The Board of Governors, Boards of Overseers, administration, faculty, students, and alumni of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion mourn the passing of H. Jerome Lerner, Vice Chair of our Board of Governors.
Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., HUC-JIR President, stated, “Jerry Lerner was among the closest of our longtime friends in the HUC-JIR family. His steadfast support, wise counsel, and boundless commitment to building our institution and supporting our faculty and students were valued by all the members of our community. Deeply intelligent, ethical to the core, and insightfully analytical, even when times were tough, Jerry was there for us, and his efforts made a tremendous difference. His memory will be an abiding blessing.”
Lerner joined the Board of Governors in 1994 and was elected Vice Chair of the Board in 2006. He served as Chair of the Investment Committee and of the Pension and Benefits Committee, and was a member of the Executive Committee and Audit Committee and Co-Chair of the Central Region Board of Overseers. He guided HUC-JIR with devotion for more than twenty years, and his leadership and commitment were honored at HUC-JIR’s 24th Annual Cincinnati Associates Tribute Dinner in 2006.
Andrew R. Berger, Chair of the Board of Governors, said, “Jerry Lerner was a true leader of HUC-JIR in every sense of the word. Jerry guided us as Chair of our Investment Committee during difficult times, and helped grow our endowment to where it is today. I always considered Jerry as my mentor when I joined the Board of Governors, and through my time on the board, he has been a significant influence. I could always look to Jerry for wise counsel. He will be sorely missed.”
Jerry Lerner was owner of HJL Enterprises, a management consulting services company in Cincinnati that he founded in 1985. His business career spanned more than 40 years, from his first position as Director of Trade Development (1961-1963) at DuBois Chemical Inc. (now part of Johnson Diversity) to Chairman of Crane Connectors in Cincinnati. Most of his career was spent as Executive Vice President of Texo Corp. (1963-1985) and as President of the Straus Keilson Company (1971-1986). A prominent civic and philanthropic leader of the Cincinnati community, he served on numerous boards, including as Chair of the Board of Cedar Village and Campaign Chair of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. A graduate of Walnut Hills High School, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and received the M.B.A. from the University of Cincinnati.
The HUC-JIR community expresses heartfelt condolences to his beloved wife, Mimi Kuby Lerner; his children Andrew (Maryam) Lerner; Karen (Mark) Javello; and Julie (Jeff) Grayson; his sister Roberta Fisher; and his grandchildren Natasha and Louis Nicholas Lerner; Nina, Bryan, Sadie, and Kyle Javello; and Alec and Amelia Grayson.