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HUC-JIR Graduation to Honor Jewish Leaders, Alumni, and Graduating Class of 2009 at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York on April 30

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), has announced the Class of 2009, who will be ordained, invested, and graduated 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.


Communal leaders, relatives, and friends will gather at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York on April 30th for the HUC-JIR Graduation Ceremonies of the 134th academic year in New York.


Rabbi Ellenson said, “The Class of 2009 emerges from the College-Institute imbued with leadership skills, steeped in knowledge, strengthened by a commitment to service, and dedicated to bringing hope and healing to our troubled world.  As they touch the lives of others through their sacred work as rabbis, cantors, educators, communal professionals, scholars, and pastoral care-givers throughout North America and around the world, they will be a source of inspiration and guidance.”


HUC-JIR will present the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, to Dov L. Seidman, Chairman and CEO of LRN, who will deliver the Graduation Address to the New York community, and to Dr. Walter Homolka, Executive Director, Abraham Geiger College.


Rabbi Lennard R. Thal, Vice President Emeritus, Union for Reform Judaism, will be presented with the American Jewish Distinguished Service Award.


HUC-JIR alumni will be awarded honorary Doctorates of Divinity, Music, Jewish Religious Education, and Jewish Communal Service, and Founders’ Medallions, in recognition of their 25 years of distinguished professional service:


Rabbinical Alumni – Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa

Rabbi Terry Allan Bookman

Rabbi Gary M. Bretton-Granatoor

Rabbi Jody Ruth Cohen

Rabbi Steven L. Denker

Rabbi S. Joan Glazer Farber

Rabbi Carol Glass

Rabbi Constance A. Golden

Rabbi Julie K. Gordon

Rabbi Harley Karz-Wagman

Rabbi Suzanne D. Kassel

Rabbi Tracy G. Klirs

Rabbi Robert Brent Lennick, D.Min

Rabbi Gregory S. Marx

Rabbi Ian D. Morris

Rabbi Stacy K. Offner

Rabbi Amy R. Scheinerman

Rabbi Judy Shanks

Rabbi Scott L. Shpeen

Rabbi Thomas K. Weiner

Rabbi Margaret Moers Wenig

Rabbi Irwin A. Zeplowitz

Rabbi Yosef Mordecai Zylberberg


Cantorial Alumni – Doctor of Music, honoris causa

Cantor Andrew Edison

Cantor Boris Kazansky

Cantor Rachelle Faith Nelson

Cantor Jill Spasser


Education Alumni - Doctor of Jewish Religious Education, honoris causa

Gail S. Kahn, RJE

Wendy Robinson Schwartz, RJE


The College-Institute will award the following earned degrees to its students in New York:


Doctor of Ministry:

Jeanine Blaustein, PhD

Reverend Linda Hill

Rabbi Alan David Londy

Father John Aduseh Poku

Father Stephen Okeke

Father Charles Omutu

Barbara Simpson

Pastor Kim Wilson

Rabbi Hanna Yerushalmi


Doctor of Hebrew Letters:

Seth Limmer


Master of Arts in Religious Education:

Leah Blank

Rena Fraade

Lisa Kingston

Anne Landowne

Sarah Ruderman

Lauren Pack Ben Shoshan

Helayne Shalhevet


Master of Sacred Music:

Galit Dadoun Cohen

Maria Dubinsky

Leah Holland

Tifani Katof

Donna Mashadi

Rollin Simmons

Raina Siroty

Star Trompeter


Master of Arts in Hebrew Literature:

Marion Lev Cohen

Heather Borshoff

Rachael Bregman

Owen Gottlieb

Ron Herrmann

Neil Hirsch

Alexandra Intraub

Yaron Kapitulnik

Rachel Kort

Joseph Murray

Jill Perlman

Karen Perolman

David Segal

Helayne Shalhevet

Rachel Shafran

Ariana Silverman

Melissa Simon

Joseph Skloot

Matthew Soffer

Melissa Zalkin Stollman


Please see the national invitation for full event details (


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.