The Jewish Publication Society has named Rabbi Barry Schwartz as our new Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining JPS, Rabbi Schwartz spent 11 years serving as the senior rabbi at Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. In addition to his rabbinical work, he served on the board of several nonprofit social justice organizations, where he was active in Jewish environmental work, and authored four books, a prize-winning short story, and scholarly articles that have appeared in the Journal of Reform Judaism, American Jewish History, and the Hebrew Union College Annual.
Q: What made you want to enter the publishing world and to work for The Jewish Publication Society?
A: I’ve loved JPS books since I was a kid. In my 1500 volume Judaica library, place of pride belongs to many wonderful JPS books. I strongly believe in our mission, and hope to help guide the transition to our future.
How will you translate your skills and experiences as a Rabbi to being the CEO of JPS?
It’s all about building and sustaining relationships. As a congregational rabbi for the past 25 years, I know my way around the Jewish community. We need to reach out to the community far and wide. Educators, rabbis, donors, and of course, book lovers all have a crucial role in our future success. I hope to share my passion for life long Jewish learning in a way that will help enhance Jewish literacy in general and JPS in particular.
What do you hope to accomplish at JPS and what are your long term goals?
The three words I think express my hope are: affirmation, imagination, and collaboration. We need to affirm JPS’ mission of publishing books of enduring worth that will stand the test of time. Yet in the digital era, we need imagination in order to innovate in ways that will excite a new generation. And I know that our future is linked to partnerships. Few of us in Jewish publishing will be able to go it alone in the years to come.
I am devoting this year to a non-stop series of conversations about our future, and I welcome anyone to join the conversation. Who are we, where are we going… and what is “the next big thing” for JPS?
What do you think is the greatest challenge in the publishing industry right now?
The short answer: how to make money from e-books. The bigger challenge: how to harness emerging technology for quality learning. The biggest challenge: how to combat the culture-wide decline in “deep” reading.
Where do you see JPS in 5 years?
Five years is an eternity in publishing right now. At the same time, as I told an interviewer recently, the monuments of Judaism that endure are not buildings, but books. Great books will continue to convey the wisdom and beauty of our heritage, and one way or another I hope JPS will be part of that!
The original article may be found here.