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Reform Seminary Bracing For 'Radical' Reductions - Jewish Week
"In moving forward," Rabbi Ellenson wrote, "committees of the administration, board of governors and faculty are all now actively involved in developing scenarios that will allow the college-institute to fulfill its mission of providing religious, educational, communal, and intellectual leadership for the Jewish people in a manner that is financially sustainable. The current economic crisis forces all of us to distinguish between form and content, between external structures and essential concerns. This dynamic of challenge and response is one which has informed Jewish consciousness from our earliest days. Stasis at the present moment would be dangerous, and a dynamic and open approach to the future is required. Each new configuration of the college-institute holds much promise, but each also requires sacrifice."
HUC-JIR Ordination and Investiture Services to be Held at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, Sunday, May 3, 2009
The rabbinical and cantorial graduates of the New York School of HUC-JIR will be ordained and invested, respectively, at Ordination and Investiture Services at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York on May 3rd. Fourteen rabbis (11 women, 3 men) will be ordained (of 43 rabbinical graduates of the Class of 2009 - 13 men, 30 women) and 11 cantors (9 women, 2 men) will be invested at the convocation marking the 134th academic year. Rabbi Norman Cohen, HUC-JIR Provost, will deliver the Ordination Address. Rabbi Ellenson will award the 2009 Roger E. Joseph Prize to Helen Lieberman, Founder of Ikamva Labantu, the South African non-profit organization that works with and assists affiliated community-based organizations serving children, youth, adults, families, seniors, and the disabled.
HUC-JIR Graduation to Honor Jewish Leaders, Alumni, and Graduating Class of 2009 at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York on April 30
Rabbi Ellenson will present the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, to Dov L. Seidman, Chairman and CEO of LRN, who will deliver the Graduation Address to the New York community, and to Dr. Walter Homolka, Executive Director, Abraham Geiger College. Rabbi Lennard R. Thal, Vice President Emeritus, Union for Reform Judaism, will be presented with the American Jewish Distinguished Service Award. HUC-JIR alumni will be awarded honorary Doctorates of Divinity, Music, Jewish Religious Education, and Jewish Communal Service, and Founders' Medallions, in recognition of their 25 years of distinguished professional service. The College-Institute will award earned Doctorate and Masters Degrees to its students in New York.
Upcoming Events at HUC-JIR
Concert to Benefit School of Sacred Music
"Debbie and Friends," a concert to benefit the HUC-JIR School of Sacred Music and featuring the music of Debbie Friedman with special guests, alumni, and students, will be presented at Central Synagogue in New York City on Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 6 pm, with a reception following for concert patrons. Please save the date. For more information, contact: or 212-824-2290
Spotlight on HUC-JIR's Programs and
Research Resources
Remnant Stones: The Jewish Cemeteries of Suriname Epitaphs by Aviva Ben-Ur and Rachel Frankel from HUC Press
Remnant Stones presents the results of eight years of on-site fieldwork in Suriname and research in archives in the United States and the Netherlands, carried out by the authors since 1995. This volume presents transcriptions and English translations of nearly 1,700 epitaphs, carved in Portuguese, Hebrew, Spanish, Dutch, Aramaic, and French. A fold-out scaled plan of each of the cemeteries shows stone orientation, locations, and adjacencies.

For book jacket artwork click here
Zooming In On Righteous Muslims - The Jewish Week
The mostly Muslim country on the southeast coast of the Balkan peninsula had a unique place in Holocaust history: it was the only land in Nazi-occupied Europe that had more Jews in its borders at the end of the war than before, and the only one that was Muslim. Albania's Muslims - and the country's Christian minority - would not surrender a single Jew to the Nazis. Exhibits about Albania's record during World War II opened during the last year at Yad Vashem, the United Nations, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion here and in Ramle. A traveling exhibit is being shown this year in Albania and Kosovo.
A Taste of the World to Come by Rabbi Ruth Magder-Abusch - The Jewish Week
My practice of blessing before the meals began not as an act of theology but of desperation. As the mother of two young children, reasoned that making a blessing at the beginning of the meal might serve as a means of drawing our attention together as a family and maybe make us more aware of how fortunate we are.
HUC-JIR in the News
Fate Of Historic HUC Cincinnati Campus Unclear - The Jewish Week
As the Reform movement and the Hebrew Union College ponder their next moves to remain financially viable, one key question emerging is the fate of its flagship, 20-acre campus in Cincinnati.The Union for Reform Judaism, the movement's congregational arm, owns the land on which the college sits. But its president, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, said it has no contingency plans should the college close. "It's premature," he said. "We are not looking at that issue. The college will decide what it does [with the campus]; we are not dealing with it. We don't want to be seen as interfering." Rabbi Yoffie said his organization owns not only the land on which the college sits, but also one of its nine buildings.
Reform College Cuts Might Lead to Campus Closures - Jewish Journal
Faculty members at the L.A. campus have sent a letter to Ellenson and other HUC-JIR leaders protesting the potential closure of the West Coast site. The campus should be kept open as part of any plan the college's board approves because of its profitable relationship with its neighbor, the University of Southern California (USC), the letter states, according to the Los Angeles Times. The two schools share some faculty and facilities and cross-educate students. The Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis's approximately 300 member synagogues were set to adopt a resolution to "oppose every effort to close down HUC-JIR in Los Angeles" and commit to working with the college's faculty and administration to keep the campus viable.
Hebrew Union College might close L.A. campus - USC Daily Trojan
USC and HUC-JIR have shared academic programs for 39 years since the HUC-JIR Los Angeles campus moved to its present location in 1971. HUC-JIR makes up most of the undergraduate Jewish studies department at USC, and HUC-JIR faculty teach 25-40 classes to about 650 USC students yearly, some on USC's campus, and some on HUC-JIR's campus, said Lee Rosenblum, acting director of USC Hillel.USC currently pays HUC-JIR $1.9 million annually to provide these courses to its students. "The closing of HUC's Los Angeles campus could potentially reduce or eliminate the courses in Judaic studies and Hebrew that have enriched USC's undergraduate educational choices," said Brie Loskota, managing director of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at USC. "We're a vital stakeholder for our movement and for liberal Judaism in the West," Windmueller said. "This is the second-largest Jewish community in the United States after New York." The potential closure of HUC-JIR in Los Angeles would very seriously affect Jewish life on campus at USC, Rosenblum said. "USC has become an extremely friendly community for the Jewish families who send their kids here, and that would create a huge gap," he said. "HUC has been a major part of Jewish student life on campus."
Jewish Seminary Considers Closing Two U.S. Campuses - Los Angeles Times
The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, a seminary and graduate school for Judaism's Reform movement, is facing such deep financial troubles that it is considering closing two of its three U.S. campuses, which include a location near downtown Los Angeles. Rabbi Susan Laemmle, who was ordained by the college and is former dean of religious life at USC, said she thought the closure of any campus would trigger "very strong protest and push-back." Laemmle said the connections between Hebrew Union and USC were unusually strong and provided an enriched experience for professors and students at both schools.
Downturn Threatens L.A.'s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion - Los Angeles Times
Leaders of a Jewish seminary in Los Angeles are arguing against a proposal by its parent organization that could lead to the closure of the campus as part of a larger financial restructuring. The Los Angeles site, local administrators believe, should be included in the ultimate strategy partly because it enjoys a productive relationship with its neighbor, USC.
Hebrew Union Could Face Closure - Cincinnati Enquirer
The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is facing an $8 million debt - in part because of flat fundraising, pension liabilities, and endowment and other revenue declines that have hit the institute harder than at any other time in its history, Rabbi David Ellenson, the college-institute's president, told stakeholders in an e-mail.
Hebrew Union Backers Plan Appeal - Cincinnati Enquirer
Greater Cincinnati's Jewish community will try to save the Clifton campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where the school was founded 134 years ago, but the college's financial problems may prove too severe. Advocates here will argue that the campus here is less expensive and that the College could save more by selling its real estate in New York or Los Angeles, where the other two campuses targeted for potential closing are located.
Jewish educational institution struggles - Washington Post; Associated Press
"I wish with all my heart and soul that this were not so," Ellenson said in the April 14 letter. "Yet all the wishing in the world cannot alter the reality we face." The main financial challenges come from a reduction in revenues collected from the 900 Reform Jewish congregations in the United States and from pension liability obligations.
Reform Seminary May Cut Two of Three U.S. Campuses - BeliefNet
The Reform Jewish movement's central seminary is considering closing two of its three U.S. campuses amid what the school's president calls "the most challenging financial position (the school) has faced in its history." The Conservative movement's Jewish Theological Seminary in New York will cut its faculty by 15 percent later this year, and the Orthodox Yeshiva University is trying to cut its budget by $28 million.
HUC Could Close Two of its Three U.S. Campuses - JTA
The board of governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion will meet next month to discuss various ways of dealing with the school's financial problems, including whether to keep open just one of its three campuses in Los Angeles, New York and Cinncinati, according to the Los Angeles Times. Other alternatives include merging some academic programs while keeping more than one campus open.
HUC May Close Two of its US Campuses - Jerusalem Post
On Monday, the Reform movement's Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) announced that it may have to close down two of its three US campuses due to the economic crisis. Rabbi Michael Marmur, dean of the Jerusalem branch, told the Post on Tuesday that "each campus is part of an integrated institution, and we are all being affected by the budget cuts in the short term. Rabbi Ellenson and I agree, though, that Jerusalem's campus is still very strong."
Hebrew Union College - The religious center faces closure. - USC Annenberg TV Network
Rabbi Steven Windmueller, Dean of HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, said, "No great Jewish community in the world survives or is able to truly function without a seminary of Jewish learning."
Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation's oldest institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and communal service professionals and offers graduate and post-graduate degree programs for scholars of all faiths. With campuses in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, New York, and Jerusalem, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise renowned library, archive, and museum collections, the American Jewish Archives, biblical archaeology excavations, research centers and institutes, and academic publications. HUC-JIR invites the community to an array of cultural and educational programs that illuminate Jewish history, culture, and contemporary creativity, and foster interfaith and multi-ethnic understanding. Visit us at

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