Gerald Bubis, z"l, Beloved Founding Director of HUC-JIR's School of Jewish Communal Service

Sunday, August 23, 2015

It is with tremendous sadness that our community shares with you the news of the death of Professor Gerald Bubis this past Friday night. Jerry was a longtime and beloved member of our HUC-JIR community. The respected Founding Director of the School of Jewish Communal Service (now the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management) at our Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, he was the first to conceptualize, initiate, establish and sustain a program for the education and formation of professionals who would serve the totality of the Jewish community. He served as the Alfred Gottschalk Professor Emeritus of Jewish Communal Studies. His teaching and mentorship of generations of students created the field of Jewish Communal Service, while his leadership, publications, and guidance shaped and will continue to shape the Jewish nonprofit world he loved so much and served with distinction.

Jerry served as a visiting scholar at Hebrew University, Brandeis University, American Jewish University, U.C.L.A., and Haifa University. He acted as consultant, trainer, and teacher for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Israel, Europe, and Argentina. He served as a lecturer, advisor and scholar-in-residence to synagogues, JCCs, federations, and national and international organizations in over 100 communities throughout North America and abroad. He was a sought after officer and board member for many major organizations around the world. Parallel to his academic achievements, Bubis was a key figure in the Israel peace movement and among the first in the 1980s to advocate a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jerry was the author of Growing Jews - Selected Writings (Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles, California, 2001); The Costs of Jewish Living (American Jewish Committee, NY, 2002); From Predictability to Chaos? A study of the merger process leading to the formation of the United Jewish Communities, with Steven Windmueller (Jewish Community Studies, Baltimore, MD, 2005); Guide Yourself Accordingly: A Memoir With Gordon Cohn (Los Angeles, CA, 2005); and The Director Had a Heart Attack and the President Resigned: Board-Staff Relations for the 21st Century, Revised Edition (Lincoln, NE, 2007). A respected scholar, teacher and deeply committed Jewish leader, his vision and insight will be sorely missed.

Jerry is survived by his beloved wife Ruby, their children David and Deena, and his sister Joyce. Funeral services will be held at 12:30 p.m., Monday (August 24) at Mount Sinai Memorial Park, 5950 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles 90068. After the funeral, there will be a reception and minha at Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. Shiva minyan will take place place on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings at 5:45 pm at Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles.

Condolences may be sent to Ruby Bubis at 1561 S. Beverly Drive, #101, Los Angeles, CA 90035; and by email to David Bubis at

Our community will be marking Jerry’s passing in two meaningful ways.

First, in memory of Jerry, donations may be made here>

Online memorial reflections for a book to be given to the Bubis family and to be archived at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives can be submitted here>

May God console Jerry’s family with all who mourn in Zion and Jerusalem, and may he rest in peace.


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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.