Over one million dollars was raised at the 19th Annual Cincinnati Associates Tribute Dinner of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion on Sunday, November 11, 2001 at the Hyatt Regency. Five hundred guests welcomed Dr. David Ellenson, new College-Institute President, and paid tribute to honorees Linda and Joe Hale and Alice and Harris Weston. Funds raised support rabbinical and graduate student scholarships as well as Mapping our Tears, a new project of The Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education of the College-Institute.
The Tribute Dinner Committee felt it appropriate to forgo the usual expense of table centerpieces in light of the situation occurring in our country. Instead, those funds were designated specifically to HUC-JIR's Clinical Pastoral Education program that prepares students to serve as pastoral care providers for hospital inpatients, outpatients, medical staff, and patient families through classroom education and field experience. Therefore, the tables were adorned with a bud vase containing a single rose surrounded by votive candles and placards describing the use of the funds.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of awards to Linda and Joe Hale and Alice and Harris Weston. Dr. Ellenson spoke of the holiness of philanthropy and community involvement-activities that the Hales and the Westons have made a central part of their lives. Each couple received antiquity jugs inscribed with the thanks of the College-Institute and had the opportunity to address dinner guests. Joe Hale spoke earnestly about his childhood experience of going door-to-door with his mother who was wheelchair bound due to polio collecting for March of Dimes, and the impact that this experience has had on his life and the life of his family. Recalling the current state of war the country is facing, Harris Weston spoke about the critical importance of HUC-JIR-an institution where the intellectual, theological, and practical are co-mingled-in the dialogue for solutions to the complexities of our time.
The evening began with guests enjoying cocktails and hors d'oeuvres while mingling through select works from Alice Weston's acclaimed pictorial record of mound-builder studies, Silent Testimony: Prehistoric Earthworks of the Ohio Valley. Dinner co-chair Jacqueline M. Mack presided over the beginning of the program that included the singing of the Star Spangled Banner by Cynthia Cummins, staff of the College-Institute and the singing of Hatikvah, Israel's national anthem sung by Dr. Richard S. Sarason, HUC-JIR professor. Newly elected Council Member David Pepper brought remarks from the City of Cincinnati; Dr. David Ellenson outlined his vision for HUC-JIR in a Presidential Address; and Sister Francis Marie Thrailkill, President, College of Mount St. Joseph delivered the invocation.
Following dinner, Daniel J. Hoffheimer, Tribute Dinner co-chair, facilitated the balance of the evening's program. Emmanuel Itapson, a doctoral student at the College-Institute spoke movingly about his journey to HUC-JIR and his plans of returning to his home in Africa to minister and teach. Andi Cosnowsky, a 3rd year rabbinical student spoke about her previous career as a country songwriter and her decision to become a rabbi. Three HUC-JIR School of Sacred Music alumni Sharon Kohn, cantor, Isaac M. Wise Temple and cantor-in residence HUC-JIR; David Muchnick, cantor, Rockdale Temple; and Karen Webber Gilat, cantor, Temple Israel, Dayton, performed a beautiful collection of songs including a whimsical conversation in yiddush between a teacher and student. Rabbi Lewis Kamrass, Isaac M. Wise Temple officiated the closing benediction.
Honorary chairs of the Tribute Dinner Addison Lanier, Carole Tyler Rigaud, and Rabbi Michael Zedek were recognized along with John F. Barrett, president and chief executive officer, Western-Southern Enterprise, Robert J. Kohlhepp, chief executive officer, Cintas Corporation, and John T. Taylor, president, PNC Bank, who served as co-chairs of the Corporate Council for the Tribute Dinner.
Founded in Cincinnati in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the oldest institution of higher Jewish education in the western hemisphere and the academic and professional leadership development center of the Reform Movement. The College-Institute trains rabbis, cantors, religious school educators, Jewish communal workers, and graduate and postgraduate scholars at its four campuses in Cincinnati, New York, Los Angeles and Jerusalem. In addition to training professional leadership to serve the Jewish community, HUC-JIR's School of Graduate Studies awards Masters and Doctoral degrees to men and women of all faiths.