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Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Dr. Eugene B. Borowitz, Sigmund Falk Distinguished Professor of Education and Jewish Religious Thought at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), has been appointed Distinguished University Professor by Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, as of July 1, 2004.

In announcing this appointment, Rabbi Ellenson said, "As rabbi, scholar, professor, and moreh derekh, we honor Dr. Borowitz's passion, commitment, and love for God and the Jewish people, and express thanks for all he has taught and will continue to teach. May the passion and the intellect with which Rabbi Borowitz has challenged and directed the Jewish community continue unabated for years to come, and may he go on, from strength to strength."

In his new position, Dr. Borowitz will take on special academic projects on behalf of the College-Institute. The first project will be a scholarly newsletter, which will highlight the contributions and scholarly approaches of HUC-JIR's faculty, and which will be developed in partnership by HUC-JIR and the Union for Reform Judaism.

Dr. Borowitz is the "dean" of American Jewish philosophers. In 1996, the National Foundation for Jewish Culture bestowed upon him its medal for Jewish Cultural Achievement in the realm of scholarship, the first time it had been awarded for work in the field of Jewish thought.

Dr. Borowitz has taught at HUC-JIR in New York since 1962. He is a prolific author, having written numerous articles and seventeen books. His books are directed at a broad range of readers, from Explaining Reform Judaism, written with Naomi Patz, (a book for confirmation class students on religious belief) to Jewish Moral Virtues, co-authored by Frances Weinman Schwartz, addressed to lay learners." His titles include A New Jewish Theology in the Making, How Can a Jew Speak of Faith Today?, Choosing a Sex Ethic, The Masks Jews Wear, Contemporary Christologies: A Jewish Response, Choices in Modern Jewish Thought, Liberal Judaism, Reform Judaism Today, Studies in the Meaning of Judaism, Judaism After Modernity, and Exploring Jewish Ethics: Papers on Covenant Responsibility. The book that stands as the central statement on his theology is Renewing the Covenant: A Theology for the Postmodern Jew. Renewing the Covenant, in which he identifies the dialectical themes of Covenant and self, God and community, that he has emphasized throughout his theoretical writings, was the first systematic Jewish theology since Abraham Heschel's seminal publications in the 1950s.

Dr. Borowitz is the only Jew to serve as President of the American Theological Society. In 1982 Harvard University Divinity School invited him to inaugurate its newly established List Professorship of Jewish Studies. He wrote the featured, comprehensive article on Judaism in the 16-volume Encyclopedia of Religion. His 1974 work, The Mask Jews Wear, received the National Jewish Book Award in the field of Jewish thought.

Rabbi Borowitz is widely known in the Jewish community as the former Editor of Sh'ma, a journal of Jewish responsibility, a magazine of Jewish social concern he founded in 1970 and edited for 23 years. He is active in Jewish publishing as Vice-President of the Jewish Publication Society. He has served as visiting professor of religion at Columbia University, Princeton University, State University of New York at Stony Brook, City College of the City University of New York, Drew University, Temple University, Teachers College of Columbia University, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and Woodstock College (the Jesuit graduate school of theology).

Dr. Borowitz received his bachelor's degree from Ohio State University in 1943. He was ordained at HUC in Cincinnati in 1948 and earned his Doctor of Hebrew Letters degree in Rabbinic Literature at HUC in 1952. He also earned the Ed.D. at Columbia University's Teachers College. He has received honorary doctorates from Colgate University, Lafayette College, and Gratz College. He has served congregations in St. Louis, MO, and Port Washington, NY, and was a Navy Chaplain during the Korean War. Prior to his academic position at HUC-JIR, he was National Director of Education for Reform Judaism at the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, editing its books, curricula, and educational publications.

A profile of Dr. Borowitz, entitled "Dr. Eugene B. Borowitz at 80: A Jewish Spiritual Journey at HUC-JIR," which was recently published in HUC-JIR's Chronicle magazine [2004, Issue 63] appears on the HUC-JIR website at:http://huc.edu/chronicle/63/borowitz.pdf.

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. www.huc.edu