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HUC-JIR Awarded $1.3 Million by the Jim Joseph Foundation for the School of Education’s Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Cohort Five of the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education displaying the tallit they created in New York with artist Nancy Katz and dedicated in Tel Aviv during the Program’s Seminar in Israel

Cohort Five of the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education displaying the tallit they created in New York with artist Nancy Katz and dedicated in Tel Aviv during the Program’s Seminar in Israel

The Jim Joseph Foundation has awarded the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) School of Education $1.3 million over four years to offer the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education (EMA). Up to 32 working professionals in two cohorts will have the opportunity to pursue their graduate studies.

Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., President, stated, “We are grateful to the Jim Joseph Foundation for their generous support, which will enable dedicated educators to strengthen their knowledge and skills, as they sustain and transform Jewish education in communities throughout North America. The EMA is an ideal hybrid delivery system for elite, deep learning for working professionals that emphasizes creativity, content, communication and community, and results in a highly respected academic degree.”

The EMA is a 24-month hybrid M.A. program featuring quality face-to-face time as well as online components. The hallmark of the EMA is the cohort experience, which models collaborative learning in community and provides the strong network of professional support that enables students to take risks and be bold in a world that demands innovation. The EMA program becomes an incubator for the educators’ ideas, which they are able to implement in their places of employment. Building on the strong foundation HUC-JIR has honed since 2011, HUC-JIR is preparing to introduce new design elements into the EMA, including a new emphasis on creativity with design partners theatre dybbuk and Jewish Studio Project.

The HUC-JIR School of Education is dedicated to cultivating visionary, creative, knowledgeable Jewish educators who facilitate meaningful learning experiences in a wide variety of Jewish educational settings, in the Reform Movement and beyond.  HUC-JIR has been a leading institution and standard bearer in rigorous graduate preparation of Jewish educators for over 40 years; our 400 alumni form one of the most organized and committed professional guilds in the field.

Dr. Miriam Heller Stern, Director of the HUC-JIR School of Education, noted, “The vision for the future of the EMA, as well as other HUC-JIR education programs, is guided by the belief that Judaism’s ability to survive through the generations has depended on a healthy balance of continuity and disruption. Jewish creative adaptation is only possible if educators intentionally engender creativity as we build community and elevate literacy. We are delighted to partner with  Jewish Studio Project and theatre dybbuk in designing new creative elements of the program. we share a mission of seeding creativity in Jewish living through creative engagement with and expression of Jewish ideas and texts; they are highly regarded providers of professional learning, focusing on activating the creative potential in their participants.”

Prospective students are invited to contact Dr. Lesley Litman, Director of the EMA Program, at

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, museums, 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.