Inspirational Address at the Los Angeles Graduation from Cheryl Seidman Cohen, MAJE '92

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

I am honored to stand here before such a distinguished group of Rabbis, Educators, Nonprofit Managers and Honorary Doctorate recipients.  Congratulations to all of the Alumni receiving honorary degrees today.  The work you do is a gift to our community and we are blessed to have you as our role models and colleagues.

On behalf of the Alumni Leadership Council, I want to welcome those of you who are graduating into our alumni network.  As I was reflecting upon these remarks, the HUC phone number came to mind.  I have been in the field for more than 25 years.  My memory is not what it used to be.  There are few numbers I remember, my childhood home, my current home,  my job, my closest friends, and HUC.  These places represent my heart, my identity and my community.  HUC is a part of this group because HUC is home, it is my community and it is where I developed my identity as a Jewish professional.  And, HUC can be that for all of you.  I still remember the number because I have been calling it for over 25 years.  Being alumni of HUC - JIR means this is your home, and we are your extended family.  The Alumni Council and the College will support you throughout your career, celebrate your successes and help you through your challenges.  This institution is a part of you and the community of support will follow you wherever you go.  You’ll probably never need to memorize the HUC number like I did, but you’ll be able to count on Siri, Alexa, or your favorite voice command to call HUC whenever you need us.  On behalf of the Alumni Leadership Council, Mazel Tov on your great accomplishments today.  Go out in the world, make it a better place and know we are here celebrating everything you do.  We are honored and blessed to welcome you to the HUC-JIR Alumni.  

This address was delivered during the Los Angeles Commencement Ceremonies, May 15, 2017


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