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JPS CEO/Editor-in-Chief Ellen Frankel to Step Down

June 29, 2009

Publisher’s First Female CEO Achieved an Ambitious, Award-Winning Tenure

Ellen Frankel, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of The Jewish Publication Society since 1991, has decided to step down from that position August 1, 2009, to pursue her own writing and scholarly projects, the organization announced today. Frankel will maintain her ties to JPS, working in an advisory capacity as Editor Emerita.

Frankel is the first executive in the agency’s history to have served both as Editor-in-Chief and Chief Executive Officer. She is also the first woman to have served as CEO.

While the JPS Board of Trustees engages in a search process, COO and Publishing Director Carol Hupping will serve as interim CEO.

“JPS has benefited both from Ellen’s scholarship and her leadership as the face of JPS for almost two decades,” said David Lerman, President of the JPS Board of Trustees. “Ellen has upheld the mantle of a great tradition in scholarship as well as leading us to the next phase of JPS’ mission to bring our content to new audiences online. We wish her every success and know she will continue to contribute to JPS’ evolution.”

Frankel’s tenure has been distinguished by an ambitious acquisitions program, which has included several major publishing projects, among them The Commentators’ Bible, a new English-language edition of the rabbinic classic, Miqra’ot Gedolot; Outside the Bible, the first Jewish anthology in English of Jewish extra-canonical texts; and Folktales of the Jews, a multi-volume collection of Jewish folktales from around the world. The latter two projects won major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Frankel’s focus as Editor-in-Chief has been to establish JPS as the premier Jewish Bible publisher in the English language. One of the cornerstones in this program has been the 1999 Hebrew-English Tanakh, containing the acclaimed JPS translation. JPS’ Bible program is currently being expanded through the Tagged Tanakh, a collaborative learning platform based on the Bible, and a new audio edition of the JPS translation.

Under Frankel’s direction, JPS has published a number of other award-winning titles, including Avivah Zornberg’s Genesis: The Beginning of Desire; Rachel Adler’s Engendering Judaism; We Are Children Just the Same: Vedem, the Secret Magazine by the Boys of Terezin; the Conservative Movement’s humash, Etz Hayim; Elliot Dorff’s Matters of Life and Death; and Menahem Elon’s Jewish Law, all of which have won National Jewish Book Awards.

Frankel, who received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University, is a scholar of Jewish folklore and the author of nine books, including the forthcoming JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible. She has received Hadassah’s Myrtle Wreath Award as well as the Bernard Reisman Award in Professional Excellence from the Hornstein Program at Brandeis University. In addition to working as a consultant to JPS, she plans to devote time to writing and lecturing.

JPS is the oldest nonprofit, multi-denominational publisher of Jewish works written in English. The organization celebrated its 120th Anniversary in November 2008. For more information, please visit www.jewishpub.org.