The COVID-19 Renewal Fund for HUC-JIR - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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The COVID-19 Renewal Fund for HUC-JIR

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GIVE NOW  |  Case for Support  |  An Urgent Need  |  Our Commitments


A global pandemic, economic disruption, and a sweeping movement for racial justice. The need for innovative, creative, and resilient Jewish leaders has never been more apparent. Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion must rise to the occasion, despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the vulnerability of our organizational structure and has stretched the limits of our students, faculty, and staff as our community continues to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape.

Despite this daunting forecast, opportunities abound for HUC to meet the challenges of this moment and renew our work to forge the next generation of “pursuers of justice” (Isaiah 51:1). With your support, HUC will continue to nurture and train the rabbis, cantors, Jewish educational and nonprofit professional leaders, and scholars who will build and foster communities of value, based on our tradition and with justice for all.

Please make your gift today.


The COVID-19 pandemic has created disruption on a global scale and forced us to question basic assumptions about how we conduct our work and maintain our commitment to excellence in the face of so many unknowns. Along with our Reform Movement partners, HUC’s revenues have plummeted and are not expected to rebound quickly. The funds we receive from Reform congregations through RMAC (Reform Movement Affiliation Commitment) are likely to fall by $2.6 million in the 2020-21 academic year, a loss of 30%. Continued economic uncertainty means that many of our donors, particularly our alumni, will be unable to sustain their levels of philanthropic support.

At the same time, the costs of adapting to our new environment and providing meaningful educational and engagement opportunities will soar. We must address the immediate critical needs of students, faculty, and staff caused by the pandemic, and provide the support and training necessary to fulfill our mission in our current landscape. We must accelerate improvements to aging technology and information systems to support learning, teaching, and working from around the globe. And we must harness these improvements to share HUC’s commitment to sustain Jewish life and learning with a broader audience in the months and years ahead.

Securing the vision of a vibrant Jewish community firmly grounded in the contemporary world is at the core of our work as educators, thought leaders, and community builders. We are at an inflection point that calls us to reaffirm HUC’s mission to create dynamic leaders and drive Jewish ideas and scholarship. While our mission is constant, our methods must change.

This campaign seeks to support three key commitments for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years:

Commitment to Academic Continuity and Excellence:  $4 million
Commitment to Operational Continuity and Excellence:  $500,000
Commitment to Jewish Life and Learning:  $500,000

Any funds raised beyond $5 million will help offset anticipated revenue losses.

HUC’s strategic planning process, launched before the pandemic, continues at an accelerated pace. We are committed to structural realignment that will significantly reduce costs over the next 2-5 years. Together, the COVID-19 Renewal Campaign and strategic belt tightening will strengthen our ability to achieve excellence.


Commitment to Academic Excellence and Continuity — $4 million

  • The New Pedagogy of the Virtual Classroom
    • Train, equip, and support faculty to deliver engaging and diverse online learning experiences
    • Develop curricular models to teach students the virtual and in-person skills needed for success
    • Equip all classrooms for virtual learning; equip chapels, auditoriums and public spaces for livestreaming
  • Learning Virtually and Learning Virtual Skills
    • Equip and support students for effective online learning, particularly cantorial students who need specialized equipment and training Ensure students have skills andequipment to fulfill their internship and pulpit responsibilities remotely
  • Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being of Students
    • Provide increased mental health resources and support through new Student Support Help Desk
    • Expand spiritual direction program to accomodate all interested students
  • Financial Security of Students
    • Increase financial support, particularly for students unable to fulfill internships and student pulpits
  • Modifications and Support for Learning Differences
    • Provide recording, transcription, note-taking, ASL interpretation, audio book access, coaching, educational testing and learning-difference-specific Hebrew tutoring
    • Ensure ADA training for faculty, students and staff
  • Faculty and Academic Resources
    • Enhance library services, including additional online subscriptions, digitization, and shipping of materials
  • Recruitment, Admissions, and Placement
    • Improve resources for virtual recruitment, including online advertising and new digital and print materials
    • Develop opportunities to reach new audiences, and old audiences (campers, college students, youth group members) in new ways

Commitment to Operational Excellence and Continuity — $500,000

  • Virtual Work
    • Train, equip, and support staff working from home
    • Invest in new technology platforms to support the virtual workplace
  • A Safe Return to Campus
    • Create safe workspaces on all campuses
    • Provide appropriate PPE for all visitors
  • Long-Term Sustainability
    • Support staff impacted by institutional need for increased efficiencies and decreased duplication of functions
    • Invest in revenue enhancing opportunities

Commitment to Jewish Life and Learning — $500,000

  • Share HUC Resources More Broadly
    • Develop non-degree programs, faculty speakers bureau, and other new learning opportunities
    • Invest in alumni and congregational education
  • Convene, Coordinate, and Collaborate
    • Strengthen partnerships with other non-Orthodox seminaries, graduate programs, and educational institutions
  • Thought Leadership
    • Expand HUC's role as a driver of ideas for the broad Jewish public sphere by leveraging online opportunities
    • Build capacity of HUC Press

Please make your gift to the COVID-19 Renewal Fund today.

To donate via mail, please make all checks payable to HUC-JIR at HUC-JIR, Office of Gift Administration, 3101 Clifton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45220

Questions? Please contact Ryan Tourial at