Four area rabbis are among the 63 members of the Rabbinical Assembly honored this week by the Jewish Theological Seminary for serving the Jewish people with distinction for at least a quarter-century. Rabbi Geoffrey Goldberg, religious leader of Cong. B’nai Jacob in Jersey City, and three Teaneck residents, Rabbis Mayer Rabinowitz, Joel Roth, and Elliot Salo Schoenberg, received honorary doctorates at the convocation ceremony held Thursday at JTS in Manhattan. Chancellor Ismar Schorsch presented the certificates to the honorees.
Mayerowitz and Roth are veteran faculty members at JTS, while Schoenberg is the international director of placement and associate executive director of the RA, the professional association of the Conservative rabbinate.
The Louis Finkelstein Professor of Talmud and Jewish Law, Roth is also rosh yeshiva of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. A member of the JTS faculty since 1968, the year he was ordained there, Roth served as dean of students of the Albert A. List College; director of the Melton Research Center for Jewish Education; and associate dean and dean of the Rabbinical School. An expert in halacha, he has been a member of the RA’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards since 1978, serving as chair for eight years. The author of several books, Roth holds a Ph.D. in Talmud from JTS.
Rabinowitz, an associate professor of Talmud, has served JTS as librarian; director of the Saul Lieberman Institute of Talmudic Research; dean and associate dean of The Graduate School; and dean of students of Seminary College of Jewish Studies/Teachers Institute (now List College). His efforts to provide a halachic resolution to the thorny issue of agunot, "chained women," as head of the Conservative movement’s Joint Bet Din, have been groundbreaking. A member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, Rabinowitz has published numerous responsa and lectured widely in North America and Israel.
Over the past 14 years, Schoenberg has spearheaded the development of an effective and professional placement process for Conservative synagogues, establishing a worldwide program of continuing education for rabbis on four continents. From 1983 to 1991, he was served as a pulpit rabbi in Massachusetts, following his ordination by JTS in 1979. Schoenberg has written several books and manuals considered authoritative sources on the subject of lay-professional relations and spiritual leadership. "Curriculum, Community and Commitment: Views on the American Jewish Day School" (Behrman House, 199′), co-edited with Dr. Daniel J. Margolis, won the National Jewish Book Award in Jewish Education in 1993.
Cong. B’nai Jacob is fortunate to have in Geoffrey Goldberg a rabbi who is also professionally trained as a cantor. Goldberg received rabbinic ordination from Leo Baeck College in London in 1975, but his studies continued at JTS’s H.L. Miller Cantorial School. He earned his diploma in hazzanut from the Miller School in 1984, going on to complete a Ph.D. in Jewish musicology from Hebrew University in Jerusalem in ‘000. Before coming to B’nai Jacob in ’00’, he served in several pulpits in the New York metropolitan area. From 1987 to 1995, he was on the faculty of the School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. Goldberg has also published a number of articles on Jewish music.