The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) is pleased to announce that Rabbi Burton Visotzky, the Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at JTS, is included in this year's Forward 50, a list of 50 influential American Jews that the newspaper publishes annually.
Professor Visotzky joined the faculty at JTS immediately following his ordination into the rabbinate in 1977, also at JTS. As director of JTS's Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies, he is charged with developing programs in public policy. He also directs the newly formed Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue at JTS. According to the Forward's profile of Professor Visotzky, "In the stepped-up dialogue between American Jews and American Muslims, Burton Visotzky is in many ways the guy making things happen, quietly and off-camera, while others take high-profile bows. Visotzky . . . organizes and participates in a stunning array of interfaith activities that, over time, have helped transform the sound of Jews and Muslims talking together from a pin drop to a cacophony."
Also included in 2011's Forward 50 are Rabbi Jill Jacobs, who was ordained by JTS in 2003 and earned an MA in Talmud from The Graduate School in the same year, and Joan Rosenbaum, the recently retired director of The Jewish Museum, which she led for 30 years.
Rabbi Jacobs is the executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights–North America and the former rabbi-in-residence at Jewish Funds for Justice. The Forward notes that Rabbi Jacobs has long been "active in social justice circles . . . and besides her advocacy in the field, Jacobs has become a thought leader among Jewish activists, this year publishing a hands-on guide to doing Jewish social justice work titled, Where Justice Dwells."
In its profile of Ms. Rosenbaum of The Jewish Museum, the Forward says that "her influence on the institution and the cultural life of the American Jewish community has been immeasurable." JTS and The Jewish Museum have been closely linked since 1904, when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial objects to JTS as the core of a museum collection.
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