HUC-JIR Remembers Dr. Ezra Spicehandler, z”l

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The HUC-JIR community mourns the passing of Dr. Ezra Spicehandler '46, Ph.D. '51, z"l, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Hebrew Literature at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. A beloved colleague and teacher and mentor to generations of students, Dr. Spicehandler was the Founding Dean of HUC-JIR/Jerusalem (1966-1980), a prolific author and editor of books on modern Hebrew literature, and President of the Labor Zionist Alliance in America.  

Noted rabbi and scholar, honored author and teacher, loving husband and father, valued friend and colleague, Dr. Spicehandler will long be remembered for his devotion to HUC-JIR, his life-long commitment to Zionism and the state of Israel, and his love of learning and teaching.

Dr. Spicehandler fought in Israel’s War of Independence. In November 1947, he and his wife Shirley traveled on a rickety Greek ship from Marseilles to Haifa, where he had resided as a child in 1929-30. Ten days into his studies at Hebrew University for a doctorate in Talmudic history, with a graduate fellowship from HUC, he was recruited to join the ranks of the Haganah.

Dr. Spicehandler shared his reflections on the occasion of Israel’s 60th anniversary >

Dr. Spicehandler is survived by his loving wife Shirley and devoted daughters Rabbi Reena and Rabbi Judith Spicehandler.

May his memory be for a blessing.


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