Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion Celebrates Founders' Day

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) community invites the public to pay tribute to its founders at a special convocation in New York and Cincinnati. The New York program will take place on Thursday, March 8 at 10 am in the Petrie Synagogue. The Cincinnati program will take place on Wednesday, March 28, 2007 at 10:40 A.M. in the S.H. and Helen R. Scheuer Chapel on its Clifton campus. Founders' Day was marked at the Los Angeles campus on Tuesday, February 13. 

The HUC-JIR annual Founders' Day observance celebrates the vision of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, founder of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati in 1875, and of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, founder of the Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in 1922. Inspired by their legacy, the College-Institute's academic programs, faculty, and students are committed to fulfilling their mission of a Judaism responsive to modernity. 

Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, Chancellor Emeritus, will present the Founders' Day Address in New York. Entitled "From a Nightmare to a Dream," his speech will reflect on his life's journey and his mission to reconstruct Jewish life at HUC-JIR, a successor to the institutions of higher Jewish learning that were destroyed during the Holocaust. He will recount his recent return to his hometown of Oberwesel, Germany for a commemoration of its Jewish community (most of whom perished during the war or fled Nazi Germany) and his participation in the first Ordination at the Geiger College in Dresden, Germany, all within the context of his fifty years of service to HUC-JIR as President, member of the faculty, Dean and Director of the Los Angeles campus, Chancellor of HUC-JIR, and founder of the School of Jewish Communal Service, among many accomplishments. 

In Cincinnati, eight distinguished Professors Emeriti of the Cincinnati campus will be honored for their devoted years of service as preservers and teachers of Judaism - its faith, its culture, and its communal ethics. This year's honorees include Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, Chancellor Emeritus of HUC-JIR; The Rev. Lowell McCoy; Dr. Herbert Paper; Dr. Ellis Rivkin; Prof. Bonia Shur; Dr. Ezra Spicehandler; Dr. Mattityahu Tsevat; and Dr. Ben Zion Wacholder. As scholars and teachers, they have ensured the continuity of Jewish heritage. The eight honorees have been invited to participate at the celebration and will provide either a brief reading from their writings, or HUC-JIR student participants will present a text that is especially meaningful to the honorees or, in the case of the retired director of Liturgical Arts, Bonia Shur, his music will be highlighted during the program. 

At Founders' Day in Los Angeles, Dr. Reuven Firestone led a study session on how Jews are seen in Islam, followed by a service at which Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, C '78 and SJCS '77, newly appointed National Director of Interreligious Affairs at the American Jewish Committee, discussed Christian-Jewish relations. 


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first 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 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