A Message from the Provost - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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A Message from the Provost

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In President Andrew Rehfeld’s October 27, 2019 Inauguration address, he declared: “I am filled with optimism for our institution and hope for its future because the College-Institute drives ideas and builds leaders to shape communities that bring hope and healing to our fragmented world.” Exactly six months later, our world needs that hope and healing now more than ever.

On that fall morning at the historic Plum Street Temple, President Rehfeld asserted: “To achieve this promise Hebrew Union College must…leverage our diverse resources, as a single institution, One HUC, to execute our mission with excellence.” One way that we are striving toward excellence, even amidst the unprecedented challenges of the coronavirus crisis, is by making several key staffing changes effective July 1, 2020.

Appointment of Rabbi Dvora E. Weisberg, Ph.D., HUC Rabbinical School Director

To give HUC’s rabbinical school greater focus, direction, and clarity, Rabbi Dvora E. Weisberg, Ph.D., has been appointed to a 3-year term as HUC-JIR Rabbinical School Director. Rabbi Weisberg currently serves with distinction as the Rabbi Aaron D. Panken Professor of Rabbinics and Rabbinical Program Director on the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles. She will continue in those roles as she becomes our single Rabbinical School Director, overseeing the rabbinical school curriculum on all campuses and making strategic decisions about rabbinical education at HUC. Rabbi Weisberg will work closely with the local Rabbinical Program Directors, the Year-in-Israel Director, the faculty, and the Provost to strengthen HUC’s rabbinical program and enhance the student experience. Partnering with the Senior Director of the Office of Recruitment and Admissions, Rabbi Weisberg will help revise the rabbinical school admissions and placement processes and update messaging and marketing about a rabbinical school with a proud 145-year history and a promising future to meet the urgent needs of the contemporary Jewish world.

A revered teacher and scholar, Rabbi Weisberg brings to this new position eleven years of administrative experience, exceptional organization skills, a keen intellect, and the passion and compassion needed to nurture rabbinical students to fulfill their highest potential. 

Appointment of Rabbi Lisa D. Grant, Ph.D., Eleanor Sinsheimer Distinbuished Service Professor in Jewish Education and Coordinator of Seminary Special Projects

As we strive toward excellence through greater coordination of HUC’s Rabbinical School, we also seek to maximize potential synergies between the Rabbinical School and the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, our two programs dedicated to clergy formation. Because the Covid-19 crisis has increased our need for someone to manage several significant projects that span the cantorial and rabbinical schools, Rabbi Lisa D. Grant, Ph.D., has been named the Eleanor Sinsheimer Distinguished Service Professor in Jewish Education (a position formerly held by Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph, Ph.D.) and appointed to a new 3-year position as Coordinator of Seminary Special Projects. While continuing in her current assignment as Rabbinical Program Director in New York, Rabbi Grant will oversee the creation of a unique curriculum for the incoming class of first year cantorial, rabbinical, and dual master’s education students. She will partner with the Jerusalem team to redesign the Year-in-Israel program and achieve greater integration across the five-year programs of clergy formation. In addition, Rabbi Grant will work with the Directors of the Rabbinical and Cantorial Schools to begin to develop low residency options for both programs.  

Rabbi Grant’s scholarly expertise in adult learning and Israel education nicely qualify her for this position, as does her background managing projects such as the Mandel Initiative in Visionary Leadership. Over the past two years, Rabbi Grant has teamed with Rabbi Nancy Wiener, Dean Rabbi David Adelson, and Cantor Richard Cohn to design a series of integrative seminars for the professional and spiritual development of students on the New York campus. This collaborative, innovative spirit will serve Rabbi Grant well in her new role.

Appointment of Rabbi Jan Katzew, Ph.D., EMA Senior Educator

Another personnel change will bolster the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education, HUC’s flagship cohort based online learning program. Starting July 1, Rabbi Jan Katzew, Ph.D., will shift from Rabbinical Program Director in Cincinnati to a new position as EMA Senior Educator. Rabbi Katzew, who has played a key role in the success of the EMA program since its inception, will now dedicate more time as a teacher, advisor, and thought partner for the EMA leadership team. Rabbi Katzew will continue to serve Director of Service Learning for the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Fellows Project and Blended Track Associate Professor of Education and Jewish Thought in Cincinnati.

Rabbi Jonathan Hecht, Ph.D., who has provided valuable leadership as Dean in Cincinnati and worked hard to enhance student life on campus, will take on the additional role of Interim Rabbinical Program Director for the coming year.

Appointment of Rabbi Andrew Goodman, Director of Student Support in the Office of the Provost

To ensure that students in all of our programs receive adequate support, Rabbi Andrew Goodman has been appointed Director of Student Support in the Office of the Provost. Rabbi Goodman will transition from Associate Director in the Office of Recruitment and Admissions to this new role, while continuing to serve half time as Dean of Students on the New York campus. Rabbi Goodman will be responsible for meeting the needs of students in all programs who require learning accommodations, providing training to faculty, and working with liaisons on each campus to improve strategies for overall student success.

Before returning to HUC to work in recruitment and admissions, Rabbi Goodman served as a congregational rabbi and then as Director of Jewish Life and Campus Rabbi at the University of Richmond. His prior experiences, along with his keen interest in higher education administration, make Rabbi Goodman a natural choice for this newly created position.

Through these appointments, we are leveraging our rich resources—the exceptional faculty and administrators at HUC—to execute our mission with excellence. Please join me in thanking Rabbis Weisberg, Grant, Katzew, Hecht, and Goodman for their collective years of dedicated service to the College-Institute and congratulate them on their new roles. Together, as we confront the challenges of the current moment and continue the sacred work of the College-Institute, may we go from strength to strength.

Andrew L. Weiss 

Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost