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From the Desk of Chancellor Shuly Rubin Schwartz

Dear JTS Community, 

This past Thursday we celebrated JTS’s 130th Commencement ceremony. For those who were unable to attend in person or livestream it, I encourage you to view it here.  

It was a festive day as we conferred degrees on our students and esteemed honorary degree recipients. From the platform, I watched JTS students from our five schools as they transitioned from student to graduate, and I was filled with pride, optimism, and hope. It was a privilege to deliver a “Charge to the Graduates” where I spoke about the challenges and triumphs students faced this year. You can see the entire address here.  

During this year’s commencement, we were honored to hear from Wolf Blitzer, CNN anchor and award-winning journalist, who delivered the Commencement Address. He offered stirring personal stories about his family’s history and his Jewish upbringing, astute observations about the surge in antisemitism and rise in Holocaust denial across the country, and a hopeful message about the Jewish future in America. You can see his full address here.  

Wolf Blitzer

Our other honorary degree recipients included Dr. Gail Twersky Reimer (founder of the Jewish Women’s Archive), Dr. John Sexton (President Emeritus of New York University and Dean Emeritus of New York University School of Law), and Professor Yair Zakovitch (Emeritus Father Takeji Otsuki Professor of Bible Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Additional joyous moments from the day included hearing from Elan Levine, a List College senior, and Grace Hack, a William Davidson School graduate who spoke on behalf of the graduate and professional schools. Their reflections on and appreciation for their education at JTS were both inspiring and encouraging.  

In the afternoon, during the moving and powerful ordination ceremony (Tekes Hasmakhah), we ordained and welcomed 15 new rabbis and cantors into our community. Highlights of the ceremony included private words of blessing from mentors, words of appreciation from our newly ordained cantors and rabbis, and festive dancing.  

This is truly the most uplifting day of the year for me and for all who have played a role in educating and supporting all our students.  

Festive dancing

Amid a year fraught with pain, anxiety, and unforeseen challenges, I looked out at a sea of caps and gowns, imagining the strong Jewish leaders our graduates will become. Graduates from List College, who have also earned degrees from Columbia University or Barnard College in separate ceremonies, are about to join the workforce, contributing to Jewish nonprofit organizations and the technology and finance fields. Others will be continuing their studies in education and psychology, as well as other fields. Those who have completed their studies at the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education, H. L. Miller Cantorial School, Rabbinical School, and Gershon Kekst Graduate School will assume roles as clergy, Jewish professionals, and scholars across the country. I hope you share my optimism, pride, and hope. 

Graduating students

Our newest alumni fill me with confidence that the future rests in capable hands. JTS takes pride knowing that these knowledgeable, skilled, creative, and devoted graduates will bring us much closer to a better tomorrow.  


Chancellor Shuly Rubin Schwartz


The Jewish Theological Seminary | 3080 Broadway, New York, NY 10027 | 

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