Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, Proudly Announces Graduate and Honorary Degree Recipients of the Class of 2006

Monday, April 3, 2006

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), Cincinnati, will hold its graduation ceremony at 3:00 p.m., Sunday, May 21, 2006 at the Isaac M. Wise Temple in Amberley Village. Rabbi David Ellenson, president of HUC-JIR, will confer the degrees for this consummate group of scholars. John I. Kampen, Academic Dean of the Methodist Theological School, will deliver the address. The College-Institute is pleased to announce that Cincinnati Rabbi Robert B. Barr will be one of the recipients of the Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causaDr. Leo Hershkowitz and Grace Paley will be granted Doctorate of Humane Letters degrees, honoris causa. HUC-JIR, Cincinnati, will award 12 graduate degrees and 13 Honorary Doctorates at this year's commencement exercise. 

Rabbi Robert B. Barr broke ground in 1980, when he founded Congregation Beth Adam to serve Cincinnati's diverse Jewish community and to represent "Judaism with a humanistic perspective." Rabbi Barr was ordained by HUC-JIR Cincinnati, in 1981 after having received a B. A. in Philosophy and Psychology from Oakland University in Michigan. His tireless commitment to humanitarian causes is well known throughout the community, as is his dedication to promote Jewish and non-Jewish causes. He has lectured widely on topics such as the separation of church and state, Black-Jewish relations, and the impact of fundamentalism on religion. In addition to his commitment to service and education, Rabbi Barr has published many articles on modern issues concerning the Jewish Reform movement. HUC-JIR is especially proud to welcome Rabbi Barr at this year's graduation ceremony.

Dr. Leo Hershkowitz is receiving a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa, for his many years of outstanding teaching, dedication to historical scholarship and his selfless efforts to preserve and make available for study the documents relating to the early history of Jews in America. Hershkowitz, originally from New York, is Professor of History at Queens College since 1971. A writer, researcher, and lecturer, his focus is the history of New York Jewry from its earliest origins up to the beginning of mass immigrations in the 19th century. For more than four decades, Hershkowitz has trained students in the use of such primary archival sources as legal records, wills, inventories, and conveyances, materials rarely used by scholars in reconstructing history. His published works include Letters of the Franks Family, 1733-1748, and Wills of Early New York Jews, as well as a number of articles on early New York Jews for volumes of collected essays and encyclopedias, such as the recent Jewish Women in America

Grace Paley is receiving a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa, for her distinguished literary contributions and loyal dedication to the Jewish concept of tikkun olam. Paley was born in New York and her parents, Russian-Jewish immigrants, had an important influence on her life as a writer and political activist. Paley's stories have been used as models in writing workshops and have appeared in The New Yorker, Ms Fiction, Mother Jones, and other magazines. Paley published her first collection, The Little Disturbances of Man (1959) with Doubleday. The collection features eleven stories of New York life, several of which have since been widely anthologized. She began teaching in the early 1960's with courses at Columbia and Syracuse Universities and then became a member of the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. She has also taught at the graduate school of City College in New York. Paley received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction in 1961 and the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Short Story writing in 1970. In 1980, she was elected to the National Academy of Arts and Letters. Paley has come to be known as the consummate New York writer and in 1989, then New York State Governor Mario Cuomo conferred upon her the honor of becoming the first official New York State writer. In addition to her writing career she has made a life-long commitment to political activism, particularly anti-militarization efforts and has served as a delegate to the 1974 World Peace Conference in Moscow. Paley currently lives and works in Thetford, Vermont. HUC-JIR is privileged to feature Dr. Leo Hershkowitz and Grace Paley at this annual ceremony. 

Graduate degrees will be awarded as follows: Doctor of philosophy degrees will be granted to Joel Stevens Allen, Jeffrey L. Cooley, Michael Wesley Graves, and Kenneth C. Way. Kristine Sue Henriksen Garroway, Christine Elizabeth Palmer, Jason Russell Soenksen, and Jared Scott Treadway will receive Master of Philosophy in Hebraic and Cognate Studies degrees. Master of Arts degrees will be awarded to Jin Gong and Nicholas James Petersen. Beth Lynn Jacowitz and Evon Joshua Yakar will obtain Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters degrees. 

These graduates represent the time-honored tradition of rigorous education at HUC-JIR's graduate school. They will enter various professions in higher education, religion, government, and other institutions equipped with the quality knowledge and skills that so characterize alumni of the College-Institute. 

Doctor of Divinity degrees, honoris causa, are awarded to HUC-JIR alumni in honor of the twenty-fifth anniversary of their rabbinic ordination. Each of these rabbis has led diverse and remarkable careers as Jewish professionals in congregations and communities across the United States. This honorary degree commemorates their efforts in the advancement of the Reform Movement and the enhancement of its value in greater American Jewry. 

In addition to Rabbi Barr, this year's Doctor of Divinity degrees will be conferred upon Rabbis Melanie Willa Aron, Paul D. Caplan, James Stone Goodman, Michael A. Kagan, Lawrence P. Karol, Arthur P. Nemitoff, Susan A. Talve, and Faedra Lazar Weiss. Doctor of Music degrees will be conferred upon Cantors Regina Y. Heit and Norman Rose. Graduate Medallions will be awarded to Dr. Jack P. Lewis, Dr. G. Hans Liebenow, and Dr. Clyde M. Woods. 

Each of these graduates and honored advocates represent the mission of HUC-JIR. They embody the values and scholarship of a renowned faith-based education central to the tradition and legacy of a 130-year-old Institution. 

For any additional information, please contact Phyllis Volan at (513) 487-3032. 


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