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HUC-JIR Graduation to Honor Jewish Leaders, Alumni, and Graduating Class of 2009 at Los Angeles Campus Monday, May 18, 2009

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Monday, April 27, 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 the Los Angeles Campus for the HUC-JIR Graduation Ceremonies of the 134th academic year.


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 Lowell Milken, Chairman and Co-Founder of the Milken Family Foundation, Dr. Mohammed Fathi Osman, Scholar in Residence, Omar Ibn al-Khattah Foundation, and posthumously to Dr. Michael Signer, z”l, Abrams Professor of Jewish Thought and Culture, University of Notre Dame.


Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Professor of Bible at HUC-JIR/LA, will deliver the graduation address.


Dr. Roland Chapdelaine, President, Los Angeles Trade Technical College, will be presented with the Presidents' Medal.  Madelyn Mishkin Katz, RJE, Director of Student Life at HUC-JIR/LA, will be presented with a Citation in Recognition.


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


Rabbinical Alumni – Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa

Rabbi Sanford D. Akselrad

Rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaefer

Rabbi Avi M. Schulman

Rabbi Steve L. Silver


Cantorial Alumni – Doctor of Music, honoris causa

Cantor Steven Michael Puzarne


Communal Service Alumni - Doctor of Jewish 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

Rabbi Barry M. Lutz, RJE

Cindy Reich, RJE

Lori B. Sagarin, RJE




The College-Institute will award the following earned degrees to its students in Los Angeles:


Master of Arts in Jewish Education

Rachel Ackerman

Missy Bell

Matthew Kahn

Luisa Moss

Jordi Schuster

Laura Siegel

Jake Singer-Beilin

Rebekah Stern

Emily Walsh

Julia Weisz


Master of Arts in Jewish Communal Service

Missy Bell

Benjamin Bloom

Rena Fraade

David Harris

Jessica Ingram

Matthew Kahn

Laurel Klein

Shira Liff-Grieff

Luisa Moss

Anna Schwarz

Laura Siegel

Emily Walsh


Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters:

Ethan Bair

Sarah Bassin

Lindy Davidson

Jessica Gross

Stephanie Kramer

Samantha Orshan

Miriam Philips

Rebecca Reice

Beaumont Shapiro

Heath Watenmaker



Certificate in Day School Teaching:

Jonathan Abelson

Joel Abramovitz

Coralia Aleman

Sarite Alterman

Carmela Blau

Isaac Jacobs-Gomes

Melissa Greenwood

Rami Raff

Hillel Kurlandsky

Brian Roth

Donna Seidel

Devorah Servi

Amy Watenmaker


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.