Remarks Delivered by Dr. Joshua Holo at the Dedication and Naming of the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management

Monday, February 9, 2015

Joshua Holo, Ph.D., Dean, Jack H. Skirball Campus
February 8, 2015


Over one thousand years ago, an ambitious Muslim conqueror unified the Iberian peninsula under his rule. And in a daring, unprecedented move, he called on his doctor, a learned and respected man named Hasdai, to bring order to the state, as controller of ports and tariffs, and holder of the kingdom’s purse-strings.

Hasdai discharged his duty admirably, but he also lent his now-powerful name to the advancement of his own people: the Jews.

He protected them from harm, and he unflinchingly used his reputation and office to lobby for them abroad.

But, first and foremost, Hasdai is remembered now, a millennium after his death, for lending his name and his reputation to the foundation of a Spanish-Jewish academy — understood by medieval and modern historians alike as the cornerstone of what we now call the “Golden Age.”

In fact, centuries before Hasdai, the stage had been set by Rabbi Judah the Prince, who admonished: “Pay close attention to the study of Torah; the stakes are high.”

To which Rabbi Simon responded in agreement, counting the study of Torah amongst Israel’s crowning achievements. “But,” added Simon, “the crown of a good reputation — a good name — surpasses them all.”

Today we will honor Marcie and Howard Zelikow for lending their good name — literally and metaphorically — to our School of Jewish Nonprofit Management.

And, to the everlasting benefit of the College-Institute and the Jewish community, they join others who have also named schools across our institution and this campus:

  • The Rhea Hirsch School of Education
  • The Edgar F. Magnin School of Graduate Studies

As well as:

  • The Louchheim School of Judaic Studies, and 
  • The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music

whose benefactors and founders, like the Zelikows, join us today as active leaders.

So it is that we celebrate, not only the mitzvah of Jewish learning but also its adornment and advancement with the crown of a good name, and the promise of a golden future.

On behalf of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Jack H. Skirball Campus, it is my honor and privilege this afternoon to welcome you, friends, esteemed guests, community leaders, and our partners at the University of Southern California, to the inauguration of the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management.

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.