HUC-JIR Recruitment Viewbook 2018 - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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HUC-JIR Recruitment Viewbook 2018

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Cover of HUC-JIR Recruitment viewbook

Pondering the future of the world and your unique contribution to it? Interested in shifting the conversation from what is to what can be? Intrigued by diving deep into text, culture, and innovation? Eager to engage with thoughtful people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives? With our broad range of individualized programs, you can move forward and love not just what you do, but who you are and the difference you can make.

Your key to a fulfilling and meaningful life starts here.


Table of Contents

Could You Change the World?
School of Rabbinical Studies
Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music
School of Education (Rhea Hirsch School of Education, Los Angeles, and New York School of Education)
Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management
Pines School of Graduate Studies
Interfaith Doctor of Ministry Program in Pastoral Counseling
Multiple Choices & Multiple Degrees
The Israel Experience
Beyond the Classroom
Financial Aid
How and Where Will You Make Your Mark?
What People Are Saying
A Path-Breaking Institution
Let's Get Started


Could You Change The World? 

The world needs inspiring leaders, now more than ever. Leaders like you. Activists, scholars, idealists, engineers, artists – people who care and want to make a difference in the world. Are you ready to breathe new vibrancy into Jewish life and tradition? To touch people’s lives, build communities, promote justice, and shape the future?

Whatever your journey has been until now, whether this is your first look or you’ve been thinking about us for some time, we welcome you to our campuses in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York. At HUC-JIR you will encounter a nurturing environment that values your unique talents and interests, and encourages your exploration and experimentation. This is where you will find lifelong connections, colleagues, and mentors. Your career potential is broad and open-ended, as you prepare for the many different opportunities in your future.

If rigorous study driven by intellectual curiosity, innovation, social responsibility, and spiritual search appeals to you, join us. The world is waiting for you.


School of Rabbinical Studies

Elana Nemitoff, Julie Bressler, and Eric Rosenstein, M.A. in Jewish Education ’17, rabbinical students ’19

Elana Nemitoff, Julie Bressler, and Eric Rosenstein,
M.A. in Jewish Education ’17, rabbinical students ’19

Follow Your Heart

If you want to lead the Jewish people,
we’ll help you launch a one-of-a-kind career as a rabbi.

Being a rabbi today means carrying a feeling of the sacred wherever you go and talking about life’s big questions while life is happening. Our School of Rabbinical Studies in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, or New York will present you with countless possibilities for putting your unique visions and values into action.

Your extraordinary five-year journey will begin in Jerusalem, where you’ll engage deeply with Jewish text and Israel studies as you strengthen your ties to the Jewish people worldwide. For the following four years you’ll be challenged at our stateside campuses by academic rigor and openness to questions in Bible, Talmud, liturgy, and more. You’ll expand your professional development through a broad array of courses, student pulpits, internships, clinical pastoral education, and social justice and entrepreneurship projects. And you’ll strengthen your personal touch through spiritual guidance, as well as traditional and innovative worship.

You will develop the knowledge and skills to be the leader you want to be. Your unique mission can encompass myriad roles, from community organizer, worship and thought leader, and pastoral caregiver, to institutional change agent and advocate for the causes you hold dear. You will be ready to apply both tradition and innovation to address the changing needs of the Jewish people and beyond. And your initiative and creativity will prepare you to support and transform the lives of others, build communities, and bring healing to our world. 

Every day will bring a new experience. Your future as a rabbi will be anything but ordinary.

Rabbinical Student Isaama StollStudent Spotlight
Rabbinical Student Isaama Stoll ’19

Isaama has been talking about becoming a rabbi since she was six years old. As a Jew of color, she is often viewed as a role model. But she prefers to see herself as an advocate for the wide range of diversity that exists in the Jewish community.

“There is no one role model of a rabbi. My experiences are shaping me into the rabbi I need to be, so I can wear my identity with pride.”


If you are Israeli and want to advance religious pluralism in Israel and help ensure the growth of the communities, institutions, and agencies of the Reform Movement in Israel, consider our Israeli Rabbinical Program.



Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music

Cantorial student Danielle Rodnizki ’20

Cantorial student Danielle Rodnizki ’20

A Voice To Be Heard

The world needs to hear your voice – a voice meant to unite and inspire.

Let your gifts flourish as a cantor, with unprecedented opportunities to lead worship, educate, create, and counsel.

At our Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music in New York, you’ll explore how your unique voice can transform people’s lives while fostering your own growth and fulfillment. 

Whether your path began in the conservatory, musical theater, synagogue, or song-leading at camp, this is where you will discover new ways to channel your talents. 

Your first year of study in Israel will immerse you in the Hebrew language, Israeli culture, and the rich and complex varieties of Jewish music, worship, ritual, and spirituality that have evolved across the centuries and continents. 

During your next four years in New York, you’ll strengthen your skills and musicianship as you delve into liturgy and liturgical music, Bible, Midrash, philosophy, musicology, history, and more. 

Our internationally recognized faculty, spiritual guidance, mentored congregational internships, and clinical pastoral education will enrich your journey. Recitals and entrepreneurial and social action projects will fuel and nurture your growth. 

Your voice will sustain Judaism’s glorious musical heritage as you inspire traditional and contemporary worship. Your talents in performance, conducting, or composing will create memorable experiences that foster spirituality and celebration. Your deep Judaic and musicological knowledge will intrigue learners of all ages. And you will have the joy of touching the lives of individuals, families, and communities. 

You will discover the increasingly diverse role of the contemporary cantor as spiritual leader, educator, pastoral counselor, social activist, and community builder. And you will enjoy tremendous creativity as you give voice to music’s infinite and powerful expression of the human spirit. 

Find artistic fulfillment and spiritual meaning as a cantor. Lift up your voice to lift up the world. 

Cantor Jacob NiemiStudent Spotlight
Cantor Jacob Niemi '18

Jacob’s love for music led him to a Sacred Music program at college. It was a new program for church musicians, and they didn’t quite know what to do with Jacob at first. But despite differences in theology, Jacob learned the nuts and bolts of leading worship, and the experience gave him a good vocabulary for doing interfaith work in the future.

"Music is an integral part of culture. And when other expressions of Judaism aren’t working for people, culture is a portal to connecting.”



School of Education (Rhea Hirsch School of Education, Los Angeles, and New York School of Education)

Matti Barzilai, M.A. in Jewish Education ’15, DeLeT ’16

Matti Barzilai, M.A. in Jewish Education ’15, DeLeT ’16

Imagine What Can Be

When you spread the joy of education, you make the world a better place.
As an educator, you have the power to transform lives.

In each of our graduate programs in Jewish Education, you will question the very meaning of such a profession in today’s world. Students engage in entrepreneurial experimentation and endlessly seek innovative learning strategies to make Judaism relevant and meaningful for learners of all ages.

M.A. in Jewish/Religious Education: The largest, most distinguished Jewish education faculty in the world will encourage your individuality and engage your participation in cutting-edge research, projects, and professional internships.You will re-imagine Jewish education as you acquire equal depth in both Judaica and educational leadership.

Concentration in Experiential Jewish Education: Enjoy a customized curriculum for M.A. students with a passion for summer camps, service learning, environmental education, and more.

Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education: This hybrid program for working professionals with at least five years of experience allows you to continue to live and work in your home community.

Joint M.A. Degrees in Jewish Education and Jewish Nonprofit Management: Tailor your course work toward leadership in the Jewish community.

DeLeT – Day School Teachers for a New Generation: During this one-year mentored internship teaching in a Jewish day school in Los Angeles, San Diego, or the San Francisco Bay area, you will study with leading scholars and practitioners.

Be a reformer, a questioner, an entrepreneur, an empowerer, an experimenter. You’ll be a leader who shapes the future of Jewish education in ways not yet imagined.

Thalia Hapert RodisStudent Spotlight
Education/Rabbinical Student Thalia Halpert Rodis ’20

The daughter of a Jewish mother and Greek Orthodox father, Thalia was named for the Greek muse of comedy. But the call of social justice has proven to be her muse. Among her accomplishments, she worked with teenage refugees fleeing Afghanistan. Her “eureka” moment came at her mom’s adult bat mitzvah. Her love of education comes from her work with children.

“The passion of Jewish youth to be immersed in the work of tikkun olam reminds us of our sacred role as educators. Tzedek, justice, shall you pursue.”



Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management

Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management students

Zelikow School graduates (from left):
Amy Mendelsohn, MAJNM/MCM ’17; Julia Hubner, MAJNM/MCM ’17;
Jamie Cohen, MAJNM/MCM ’17; Ilana Rabin, MAJNM/MCM ’17;
Rabbi Michael Cohen ’17, Certificate ’16; Rabbi Aaron Sataloff ’17, MAJNM ’17

Value Your Values

For you, making the world better is more than a trending topic.
Let us help you turn your passion into action.

Launch your career with a degree from the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management in Los Angeles, recognized as a premier center for the education of Jewish professionals. 

Innovation, business design, and fundraising are core management practices needed in this rapidly changing field. You will develop the creative problem solving skills to successfully lead organizations or launch your own. 

Paid field internships and consulting projects will establish your abilities and build a network of professionals in the field.

M.A. in Jewish Nonprofit Management (24 Months): Achieve the business acumen and entrepreneurial practices you need to move forward your career as a nonprofit professional.

Dual Degrees at USC (24 Months): Earn two degrees in two years. Receive an M.A. in Jewish Nonprofit Management and one of the following degrees from USC: Master of Social Work, USC Dworak-Peck School of Social Work; Master of Communication Management, USC Annenberg School of Communication; Master of Public Administration, USC Price School of Public Policy; Master of Business Administration, USC Marshall School of Business (three-year program).

Concurrent Degrees at HUC-JIR: Enhance your job opportunities and develop specialized skills through concurrent degrees in our rabbinical and education programs.

M.S. in Organizational Leadership (14 Months): Our fast track is designed with a low residency requirement for working professionals seeking to maintain their career while completing a Master’s degree or for students seeking to accelerate their education and launch a career.

Certificate in Jewish Organizational Leadership (1 Summer): Designed for professionals seeking to take the next step in their career path, the curriculum provides theoretical and practical experience to prepare you to lead a Jewish nonprofit.

Start your journey at the Zelikow School!

Julia HubnerStudent Spotlight:
Julia Hubner, Jewish Nonprofit Management/USC MCM ’17

For seven years after college, Julia worked for Jewish nonprofits, blending her Jewish passion and interest in communications, but she needed additional learning and professional training to further her career. The double M.A. at HUC-JIR and USC nailed it for her, balancing rigorous studies in a diverse student cohort, background courses in Jewish history, culture, and thought, and best practices in marketing and messaging. Julia is ready to apply her communications expertise to move the Jewish people forward.

“HUC-JIR has enhanced my Jewish relationships, enriched my life, and given me the knowledge and experience to lead a Jewish nonprofit.” 



Pines School of Graduate Studies

Pines School of Graduate Studies students

Pines School of Graduate Studies students studying together
with rabbinical students in a course taught by Dr. Gary P. Zola,
Edward M. Ackerman Family Distinguished Professor and
Executive Director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives

Keep Digging Deeper

An unstoppable drive to question and learn about history, philosophy, and theology.
If that describes you, you have the natural outlook and insight to become a scholar of Judaism.

Join a unique community of graduate students from diverse faiths and international backgrounds in a rabbinical seminary environment alive with intellectual inquiry at our Pines School of Graduate Studies in Cincinnati. 

The world’s leading scholars are waiting to mentor and guide you. And you will have unlimited access to our Cincinnati campus’s extraordinary resources—the Klau Library network, American Jewish Archives, Archaeology Center, Skirball Museum, and HUC-UC Ethics Center.

Ph.D. Program in Judaic and Cognate Studies in Cincinnati: We offer doctoral programs in Hebrew Bible, History of Biblical Interpretation, Jewish and Christian Studies in the Greco-Roman Period, Rabbinic Literature, Jewish Thought, and the American Jewish Experience.

M.A. in Jewish Studies Program in Cincinnati: This two-year program is an excellent way to begin if you are considering an academic career, or simply wish to enrich your sphere of knowledge as a lay or professional leader or nonJewish clergy.

Summer-In-Israel Program: Our Ph.D. and M.A. programs offer an archaeological dig into ancient Israel, coursework on our Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem, and the opportunity to experience Israel as a modern state.

Doctor of Hebrew Letters: If you are a rabbi ordained at HUC-JIR or another accredited Jewish seminary, this flexible part-time doctoral program offers you the opportunity for independent study and coursework that will revitalize your ongoing work. As a scholar, your intellectual curiosity will lead you towards a life filled with questions and new understandings as you inspire others with your knowledge.

Rabbi Ofer Sabath Beit-HalachmiStudent Spotlight:
Rabbi Ofer Sabath Beit-Halachmi ’05, ’20, Ph.D. Student in Liturgy and History

As a rabbi, a scholar, and an Israeli, Ofer has a special interest in the question of how ritual develops and why it develops in a certain way. He sees ritual as a mirror of our spiritual life. Studying it helps us understand the development of Jewish identity.

“This is a very open, vibrant community of learners. I love studying with other people who are not like me.”



Interfaith Doctor of Ministry Program
in Pastoral Counseling

Rabbi Joel Levenson, D.Min. '17 and Pastor Ferron F. Francis, D.Min. '17

To Listen Is To Heal

It’s been said that members of the clergy are first responders, there to provide strength and support for others.

Designed for ordained clergy of all faiths, this part-time, New York-based two-year program offers a unique opportunity to understand and respond to the variety of pastoral challenges encountered in the ministry.

You will deepen your sense of authenticity and authority as a clergyperson and counselor, and expand your expertise and hands-on experience to provide comfort and inspire souls.

Student Spotlight: 
Pastor Ferron F. Francis, D.Min. '17

“There is a wealth of learning through interacting with other denominational and faith traditions.”

Student Spotlight:
Rabbi Joel Levenson, D.Min. '17

“We share the deep questions about what it means to live in relationships with others.”



Multiple Choices & Multiple Degrees

Who says you have to choose just one direction? By pursuing more than one of our degree programs, you’re able to strengthen your opportunities as a leader in the Jewish community and the larger world.


The Israel Experience 

Year-In-Israel Students at the Jerusalem Pride Parade

Year-In-Israel Students at the Jerusalem Pride Parade

“Unforgettable.” “Transformative.” “Spectacular.”

Our students describe their experiences in Israel as life-changing.

HUC-JIR is the acknowledged academic leader in making the Israel experience an integral part of Jewish professional and academic training. Our students and alumni help build religious pluralism and interfaith relations in Israel, working with Israelis of all backgrounds.

Whether you participate in our Year-In-Israel Program for first-year rabbinical, cantorial, and education students, our two-week immersive Israel Seminar for Jewish nonprofit management students, or our Summer-In-Israel Program for students in our Pines School of Graduate Studies, time spent in Israel adds texture and depth to your academic and personal experience.

As a student in Israel, you’ll discover ancient roots and deepen your religious and spiritual identity. At the same time, you’ll witness the complexity and richness of contemporary Israeli life. You’ll encounter a diversity of Jewish music, worship, and culture. And you’ll forge lifelong relationships with Israeli peers who lead Reform congregations, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations.

You’ll return from your Israel experience with a deeper sense of your own identity as part of a global people.


Beyond the Classroom

Hilly Haber at the HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen in New York

Hilly Haber at the HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen in New York

HUC-JIR is that sweet spot at the intersection of what you love to do,
what you’re good at doing, and what others need you to do.

Innovations for Your Soul: At HUC-JIR, we’ll encourage you to participate in meaningful projects, initiatives, and social action programs that help make a difference in the world.

  • The student-run Soup Kitchen personifies the central role that social justice plays in life on campus.
  • The Spirituality Initiative aims to bring mindfulness and contemplative practices to the educational experience in your unfolding relationship with God.
  • Service Learning embeds you in community organizations and agencies where you can apply your classroom learning to real life.
  • The "Be Wise" Fellowship challenges you to apply your entrepreneurial imagination to the changing needs of the contemporary Jewish community.

Our Faculty of Mentors: Our internationally renowned and tenured faculty, approximately half of whom are women, represent the largest Jewish studies faculty outside of Israel. Their pluralistic approach provides a welcoming environment that encourages your intellectual curiosity and search for spiritual meaning. More than teachers, they become mentors, often for life. Supportive, rigorous, intellectually adventurous, and forever inquisitive, some of Judaism’s best minds are here at HUC-JIR to guide you on your journey to becoming a fulfilled Jewish leader.

A Wealth of Jewish Resources: As a student at HUC-JIR, you’ll enjoy privileged access to:

  • Our library network of The Klau Library in Cincinnati, Abramov Library in Jerusalem, Frances-Henry Library in Los Angeles, and Klau Library in New York, ranked as one of the world’s largest repositories of Hebraica and Judaica from the 10th century to the present, including rare illuminated manuscripts and the Eduard Birnbaum Music Collection.
  • The Skirball Museum in Cincinnati, Skirball Center for Biblical and Archaeological Research and Museum in Jerusalem, the HUC-JIR Museum in New York, and exhibitions at the Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, displaying over 4,000 years of Jewish artistic expression.
  • The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, one of the world’s premier centers of study, research, and publication in the field of American Jewish history.
  • Cutting-edge centers, national think tanks, and research projects that take on such topics as pastoral counseling, Judaism and sexual orientation, Judaism and health, educational leadership, and Jewish-Muslim engagement.


Financial Aid

We are grateful to the Koret Foundation for establishing the Koret Foundation Scholars Program, which will enable all new rabbinical, cantorial, and education students beginning their enrollment in the 2017-2018, 2018-2019, or 2019-2020 academic year to attend the Year-In-Israel Program tuition free. We also offer generous merit-based tuition scholarships, tuition fellowships with additional living stipends, and need-based scholarships to provide financial support for students in our various programs.



How and Where Will You Make Your Mark?

It’s Up to You! 

You have your degree and now you’re ready to apply your knowledge, commitment, and vision to transform the Jewish community and larger world. So what’s next? The great news is that we place over 99% of our graduates in outstanding leadership positions with competitive salaries and benefits. As an HUC-JIR graduate, you’ll be part of the largest movement in North American Judaism, with a greater number of synagogues, organizations, and educational facilities seeking to employ you. What’s more, you’ll have a lifelong network of colleagues, mentors, and alumni connections to draw upon. 

Your career opportunities are open-ended, and your path can lead in many directions:

  • Nearly 900 North American Reform congregations
  • Progressive Movement synagogues and communities in Israel and around the world
  • Reform congregational schools, Jewish day schools, and bureaus of Jewish education
  • URJ summer camps, NFTY youth programs, and Israel programs
  • URJ, CCAR, WUPJ, WRJ, and other Reform Movement program departments
  • Hillel Foundations and Jewish student centers on college campuses
  • Federations and Jewish social service agencies
  • National and regional Jewish communal organizations, Israel advocacy, and Jewish startups
  • Academic administration and faculty positions at universities
  • Jewish communal and private philanthropic foundations
  • Jewish museums and cultural institutions
  • Jewish community centers and educational outreach organizations
  • Jewish publications, press, and media
  • Chaplaincies and administration in hospitals and homes for the aged
  • U.S. military chaplaincy


What People Are Saying

“At HUC-JIR I found a way to synthesize my identity as a Jew and a musician in a meaningful way.” 
Cantor Ben Ellerin ’15

“A graduate of HUC-JIR is instantly connected to a vast community of alumni and Jewish professionals, which leads to excellent employment opportunities to do impactful, rewarding work.”
Rabbi Michael Danziger ’16

“There are no two students who have the same career goals. Each of us will be a vital link in the Jewish community.”
Ari Kellerman, M.A. in Jewish Nonprofit Management ’17

“I am at HUC-JIR because of its great academic reputation and the excellence of its graduate programs and faculty. There is a wonderful student community here that fosters collaboration and friendship.”
Chelsea Simon ’22, Ph.D. Student

“Getting my education degree at HUC-JIR taught me how to think as an educator, design curriculum, advance organizational change, and engage with the larger Jewish people. If connecting with the Jewish community and engaging with tradition are what you love to do, HUC-JIR is the place for you.” 
Rabbi Jeremy Gimbel ’17, M.A. in Jewish Education ’15


A Path-Breaking Institution

Cantorial student Danielle Rodnizki ’20, education/Jewish nonprofit management student Melissa Goldstein ’18, and rabbinical student Natalie Shribman ’20 in the Year-In-Israel Program

Cantorial student Danielle Rodnizki ’20,
education/Jewish nonprofit management student Melissa Goldstein ’18,
and rabbinical student Natalie Shribman ’20 in the Year-In-Israel Program

Time and again, HUC-JIR has led the way in Jewish higher education:

  • 1875: established the first permanent rabbinical seminary in North America
  • 1947: inaugurated the first interfaith school of graduate studies located in a Jewish seminary
  • 1948: founded the first cantorial school in North America
  • 1963: created our campus in Jerusalem, in recognition of the importance of Israel for the training of Jewish leaders
  • 1969: launched the graduate program in Jewish communal service
  • 1970: started requiring rabbinical students (and later education and cantorial students) to study in Israel as part of their academic journey
  • 1972: ordained the first woman rabbi in America
  • 1975: ordained the first woman cantor in America
  • 1990: established the first Clinical Pastoral Education Program in a Jewish seminary
  • 1992: ordained the first woman rabbi in the State of Israel
  • 2006: ordained the first transgender rabbi
  • 2009: ordained the first African-American rabbi
  • 2017: ordained the 100th Israeli Reform rabbi


Let's Get Started

HUC-JIR/Cincinnati rabbinical students

HUC-JIR/Cincinnati rabbinical students

Whether you’re exploring your future or are certain HUC-JIR is for you, we’re here for you. We can answer your questions or help you plan a visit to one of our four campuses. Contact us and start the journey that will lead you to do what you love as the leader you were meant to be.

Call: 800-899-0944
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