Former HUC-JIR Professor Hollander Dies in Jerusalem

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rabbi Ben Hollander, z"l, passed away in Jerusalem on 5 Adar 1, 5768 (February 11, 2008). He was a former HUC-JIR professor. 

Rabbi Hollander came to Israel as a youth counselor in the early 1960s and met his first wife, Judy z"l. He studied intensively with the late Prof. Nehama Leibowitz who raised a generation of Israeli Torah teachers, and he later became her teaching assistant. Rabbi Hollander continued his studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem where he received a second Master's degree in Bible and Education. 

Rabbi Hollander attended the Jewish Theological Seminary where he received his Rabbinical Ordination in 1968. After making aliya in 1972, Rabbi Hollander shared his knowledge with underprivileged children in the Negev development town of Yerucham and did national service as a teacher in the local high school. He later taught at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Machon Schechter, and various Conservative and Orthodox schools and yeshivas. 

During his lifetime, Rabbi Hollander made frequent trips abroad as scholar-in-residence, and taught in several American cities through video-conference for the Siegal College of Jewish Studies. 

Rabbi Hollander is survived by his daughter Elana and his sons Elie, Dvir, and Netanel, and many grandchildren. 

Rabbi Hollander recently wrote,

"More fundamental than loving one's neighbor is recognizing that whether one loves one's neighbor or whether one dislikes one's neighbor, one is connected to that neighbor by the fact that we all share a common Father, and a divine image... mutual understanding, tolerance, pluralism and peaceful coexistence are not a matter of good will – or liberal thinking – but part and parcel of the human condition – not a matter of love but a matter of life... G-d created us equal, and in our striving for G-d like holiness, we cannot do less than recognize each other's humanity...the hope that, from the recognition of the mutual interdependence of Adam's descendents, will emerge ve'ahavta lereacha kamocha – a relationship of neighborly love."

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 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.