Week of Study at JTS

For thirty consecutive years, groups of three dozen committed Conservative Executive Directors have gathered each June for a five day course of intensive study at the world-renowned Jewish Theological Seminary of America. The week of study is sponsored jointly by NAASE, the Seminary and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.


The Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration!
June 15-17, 2020

This year’s faculty will be among the greatest Jewish scholars teaching what they are most passionate about! . . . In over a dozen full sessions over the 3 days of this powerful study session!

Looking Back at Some Highlights of the 2019 Sessions

Meet some of the recent faculty for yourself through their powerful subjects . . .
Maimonides and Spinoza on Interpretation, Prophecy and Divine Law
. . . Dr. Yonatan Brafman
Fighting for Amando: A Synagogue Community Confronts the Immigration Crisis
. . . Rabbi Aaron Brusso
How Rabbi Eliezer Got His Groove: Text Study on the Troubled Beginnings of this Legendary Talmudic Rabbi
. . . Dr. Burton Visotzky
Reading Rabbinic Literature in the #MeToo Era
. . . Rabbi Julia Andelman
A Lost Zionist Voice: Rav Shagar and Jewish Religious Nationalism
. . . Dr. David Kraemer
Law as Literature: Understanding the Psychological, Theological and Moral Implications of Leviticus 19
. . . Dr. Walter Herzberg
What Questions are Out of Bounds?
. . . Dr. Sarah Wolf
Presentation on JTS Community Engagement
. . . Rabbi Julia Andelman
What Do the Words Yizkor Elohim Mean? Life After Death in the Biblical World and in Jewish Liturgy
. . . Dr. Benjamin Sommer

Registration information will soon be available here!

Hear from our colleague, Mark Block, Executive Director at Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Bridgeport, CT. who recently wrote about his first-time Week of Study experience in 2013:

“It was an incredibly personal development opportunity that I am so glad I took advantage of, and am only sorry I did not in my three previous years as an executive director. The professors, rabbis, and scholars are all top-notch, and we are blessed to be able to learn from them and with them, alongside each other. The opportunity to discuss and disagree on a text makes the experience that much more personal.”

Why does NAASE Encourage and Support Week of Study? For many years, NAASE has urged executive directors not only to constantly increase their management and administrative skills, but also to increase their Judaic knowledge at the same time. Over the past two decades over 500 colleagues have attended the Week of Study at least once, and many for multiple years.

What would I get out of Week of Study? The unique Week of Study program brings executive directors together, studying in the traditional “chevruta” style of student pairings of intensive subject matter exploration and interaction, guided by eminent faculty from the Seminary and the broader Conservative movement, in an informal, colleagial, highly energizing week that will deepen your knowledge in the many areas and invigorate you going forward. Why do we know that? Just ask your colleagues who have attended, even once, Week of Study!

Registration information will soon be available here!

If you were unable to join us for last year’s Week of Study, please be sure to plan on attending this year!

Past Weeks of Study

The annual study conference examines theory and practice, drawing on the work in the field done by executive directors, including discussions and explorations of how this work enriches and challenges executives in their own spiritual lives.

Past Themes

Each year, carefully selected themes coordinate the study sessions for the week. Recent past years’ themes have included:

A Celebration of Jewish Learning: Sharing the Passion
Imagine TED Jewish Talks: With Some of the Most Inspiring Jewish Scholars
Seeking the Center: The Changing Role of Israel and Jewish Life
It is a Tree of Life to Those Who Take Hold of It: The Evolution of Judaism and Jewish Text
Sacred Tensions: Difference in the Name of Heaven
Prayer: History, Meaning and Evolution
B’nai Avraham: Brothers and Rivals
Work, Wealth and Worth: Money in Personal and Community Life
Eat and Be Holy: Food, Identity, and Social Responsibility in Jewish Tradition
Spiritual Care and the Congregation
Swords and Plowshares: The Ethics of War and Peace in Jewish Tradition
Creating Kehillah Kedoshah, A Sacred Community: Bringing Jewish Values Into Our Daily Lives
Love Your Neighbor: Jewish Guide to Intergroup and Interpersonal Relationships
The Jewish Response to Illness, Pain and Death
Prayer: Its Origins, History and Theology
Insider or Outsider: The Jew and Community, Then and Now
Chosenness and Ambivalence: Exploring the Mixed Blessing
In The Image of God: Jewish Ethics at the Frontier
The Intersection of American and Jewish Values: Authority Versus Autonomy in Jewish Life
Sacred Land: How Jews Perceive Israel Throughout History
Leadership and Self-Esteem: Conflict and Survival from Biblical Times to the Present
Back To The Sources and Forward To The Future: Midrash and Our Lives Today
The Search For Kedushah: Finding Personal and Communal Spirituality in our Synagogues
The Synagogue: Its Role in the Community Historically, Theologically and Halachically
The Jewish Life Cycle: How Jewish Tradition Sanctifies Life
The Synagogue and the Community
A Week of Study: A Professional Tradition Begins*

* A program descriptor applied retroactively