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Rothschild Memorial Seminar


Rabbi Rothschild with the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. on the occasion of the Atlanta celebration
of King’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize, 1964

The first Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild Memorial Seminar, honoring the late Atlanta rabbi and civil rights leader, was delivered by Ellen M. Umansky, Carl and Dorothy Bennett Chair in Judaic Studies at Fairfield University. Titled “ ‘Here I Am, Send Me’: Mission, Social Justice, and Modern Jewish Identity,” the talk focused on the careers of three Jewish religious leaders: Rabbi Alfred Moses of Mobile, Alabama, who was a contemporary of Booker T. Washington; Paula Ackerman of Meridian, Mississippi, and Pensacola, Florida, who was the first woman to serve in the role of rabbi (though she was not one); and Lily Montague, founder of the movement for Liberal Judaism in England—all of whom incorporated the idea of social justice into their Jewish worldviews. Umansky explored how and why social justice has taken on relevance for Jews in different times and places, including the larger historical context in which Rabbi Rothschild’s views and commitments to civil rights emerged.

Rothschild Memorial Celebration  

From left: Brenda and Bill Rothschild, Marcia Rothschild, Janice Rothschild Blumberg, Ellen Umansky, Jeffrey Lesser, Eric Goldstein, and Rabbi Alvin Sugarman


Ellen Umansky teaches the courses Jews and Judaism in America, Modern Jewish Theology, and History of the Jewish Experience. Her most recent publications include Four Centuries of Jewish Women’s Spirituality: A Sourcebook (2008), edited with Dianne Ashton, as well as a number of articles in The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, edited by Tamara Cohn Eskenazi. Umansky was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty Vision Award by Fairfield University in 2009.

Rabbi Alvin Sugarman, Rothschild’s successor at The Temple and an Emory trustee, offered some personal reflections on the work of Rabbi Rothschild before the talk. Elizabeth M. Bounds, associate professor of Christian ethics at Candler School of Theology, commented on the lecture, and a reception followed the discussion.

The Rothschild Memorial Seminar honors the late Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild (1911–1973), the spiritual leader of Atlanta’s Hebrew Benevolent Congregation (The Temple), who was a voice for social change in the city’s Jewish community, the city of Atlanta more broadly, and throughout the South. Each year a guest scholar will memorialize Rothschild with a seminar on topics relevant to his life and work, such as Jewish ethics, Jewish social movements, modern Judaism, and southern Jewish history.

The event was part of the Seminar Series in Jewish Studies and was cosponsored by Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library and the Department of Religion.




About this Publication

spcrGraduate Fellowships in Jewish Studies

With the admission of four students in fall 2009, TIJS inaugurated a new fellowship program for PhD students who specialize in Jewish studies.

First Person:
Jacob Wright

Jacob Wright is assistant professor of Hebrew Bible in Candler School of Theology and a core faculty member in the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies.

Graduate Student Profile:
Craig Perry

Craig Perry’s academic career exemplifies the scholarly process of moving from the general to the specific and provides an unusual glimpse into the development of a scholar.

A Kleyne Velt: Renewal of Yiddish Studies at Emory

Claiming the status of the only all-Yiddish college a cappella group in the world, A Kleyne Velt (“A Small World”) burst on the scene at Emory this past year.

Student Papers

Blumenthal AwardsTIJS presents the annual David R. Blumenthal Awards. These awards go to undergraduate and graduate students who best link the knowledge, insights, values, and perspectives of Jewish realities to broader human concerns.

Donor Profile:
Janice Rothschild Blumberg

Janice Rothschild BlumbergA $50,000 gift from the Rothschild family, members of Atlanta’s Jewish community, and corporate benefactors has established the Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild Fund for Jewish Studies.





Candler Entrance


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