Changes within the HUC-JIR Library System

Monday, March 20, 2017

Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., HUC-JIR President, and Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D., Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost, are delighted to announce that Mr. Yoram Bitton will become the Director of Libraries, initially in an interim capacity, as of July 1, 2017. Mr. Bitton, a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with degrees in Talmud and Jewish History and a Master of Library Science degree from Queens College, has served as Director of our New York Klau Library since 2011. He will continue to be based in New York in his new capacity. We are also delighted to announce that Ms. Laurel Wolfson, who has been with the Klau Library in Cincinnati in a variety of capacities since 1980, is promoted to Librarian of the Klau Library in Cincinnati, while continuing in her capacity as Deputy Director of Libraries.

"As we welcome a new phase in the unfolding story of one of the world's great Jewish libraries, we salute Dr. Gilner’s decades of distinguished leadership," stated Rabbi Panken. Dr. David Gilner, who has served as Director of Libraries since 1995, will be retiring at the end of this academic year. Associated with HUC-JIR and the Klau Library for over four decades, Dr. Gilner’s role in protecting, maintaining, and advancing the Klau Library in Cincinnati and HUC-JIR’s four-campus library system has been invaluable. He oversaw the renovation and expansion of the Klau Library, with the addition of the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Pavilion, dedicated in 2009, and implemented new technology to transform the library system for the 21st century. Notably, he collaborated with IBM to "scan" Hebrew illuminated manuscripts, making HUC-JIR the first Jewish institution to digitally preserve treasured manuscripts in its rare Judaica collection. A scholar who received his Ph.D. from HUC-JIR in Biblical and ancient Near Eastern Studies in 1989, Dr. Gilner has served as Editor of the Library’s Bibliographica Judaica monographic series and is a former President of the Council of Archives and Research Libraries in Jewish Studies and of the Association of Jewish Libraries.

"This is a period of significant and exciting change in our libraries across our campuses," noted Rabbi Marmur. "The system, with the magnificent Klau library in Cincinnati at its heart, continues to be one of the largest and most significant repositories of Jewish books in the world. In the course of the next three years, the College-Institute will consider the ways in which the library's role in the institution, in the wider academic community, in the Reform Movement, and beyond can continue to be enhanced."


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