Strategic Planning 2020 - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Strategic Planning 2020

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Dear HUC Community, 

We are living through an extraordinary time.  To say so now, more than 4 months into the pandemic, seems at once unexceptional and understated.  Yet, with each passing day, we are reminded anew that moments like these are rife with opportunities for discovery and growth.  Our work at the College-Institute requires that we constantly seek ways to evolve, remain curious, and innovate alongside an ever-changing environment, both within the Jewish community and the world at large.  With this in mind, HUC is embarking upon an exciting, new strategic plan to address the present, continue on the path that Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, z”l began to pave, and prepare for a sustainable future. 

In June 2020, we selected Wellspring Consulting to guide our thinking and lead us towards a strategic plan that will help move us forward.  Their experienced team of consultants includes Chris Keevil, Rachel Light, and Liam Grace-Flood.  At HUC, Liz Squadron (Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and External Relations), working with Kristin Young, is leading our planning work and collaboration with Wellspring.  As with so many of our critical projects, we will work in partnership with our Board of Governors and a Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, chaired by Larry Tarica and overseen by our Board Chair, Sue Neuman Hochberg.  Our Continuity Task Forces, designed primarily to anticipate and assuage matters related to COVID-19, are also working to provide strategic recommendations that directly address the needs of faculty, staff, and students.    

Over the course of the next six months, we want to hear from all of you, too.  There will be a series of Town Hall meetings, during which you will have the opportunity to weigh in on critical areas of HUC’s future. The meetings will serve as a way to continue the listening tour conversations I conducted this past fall.  Throughout the process, the team and I will share progress updates with the HUC community and field any questions you have about the planning process. This website will be one of the places you can check for updates.  We will continue to add progress reports as research continues and ideas for various strategies are developed.  If you would like to get involved or have any questions about the process, contact Liz at or Kristin at    

I am looking forward to our work together. 

Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D.  



Strategic Planning Advisory Committee 

Larry Tarica, Vice Chair, Board of Governors; Chair, SPAC
Sue Neuman Hochberg, Chair, Board of Governors
Patty Beck
Andy Berger, Former Board Chair; Chair, Nominating Committee
Marty Cohen, Chair, Buildings and Grounds Committee
Cary Davidson, Chair, Western Region Overseers
David Edelson, Vice Chair
Ken Gilman, Treasurer
Joy Greenberg, Chair, Communications Committee
Michael Halpern, Chair, Recruitment, Admissions, and Placement
Karen Hoguet, Chair, Audit Committee
Yaron Horovitz, Chair, Israel Board of Overseers; Co-Chair, Israel Committee
Rabbi Lewis Kamrass, HUC-JIR Rabbinic Alum
Matt Louchheim, Vice-Chair, Development Committee
Rachel Margolis, RJE, MAJE/MAJCS, Immediate Past Chair of the Alumni Leadership Council, Alumni Leadership Council
Kevin Penn, Co-Chair, Investment Committee
Rabbi Amy Perlin, HUC-JIR Rabbinic Alum; Co-Chair, Israel Committee
Dr. Bruce Phillips, Faculty Chair
Cantor Sarah Sager, HUC-JIR Cantorial Alum
Rabbi Ronald Segal, HUC-JIR Rabbinic Alum; Chair, CCAR
Debbi Sorrentino, Chair, Central Region of Board of Overseers
Marcie Zelikow, Co-Chair, Development Committee

Internal Working Group

Rabbi David Adelson, D.Min., Dean, New York
Rabbi Adam Allenberg, MAJE, Director of Recruitment and Admissions, National
Lissie Diringer, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, National        
Rabbi Joshua Garroway, Ph.D., Professor of Early Christianity and the Second Commonwealth, Los Angeles
Sharon Gillerman, Ph.D., Kutz Chair in Jewish History; Faculty Chair, Los Angeles
Amy Goldberg, Chief Financial Officer, National       
Alyssa Gray, Ph.D., Emily S. and Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman Chair in Rabbinics; Faculty Chair, New York
Rabbi Jonathan Hecht, Ph.D., Dean, Cincinnati
Joshua Holo, Ph.D., Dean, Los Angeles
Rabbi Naamah Kelman-Ezrachi, Dean, Jerusalem       
Rabbi Dalia Marx, Ph.D., Rabbi Aaron D. Panken Professor of Liturgy and Midrash, Faculty Chair, Jerusalem
Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., President, National
Michelle Slocum, Controller, National           
Liz Squadron, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and External Relations, National         
Rabbi Mark Washofsky, Ph.D., Solomon B. Freehof Professor of Jewish Law and Practice; Faculty Chair, Cincinnati
Rabbi Andrea Weiss, Ph.D., Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Provost, National

Faculty Consultation Group 

Joshua Holo, Ph.D., Dean, Los Angeles; Chair, FCG
Rabbi David H. Aaron, Ph.D., Professor of Hebrew Bible and History of Interpretation, Cincinnati; Co-Chair, Editorial Board for the HUC Press
Dr. Rachel Adler, Rabbi David Ellenson Professor of Jewish Religious Thought, Los Angeles
Dr. Alyssa Gray, Emily S. and Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman Chair in Rabbinics; Faculty Chair, New York
Dr. Leah Hochman, Director, Louchheim School for Judaic Studies; Associate Professor of Jewish Thought, Los Angeles
Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Jewish Theology, Jerusalem
Dr. Bruce Phillips, Professor of Sociology & Jewish Communal Service, Los Angeles; Faculty Chair, Board of Governors
Rabbi Haim Rechnitzer, Ph.D., Professor of Modern Jewish Thought, Cincinnati
Rabbi Richard Sarason, Ph.D., Director, Pines School of Graduate Studies; Professor of Rabbinic Literature and Thought and The Deutsch Family Professor of Rabbinics and Liturgy, Cincinnati
Cantor Benjie Schiller, Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Ritual and Professor of Cantorial Arts, New York
Rabbi Joseph Skloot, Ph.D., Rabbi Aaron D. Panken Assistant Professor of Modern Jewish Intellectual History, New York
Liz Squadron, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and External Relations, National, Ex Officio
Rabbi Andrea Weiss, Ph.D., Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Provost, National, Ex Officio
Dr. Sivan Zakai, Sara S. Lee Assistant Professor of Jewish Education, Los Angeles
Rabbi Gary P. Zola, Ph.D., Executive Director, Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives; Edward M. Ackerman Family Distinguished Professor of the American Jewish Experience and Reform Jewish History, Cincinnati





August 2020 Update

  • Module 2’s 41 interviews were completed, which included staff, faculty, Board members, students, and alumni
  • Wellspring shared findings with and received input from the HEART group (program directors and senior managers), the President’s Rabbinical Council (alumni), and the Alumni Leadership Council
  • There were two intensive sessions with Wellspring and the SPAC (the Board’s strategic planning and advisory committee) and a kick-off meeting with a financial modeling subgroup of the Board
  • Wellspring also reviewed and analyzed a broad range of new data, including HUC-JIR’s historical financials, endowment and restricted funds’ composition and trends, rabbinic admissions data, longitudinal enrollment numbers, job placement statistics across HUC-JIR programs, URJ congregational data, and internship and student pulpit placements


July 2020 Update 

  • Module 1 interviews were conducted last month with 12 staff and Board members 
  • Module 2 interviews are underway now and will last through mid-August.  There are 41 interviews in all, which include staff, faculty, Board members, students, and alumni 
  • In the next two months, Wellspring will facilitate several focus group meetings with alumni and students 
  • In September, Wellspring will speak with approximately 12 external experts to gather their views.  These will include institutional funders, individual donors and others who are knowledgeable in the field 
  • Full staff and full faculty meetings will be hosted by Wellspring in mid-October, to share findings and receive input regarding the strategic questions for the project 
  • Other work that will happen between now and December includes such things as financial modeling, benchmarking of other institutions facing similar challenges, mapping the landscape, and sizing the market for students  
  • We expect the work to be completed by the end of 2020, with a final presentation to the Board in early 2021 



Town Hall Meeting for Staff with Wellspring Consulting

Monday, October 19, 2020

3:00pm to 4:30pm


Stay tuned for additional details.