Communication from President Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D.: Closure of All Campuses and All Classes by Zoom - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Communication from President Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D.: Closure of All Campuses and All Classes by Zoom

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Sunday, March 15, 2020

Dear HUC Faculty, Students, and Staff,

We hope that you and your loved ones are well during this first difficult weekend of what appears to be an indefinite period of isolation and great personal and societal challenges. We are reaching out to you to remind you that your health and wellbeing are our priority, and that we are here for you and ready to support you during these difficult days ahead.

Despite the imposition of physical isolation for individual and communal safety, we nonetheless remain united in spirit as one community. That unity of mission and shared spirit are sources of strength that will help all of us get through the coming weeks.

With your safety top of mind, we are following the best practices mandated by local health authorities to limit the COVID-19 spread, with some new arrangements as of today:

· As of today, March 15, all of our four campuses are closed for all non-essential functions. Going forward, there will be very limited access for maintenance and security purposes, but even this could end unexpectedly.

· On Monday, March 15 and Tuesday, March 16 you will have limited access on a case by case basis to their offices to retrieve any necessary work materials to work remotely. Should you need access, please contact your local supervisor or program director to ensure that the building is open at the time you are able to arrive. Going forward, if you need to access your office for any reason, you must speak to your advisor or supervisor first, and then coordinate with your campus facilities manager.

· As a reminder, all staff will continue to be paid in full and receive full benefits during this period of time, even for those whose work requires them to be on site. This is out of recognition of the extraordinary nature of this crisis, and the need to promote public safety and welfare by encouraging everyone to stay home.

· All public events on our campuses through the end of Passover have been canceled.

Students and Faculty:

· All classes on all campuses will be taught by Zoom according to your normal class schedule, and materials will be posted on Sakai.

· Limited access to the libraries for research materials may be possible by special arrangement by contacting your campus librarian.

· The on-campus logistics of senior recitals, capstone presentations, and other requirements for degree completion will be communicated to you by your program directors.

In order to ensure that you are fully informed on an ongoing basis, please be sure to be attentive to RAVE alerts, emails to your email, and check daily updates on HUC’s special website at

Later this week, we will gather as one community for our first weekly Town Hall for all faculty, students, and staff. Please look out for the RAVE alert, email, and our website for details.

Thank you for everything you are doing to sustain your own health, the wellbeing of your families, and the welfare of your communities. Our tradition teaches us to embrace resilience in the face of adversity, strengthened by each other, we will get through this together.

With best wishes for your health and safety,

Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D.

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 leaders to serve 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.