Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion to Provide Key Leadership for Nation's 2004 Celebration of 350 Years of American Jewish History

Monday, September 1, 2003

CINCINNATI, OH:--- As America's Jewish community prepares to initiate a year-long series of programs marking 350 years of Jewish communal life in America, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) faculty and staff have been appointed to key leadership roles with 'Celebrate 350: Jewish Life in America 1654-2004'-the governing body that will coordinate the year-long celebration. (September 2004-August, 2005).

As the coordinating body of an extensive network of organizations and programs, 'Celebrate 350' provides resources, encourages ideas, and links the many national and local projects, programs, and enterprises marking the event.

The 'Celebrate 350' Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion committee representatives include:

  • Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion; Member of the 'Celebrate 350' Governing Board
  • Dr. Gary P. Zola; Executive Director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and Chair of the Commission for Commemorating 350 Years of American Jewish History; Member of the 'Celebrate 350' Steering Committee
  • David Kaufman; Associate Professor of Contemporary American Jewish Studies; Member of the "Celebrate 350" Academic Advisory Council
  • Sara Lee, Director of HUC-JIR's Rhea Hirsch School of Education in Los Angeles; Co-Chair of the "Celebrate 350" Education Committee
  • Bruce Phillips, Professor of Jewish Communal Service; Member of the "Celebrate 350" Academic Advisory Council
  • Dr. David J. Gilner, Director of Libraries, is a member of the "Celebrate 350" Professional Advisory Committee. Dr. Gilner also represents the Council of Archives and Research Libraries in Jewish Studies as its President.
  • Dr. Grace Cohen Grossman, Curator of the HUC-JIR Skirball Museum in Los Angeles, is a member of the Academic Advisory Committee for the 350th.

'Celebrate 350' will work closely with organizations and individuals from around the country to commemorate this milestone occasion. Already, The Commission for Commemorating of 350 Years of American Jewish History, an affiliate of 'Celebrate 350', has planned a major exhibition of Jewish documents and artifacts to be displayed at the Library of Congress. The exhibit will open in September 2004. Following its presentation at the Library of Congress, the exhibit will travel to New York, Cincinnati and Los Angeles.

Through a Professional Advisory Committee and Committee of Affiliated Organizations, of which Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is a member, 'Celebrate 350' will encourage the development of national and local programs and provide activity organizers with technical support and resources. The College-Institute's museums and educational outreach programs at its campuses in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York will offer cultural and educational events in celebration of this milestone anniversary.

'Celebrate 350's' website will direct participants to available resources, enabling them to share ideas as well as educational materials. A calendar of all 350th anniversary-related events will be posted and regularly updated at www.celebrate350.org.

Like the official commemorations of the 250th anniversary in 1905 and the 300th anniversary observed in 1954-55, 'Celebrate 350: Jewish Life in America 1654-2004' will provide opportunities for study, reflection and celebration of this moment in Jewish, American, and world history. 'Celebrate 350' will focus on telling the story of Jewish achievements in America as well as of the singularity of American society that allowed Jews, a minority people, not only to preserve their history, religion, traditions, and culture, but also to thrive as individuals and as a culture. The Jewish experience in America - with its commitment to the values of freedom, opportunity, religious liberty, equality, and pluralism -is the story of America and American ideals as well. Therefore, all Americans are invited to join in 'Celebrate 350: Jewish Life in America 1654-2004.'.


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 men and women for service to 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, 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. www.huc.edu