The University of Judaism's announcement this week that it will expand its two-year rabbinical school into the West Coast's first full-fledged seminary to ordain rabbis has met with a cool reception from Conservative Judaism's only other U.S. seminary.
Chancellor Ismar Schorsch of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York said through a spokesperson Thursday that he would not comment on the announcement.
"They are clearly not happy," said Rabbi Eliott Dorff, rector of the University of Judaism campus atop Sepulveda Pass, commenting on informal remarks made to him Wednesday while he was at the New York school on other business.
"Until this week, [the Jewish Theological Seminary] has enjoyed a monopoly on training and ordaining Conservative rabbis, at least in North America," he said. "There are also Conservative seminaries in Buenos Aires, Jerusalem and Budapest."
The expansion, set to begin in the fall of 1996, was made possible by a $22-million grant from an anonymous donor.
Some rabbis in New York said they were concerned that creating a seminary on the West Coast would tend to divide Conservative Judaism's rabbinical and synagogue bodies, Dorff said.
"Frankly, I don't see that happening."
A second seminary, Dorff said, "would attract people to the rabbinate who could not otherwise do it.