Jewish Education," AVI CHAI Foundation, March 2007

"Whatever Happened to the Jewish People," (with Steven M. Cohen), Commentary, June 2006

"Linking the Silos: How to Accelerate the Momentum in Jewish Education Today," AVI CHAI Foundation, December 2005

"Jews and the Jewish Birth Rate," Commentary, October 2005

Audio Resources

Radio Interview:

"No Dogs or Jews Allowed: The Story of Antisemitism in America"

An installment of Only in America: 150 years of the American Jewish Experience. Larry Josephson, 2006.


Video Resources

Dr. Wertheimer speaks at the annual conference of the Jewish Funders Network:

Opening plenary session: "Continuity and Discontinuity"

Closing plenary session

 

 

More Information

Title: Professor, Jewish History
Department: Faculty
Building/Room: U604
Phone: 678-8869
Ext: 8869
Email: jawertheimer@jtsa.edu