The Student Lounge on Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's (HUC-JIR) Jerusalem campus serves as an important communal hub for the first-year rabbinical, cantorial, and education students in the Year-In-Israel Program as well as for the Israeli students participating in the Israel Rabbinical Program, M.A. Program in Pluralist Jewish Education, Mezorim Program in Pastoral Counseling, and Sugyot Chayim (Bibliotherapy) Program.
The Jerusalem campus held a dedication ceremony for the renovation of the Student Lounge on May 14, 2015. The first stage of the refurbishment was funded by Steven Fainbarg, a member of the HUC-JIR community, and at the dedication ceremony, Fainbarg announced that he would donate the remainder of funds needed for the Lounge's renovation, including the restoration of all tables and chairs. This generous donation follows his gift of 350 copies of the new High Holy Days machzor, Mishkan Hanefesh, to the Jerusalem campus.
Hailing from Newport Beach, CA, Mr. Fainbarg is a former congregant of Temple Beit Sholom in Santa Anna, where Rabbi Shelton Donnell serves as Rabbi Emeritus. Rabbi Donnell currently serves at the Jerusalem campus as Rabbi of the Murstein Synagogue and Lecturer in Liturgy.
"We are thrilled that Steve understands that student spiritual growth and creating community enhances our students' Jerusalem experience," stated Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. "He has added much to their sense of home at our campus for our Year-In-Israel students. We thank Steven Fainbarg for his generosity and for Rabbi Shelton Donnell who fostered this connection to Jerusalem."