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JTS sheds cantorial dean’s post

NEW YORK (JTA) — Faced with a continuing financial crisis, the Jewish Theological Seminary has eliminated the position of dean of its cantorial school.

In an e-mail Feb. 5, JTS Chancellor Arnold Eisen announced the elimination of the dean’s position and a major reorganization, the Forward reported. The dean, Henry Rosenblum, was laid off.

Cantorial students at the Conservative seminary will be supervised now by Rabbi Danny Nevins, the dean of the rabbinical school.

The announcement reportedly sparked rumors that JTS was planning to close down the cantorial program or merge it with another seminary — rumors the administration has denied.  

“Despite the rumors that have been circulating, we are not doing away with our cantorial program,” Provost Alan Cooper wrote in a letter to the cantorial faculty. “Far from being fearful or pessimistic about the future of the cantorate, we are more excited than ever about its prospects."

Eisen told the Forward that Rosenblum’s layoff was not primarily a cost-saving measure, but part of a wider effort to make rabbinical and cantorial training more effective. 

“We can better accomplish it with a unified structure than with one we’ve had in the past," Eisen said. 

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