The Rabbi Michael Matuson Professorship for Emerging Scholars Inaugurated at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Monday, November 3, 2003

Dr. Jonathan Cohen, Assistant Professor of Talmud and Halachic Literature, and Director of the HUC-University of Cincinnati Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems Named as the Inaugural Matuson Professor

Sunday, October 26, 2003 at 4:00 pm 
S.H. and Helen R. Scheuer Synagogue

Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion 
3101 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45220-2488

The Rabbi Michael Matuson Professorship for Emerging Scholars was inaugurated at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati on Sunday, October 26, 2003 at 4 pm. This new faculty position, established by Cynthia G. and Dan Edelman, honors Rabbi Michael Matuson, ordained by HUC-JIR in 1984 and the rabbi of their Congregation Ahavath Chesed in Jacksonville, Florida.

Dr. Jonathan Cohen, Assistant Professor of Talmud and Halachic Literature, and Director of the HUC-University of Cincinnati Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems, has been named as the Inaugural Matuson Professor. He presented a lecture on "Setting Examples: Role Models and Heroes in Medieval Halachah" on the occasion of the launching of this new Professorship.

Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, stated, "The Matuson Professorship for Emerging Scholars, the first of its kind at HUC-JIR, will support the teaching, research, and publication activities of the College-Institute's young scholars during the critical years prior to tenure. The Matuson Professorship will help junior faculty to realize their potential, assist HUC-JIR in recruiting and retaining the most gifted teachers and scholars, and assure the highest academic standards for the new religious leaders HUC-JIR prepares for Reform Judaism and the wider Jewish community. We are grateful to our donors, Cynthia and Dan Edelman, for their generosity and for Rabbi Michael Matuson who is the inspiration for their gift."

Rabbi Michael Matuson has been the Rabbi at Congregation Ahavath Chesed, in Jacksonville, FL. since 1996. He is the senior member of the local Rabbinic Council and works closely with many civic and religious groups throughout Northeast Florida. Rabbi Matuson currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Conference for Community & Justice (NCCJ), Jacksonville Region. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of FRESHMINISTRIES and is a member of the Interfaith Steering Committee in the Mayor's office. Rabbi Matuson actively works with HabiJax, the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity and with the Interfaith Council of Jacksonville.

Rabbi Matuson was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati in 1984, where he received the Zion Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Hebrew Language and the Gittelsohn Prize in Education. He earned a M.A. (Phi Beta Kappa) from University of Florida, a Hebrew Education Certificate at Greenberg Teacher's College in Jerusalem, Israel, and a B.A. (with honors) from Monmouth College in Illinois. Rabbi Matuson has taught as an Adjunct Professor at Centenary College and Louisiana State University in Shreveport and at University of North Florida in Jacksonville. He has published in the journals Reform Judaism, Jewish Monthly, and Journal of Reform Judaism. Rabbi Matuson served in the Israel Defense Forces during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

An Israeli-born scholar, Dr. Jonathan Cohen earned his L.L.B. (Honors) degree from the University of Kent in Canterbury. At the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, he was the first David Patterson Junior Fellow in Jewish Law. He received his Ph.D. in Law from the University of Liverpool. Dr. Cohen has recently written on the status of Jewish married women, the provision of welfare in Jewish communities in medieval Spain, and rabbinic references to holiness in halachic texts. He has published in a number of academic journals.

Dr. Jonathan Cohen directs the Hebrew Union College-University of Cincinnati Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems. He coordinates an M.A. and Ph.D. program that focuses on Jewish Law and Ethics and teaches joint comparative law courses at HUC-JIR and the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Under his leadership, the Ethics Center has provided continuing education programs for lawyers, physicians, nurses, realtors, social workers, and other professionals, as well as public lectures, panel discussions, conferences, and symposia.


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