At this time of year, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), normally holds its Graduation and Ordination ceremonies for graduates of the Pines School of Graduate Studies and ordinees of the Rabbinical School. In this year of social distancing, it is the first time in its 145-year history that the Cincinnati campus of HUC-JIR is unable to hold in-person ceremonies.
To honor to the nine ordinees and four graduates, a member of the campus staff cut a large heart into the front lawn of the campus facing Clifton Avenue, as part of the display as a tribute to the 13 individuals who will go out into the world and the frontline healthcare workers, heroes who have demonstrated love, compassion, and caring during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photos of the ordinands and graduates surround the heart, along with a banner, “Honoring Our 2020 Graduates, Ordinees, and Healthcare Workers.” The Cincinnati campus rabbinical school students all have the opportunity as part of their curriculum to work in local hospitals and long-term care facilities as chaplains.
According to Rabbi Jonathan L. Hecht, Ph.D., HUC-JIR/Cincinnati Dean, “Lev is the Hebrew word for heart, and the heart has the numerical equivalent of 32 representing 32 paths to wisdom. The heart, the universal symbol of love, has taken on new meaning for our community’s healthcare workers who have shown love for their patients every day, and for our rabbis and scholars, community leaders of the future who will share their love and compassion in their careers.”