With the destruction of the centers of higher Jewish learning in Europe during the Holocaust, HUC-JIR became one of the few surviving Jewish academic institutions in the world. As a successor institution to the European yeshivot and academies of Jewish education which had flourished for a millennium, the College-Institute was charged with the responsibility of raising a new generation of Jewish scholars and perpetuating the continuity of Jewish spiritual and material culture. Inspired by the legacy of all that was lost, HUC-JIR has strived to develop its centers of learning as vibrant sources of learning radiating Jewish knowledge to communities throughout the world.
Today, HUC-JIR is an international institution with centers in Cincinnati, New York, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem, and a global outreach capacity through Internet distance education programs. The College-Institute is strategically situated to maximize student recruitment, expand student and faculty field service to congregations and communities, enrich educational outreach, and sustain support.
Congregations benefit from the proximity of HUC-JIR's students who provide LA necessary services; many of these congregations could not otherwise afford the services of a rabbinical, cantorial, education or synagogue management intern. Among the URJ's 902 congregations there are approximately 477 small synagogues, many of which survive through the service of monthly and biweekly student interns who commute from the nearest regional campus. Large congregations, similarly, thrive through the services of HUC-JIR students as rabbinical, cantorial, educational, and youth group interns and religious school student teachers.
HUC-JIR's four centers:
The growth of HUC-JIR's four centers of learning has created a university distinguished for its depth and breadth of offerings. By utilizing these extensive resources and facilities, HUC-JIR is uniquely able to train transformational leaders and create transformative programs for the Reform movement. The following descriptions of each of the centers of learning is presented in the historical order in which they were first established.