KIAMESHA LAKE, N.Y. (May. 16)
Dr. Bernard Mandelbaum, provost of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, today registered “sharp dissent” from a survey published in The New York Times April 16 reporting a general leveling off in the interest of young intellectuals in choosing the ministry as a calling. So far as the Conservative movement is concerned, “we find the opposite to be true,” he said.
Dr. Mandelbaum spoke at the 32nd annual convention of the National Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs. He pointed out that while the student body of the Seminary is exactly the same number as it was a decade ago–110–“this does not imply a leveling off of interest in the rabbinate. Over a decade ago, the greater percentage of our students were either immigrants or children of immigrants. Today, third and fourth generation Americans are making the choice of the rabbinate as their way of contributing to society.”
He said that while greater numbers are still needed, this is not due to the lack of candidates but to the growing demand for rabbis and teachers throughout America. He pointed to the Leader Training Fellowships sponsored by the National Federation of Jewish Mens Clubs as one of the finest instruments for creating the future body of Jewish spiritual leaders.