We have welcomed new members of our administration: Dr.
Samuel Greengus as Director of the School of Graduate Studies in
Cincinnati; Rabbi Shirley Idelson as Dean of the New York School;
Dr. Michael Zeldin as Director of the Rhea Hirsch School of
Education in Los Angeles; Sandie Mills of Cincinnati as Director
of Finance and Accounting; Richard Siegel as Interim Director of
our School of Jewish Communal Service in Los Angeles; Rabbi
Ruth Abusch-Magder, Ph.D., as Director of the HUC-JIR –
CCAR Joint Commission on Sustaining Rabbinic Education;
and Michele Prince as Director of the Kalsman Institute on
Judaism and Health in Los Angeles.
We have renewed our faculty with individuals of great talent
who will strengthen the teaching and mentorship on our cam-
puses: Debbie Friedman, world-renowned folk songwriter and
performer has been appointed as Instructor in Music at the
School of Sacred Music in New York, and Rabbi Tali E. Hyman
is the newly named Instructor in Jewish Education in Los
Angeles (see page 10). Choreographer Liz Lerman held the Sally
J. Priesand Visiting Professorship in Jewish Women’s Studies
and used the tools of the dance world to explore text through
movement with students of the New York campus.
Through funds raised in honor of Burton Lehman, former Chair
of the Board of Governors, we have created an endowment for
HUC-JIR’s Faculty Retreat, ensuring that every two years our
entire faculty will be able to meet and engage in important dis-
cussions to enhance teaching and academic programs.
We have broken ground in Cincinnati for the $12 million Klau
Library Renovation and Expansion Project and will construct a
new “Library Pavilion” to house library collections, administra-
tive and library offices, and exhibition space for treasures from
the rare book collection.
We have admitted 79 students (38 stateside rabbinical, 4 Israeli
rabbinical, 5 cantorial, 21 education, 7 communal service, and
DeLeT certificate program students) and are proud to have
first-year students at our Jerusalem campus, where they are
studying side-by-side with 25 Israeli rabbinical students.
We have ordained 61 new stateside rabbis and 5 Israeli rabbis,
invested 10 cantors, graduated 13 communal service professionals
and 18 Jewish educators, and bestowed 134 Master’s and Doctoral
degrees on students in our graduate and professional programs.
We have continued to raise funds for scholarships to attract the
best and the brightest and have been delighted by the many
congregations who have chosen to honor their rabbis by creat-
ing scholarships in their names.
In Israel we have developed a Masters program in Jewish Pluralistic
Education, in conjunction with the Melton Center for Jewish Education
at Hebrew University, to train educators who are working in Israeli pub-
with gifts from the Chais Family Foundation and the
Through our Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling
in Jerusalem, our students have been at the forefront of aiding the
victims of violence and terrorism, in the aftermath of the war with
Lebanon and missile attacks on Israel’s northern and southern borders.
We have renewed our commitment to day school education by assuring
the continued funding of DeLeT—Day School Education through
Leadership and Training—with a substantial grant from the Jim Joseph
Foundation, and by creating a Masters in Teaching funded by the Avi
We have mounted extraordinary exhibitions at the HUC-JIR Museum
in New York, including works from the collection donated to the College
by Sigmund Balka (see page 8), and the exhibit on Jewish identity by
the renowned artist Judy Chicago, among many others. In Los Angeles,
through a grant from the Los Angeles Community Foundation, we wel-
comed Overseer Peachy Levy as artist-in-residence, who worked with
students to interpret sacred texts through her exhibit “Threads of Judaism.”
We have accomplished all of this through remarkable gains in our devel-
opment effort. This year we completed our first-ever capital campaign,
which raised over $140 million, surpassing its goal of $135 million.
This campaign enabled the College-Institute to more than double its
endowment from $48 million to $115 million; to improve the physical
facilities on our campuses, in particular in Cincinnati; and to provide
millions of dollars for annual operational needs, new centers, faculty
chairs, scholarships and fellowships, and new academic programs.
This year we raised over $25 million – $20 million in cash and an addi-
tional $5 million in pledges – to ensure the vibrancy of our programs
and our ongoing commitment to excellence in preparing Jewish leaders.
Throughout Jewish history, no Jewish community has ever thrived with-
out a strong house of study, and in our generation the obligation of the
College-Institute is to be such a
With your generous help,
I am confident that HUC-JIR can and will fulfill this mandate.
As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel, let us
remember the sacrifice and commitment that have allowed us to reach
this milestone, and let us rededicate ourselves to ensuring the Jewish
future for our children and grandchildren. With warm thanks for your
partnership in this sacred task,
Rabbi David Ellenson,
May 2008 / Iyar 5768
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