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Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Announces 2008 Ordination, Investiture, Graduate, and Honorary Degree Recipients

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

For more information, contact Elizabeth Mueller at (212) 824-2205
Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) announced the class of 2008, who will be ordained, invested, and graduated this spring in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and New York. HUC-JIR is the nation's oldest institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. 

Rabbi Ellenson says, "We take great pride in the graduating class of 2008, who are embarking on careers of service throughout North America, and around the globe. This spring, we will ordain, invest, and bestow earned degrees on 167 graduates of our rabbinical, cantorial, education, communal service, and graduate studies programs." 

Rabbi Ellenson also announced that the 2008 Roger E. Joseph Prize will be awarded at the New York Ordination and Investiture service to Father Patrick Desbois of Paris. Father Desbois serves as Advisor for the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations with Jews and as President of Yahad-In-Unum: Catholics and Jews Together. 

Rabbi Naomi Levy, Author and Faculty, Wexner Heritage Foundation and Academy of Jewish Religion in Los Angeles, will deliver the Ordination Address in Cincinnati. Rabbi Ellenson will speak at the ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York. 

HUC-JIR will present the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, to its three graduation speakers: Dr. Harvey Cox, Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School who will speak in Cincinnati, Daniel Sokatch, Founder and Executive Director of the Progressive Jewish Alliance and Incoming Chief Executive Officer of the San Francisco Jewish Federation, in Los Angeles, and author Anita Diamant in New York. The degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, will also be awarded to Sigmund Balka, Distinguished Attorney and Civic Activist;Robert M. Heller, Past Chair, Board of Trustees; Union for Reform Judaism; Dr. Nechama Tec, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Connecticut;Christoph von Dohnanyi, Principal Conductor, Philharmonia Orchestra, London,Professor Jacqueline Powers Doud, President, Mount St. Mary's College;Professor Natalie Zemon Davis, Henry Charles Lea Professor of History Emerita, Princeton University and Adjunct Professor of History, Professor of Medieval Studies, University of Toronto; and Martin Peretz, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The New Republic. 

Carmen H. Warschaw, philanthropist, will receive the American Jewish Distinguished Service Award. Phyllis Cook, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma Counties and Rabbi Susan Laemmle, Dean of Religious Life and Adjunct Professor of English at the University of Southern California, will receive the Presidents' Medals. 

HUC-JIR alumni will be awarded honorary Doctorates of Divinity, Music, Jewish Religious Education, and Jewish Communal Service, as well as the Founders' Medallion, in recognition of their 25 years of distinguished professional service. 

The College-Institute will award 167 earned degrees:

  • Ordain 55 rabbis (23 men, 32 women) at Ordination Services in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and New York;
  • Invest six cantors (one man, five women) at Investiture Services in New York;
  • 24 Master of Arts degrees in Hebrew Letters;
  • 16 Master of Arts degrees in Hebrew Literature;
  • 12 Master of Sacred Music degrees;
  • One Master of Arts in Judaic Studies;
  • 12 Master of Arts degrees in Jewish Education;
  • 14 Master of Arts degrees in Religious Education;
  • Nine Master of Arts in Jewish Communal Service degrees and one Certificate in Jewish Communal Service;
  • Seven Doctor of Ministry degrees;
  • Five Doctor of Philosophy degrees;
  • Five Master of Philosophy degrees in Hebraic and Cognate Studies.

Please see the national invitation for full event details. 

All degrees are granted upon completion of all requirements. 

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, 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.