The Finkelstein Era

By Michael Greenbaum

Spring 1997

In this detailed overview, the author describes the development of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS), and the Conservative Movement, under the leadership of Louis Finkelstein, from 1940 to 1972. Finkelstein's legacy to his successor was a movement that, although larger in numbers than it was in 1940, had plateaued, was full of self-doubt, and was handicapped by severe internal dissonance. And the Seminary itself, although transformed from a local rabbinical school into a major institution of Jewish scholarship, professional training, and communal outreach was riddled with serious academic, organizational, and financial problems.

This is not to suggest, however, that Finkelstein did not leave an enduring legacy. On the contrary, much that he did and believed in actually continued in the life of the Seminary, in the development of the Conservative movement, and in the leadership of his successors.

Topic: Masorti Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Leadership, Higher Education

Name of Publication: Tradition Renewed: A History of The Jewish Theological Seminary

Editor: Wertheimer, Jack

Genre: Book Chapter

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Greenbaum, Michael. The Finkelstein Era. Tradition Renewed: A History of The Jewish Theological Seminary. Spring 1997:


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