HUC-JIR at a Glance

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. HUCJIR educates men and women for service to the Reform Movement and the Jewish people worldwide as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths.

Each year, HUC-JIR students serve more than one-third of the nearly 900 Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) congregations (many of which are small synagogues that would otherwise not have professional leadership). They fulfill internships in educational institutions, Jewish communal organizations, camps, healthcare and military chaplaincy, and the institutional arms of the Reform Movement. Over 200 students have served Progressive congregations throughout the Former Soviet Union during Passover for the past nine years.

HUC-JIR campuses in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York facilitate student internships by proximity to congregations throughout these regions, strengthen recruitment efforts, and significantly enrich the educational, spiritual, and cultural lives of Jewish and wider communities.

The Fiscal Year 2015–2016 budget is balanced, whereas a budget deficit amounting to $10 million existed only seven years ago. This has been achieved by a reduction in unrestricted expenses and increased revenues. For this year’s approved all funds budget of $46.5 million, 21% of revenue comes from URJ congregational dues that are split 44% to HUC-JIR and 56% to the URJ; 57% of revenue is generated by fundraising and investment income (our endowment as of June 30, 2015 is $205 million); and 13% is provided by tuition revenue ($24,000 annual tuition per full-time student), which is heavily subsidized by HUC-JIR and its generous benefactors. Over two-thirds of annual budgeted expenses are applied to instruction, academic support, and student need, including $4.6 million for scholarships and stipends this year.

HUC-JIR’s academic programs include:

  • Rabbinical School / Rabbinical Ordination and M.A. in Hebrew Letters / Literature
  • Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music / Cantorial Ordination and Master of Sacred Music; Cantorial Certification
  • Rhea Hirsch School of Education and New York School of Education / M.A. in Jewish / Religious Education; Executive M.A. in Jewish Education; Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults; DeLeT Fellowship – Day School Teachers for a New Generation; Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute (with Jewish Theological Seminary)
  • Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management / M.A. in Jewish Nonprofit Management; dual M.A. degrees with University of Southern California in Business Administration, Social Work, Public Administration, and Communication Management; Graduate Certificate Program
  • Joan and Phillip Pines School of Graduate Studies / Ph.D., M.A. degrees for students of all faiths; Doctorate in Hebrew Letters for rabbinical alumni; Interfaith Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling for clergy of all faiths
  • Undergraduate Judaic Studies / HUC-JIR provides undergraduate Judaic Studies programs for students at University of Southern California (Los Angeles) and Xavier University (Cincinnati)
  • Year-in-Israel Program for all first-year rabbinical, cantorial, and education students from North America

Students have joint degree opportunities in our Rabbinical, Cantorial, Jewish Education, and Jewish Nonprofit Management Programs and can go on to earn a Ph.D. at our Pines School of Graduate Studies.

With an enrollment of over 400 full-time students and 800 part-time education students and graduate studies students, as well as undergraduate students at USC and Xavier University, HUC-JIR has the largest number of rabbinical, cantorial, Jewish education, Jewish nonprofit management, and graduate studies students of all Jewish seminaries in North America. Students benefit from HUC-JIR’s exceptional resources, including the Klau Library (the second largest Jewish library in the world) and the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives with its 15 million documents recording American Jewish history and preserving Reform congregational and institutional records.

HUC-JIR ordained and graduated 127 students in 2015; they join the nearly 4,000 active HUC-JIR alumni serving the Reform Movement, the Jewish people, and wider communities.

The 36 scholars on HUC-JIR’s full-time tenured faculty (nearly half of whom are women) represent the largest Jewish studies faculty outside of Israel. They are internationally recognized for their scholarship, teaching, and mentorship of the Reform Movement’s professional and lay leaders and for cutting-edge research in the areas of Jewish studies, Jewish educational leadership, spirituality, pastoral counseling, Judaism and sexual orientation, Judaism and health, and Jewish-Muslim engagement.