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Cohen, Mandelbaum to Head the Jewish Theological Seminary

The board of directors of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America today officially chose Dr. Gerson D. Cohen and Dr. Bernard Mandelbaum to take over the Seminary’s leadership when Dr. Louis Finkelstein’s resignation becomes effective next June 30. Dr. Cohen, who has been Jacob H. Schiff professor of history at the Conservative center since last year, will assume Dr. Finkelstein’s posts as chief executive officer and president of the faculties.

Dr. Mandelbaum, president of the Seminary since 1966, will succeed Dr. Finkelstein as Chancellor and also serve as vice president of the faculties. The board said it would act soon on its “intention to take the necessary steps to bring about a revision” of its by-laws that would define the specific roles of the chancellor and president.

Dr. Cohen, 47, was born in New York. He was the Seminary’s librarian from 1950 to 1957, taught at the Seminary and at Columbia University from 1957 to 1963, and from 1963 to 1970 taught history at Columbia and directed its Center of Israel and Jewish Studies. Dr. Mandelbaum, also a native New Yorker, will be 50 next Jan. 12. Ordained as a Conservative rabbi in 1946, he served as dean of rabbinical students from 1951 to 1961 and as provost from 1961 to 1966. Dr. Finkelstein, president of the Seminary from 1940 to 1951 and Chancellor since then, announced recently that he wanted to defer to younger leadership. He will be 77 next June 14.

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