Jewish Theological Seminary of America
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Rabbis Sabato Morais and H. Pereira Mendes
Time Period
Tensions between liberal and conservative Jews led to the founding of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York City in 1886 by centrist Jewish leaders. Originally known as the Jewish Theological Seminary Association, it was formed under the guidances of two rabbis -- Sabato Morais and H. Pereira Mendes -- and lay leaders at Sephardic congregations in New York and Philadelphia. Its mandate: preserve "the knowledge and practice of historical Judaism."

The school was reorganized into the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1902, with a new emphasis on academic rigor, as well as training religiously observant, intellectually open-minded rabbis, teachers and Jewish leaders.

While JTS was not intended to be aligned with any particular denomination, it eventually emerged as the educational center for Conservative Judaism after that movement was founded in 1915. The early 20th century also saw the building of a new campus at its current location in Manhattan.
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Religious Minorities (Non-Christian)
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Religious Minorities (Non-Christian) in American History
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Jewish Theological Seminary of America- Flickr- photo by Patrick Nelson (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Jewish Theological Seminary- Hathi Trust- from Students' Annual, Jewish Theological Seminary of America (1914)

Sabato Morais portrait- Hathi Trust- from Inaugural Address of Solomon Schechter

H Pereira Mendes portrait- Hathi Trust- from Current Literature, vol 34 (1903)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Melton, J. Gordon, 2009. Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions, Eighth Edition. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale.
Web Source(s)
Jewish Virtual Library, "Jewish Theological Seminary"
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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