The Jewish Theological Seminary held its commencement ceremony at the historic International House in Manhattan on May 23. JTS Chancellor Arnold Eisen delivered the commencement address to the institution’s graduating class of rabbinical, cantorial, and bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral students. Honorary degrees also were presented to innovative leaders.
“No responsible commencement speaker can pretend that all’s right with the world as you go forth to it, or that you and I won’t be sorely tested by events, or that the situation of the Jewish people today is uncomplicated, or the Jewish future secure,” Chancellor Eisen said in his address, which focused on the importance of truth telling. “But if we have taught you anything at JTS, I hope it is that the knowledge and wisdom stored up in Jewish tradition are a valuable fund for you to draw upon, and that your learning of this tradition empowers you to make the changes, extend the compassion, perform the acts of justice, that are required to get us through the mess — and that is the truth.”
The school’s newly graduated students will go on to lead congregations at synagogues all over the world, as well as serve as leaders at Jewish communal organizations, in academia, and in other educational institutions. The students who have earned bachelor’s degrees will pursue advanced degrees or have accepted offers at leading companies and organizations.
Honorary degree recipients were Dr. Bruce A. Beutler of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who won a Nobel Prize in 2011; Sara J. Bloomfield, director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; David Golinkin, president of the Schechter Institutes, Inc., and president emeritus of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies; and Martha C. Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago.