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Jewish Theological Seminary names first woman as dean of its rabbinical school

Rabbi Jan Uhrbach succeeds Rabbi Daniel Nevins as head of Conservative Judaism’s flagship seminary

Andrew Silow-Carroll is the editor-in-chief of JTA

Rabbi Jan Uhrbach will become interim dean of the Rabbinical School at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America in July. (Courtesy JTS via JTA)
Rabbi Jan Uhrbach will become interim dean of the Rabbinical School at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America in July. (Courtesy JTS via JTA)

JTA — Rabbi Jan Uhrbach was named interim dean of the Rabbinical School at The Jewish Theological Seminary, the first woman in the dean’s role in the history of Conservative Judaism’s flagship seminary.

When Uhrbach succeeds Rabbi Daniel Nevins in July, JTS will have women serving as deans of all three of its schools and as its chancellor. In addition, Cantor Nancy Abramson is director of the H. L. Miller Cantorial School.

Nevins announced last year that he is stepping down to become head of school of the Golda Och Academy, a day school in West Orange, New Jersey.

Uhrbach will serve as the interim Pearl Resnick dean of the Rabbinical School and dean of the Division of Religious Leadership, which encompasses both the Rabbinical School and Cantorial School, for the 2021-22 academic year.

Chancellor Shuly Rubin Schwartz, in a letter to the “JTS Community,” said the seminary had begun a search for Nevins’ replacement and had spoken with “several impressive candidates,” but said the search committee felt that the “wisest course” would be to name an interim dean.

Uhrbach is founder and will continue as director of the Block/Kolker Center for Spiritual Arts at JTS, and has worked on several Conservative movement prayer books. She is the founding rabbi of the Conservative Synagogue of the Hamptons, in Bridgehampton, Long Island.

JTS ordained its first woman rabbi in 1985.

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