On Tuesday, August 10th, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), held its 37th annual culmination exercises for its School of Jewish Communal Service (SCJS). Ten students received their Certificates in Jewish Communal Service. All will go on to pursue double masters from HUC-JIR and University of Southern California (USC). For the first time in the history of SJCS, at least one student is enrolled in each of the dual HUC-USC Masters programs, including social work, public administration, communications management, business administration and fine arts. Eight students are earning double Masters with USC and two are joint masters enrolled in the School of Jewish Communal Service and the Rhea Hirsh School of Jewish Education. Of the ten students, they came from eight different states and were graduates of some of this nation's finest universities, including Brandeis, Indiana, USC, Washington University in St Louis, the University of Washington (Seattle), and the University of Minnesota.
HUC-JIR's School of Jewish Communal Service, the oldest program of its kind in the country, instructs students in meeting the professional needs of Jewish community institutions. It combines study of Jewish text and traditions with strong elements from the social sciences. Graduates of the SCJS serve in leadership positions in synagogues, educational institutions, and community agencies, national and international organizations.
The keynote speaker at the event, Dr. Jeffrey R. Solomon, President of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies and the first Rabbi Louis Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence at the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, delivered the keynote address, entitled Contemporary Jewish Communal Services: New Challenges, Great New Opportunities. Dr. Solomon shared ten lessons learned from his professional experience, including "Never Forget the Core Values" and expressed "How fortunate we are to share in implementing some of the most basic precepts of Jewish values: b'tzlem elokimto know that every human being has infinite value and that infinite value must be manifest. To complete creation through continuing repair of the world, to understand that life trumps all and that our ability to bring quality to the lives of our fellow women and men is indeed a blessing."
Dr. Steven Windmueller, Director of HUC-JIR's School of Jewish Communal Service, stated, "HUC-JIR is dedicated to providing the best-trained professionals in the Jewish community. This year's students are highly enthusiastic, energetic, and committed and possess the capacity and talent to deliver an inclusive and pluralistic understanding of Judaism. I am looking forward to studying with them again next year as they complete their Masters degrees, mentoring their growth as Jewish professionals who will help to create a vibrant and secure future for Judaism in this country."
During the ceremony, Marla Eglash Abraham, Associate Director of the School for Jewish Communal Service, offered special remarks in Polish to the school's first student from Poland, Malgorzata (Gosha) Szymanska. Gosha grew up in Poland without any knowledge of her Jewish roots until the age of twelve, when she learned that her father was Jewish. After completing her dual degree with HUC-JIR and USC, Gosha plans to return to Warsaw, to help rebuild the Jewish community there.
Anne Marie Hromadka, who is pursuing a dual masters from SJCS and the School of Find Arts at USC, offered thoughts from the graduating class, entitled Go Forth to the Land I W ill Show You: Inroads along the Journey toward Becoming a Jewish Communal Professional. "As our journeys take us away from each other may we always continue to build on these days we spent together. Like Abraham, may we never lose sight of our personal goals and dreams along our journey as Jewish professionals. May we be blessed by the work we have accomplished."
Recipients of the 2005 Certificate of Jewish Communal Service include:
Rebecca Emily Garrison, B.A.
Beth Renee Goldstein, B.A.
Adam Benjamin Halpern, B.A.
Anne Marie Hromadka. B.F.A.
Miriam Pullman, B.A.
Shauna Raffety, B.A.
Amy Lynn Rosenbach, B.A.
Malgorzata Szymanska, B.A.
Shaina Wasserman, B.A.
Heath Adam Watenmaker, B.A.