Chancellor Emeritus to Help Install Berlin’s First Female Rabbi

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950

May 30, 2007, New York, NY

Dr. Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor Emeritus of The Jewish Theological Seminary, will participate in the installation of the first female rabbi in Berlin on June 3.

Rabbi Gesa Ederberg, who studied at JTS and was ordained by the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Israel, will become the religious leader of the Oranienburger Strasse Synagogue in Berlin, the fastest growing Jewish community in Europe today.

According to Dr. Schorsch, whose immediate family escaped Germany just prior to World War II, Rabbi Ederberg’s appointment is politically significant, in that it represents the first time the Juedische Gemeinde, the political entity that governs Jewish life in Berlin, has seen fit to appoint a women as one of its communal rabbis. It also represents a return to a pluralistic German- Jewish community structure; one that has not existed since before the Holocaust. Throughout his twenty years as Chancellor,

Dr. Schorsch worked to convey his vision of Conservative Judaism as the most authentic contemporary expression of rabbinic Judaism. Widely published, his most recent book is Canon Without Closure (March 2007, Aviv Press), a wide–ranging collection of Torah commentaries written during his tenure as Chancellor. In 2004, he published a two–volume collection of the articles and essays he wrote while Chancellor titled Polarities in Balance and, in 1995, The Sacred Cluster: The Core Values of Conservative Judaism, a highly acclaimed monograph outlining the seven fundamental tenets of the movement.

Editors/Reporters: To schedule an interview with Dr. Schorsch, please contact Sherry S. Kirschenbaum in the Department of Communications at (212) 678-8953 or

Founded in 1886 as a rabbinical school, The Jewish Theological Seminary today is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism worldwide, encompassing a world–class library and five schools. JTS trains tomorrow's religious, educational, academic, lay leaders for the Jewish community and beyond.

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