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Heartfelt wishes for a New Year blessed with health, hope, fulfillment, peace and joy!
Please click here for a New Year's message from Rabbi David Ellenson and Barbara Friedman and a video about our students
News at HUC-JIR
Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, z"l, Former President and Chancellor Emeritus of HUC-JIR
Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, former President and Chancellor Emeritus of HUC-JIR, passed away on Saturday, September 12, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The funeral service took place on Monday, September 14, 2009 at noon at Plum Street Temple at 726 Plum Street in Cincinnati.

A child refugee from Nazi Germany, Dr. Gottschalk rose to head HUC-JIR, the seminary for Reform Judaism, the largest growing denomination of Judaism in North America. For five decades, he conceived and guided the development and expansion of HUC-JIR's four campuses in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles and New York into vibrant resource centers of academic excellence for both scholars and laity. His visionary efforts positioned the College-Institute as a preeminent institution of higher Jewish learning for the training of rabbis, cantors, educators, communal professionals, and scholars.

"As a child of the generation of the Holocaust and as one who witnessed the onset of the destruction of European Jewry, I knew that I would devote myself to rebuilding Jewish life," Gottschalk wrote. "This has been the key motivation of my life, and my work to advance HUC-JIR as a successor to the great centers of learning destroyed during the Shoah has enabled me to contribute to the regeneration of the Jewish people."

Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, stated, "It is with an infinite sense of loss that we mark the passing of our beloved mentor and teacher, Dr. Alfred Gottschalk. He was a builder and pioneer of Reform Judaism and a champion of the Jewish people. An advocate for women's rights in Judaism, he ordained the first women rabbis in America and Israel. He was the architect of the College-Institute's campuses in Los Angeles and Jerusalem. As a refugee from Nazi Germany who had witnessed the onslaught of the Holocaust, he devoted his life to regenerating Jewish life and learning, and dedicated his energies to the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. An ardent Zionist, his support for Israel was unwavering. His enormous contributions to the shaping of contemporary Judaism for over six decades will endure as a sacred legacy and a source of inspiration."

Please click here for eulogies delivered at the funeral at Plum Street Temple on September 14, 2009 by:
Upcoming Events at HUC-JIR
High Holy Day Services at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
Erev Rosh Hashanah: Friday, September 18th at 6:00pm
Murstein Synagogue, HUC-JIR, entrance at 13 King David Street

Kol Nidre: Sunday September 27th, at 5:00 pm
Mincha/Yizkor/Ne'ilah 3:00 pm Blaustein Hall, Merkaz Shimshon-Beit Shmuel, entrance at 6 Shama Street

No tickets needed for Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur Services
Dedication of the Klau Library in Cincinnati, OH
Sunday, November 1, 2009

2 pm: Dedication Ceremony and Address by Dr. Michael A. Meyer, Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Jewish History, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, at the Klau Library, HUC-JIR, 3101 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, OH

7 pm: Celebratory Program/Dessert Reception and Address by Dr. Gregory H. Williams, President, University of Cincinnati, at Mayerson JCC on the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Campus, 8485 Ridge Road, Cincinnati, OH

Information: 513-487-3032 or
An Evening with Debbie and Friends: Concert to Benefit HUC-JIR and Its School of Sacred Music
Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 6:00PM

The music of Debbie Friedman performed by Debbie and featuring The Afro-Semitic Experience, HaZamir, The Western Wind, HUC-JIR alumni and students, and surprise guests!

Central Synagogue, Lexington Avenue at 55th Street, New York City, NY

Information: 212-838-2660, ext. 16 or
HUC-JIR in the News
Rabbi David Ellenson on "Remembering Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk" - JTA
For me, and for the nearly 2,000 rabbis, cantors, educators, communal professionals and scholars trained during his tenure as president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, no rabbi commanded greater respect and awe than our teacher and rabbi Alfred Gottschalk, who died Sept. 12. His life and accomplishments were legendary. His deepest commitments were to humanity, the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
Alfred Gottschalk, 79, Scholar of Reform Judaism, Is Dead - The New York Times
As a rabbi and scholar, Dr. Gottschalk was emphatic that his motivation was to keep Jewish identity alive after the Holocaust, in which he lost 55 relatives. He often spoke of his grandfather's handing him the tattered remnants of a Torah scroll the Nazis had desecrated. "Hold these close to your heart," Gustav Gerson said. "One day we will put them together again."
Alfred Gottschalk, Revered Reform Leader, Dies in Cincinnati - Jerusalem Post
"Alfred Gottschalk was a genuine giant in the Jewish community who never forgot his roots in Germany and labored his entire life to improve the world and strengthen so many educational and religious institutions in the Jewish community and beyond," said Rabbi David Ellenson, the college-institute's president. "Before Professor Gottschalk, it was not always taken for granted that so many Reform Judaism resources would be diverted to strengthening ties with Israel," said Rabbi Michael Marmur, HUC-JIR vice president of academic affairs. "Professor Gottschalk was not the only Reform leader who was extremely Zionist, but he was one of the most instrumental in bringing about a major change in Reform Judaism's attitude toward Zionism."
Alfred Gottschalk dies at 79; a leader of Reform Judaism - Los Angeles Times
Before rising to president, he was dean for 12 years at the Los Angeles campus, where he created an innovative program to train Jewish community service workers. He also established a novel joint program in Judaic studies with the seminary's neighbor, USC.
Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Built Across Races, Oceans - Cincinnati Enquirer
He was 8 years old, a frightened Jewish child living under the tyranny of the Nazis in the tiny German village of Oberwesel. His father had fled Germany, bound for New York, in the face of Nazi threats some months before. The boy had experienced the hatred of the Nazis firsthand, having been driven from his school by a storm trooper who burst into his classroom shouting "Alle Judische Kinde, raus!" ("All Jewish children, out!")

For a photo album of Dr. Gottschalk from the Cincinnati Enquirer's archives, click here:
Rabbi Led Prominent Reform Judaism Seminary - Washington Post
Most notably, while president of the seminary, he ordained the first female rabbi in North America, Sally Priesand, amid opposition from within the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox movements. "Many people felt that this was a violation of traditional gender roles in Judaism and that men alone should serve in the position of rabbi," said Rabbi David Ellenson, the current president of the college-institute. "Once he took this step, the notion disappeared in the Reform movement."
Reform Giant Gottschalk Succumbs - Jewish Week
Influenced by the speeches of Rabbi Stephen Wise, Rabbi Gottschalk decided to enter the rabbinate. "As a child of the generation of the Holocaust and as one who witnessed the onset of the destruction of European Jewry, I knew that I would devote myself to rebuilding Jewish life," said the rabbi.
Alfred Gottschalk, a German Refugee Who Became a Reform Movement Leader - Forward
First as dean of the Los Angeles campus, and then, from 1971 through 1996, as president of the entire HUC-JIR, Gottschalk built and expanded the Reform movement graduate schools that have trained thousands of Reform rabbis, cantors, Jewish educators and communal service workers on its four campuses. Among other things, Gottschalk established schools of education and Jewish communal service in Los Angeles, and in the 1970s, in the heart of a recession, envisioned vastly expanded centers for Reform Judaism in Jerusalem and New York. In 1979, he moved the New York school, which was in a small Upper West Side space, to the campus he built adjacent to New York University in the West Village.
Fred Gottschalk - Museum Director's Blog
Dr. David Marwell, Director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, wrote: "His impact on the Jewish world was immense, not only through his own contribution as a scholar and communal leader, but also in the impact he had on the thousands of rabbis and other religious and communal leaders, whom he taught and touched in profound ways."
Rabbi Gottschalk - San Francisco Sentinel
Rebuilding what the Nazis destroyed became Gottschalk's mission in life. "There has to be a legacy," he said in the Cincinnati Enquirer. "We have to have successor institutions for those lost in the Holocaust."
New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery in New York
Celebrate Shabbat with contemporary artist Genevieve Flynn's sterling silver "Jacob's Ladder" Sabbath candle sticks. $950 plus shipping and handling. To purchase, please contact: 212-824-2218,

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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 leadership 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 programs to scholars of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise renowned library and museum collections, the American Jewish Archives, biblical archaeology excavations, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. HUC-JIR invites the community to an array of cultural and educational programs which illuminate Jewish history, identity, and contemporary creativity and which foster interfaith and multiethnic understanding. Visit us at

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