Collection of National Museum of American Jewish History

Louis Finkelstein 1895-1991

As chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, the renowned scholar and theologian Rabbi Louis Finkelstein is one of the architects of Conservative Judaism. The son of a rabbi, Finkelstein was born in Cincinnati and moved to Brooklyn, New York as a child. After earning a Ph.D. and rabbinical ordination, he joined the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York in 1920. Finkelstein became chancellor of JTS in 1940 and grew the seminary into a major international institution. Author or editor of more than a hundred books, Finkelstein was known for his dedicated scholarship, his support of interfaith dialogue, and his commitment to Judaism.