Taube Philanthropies Makes $15 Million Gift to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Reform Judaism’s Israel Campus to be Renamed Taube Family Campus

A $15 million grant from Taube Philanthropies will allow Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the Reform Movement’s headquarters in Israel, to update, enhance and beautify its Jerusalem campus. The gift is Bay Area-based Taube Philanthropies’ largest grant ever to a Jewish organization.

HUC-JIR and Taube Philanthropies will celebrate their new partnership with a groundbreaking ceremony in Jerusalem on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, at 6 p.m. local time. Leaders of the College-Institute, the City of Jerusalem, the Government of Israel, and from consular offices are expected to attend. The event will be open to the press.

“Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is doing groundbreaking work in training the next generation of Reform rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit leaders, for Israel and the Jewish people as a whole,” said Tad Taube, chairman of Taube Philanthropies. “Its Jerusalem campus, Jewish professional leadership development, brilliant faculty, and ambitious students deserve a beautiful, modern campus that matches the institution’s lofty goals. We are honored to be a part of this community as it achieves new heights in Jewish and rabbinical education.”

Taube Philanthropies’ significant gift will come with a name change for the Jerusalem campus, which, as of June 29, will be known as The Taube Family Campus. As part of capital improvements, the grant will cover a prominent new entrance to the campus, which will be designed by internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie. This new space will be situated along King David Street, the city’s most significant thoroughfare bridging the ancient and new sections of Jerusalem. A new piazza will create a compelling public space for worship services, cultural events, and religious ceremonies and celebrations including b’nai mitzvah and weddings. Thanks to Taube Philanthropies’ support, HUC-JIR will be able to update the interior of its very first campus building, designed by International Style architect Heinrich Heinz Rau in 1963.

Rabbi Aaron Panken, HUC-JIR president, said, “We are enormously grateful to Tad Taube for his vision and support as we enhance, modernize and complete our Jerusalem campus. The Taube Family Campus will serve as a preeminent welcoming venue for the larger Jerusalem community, as well as for Jews visiting from around the world. The new piazza and renovated Rau building will provide state-of-the art facilities for educational programs, worship services, and cultural exhibitions. Tad Taube’s generosity represents an enormous investment in advancing Reform Judaism in Israel. His foundation’s generous gift will secure our Jerusalem campus as an enduring testament to the vital links among Israel, North American Jewry, and the global Jewish people.”

HUC-JIR's Jerusalem campus is the headquarters for the Reform Movement in Israel, including the World Union for Progressive Judaism, Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, Union for Reform Judaism, and Israel Religious Action Center.  HUC-JIR prepares Israeli rabbis, educators, and pastoral counselors who are pioneering religious pluralism in the Jewish State and serving the global Jewish people. All HUC-JIR North American rabbinical, cantorial, and education students are required to spend their first year of study at the campus, where they establish lifelong ties to Israel that they later transmit as leaders of congregations, organizations, and communities worldwide.

HUC-JIR will also collaborate with Taube Philanthropies’ senior staff to foster increased interaction with members of the HUC-JIR community, with a special emphasis on the Jewish community in Poland. Taube Philanthropies has a long history supporting the revitalization of Jewish life and culture in Poland. Tad Taube was born in Krakow in 1931 and was fortunate enough to escape Poland on the eve of the Holocaust as a young boy; he has spent his later years committed to supporting Poland’s Jewish resurgence. HUC-JIR’s and Taube Philanthropies’ joint efforts will include lectures, travel, and site visits that will enrich faculty teaching and student learning to foster a strong connection with Jewish history and Jewish peoplehood. 

About the Jerusalem Campus: In 1954 the government of Israel offered HUC-JIR the two-acre site to support the building of a center in Jerusalem. The campus was dedicated in 1963 with a gala convocation featuring speeches by Prime Minster David Ben-Gurion, Foreign Minister Golda Meir, and other luminaries.  The original building, built of white Galilee limestone, included the first Reform synagogue in Israel.  In 1965 the campus’s Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology, in cooperation with Harvard University and the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums, launched excavations at Tel Gezer. In 1970, HUC-JIR became the first North American seminary to require all rabbinical students to spend their first year of study in Jerusalem, which later expanded to encompass all first-year education students (1973) and cantorial students (1986). The Israel Rabbinical Program for Israeli students was launched in 1975. In 1983, ground was broken for the major expansion of the campus by architect Moshe Safdie on the four-acre site adjacent to the original HUC-JIR buildings. The dedication of the campus in 1986 was addressed by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek. The M.A. Program in Pluralistic Jewish Education for Israeli educators was begun in 1994, followed by programs in pastoral counseling and chaplaincy for Israeli clergy and healthcare professionals, as well as a program in social entrepreneurship.

Taube Philanthropies was established in 1981 by its founder and chairman, Tad Taube. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the foundation makes philanthropic investments in Jewish, civic, and cultural life primarily in the Bay Area, Poland, and Israel. The grant making program supports institution-building, scholarship, heritage preservation, arts and culture, and education. Taube Philanthropies is committed to collaborative giving for greatest charitable impact and actively partners with individual donors and other foundations. taubephilanthropies.org

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. As the pluralistic center of innovation for Jewish life and learning, its internationally recognized faculty prepares rabbis, cantors, leaders in Jewish education, Jewish nonprofit professionals, pastoral counselors, and scholars to strengthen and transform Jewish communities and the larger world. huc.edu

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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. www.huc.edu