COVID-19 – Planning and Preparedness - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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COVID-19 – Planning and Preparedness

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Monday, July 27, 2020

The safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff are extremely important to us. Our senior management team is assessing the situation daily as it affects the HUC-JIR community by monitoring guidelines and recommendations from local, state and federal health officials.  We will continue to update the community as this evolving situation develops.



STATUS (As of July 27, 2020)


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, HUC will be taking the following steps to support our community and public health.

HUC Community: Suggestion Box, Online Learning, and Online Giving

As we navigate this unprecedented moment and create new plans for our future, we welcome your ideas and input. Please submit your suggestions here

We invite you to learn and connect with us. Please register today for upcoming virtual learning opportunities (and share with your friends and family!):

Thank you for supporting HUC. While our campuses are closed, we ask you to make gifts online or by wire transfer:

Students, Faculty, and Staff: Campus Closures and One HUC Meetings

At this tragic, tumultuous time, we at HUC have been closely monitoring the unfolding COVID-19 crisis and collaboratively exploring our options for the fall. After a deliberative process, we have decided that all HUC-JIR stateside classes will be taught remotely for the fall semester and that we will suspend our residency requirements during this period. Please note that this decision only applies to the fall semester and only to classroom education on our Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and New York campuses. Because of the power of building community in person, we are committed to finding opportunities to bring our campus communities together next semester as public health allows.  We will make decisions about whether our campus facilities (including libraries and offices) will be open to students, faculty, and staff later in the summer as we learn more about the course of the pandemic. Read more about this decision here

We have also decided to postpone sending our first-year rabbinical, cantorial, and education students to Israel in 2020-21 due to the risk and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus. The cantorial and rabbinical students instead will participate in an Israel program during their fourth year, and we will be exploring options to ensure a meaningful Israel experience for our education students at some point in their studies.  For this coming academic term, we will create a unique online program for our current first-year students that will build a solid foundation for their subsequent studies. Read more about this decision here.

Students and Faculty: if you need access to library materials, please review updated procedures here.

To address concerns in a transparent manner as one community, we are holding monthly One HUC Meetings for students, faculty, and staff. Please mark your calendar:

August 19 – 12:30 pm ET
September 2 – 11 am ET
September 23 – 12:30 pm ET
October 14 – 11 am ET
November 4 – 12:30 pm ET
November 25 – 11 am ET
December 16 – 12:30 pm ET

To help us use this time most effectively, please email your questions or concerns to our team, in advance, at Please check your email for Zoom and call-in information one week before each meeting.

Staff: Working from Home and Revised Emergency Leave Policy

HUC-JIR continues to take precautions and actions to ensure the well-being of our faculty, staff and students following the protocols from health experts, the CDC and federal and state agencies. To that end, we are issuing a revised Emergency Leave Policy to reflect recent developments, as well as the recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Federal legislation, to ensure you have the support you need. This revised policy supersedes and replaces the Emergency Leave Policy issued on March 12, 2020 in its entirety effective April 1, 2020.  This policy applies to leave taken between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, in accordance with the FFCRA.  We recognize that the provisions of the FFCRA are complex and we encourage you to speak with your supervisor if you have questions. Please see these links to the Department of Labor’s FFCRA notice and a FAQ.



We are here to offer support to all those experiencing concern:

  • Cincinnati: Rabbi Jonathan Hecht, Ph.D., Rabbi Julie Schwartz, Rabbi Richard Sarason
  • Jerusalem: Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Rabbi Josh Herman, Nancy Lewitt
  • Los Angeles: Dr. Madelyn Katz
  • New York: Rabbi Nancy Wiener, D.Min.


Reporting to the President

Chaired by Elizabeth M. Squadron, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and External Relations

Campus and Academic Leadership

Rabbi Andrea Weiss*, Ph.D., Provost
Rabbi David Adelson*, D.Min., Dean of the New York Campus
Rabbi Jonathan Hecht*, Ph.D., Dean of the Cincinnati Campus
Dr. Joshua Holo*, Dean of the Skirball Campus, Los Angeles
Rabbi Naamah Kelman*, Dean of the Taube Family Campus, Jerusalem

Senior Administrative Leadership

Rabbi Adam Allenberg*, Senior Director of Admissions and Recruitment
Lissie Diringer*, Vice President of Institutional Advancement
Amy Goldberg*, Chief Financial Officer (as of May 4)
Michelle Slocum*, Controller 
Elizabeth M. Squadron*, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and External Relations

Academic Program Directors

Rabbi Talia Avnon-Benveniste, Director, Israel Rabbinical Program
Yoram Bitton, Director of Libraries 
Cantor Richard Cohn, Director, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music 
Rabbi Lisa Grant, Ph.D, Director, Rabbinical Program, New York
Leah Hochman, Ph.D., Director, Louchheim School for Judaic Studies
Lesley Litman, Ph.D., Director, Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education
Erik Ludwig, Ph.D., Director, Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management
David S. Mendelsson, Ph.D., Director, Year-In-Israel Program
Rabbi Richard Sarason, Ph.D., Director, Pines School of Graduate Studies
Rabbi Julie S. Schwartz, Associate Dean
Miriam Heller Stern, Ph.D., Director, School of Education 
Rabbi Dvora E. Weisberg, Ph.D., Director, Rabbinical Program, Los Angeles
Rabbi Gary Zola, Ph.D., Executive Director, American Jewish Archives

Additional Crisis Management Leadership

John Bruggeman, Director of Information Technology
Dganit Jenshil, Chief Operating Officer of the Taube Family Campus, Jerusalem                
Andrea Kann, Executive Secretary to the Board of Governors
Rabbi Elliott Kleinman, Chief Engagement Officer
Einav Lahav, Chief Financial Officer of the Taube Family Campus, Jerusalem
Jean Bloch Rosensaft, Assistant Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs
Nicole Vandestienne, Executive Administrator, Office of the President

*Members of the President's Cabinet


As of July 8, 2020. Membership is still in formation.

Academic Continuity

Online Learning Task Force
Sarah Benor, Chair 
Jill Abramson 
Larry Albin 
John Bruggeman 
Alice Finkelstein 
Jennifer Grayson 
Leah Hochman 
Tamar Duvdevani 
Lesley Litman 
Frankie Salzman 
Joe Skloot 
Mira Weller

Faculty Support Task Force
Jason Kalman, Chair 
David Aaron 
Reuven Firestone 
Alyssa Gray 
Dalia Marx 
Bruce Philips

Student Personal and Professional Well-being Task Force
Nancy Wiener, Chair 
Dana Anesi 
Talia Avnon 
Libby Fisher 
Andrew Goodman 
Josh Herman 
Jan Katzew 
Myriam Klotz 
Mandi Richardson 
Julie Schwarz 
Joel Simon 
Ruth Sohn 
Alexandra Stein 
David White 
Laura Novak Winer

Operational Continuity

Development Task Force 
Serena Young, Chair 
Yana Fomin 
Melissa Garai 
Michael Gropper 
Leah Hochman 
Penny McCreless 
Abby Schwartz 
Samantha Tannanbaum 
Jill Vora

Alumni Task Force 
Elliott Kleinman, Chair 
Jill Abramson 
Micol Zimmerman Burkman 
Samantha Koss 
Angele Osborne
Miriam Heller Stern
Chelsea Simon  

Communications Task Force 
Jeanie Rosensaft, Chair 
Lisa Frankel 
Ally Glazer 
Ilana Goldberg 
Vanessa Harper 
Sally Korkin 
Susan Kulick 
Dalia Marx 
Jose Morales
Maor Rodman 
Shane Sampson 
Abby Schwartz 
Chelsea Simon
Amanda Sissman 
Sheryl Stahl 
Sam Tannanbaum 
Nicole Vandestienne 
Cathee Weiss 
Kristin Young

External Partnerships Task Force 
Erik Ludwig, Chair 
Adam Allenberg 
Erin Fine 
Lisa Frankel 
Amy Goldberg 
Andrew Goodman 
Dganit Jenshil 
Monisha Ringler 
Samantha Tannanbaum 
Serena Young

Staff Support Task Force
Autumn Wheeler, Co-Chair
Kristin Young, Co-Chair
Joni Askin 
Nancy Dowlin
Paul Gish 
Amy Golderg
Einav Lahav 
Harriet Lewis 
Janet Liss 
Ryan Tourial

Facilities, Building Operations, and Infrastructure Task Force
Lisa Frankel, Co-Chair
Harriet Lewis, Co-Chair
Yoram Bitton 
John Bruggeman 
Amy Goldberg
Walter Jackson 
Dganit Jenshil
Janet Liss 
Abby Schwartz 
Walter Welch 
Laurel Wolfson 
Kristin Young

Recruitment and Admissions Task Force
Adam Allenberg, Chair
David Aaron
Norman Cohen
Kim Geringer
Leah Hochman
Candice Levy
Julie Schwartz
Dvora Weisberg, consultant
Lisa Grant, consultant
Jonathan Hecht, consultant

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.