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The Schechter Legacy

Born in 1847 in Romania into a Hasidic Jewish family (his father was a ritual slaughterer), the future founder and foremost personality of American Conservative Judaism was an outstanding student in several Eastern European yeshivas before coming to America.

An explorer in the truest sense, he was an excavator and scholar who unearthed reams of ancient texts in his landmark discovery of the Cairo Geniza in 1896.

By navigating the dynamic tension between tradition and the living moment—and by combining passionate spirituality with rigorous scholarship—Rabbi Schechter virtually called Conservative Judaism into being, becoming its leading architect while acting in his dual roles as the President of both the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and Jewish Theological Seminary of Conservative Judaism.

While remaining deeply faithful to the traditional observance of halacha (Jewish law, ritual, and practice), Rabbi Schechter at the same time lived his life creatively engaged with and deeply curious about modernity and everything happening in the world around him.

For Rabbi Schechter halacha has its eternal roots in heaven but is also constantly evolving here on earth in response to the will of the people. He therefore sought to establish Conservative Judaism on the common ground that connects our Jewish and our American ideals, our Jewish and American selves.

Above all Rabbi Schechter was a teacher in the highest sense of the word, and it is in that spirit that all the schools in the Schechter Network proudly bear his name.

The Schechter legacy is a spirit that informs our educational philosophy and everything we do.

Like our namesake, we are explorers at our core, energized by the joy of discovery. We hear the call to explore age-old truths, and in the process we find ourselves. We embody a commitment to scholarship, where ancient texts provide a roadmap for navigating how we live today. We pursue questions with a seriousness of purpose, and carry them with us wherever our lives take us. We recognize that being Jewish “in our hearts” is not enough—so we translate ideas and feelings into meaningful action. We are thinkers, and we are doers, poised and ready to engage the world.

We are Schechter.