HUC-JIR/Cincinnati Graduation Honors Jewish Leaders, Alumni, and Graduating Class of 2009 - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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HUC-JIR/Cincinnati Graduation Honors Jewish Leaders, Alumni, and Graduating Class of 2009

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Communal leaders, relatives, and friends gathered at Isaac M. Wise Temple on June 7th for the HUC-JIR Cincinnati Graduation Ceremonies of the 134th academic year.


Rabbi David 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.”


Dr. Arno G. Motulsky, Professor Emeritus, Departments of Medicine and Genome Studies, University of Washington, was presented with the 2009 Dr. Bernard Heller Prize.


HUC-JIR awarded the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, to Scott Cowen, President of Tulane University, who delivered the Graduation Address, and to William Henry Cardinal Keeler, Archdiocese Emeritus of Baltimore.


Betty Benjamin, Former President, Women of Reform Judaism, received the Presidents' Medal in a private ceremony. 


HUC-JIR alumni were 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 James M. Bennett

Rabbi Brad Lane Bloom

Rabbi Judith A. Bluestein

Rabbi Judith A. Chessin

Rabbi Elias Jacob Lieberman

Rabbi Michael Matuson

Rabbi Joe Rooks Rapport

Rabbi Gaylia R. Rooks

Rabbi Keith H. Stern

Rabbi Elizabeth Weiss Stern



The College-Institute presented the following earned degrees to its students in Cincinnati:


Doctor of Philosophy

John H. Choi

David L. Everson

Kristine Sue Henriksen Garroway

Adam Carter McCollum

Michael David Matlock

Jennifer Elizabeth Quast

David L. Turner


Master of Philosophy in Hebraic and Cognate Studies:

Peter Joseph Bekins

Michael Andrei Cernucan

John Charles Halton, IV

Nicholas James Petersen 

Gregory Allen Snyder


Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters:

Elizabeth Bandyk Bahar

Emily Dunn

Jean Eglinton

Tami Elliott

Jason Holtz

Emily Huebscher

David Reiner

Rachel Crossley Saphire

Dena Shaffer

Sarah Smiley

Alysa Stanton

Howard Stein

Michael Weinstein

Benjamin Zeidman



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.