Founders’ Day Ceremonies and Graduation at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Honor Alumni for 25 Years of Service as Rabbis, Cantors, Educators, and Communal Service Professionals - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
Skip to main content

Founders’ Day Ceremonies and Graduation at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Honor Alumni for 25 Years of Service as Rabbis, Cantors, Educators, and Communal Service Professionals

Main Content
Monday, February 3, 2003

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) will award honorary degrees to rabbinical, cantorial, education, and communal service alumni in honor of their years of dedicated service at Founders’ Day Ceremonies at HUC-JIR’s Schools in Cincinnati (March 9) and New York (March 16), and at a special ceremony on graduation day in Los Angeles (May 19). Founders' Day was held in Los Angeles on February 25.

The annual Founders’ Day celebrates the vision of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, founder of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati in 1875, and of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, founder of the Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in 1922. Inspired by their legacy, the College-Institute’s academic programs, faculty, and students are committed to fulfilling their mission of a Judaism responsive to modernity. The College-Institute honors distinguished alumni for devoted years of service as preservers and teachers of Judaism – its faith, its culture, and its communal ethics. These alumni help ensure the continuity of Jewish heritage, scholarship, and spirituality.

Hundreds of alumni, students, and members of HUC-JIR’s faculty and administration, as well as families and friends attend each Founders’ Day to pay tribute to the honorees. Dr. Nili Fox, Associate Professor of Bible and Director of the Archaeology Center, will present the keynote address in Cincinnati; Dr. Lawrence A. Hoffman, the Barbara and Stephen Friedman Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Ritual will present the keynote address in New York; and Rabbi Sanford Ragins, Senior Rabbi, Leo Baeck Temple, Los Angeles will present the keynote address in Los Angeles.

The following HUC-JIR alumni will receive honorary degrees:

Cincinnati, March 9, 2003
3101 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati

Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa
Rabbi Marc Edward Berkson, Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun, Milwaukee, WI
Rabbi Alan Carl Flam, Senior Associate University Chaplain, Brown University, Providence, RI
Rabbi Gary A. Huber, Congregation Beth Tikvah, Worthington, OH
Rabbi Mark Steven Kram, Executive Director, Florida Hillel Council, Coral Gables, FL
Rabbi Stephen Fisher Moch, Congregation B’nai Emmunah, Tarpon Springs, FL
Rabbi Martin Sandor Scharf, Chaplain, Kivel Campus of Care, Phoenix, AZ
Rabbi Samuel R. Seicol, Director of Religious Services, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Aged, Boston, MA
Rabbi Myra Soifer, Temple Sinai, Reno, NV
Rabbi Dennis Edward Wald, Coral Gables, FL

Doctor of Jewish Communal Service, honoris causa
Alan S. Engel, Executive Director, Jewish Community Federation of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Jordan Sigmund Harburger, Executive Director, Greater Dallas Jewish Community Capital Campaign, Dallas, TX

New York, March 16, 2003
One West 4th Street, New York

Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa
Rabbi Richard Dean Agler, Congregation B’nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Rabbi Stephen Wise Goodman, Garden City Jewish Center, Garden City, NY
Rabbi Ira Lee Korinow, Temple Emanu-El, Haverhill, MA
Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler, Temple Emanuel of South Hills, Pittsburgh, PA
Rabbi Steven Samuel Mason, North Shore Congregation Israel, Glencoe, IL
Rabbi Lester Polonsky, Educational Director, Temple Avodah, Oceanside, NY
Rabbi Laurence Allan Schlesinger, Temple Beth El of Huntington, Huntington, NY
Rabbi Laurence M. Skopitz, Temple Beth David, Rochester, NY
Rabbi Warren G. Stone, Temple Emanuel, Kensington, MD

Doctor of Music, honoris causa
Cantor Barry Abelson, Temple Israel, Minneapolis, MN
Cantor Bruce Marshall Benson, Boca Raton, FL
Cantor Phyllis Schmetter Cole, River Edge, NJ
Cantor Don Alan Croll, Temple Shalom, Dallas, TX
Cantor Elliott H. Dicker, Beth Ami Congregation, Boca Raton, FL
Cantor Gail Posner Karp, Temple Emanuel, Davenport, IA
Cantor Mark Lipson, Temple Shalom, Norwalk, CT
Cantor Steven Pearlston, Free Synagogue of Flushing, Flushing, New York
Cantor Elias Roochvarg, Temple Israel, Charlotte, NC
Cantor Sarah J. Sager, Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, Beachwood, OH

Doctor of Jewish Religious Education, honoris causa
Esphira (Happy) Locketz Iscove, Family Education Specialist, Holy Blossom Temple, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Patrice Goldstein Mason, Family Educator, North Shore Congregation Israel, Glencoe, IL

Los Angeles, May 19, 2003
3077 University Avenue, Los Angeles

Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa
Rabbi Harold F. Caminker, Temple Beth El, Riverside, CA
Rabbi John Daniel Cooper, Chaplain, Retirement Villages, Buderim, Queensland, Australia 
Rabbi Karen L. Fox, Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Rosalind Ann Gold, Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation, Reston, VA
Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, Western Regional Director, American Jewish Committee, Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Mark Samuel Hurvitz, Congregation Etz Chaim, Ramona, CA
Rabbi Benjamin A. Kamin, Congregation Beth Israel, San Diego, CA
Rabbi Sheldon J. Marder, Chaplain, Jewish Home for the Aged, San Francisco, CA
Rabbi Sheldon Wayne Moss, President, Seven Blessings, Berthoud, CO
Rabbi Michael David Oblath, Professor of Ancient Israel, St. Mary’s College of California, Moraga, CA
Rabbi Shaul Osadchey, Congregation Or Ami, Houston, TX
Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz, Temple Adat Shalom, Poway, CA

Doctor of Jewish Religious Education, honoris causa
Janice P. Alper, Executive Director, Jewish Educational Services, Atlanta, GA
Adele Lander Burke, Vice President, Life-Long Learning, HUC-Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA
Vicki Reikes Fox, Museum Consultant, Los Angeles, CA
Nancy Pryzant Picus, Director of Judaic Studies, The Shlenker School, Congregation Beth Israel, Houston, TX
Natalie Ray, Great Neck, NY

Doctor of Jewish Communal Service, honoris causa
Janis F. Ballin, Valley Village, CA
Wayne L. Feinstein, San Francisco, CA
Irving L. Ginsberg, Rancho Mirage, CA
Miriam Prum Hess, Vice President for Planning and Allocations, Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Marcie Schoenberg Lee, Director, Hillel Teaching Scholars Program, Hillel Jewish Student Center, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Deena Bubis Libman, Development Coordinator, San Diego Jewish Academy, San Diego, CA

*Honorary degrees in Los Angeles are awarded at a special ceremony on Graduation Day on May 19.

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.