Rabbi Jonathan L. Hecht, Ph.D., serves as Dean of HUC-JIR's Cincinnati campus. He was appointed Dean on July 1, 2018.
Rabbi Hecht previously served as rabbi at Temple Chaverim since 1992, serving Eastern Nassau and Western Suffolk Counties of Long Island. Over the past 26 years, he created a vibrant and inclusive community that enjoyed exponential growth of its membership, by removing barriers both physical and spiritual, and by welcoming diverse gender expression and interfaith families. He participated in two capital campaigns; played a central role in the planning, design, and building of its new facility; and guided strategic planning and visioning. He worked collaboratively to implement digital distance learning in the Religious School; innovative b’nai mitzvah workshops and teen engagement programs; creative programming for adults; and successful social action efforts and mitzvah day opportunities.
HUC-JIR awarded Rabbi Hecht with the Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, in 2012 for his 25 years of distinguished service to the Jewish people. Very active in the Jewish and broader community on Long Island, Rabbi Hecht is a past President of the Long Island Board of Rabbis and currently serves on the Board of the Mid-Island Y JCC. He has represented his congregation through involvement with UJA-Federation, the Plainview – Old Bethpage Interfaith Clergy Coalition, the Chamber of Commerce, and through work with local politicians.
Rabbi Hecht served as a Chaplain of the 106th Air Rescue Wing of the New York Air National Guard, where he held the rank of Major, from 1987-1998. He received the Air Force Achievement Medal in 1997 for his dedicated service, including the creation of the Suicide Prevention and Holocaust Remembrance Day programs. He has appeared on television and was a consultant and featured expert in the History Channel’s production, Bible Battles. He has taught for many summers at the Union for Reform Judaism’s Eisner and Crane Lake Camps.