The Taube Family Campus Named at Groundbreaking of Jerusalem Campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

From left: Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem; Shana Penn, Executive Director, Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture; Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., President, HUC-JIR; and Tad Taube, Founder and Chairman, Taube Philanthropies; celebrate the newly named Taube Family Campus at HUC-JIR. 

The Taube Family Campus at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) was named during a groundbreaking ceremony honoring Tad Taube, founder and chairman of Taube Philanthropies, on June 29, 2016. Taube Philanthropies’ $15 million grant, its largest grant ever to a Jewish organization, will enable the Reform Movement’s headquarters in Israel to update, enhance and beautify its Jerusalem campus as a vibrant academic, cultural and spiritual center welcoming the larger Israeli community and visitors from around the world. 

“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.”

Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., HUC-JIR President, added, “We are enormously grateful to Tad Taube for his vision and support as we enhance, modernize and complete our Jerusalem campus. Here in the heart of the modern State of Israel is where the vital links of mutual partnership and responsibility between Israel and the global Jewish people – arevut – are forged among the next generations of Jewish leaders. Our students and alumni are teaching, leading and building these vital links, more crucial today than ever before, among the two million Reform Jews worldwide and within thousands of congregations, organizations and institutions throughout Israel and the Diaspora. Taube Philanthropies’ generous gift will secure our Jerusalem campus as an enduring testament to the vibrant ties uniting Israel, North American Jewry, and the global Jewish people.”

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, the architect who designed the campus expansion three decades ago. The new entrance gate and piazza will be along King David Street, the city’s most significant thoroughfare bridging the ancient and new sections of Jerusalem. The new spaces designed by Safdie and the renovation of the very first campus building, designed by International Style architect Heinrich Heinz Rau in 1963, will create compelling public spaces for worship services, educational programs, and cultural events. 

From left: Sean Taube, son of Tad Taube; Natan Sharansky, Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel; Tad Taube, Founder and Chairman, Taube Philanthropies; Mayor Nir Barkat, Mayor of the City of Jerusalem; and Shana Penn, Executive Director, Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture; celebrate the naming of The Taube Family Campus at HUC-JIR. 

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro, and Polish Ambassador to Israel Jacek Chodorowicz were among the dignitaries addressing the convocation, which was attended by governmental, academic, spiritual and cultural leaders of Israel.

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 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. 

  • Click here to watch the Groundbreaking video 
  • Click here to read the address delivered by Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., President, HUC-JIR
  • Click here to read the address delivered by Tad Taube, Chairman of Taube Philanthropies
  • Click here to read the address delivered by Shana Penn, Executive Director, Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture
  • Click here to read the address delivered by Mayor Nir Barkat, Mayor of the City of Jerusalem 
  • Click here to read the address delivered by Natan Sharansky, Chairman, Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Click here to read the address delivered by Ambassador Daniel Shapiro, U.S. Ambassador to Israel
  • Click here to read the address delivered by Bonnie Tisch on behalf of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors
  • Click here to read the address delivered by Ambassador Jacek Chodorowiz, Ambassador of Poland to Israel
  • Click here to read the message from architect Moshe Safdie
  • Click here to read more in The Jerusalem Post
  • Click here to read more in The American Israelite
  • Click here to read more in The Times of Israel

About The Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem: In 1954, the government of Israel offered HUC-JIR a 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. Renamed The Taube Family Campus on June 29, 2016, this academic, spiritual, and cultural center of the Reform Movement in Israel will engage Israelis and visitors of all faiths from around the world. 

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


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