Eleven Students Graduate with Certificate in Jewish Communal Service from the Los Angeles Campus of HUC-JIR Culmination Ceremony Marks 40th Anniversary of School of Jewish Communal Service

Friday, August 1, 2008


Eleven future Jewish professional leaders were awarded their certificate in Jewish Communal Service from the School of Jewish Communal Service (SJCS) at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion on August 6, 2008. The ceremony, marking the 40th anniversary of the SJCS, was the culmination of the students' rigorous course of study in management and leadership concepts, contemporary Jewish issues, and Jewish history and tradition under leading faculty and practitioners in Jewish education and communal service during the past two summers and academic year.

Shifra Broznick, a prominent consultant in change management, provided the keynote culmination address on "Leadership in the 21st Century." Ms. Broznick also served as this year's Rabbi Louis Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence, established by Ruth Ziegler,in memory of her beloved father, Rabbi Louis Bernstein, who was ordained at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati in 1906.

Richard A. Siegel, Interim Director, SJCS, remarked, "This year's Culmination Ceremony for the School of Jewish Communal Service, the 40th in the School's history, was a deeply moving affair. The Culmination students spoke of their pride in being a part of the 40 year tradition of professional leadership emblematic of the school; the First Year Class announced the creation of a new Award for Student Mentorship in honor of the Second Year Class; and the Culmination Speaker, Shifra Bronznick, encouraged the students to transform the Jewish community through their energy, ideas, vision and passion. It is encouraging to know that the American Jewish community will be shaped by this next generation of talented and committed Jewish professionals." 

Dean Steven F. Windmueller welcomed graduates and the many family members, friends, alumni, teachers and future colleagues in attendance. "Having had the honor to teach the culminating class, I can personally attest to the extraordinary qualities of leadership that these students will bring to the Jewish people, as our future communal professionals, and educators. As HUC-JIR prepares to recognize the SJCS on the occasion of its 40th Anniversary, its graduates have made, through their careers and life choices, extraordinary contributions in helping to define and shape Jewish communal practice, enhancing the American Jewish community in the process."

HUC-JIR President David Ellenson extended a message of congratulation to the graduates: "It is with a sense of overwhelming joy and appreciation that I offer my greetings to those assembled for the 40th Culmination Exercises of the School of Jewish Communal Service. As a former faculty member myself for over fifteen years in the SJCS, I know how special this moment is and how important the SJCS is to the larger Jewish world - especially as we celebrate the 40th year of the existence of the program."

Howard Bernstein, Former Chair of the Los Angeles Board of Overseers and member of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors, and Michael Roth representing the Union for Reform Judaism congratulated students on earning the Certificate in Jewish Communal Service. Rhea Coskey, Chair of the SJCS Advisory Board, offered, "As Chair of the Advisory Board, I have become increasingly aware of the unique role the SJCS plays in the training of Jewish professionals to assume leadership positions in Jewish institutions, locally, nationally and even internationally. We are very proud of our outstanding faculty and students!"

Graduates include:

    • Melissa S. Bell, B.A.
    • Benjamin Elliot Bloom, B.S.
    • David R. Harris, B.A.
    • Jessica M. Ingram, B.A.
    • Matthew Judson Kahn, B.S.
    • Laurel Elisheva Klein, B.S.W.
    • Shira Ronit Liff-Grieff, B.A.
    • Anna Schwarz-Shabtay, B.A.
    • Laura Siegel, B.A.
    • Adynna Swarz, M.B.A.
    • Emily Rebecca Walsh, B.A.


About SJCS
The School of Jewish Communal Service (SJCS), founded in 1968 by Professor Gerald Bubis, is the oldest and most diverse professional school of its kind. The School's emphasis on providing students with insights into management and business skills as well as organizational theory and practice has placed this program in a leadership role. Its outstanding reputation is based on an inter-disciplinary approach that combines study of Jewish tradition and text with pragmatic, effective tools from the fields of the social sciences and business. Open to students from all areas of religious thought and communal life, the School seeks to be inclusive and pluralistic.



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. www.huc.edu