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HUC-JIR Alumni to be Awarded Honorary Doctorates

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) has announced the HUC-JIR alumni who will receive honorary doctorates this spring in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and New York.  HUC-JIR is the nation's oldest institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism.


The following HUC-JIR alumni will be awarded honorary Doctorates of Divinity, Music, Jewish Religious Education, and Jewish Communal Service, as well as the Founders' Medallion, in recognition of their 25 years of distinguished professional service:


Click the links below for individual press releases (PDFs)


Rabbinical Alumni – Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa

Sanford D. Akselrad

James M. Bennett

Brad Lane Bloom

Judith A. Bluestein

Terry Allen Bookman

Gary M. Bretton-Granatoor

Judith A. Chessin

Jody Ruth Cohen

Steven L. Denker

S. Joan Glazer Farber

Carol Glass

Constance A. Golden

Julie K. Gordon

Arthur Gross-Schaefer

Harley Karz-Wagman

Suzanne D. Kassel

Tracy G. Klirs

Robert Brent Lennick

Gregory S. Marx

Michael Matuson

Ian D. Morris

Stacy K. Offner

Joe Rooks Rapport

Gaylia R. Rooks

Amy R. Scheinerman

Avi M. Schulman

Judy Shanks

Scott L. Shpeen

Steve L. Silver

Keith H. Stern

Elizabeth Weiss Stern

Thomas K.Weiner

Margaret Moers Wenig

Irwin A. Zeplowitz

Yosef Mordecai Zylberberg


Cantorial Alumni – Doctor of Music, honoris causa

Andrew Edison

Boris Kazansky

Rachelle Faith Nelson

Steven Michael Puzarne

Jill Spasser


Communal Service Alumni - Doctor of Jewish Communal Service, honoris causa

Mark L. Goldstein

Mark David Gurvis

Cheryl J. Kessler, z”l

Zev A. Kessler

Amy Dover Neistein

Steven A. Reitman


Education Alumni - Doctor of Jewish Religious Education, honoris causa

Gail S. Kahn, RJE

Rabbi Barry M. Lutz, RJE

Cindy Reich, RJE

Lori B. Sagarin, RJE

Wendy Robinson Schwartz, RJE


Graduate Studies Alumni - Founders’ Medallion

Richard S. Hess, Ph.D.

Miriam Dean-Otting, Ph.D.

Steven M. Voth, Ph.D.



For event information, please view the national invitation 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.