Andrew R. Berger, a prominent civic and communal leader of Cincinnati, Ohio, was elected the Chairman of the Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), at its meeting in Los Angeles on February 9, 2014, and was installed as Chair of the Board on June 9, 2014, at its meeting in Cincinnati. Berger begins his tenure on July 1, 2014, succeeding Irwin Engelman as the head of HUC-JIR’s Board. A member of HUC-JIR’s Board of Governors since 2008, he serves as a member of its Executive Committee and Governance Committee, and has served on the Presidential Search Committee and as Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and New Way Forward Task Force.
“The College-Institute is blessed to have the leadership of Andrew Berger, a passionate advocate for Reform Judaism and staunch supporter of our sacred mission to prepare exceptional professional Jewish leaders for communities, congregations, organizations, and institutions throughout North America, Israel, and around the world,” stated Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., HUC-JIR President. “We look forward to his wisdom and guidance, as we chart the next chapter in HUC-JIR’s history as a preeminent center of advanced Jewish studies and Jewish leadership development in the world today.”
“It is a great honor and a privilege to serve as the next Chair of HUC-JIR,” stated Berger. “I truly believe HUC-JIR is one of the most important institutions in the Jewish world. Reform and Liberal Judaism and Jewish communities cannot thrive in North America, Israel and throughout the world without inspiring, knowledgeable and capable leaders. I am deeply committed to our mission, to create these leaders and to bring them to the Jewish world; what could be more important?”
As Chairman, Berger will lead the Board of the four-campus international university and seminary for Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR’s campuses in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York provide the academic and professional training programs for the Reform Movement’s rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offer graduate programs for scholars of all faiths. HUC-JIR’s 4,000 active alumni serve the Reform Movement’s 1.5 million members and nearly 900 congregations, representing the largest Jewish denomination in North America, and the growing Progressive Movement in Israel and around the world.
Berger is a partner of the law firm Katz Teller in Cincinnati, whose practice is primarily concentrated in corporate, health care, and finance law, handling a variety of matters including mergers, acquisitions and dispositions, commercial financing transactions, business organization and succession planning, and executive employment agreements. He joined Katz Teller in 1980, became a partner in 1984, and is a member of the firm’s Board of Directors, and Opinion and Professional Responsibility Committees. He was previously an Associate at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, Cincinnati, Ohio (1978 to 1980). He has been listed in Woodward/White’s The Best Lawyers in America and recognized as an Ohio Super Lawyer by Law & Politics Media, Inc.
A prominent leader of the Cincinnati community, Berger is currently the President of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, and will serve in that capacity until his regular term ends in May 2014. He joined the Board of Trustees of the Federation in 2007 and became President in 2012. He formerly chaired its Cincinnati 2020 Strategic Planning Team, Campaign Team, and Lawyers Division. He also served as President of the Isaac M. Wise Temple in Cincinnati from 2005 to 2007, having joined its Board of Trustees in 1997. He formerly chaired its Strategic Planning Committee and Outreach Committee. He continues to play guitar and sing with Shir Chadash, the Wise Temple Band. He also served on the Board of Trustees of the Hillel Jewish Student Center in Cincinnati from 1996 to 1997.
Born in Norfolk, Virginia, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Nebraska in 1975 with a B.A. in Economics and earned his J.D., cum laude, from Cornell University School of Law in 1978. He and his wife Linda are the parents of Laura, Daniel, Timothy, Julia, and Hannah.
Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation'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