Dr. Jack Wertheimer
Professor, Jewish History, Jewish Theological Seminary of America
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 Experienceâ€”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, appeared in the summer of 2000 (Rutgers University Press). A two-volume edited collection of essays, titled Jewish Religious Leadershipâ€”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: “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, 2008”; and “Schools That Work: What We Can Learn From Good Jewish Supplementary Schools.” These reports can be downloaded at www.avichai.org. An edited volume, Learning and Community: Jewish Supplementary Schools in the 21st Century, is due to appear in print in June 2009.
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.