In Memoriam, Dr. Norman B. Mirsky - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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In Memoriam, Dr. Norman B. Mirsky

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Tuesday, September 1, 1998

Dr. Norman B. Mirsky, Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies and Sociology at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and one of the foremost authorities on psychoanalysis and Judaism in the Los Angeles area, passed away on September 3, 1998.

In sharing the news with colleagues, Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, President and Rosh Yeshiva of HUC-JIR said, "It is with profound sorrow that I share the news of the passing of Dr. Norman Mirsky. He was a remarkable scholar, teacher and friend. He was beloved by his students and colleagues, and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him."

A renowned expert in the American Jewish experience as reflected through sociology and American Jewish literature, Dr. Mirsky taught Human Relations and Homiletics (sermon writing) at HUC-JIR Los Angeles. He also taught Jewish Literature and Jewish Intellectual History as part of HUC-JIR's Jerome H. Louchheim School of Judaic Studies, which offers the Judaic Studies courses for the University of Southern California. He joined the faculty of HUC-JIR Cincinnati in 1967. Dr. Mirsky served on the HUC-JIR Los Angeles faculty since 1976.

Dr. Mirsky was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1937. He received his B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1959. He was ordained at HUC-JIR in 1963. Dr. Mirsky finished his course work and qualifying exams in a record 2 years and received his Ph.D. in 1971 from Brandeis University. His dissertation was entitled "The Making of a Reform Rabbi: The Socialization and Professionalization of Reform Rabbinical Students."

Dr. Mirsky had the distinction of serving on a number of faculty committees and is a past chair of the faculty at HUC-JIR. He served as Vice President of the Labor Zionist Alliance and has been the permanent Scholar-in-Residence at Temple Isaiah, where he led their Shabbat Minyan and Torah Study Class, which is one of the most popular in Los Angeles. He also taught advanced adult Jewish education at Temple Isaiah.

From 1981 to 1987 Dr. Mirsky served on the Research Task Force of the CCAR/UAHC. Dr. Mirsky taught at Newton College of the Sacred Heart and for five years was a member of the sociology faculty at Tufts University. In the 1960s and early 70s, he served as Senior Research Associate in the Department of Psychiatry in the Medical College of the University of Cincinnati as well as the Board of Yavneh Day School.

Dr. Mirsky is survived by Elaine Mirsky, his wife of forty years, and his daughter and son, Rebekah and Aaron.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.