Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
C.L. Max Nikias, Ph.D.,
President, University of Southern California,
Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters recipient;
Graduation Address, May 16, 2011
You have committed yourself to the adventure of learning. That adventure continues through the decades, and it ends only with our
last breath. I know you have learned much here, within a religious tradition that places learning as its unshakable foundation. At this
great institution, your mind and your conscience have been fed and energized by the discussion of the most timeless truths of the
human experiment. But in the grand tradition of Jewish scholarship and inquiry, this lively discussion is renewed each new morning
through the years, with each new day bringing deeper insight into timeless truths, and with each truth leading to timely advances for
ourselves and our children. Let us cherish this unending struggle for truth, which the Jewish tradition has infused wonderfully into
our world, as each of us comes to understand who we are, as human beings in society, and as persons with a timeless heritage that
offers something timely today and tomorrow. May you be bold in your struggle for perspective and for hope and for truth. May you
be tireless and resilient in working alongside others in the service of
as you strengthen and heal a broken world that des-
perately needs your contribution. And may you all seize the mighty destiny that awaits you.
Lo s Ange l e s Gr adua t i on /Or d i na t i on
Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., N ’77;
Los Angeles Ordination Address, May 15, 2011
As you prepare for your ordination as rabbi, I would remind you that you are the newest link in the chain of Jewish tradition that unites
our people throughout history. As a rabbi, you are called upon to devote yourselves to God and the people Israel. Here Rabbi Leo Baeck
should serve as your inspiration. The last duly-elected leader of the German Jewish community during the Shoah, Rabbi Baeck per-
sonally arranged for thousands of European Jews to escape during those years. Yet he refused to leave his people and abandon his
post during their time of distress. He was ultimately incarcerated in Theresienstadt, where three of his sisters perished and where he
continued as rabbi to minister and teach all prisoners – Jewish and gentile. The integrity Rabbi Baeck displayed remains a model of
rabbinical leadership to which you must aspire as you embark upon your career.
Rabbi Ellenson ordaining Dr. Dvora Weisberg, Director, Rabbinical
Studies, and Associate Professor of Rabbinics, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles.
The rabbinical class of 2011.
Ordination Services at Wilshire Boulevard Temple.
Graduates and faculty of the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management.
Rhea Hirsch School of Education graduates.