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April 03, 1987 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-04-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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BECAUSE AT

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548.4633

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On Your 100th Birthday

To Know You Is To Love You —

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sweet

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creations by Gayle's Chocolates, available through
the Jewish Association for Retarded Citizens.
Try our gift baskets, party trays,
long-stemmed chocolate roses and
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17288 West Twelve Mile
Southfield, MI 48076
(313) 557-7650

28 Friday, April 3, 1987

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS-

The entrance gate to the Seminary includes a Biblical quote, "And the bush was not consumed," and a
banner proclaiming the Centennial.

ty in London in 1902 to assume the
presidency of JTS. At the time, many con-
sidered Schechter the world's greatest liv-
ing Jewish scholar. He had gained fame for
his interpretations of the Cairo Geniza,
many fragments of which are currently
housed in the JTS library.
With a man like Schechter at the helm,
other renowned scholars were attracted to
the Seminary, including Dr. Louis Ginz-
berg (Talmud), Dr. Alexander Marx
(History), Dr. Israel Friedlander (Bible)
and Dr. Joseph Mayor Asher (Homiletics).
Under Schechter's direction, the rab-
binical school was converted into a
graduate school, its curriculum updated
and a program was begun for students
wishing to obtain a doctorate. During
Schechter's tenure and in the years im-
mediately following, JTS enjoyed a golden
age of educational achievement.
While JTS is still highly respected, some
Conservative Jews openly question
whether it has lost some of its gilded edge.
The current faculty, they argue, is relative-
ly young and, by comparison, less distin-
guished than many of their predecessors
and,mentors.
Rabbinical student Brad Artson of San
Francisco, who has written a book on
the Halachic implications of nuclear
weaponry, says he loves the Seminary
but finds rabbinical students carrying
too heavy a burden of coursework. He,
and others, would like to see a greater
emphasis on enhancing spirituality. Pro-
fessor Gillman, though, is skeptical of
any institution's capacity to transmit
spirituality, which he defines as reli-
gious feeling. "We know how to transmit
a body of knowledge," says Gillman,
"but we don't know how to do religious

education. History, Hebrew stories,
ceremonies, how to read Torah. These
are all easy to teach. We assume that if
students know this, they're going to be
religious. But that's not the case."
With the tremendous growth of
Jewish studies courses at secular uni-
versities, JTS finds itself increasingly
hard pressed to compete with wealthier,
prestigious Ivy League schools when it
comes to attracting the best and the
brightest Jewish scholars, or retaining
its own. One recent defection was that of
Dr. Paula Hyman, a well respected
educator and a leader among those at
JTS advocating more equality for
women. She left the Seminary for a post
at Yale.
Because of the great draw that secular
institutions have, one JTS administrator
predicts that in the future, many Jewish
scholars will split their studies between
large, secular universities and the Sem-
inary, rather -than affiliating with only
one or the other. •
One plus on JTS's side is that tuition
fees are still relatively low compared to
those of many private secular univer-
sities. Tuition in the List College of
Jewish Studies for the - academic year
1986-87 was less than $4,000. Tuition in
the current year at the Cantors Institute
or the Rabbinical School is $4,400. Of
course, living expenses in New York
may be higher than at other schools.
The academic challenges facing JTS in
its second hundred years are not lost on
the sehools faculty or administration.
Last summer, the school named Dr.
Ismar Schorsch, an expert in' European
Jewish history, to be the sixth chancel-
lor in the Seminary's history. Following

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