Eight alumni of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion were honored at the annual Founders’ Day Ceremonies on Wednesday, March 28 in the S.H. and Helen R. Scheuer Chapel on the Cincinnati campus.
On Founders’ Day, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion honors distinguished alumni for 25 years of service as preservers and teachers of Judaism – its faith, its culture, and its community ethics, and devoted lay leaders for their lifelong commitment to the College-Institute.
This year’s Founders’ Day honored the legacy of Dr. Nelson Glueck, President (1947 – 1971), and the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Graduate School, now The Joan and Phillip Pines School of Graduate Studies.
Dr. Glueck was ordained in 1923. During his tenure as President, he oversaw the merger of Hebrew Union College with the Jewish Institute of Religion and expanded the Cincinnati-based institution to include schools in New York, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem. In addition, he was a pioneer in the field of biblical archaeology.
Rabbi Judith Beiner, Rabbi Sigma Coran, Rabbi Deborah Helbraun, Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh, Rabbi Greg Kanter, Rabbi Andrew Koren, Rabbi Toby Manewith, and Rabbi Cory Weiss received Doctor of Divinity degrees, honoris causa presented by Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, PhD, President, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In recognition of their 25 years of dedicated service.
Samuel Greengus, PhD, Julian Morgenstern Professor Emeritus of Bible and Near Eastern Language, delivered the Founders’ Day address, describing his association with Dr. Glueck and how he was brought to the Cincinnati campus by Dr. Glueck. He noted that Dr. Glueck’s most far reaching accomplishment was encouraging women to become ordained.
Rabbi Sally J. Priesand, the first woman admitted to HUC-JIR by Dr. Nelson Glueck, was the honored guest during the ceremonies, and reflected on the impact that Dr. Glueck had on her career. She was ordained in 1972, a year and a half following Dr. Glueck’s death. She noted that, “he inspired others to dream bigger and accomplish more, and envisioned the day when women could become rabbis.”
Rabbi Jonathan Cohen, PhD, Dean of the Cincinnati campus, began the service by commenting that, “today we celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of rabbis who have served for 25 years, celebrate the school that enabled them to do so, and celebrate a moment almost 70 years ago. Dr. Nelson Glueck was selected to be President of HUC in December 1947, and in March 1948 was installed as President. The Glueck presidency would shape HUC-JIR for decades to come.”
Dr. Richard Sarason, Director of the Pines School of Graduate Studies, gave the Invocation, and noted that, “today we continue a year-long celebration of the founding of the Graduate School by Dr. Nelson Glueck and the creation of the American Jewish Archives 70 years ago.
Rabbi Ken Kanter, Associate Dean and Director of the Rabbinical School on the Cincinnati campus, led the service along with Cantor Yvon Shore, Director of Liturgical Arts and Music. Lisa Ben-Hur and Roger Falconberry were recognized for their longstanding service to HUC-JIR. Ben-Hur has been a dedicated member of the Klau Library team for 30 years and Falconberry has served on the Operations and Maintenance staff for 36 years.