Dear Friends:
A
rtist Tamar Hirschl’s “Deer Watch,” illustrat-
ing the cover of this
Annual Report
,
conveys
the urgency of time in applying the Jewish
values of
tikkun olam
to our troubled world. Her art
expresses the prophetic heritage of Reform Judaism
and reminds us that the chain of Jewish memory and
the values of our tradition compel us to struggle for
the survival of the Jewish people, and for universal
freedom, tolerance, justice, and human rights. Her
artistic call to action powerfully reflects the mission of
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Judaism today stands at a crossroads, where trends
of weakened Jewish commitment and attachments compete with pock-
ets of intense Jewish revival and knowledge – and all this takes place
across traditional denominational lines and traditional institutional
patterns. The task of the College-Institute is to strengthen these pockets
of revival and knowledge, which take place both within and beyond tra-
ditional Jewish institutional structures.
The future of Judaism in North America, in Israel, and throughout
the world depends upon our ability to maintain and revitalize Jewish
religious tradition in light of the conditions we all confront in our
communities today and into the future. Our students and alumni stand
in the vanguard of the continuity of Jewish heritage, faith, and values.
They confront and respond to the challenges of assimilation and accul-
turation in North America, as well as the critical need for religious
pluralism – beyond the extremes of fundamentalism and secularism –
in the Jewish State of Israel.
At the College-Institute, our students learn how to introduce innovation
while preserving tradition, embrace diversity while asserting unity, and
approach our sacred texts with faith without sacrificing critical scholar-
ship. They are imbued with the leadership skills, knowledge, creativity,
and experience to be activists within the changing Jewish world, through
intensive training in:
Advancing social responsibility;
Fostering a welcoming culture for unaffiliated or mixed faith families;
Promoting inclusivity and the full participation of people of every race,
gender, and sexual orientation;
Facilitating worship through the integration of contemporary modes
of liturgy and spirituality;
Developing communities of lifelong learners; and
Advocating for human rights.
We have accomplished significant advances in fulfill-
ing our mission during the 2006-07 academic year:
We continue with the implementation phase of our
strategic plan, emphasizing academic excellence and
financial sustainability: We have created significant
economies to balance our annual budget, and have
developed guidelines to streamline our programs,
monitor spending, and engage in meaningful fiscal
forecasting for the future. Under the auspices of
our provost, Dr. Norman Cohen, we have created
special task forces to study, evaluate, and transform
the administration, teaching, and curriculum of our
rabbinical, cantorial, education, communal service,
and graduate programs.
In our rabbinical schools, we have taken the bold step of focusing
on the teaching of leadership and infusing leadership training
throughout our curriculum. We have launched several leader-
ship fellowship programs through the generosity of Mort Mandel,
Bonnie and Daniel Tisch, and Lynn Schusterman. We are
teaching leadership using three foci that have resonance within
the Jewish community – social responsibility, outreach and
intermarriage, and education to transform congregations into
communities of lifelong learning.
We have renewed our commitment to the integration of
our four campuses into one institution. A gift from Burt
and Gerry Belzer is enabling the development of electronic
classrooms on our Jerusalem, New York, and Los Angeles
campuses, to join the existing classroom created on our
Cincinnati campus through the generosity of The Jewish
Foundation of Cincinnati. These classrooms will facilitate
faculty coordination, collaboration, and team-teaching and
will expand the student learning experience, enhance faculty
scholarship, and promote excellence in all of our academic
programs (see page 13).
Technology is also transforming recruitment at HUC-JIR as
well as service to our students and faculty. The recently installed
Student Information System, financed by Governor Nicki
Tanner and her husband Harold; Sakai, an “open-source”
online Collaborative Learning Environment; and the Judaic
Studies Portal, an online resource of six programs, funded
by a seed money gift from Governor Kenneth Ruby and
his wife Wendy, are helping to enhance learning and schol-
arship on all campuses (see page 13).
Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
2006-2007
Annual Report
| Page 1
President’s Message
Rabbi David Ellenson.
(
continued on page 2)