Statement by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) has endorsed a direction for its future structure that will allow HUC-JIR to maintain its presence in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, while seeking consolidation and integration of administration, faculty, programs, and research resources.  Recruitment efforts for all programs will continue, while expanding distance education/e-learning modalities will be vigorously explored so that the academic integrity and quality of the institution can be enhanced.

 

Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, stated, “This direction calls for the unity and consolidation of our entire institution. We have been heartened by the outpouring of support and concern about the integrity and continuity of the College-Institute on the part of thousands of alumni and hundreds of Reform congregations. They have recognized the important role we play in sustaining Jewish faith, identity, and values in communities large and small throughout North America, Israel, and around the world. Through consolidation and integration, this direction enables the College-Institute to create a single institution and a single faculty, embrace new technology, and realize our vision as ‘One College.’  We will continue to work over these next months to complete a plan that achieves the targets of quality, sustainability, and presence that the Board of Governors has mandated, so that we can emerge with a more consolidated institution, strengthened through focus and integration.”

 

Barbara Friedman, Chair of the Board of Governors, said, “The outpouring of e-mails and letters we have received has demonstrated that our students and faculty who are serving congregations large and small throughout North America are cherished and respected, and that preserving our current sites is crucial to the strength and well-being of the Union for Reform Judaism and the Reform Movement as a whole.  We are working to maintain HUC-JIR in a way that minimizes duplication, maximizes synergy, and achieves financial stability.  This is not an easy task and over the summer we will work with faculty, students, and various constituencies to achieve these goals.”

 

The Administration and Board of Governors leadership has committed to continuing consultation with the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and various partner academic institutions to identify shared opportunities for efficiency and economy.  The results of these consultations will be presented to the Board of Governors at its Fall meeting.

 

 


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first 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 American Jewish Archives, 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. www.huc.edu