Jessica Feingold

Jessica Feingold devoted her career to transforming the grand ideas of Louis Finkelstein, chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, into practical reality. Feingold earned degrees from Vassar and Columbia before answering an advertisement to become secretary to Louis Finkelstein, then the assistant to the president of JTS, in 1936. In 1938 Finkelstein founded the Institute for Religious and Social Studies, an interfaith program that brought students and theologians together for classes, lectures, and conferences. He followed this in 1940 with the Conference on Science, Philosophy, and Religion, which attempted to bridge the gap between science and the humanities. Feingold became executive director of the Institute in 1951 and by 1959 was director of Intergroup Activities, overseeing both programs as well as the Institute on Ethics, created in 1956. She also wrote articles on the intergroup programs and edited 49 volumes of their work. Feingold continued serving as Finkelstein’s assistant as he rose to the chancellorship, editing several of his books, and served on the committee to create the Jewish Museum in 1947 to showcase the Seminary’s collection. JTS awarded her with honorary doctorates in divinity in 1982 and sacred theology in 1983 for her years of service.

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Jessica Feingold (1910 – 2003) devoted more than forty-five years of her life to carrying out the goals of the Jewish Theological Seminary. She edited fifty books that originated at the institution, while also serving in almost uncountable administrative positions, including that of principal assistant to Louis Finkelstein, who was provost, president, and then chancellor of the seminary.

Photographer: John H. Popper.

Institution: The Ratner Center for the Study of Conservative Judaism, Jewish Theological Seminary.

Date of Birth

New Orleans, LA
United States

Date of Death
Administrator, Writer, Editor

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jessica Feingold ." (Viewed on August 8, 2020) <>.


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