HUC-JIR Alumni Gathering in Chicago

Monday, November 3, 2014

During a recent visit to Chicago, Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., President, took the opportunity to meet and learn with local Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion alumni. The October 29th breakfast, which drew 25 area rabbis, cantors, and educators, was graciously hosted by Beth Emet, The Free Synagogue, in Evanston, IL. Rabbi Andrea London ('96), Senior Rabbi, warmly welcomed the group and set the tone for the following hour of learning and discussion.

Rabbi Panken led the group in a thought provoking discussion on Parshat Lech Lecha, comparing the Genesis text with the parallel Dead Sea Scroll text. The Dead Sea Scroll text was new for most of the alumni and greatly enriched the understanding of the parsha. Following this, Rabbi Panken took the opportunity to inform the alumni of the College-Institute's new goals, initiatives, and policy adjustments.

“It was a real treat to have Rabbi Panken visit colleagues in Chicago and to offer the rare opportunity to learn from him as a scholar and teacher. It was a special way of reconnecting alumni in the field to our teachers and mentors at HUC-JIR,” shared Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler (’06).

The alumni who attended represented a wonderful range of career stages, with the most senior Rabbi having been ordained in 1941 and the newest educator graduating in 2014. This range greatly enhanced the discussion, by creating a rich discussion and a plethora of differing points of view.

Alumni engagement activities take place throughout the year, occurring in person and online. For more information on alumni opportunities, visit or contact Dena Stein, Alumni Engagement Coordinator, at or 212-824-2235.

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, 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.