Women of Valor


Jewish Theological Seminary

Henrietta Szold, 1860 - 1945

After the death of her father in 1902, Szold moved with her mother to New York City in order to prepare herself to edit her father's papers through study at the Jewish Theological Seminary. The Seminary, founded in 1886 to train rabbis who would be respectful of tradition but solidly American in style and expression, had been recently reorganized under the leadership of the eminent scholar Solomon Schechter. Szold was allowed the status of special student based upon her assurance that she would not seek rabbinic ordination.

At the Seminary Szold joined a community of individuals focused, like her, upon creating meaningful spiritual and intellectual resources for American Jews. New York also proved a supportive environment for the development of Szold's Zionism. JTS's European-bred faculty formed an important American locus of support for the creation of a Jewish cultural and spiritual presence in Palestine. Szold also took part in one of a number of study circles of young college-educated women that had formed around New York to encourage discussion and study of Zionist ideas. Szold insisted, despite her age and expertise, on participating in the Hadassah study circle's work as a regular member, not as an honorary member or leader.

In addition to her heavy JPS obligations, Szold attended lectures, tutored members of the JTS faculty in English, and assisted many of them with the editing and translating of their work. As her editing and communal obligations mounted, Szold withdrew from active study, but remained a part of the JTS circle. The home she shared with her mother became a center for social and intellectual gatherings.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Henrietta Szold - Jewish Theological Seminary." (Viewed on April 24, 2014) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/szold/jewish-theological-seminary>.