The Council of Alumni Associations of HUC-JIR fosters a mutually supportive and collaborative relationship between the College-Institute and its alumni by providing a voice for alumni, a link between alumni and the College-Institute, and support to each of the Alumni Associations. We achieve these three goals by:
Working in a collaborative relationship with HUC-JIR’s President and administration to:
- Voice alumni ideas for advancing the College’s mission and shaping the College’s future, and
- Advocate for issues of common concern to alumni.
- Serve as a conduit for the College-Institute to alumni in their roles as ambassadors for the College-Institute to the Reform community and the broader Jewish community;
- Assist the College-Institute in recruitment and development; and
- Partner with the College-Institute to foster ongoing alumni education.
- Support the alumni associations of each of the schools in their missions to create a meaningful and lasting bond between the College-Institute and its alumni and current students;
- Enhance communication, joint planning, and collaboration among the College-Institute’s alumni associations; and
- Foster and model a spirit of mutual understanding, respect, collegiality, and cooperation among alumni in their relationships each other, with the College-Institute and in their daily professional lives.
To achieve these goals, the Council is made up of representatives of each of the College-Institute’s alumni associations including: the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, the New York School of Education, the Rhea Hirsch School of Education, the Schools of Graduate Studies, the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, the Schools of Rabbinic Studies working together with members of the HUC-JIR administration.
The Council of Alumni Associations of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion was formed in the 1994 - 1995 academic year. Representatives of the Schools of Graduate Studies, Jewish Communal Service, Rabbinic Studies, Sacred Music, and the Rhea Hirsch School of Education served on the Council. In 2003 the Council added seats for representatives of the New York School of Education. The Council’s mission from its inception until today is to foster a mutually supportive and collaborative relationship between the College-Institute and its alumni.
Dr. Gary Zola guided the formation of the group in its initial years. The first meeting of the Council was held in spring 1995 at HUC-JIR in New York. In July 2002 the College-Institute engaged the first full-time National Director of Alumni Affairs, Joy Wasserman, an alumna of the RHSOE. She supports the work of all the HUC-JIR Alumni Associations and the Alumni Council. The Alumni Council’s first program was an alumni lunch at the 1995 UAHC Biennial in Atlanta. The Alumni Breakfast at the URJ Biennial in Toronto in November 2009 was the eighth Biennial alumni event.
The existence of the Alumni Council both reflects and contributes to many of the innovations at the College-Institute. The chairperson of the Council represents the Council on the HUC-JIR Board of Governors. A representative of the Council served on the Presidential Search Committee. The Alumni Council participated in the discussions that led to the awarding of honorary doctorates as early as 1999 to alumni of the Schools of Education, Jewish Communal Service, and Sacred Music. For the first time, at graduation in 2006, meritorious alumni of the School of Graduate Studies were awarded a medallion in honor of their twenty-five years of service.
In July 2003, the Council changed its name from the Alumni Council to the Council of Alumni Associations. Council members believed that this new name more accurately described its membership and purpose. The Council continues to be a place where all matters concerning alumni and their involvement in and connection to the College-Institute are discussed.
Recent agenda items have included: the role of Alumni Governors, continuing alumni education, alumni participation in recruitment of students, mentoring students and recent graduates, grant development, alumni giving, alumni communication, and the strategic planning process of the College-Institute. Meetings of the Council include sharing of “best practices”, to encourage each Association to best reach out to its members and encourage the involvement of all alumni.
|Rabbi Jerry Davidson
||1995 - 1997
|Cantor Lori Corrsin
||1997 - 2000
|Dr. Wave Nunnally
||2000 - 2003
|Dr. Roberta Louis Goodman, RJE
||2003 - 2005
||2005 - 2006
|Rabbi Irwin Zeplowitz
||2006 - 2008
|Cantor Dana Anesi
||2008 - 2010
|Julie Vanek, RJE
||2010 - Present
Julie Vanek, RJE , Chair
Andi Miles, Vice-Chair
Alan Litwak, Member at Large
Cantor Dana Anesi, past Chair
New York School of Education
Rabbi Joui Hessel
Rabbi Alan Litwak
Rhea Hirsch School of Education
Rabbi Beth Nichols, RJE
Rachel Margolis, RJE
School of Graduate Studies
Dr. Jeff Cooley
Dr. Andy Riley
School of Jewish Nonprofit Management
Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music
Cantor Lee Coopersmith
Cantor Elizabeth Sacks
Jessica Ingram, Coordinator of Alumni Engagement, SJNM
Dr. Jane Karlin, V.P. of Institutional Advancement
Dr. Michael Marmur, V.P. of Academic Affairs
Debbie Niederman, RJE, Coordinator of Alumni Engagement, RHSOE
Cantor Mandi Beckenstein, Coordinator of Alumni Engagement, DFSSM
Shelley Goldfarb, Coordinator of Alumni Engagement, School of Graduate Studies
Joy Wasserman RJE, National Director of Alumni Engagement