The Society for Classical Reform Judaism (SCRJ), with the support of the Edward and Wilhelmina Ackerman Foundation, has announced a five-year grant in the amount of $500,000 to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). This grant will support rabbinical students on the Cincinnati campus with scholarships, Prize Essay Awards, a Student Travel Fund, and an annual SCRJ Institute.
“We are grateful to the Society for Classical Reform Judaism and the Ackerman Foundation for their generous commitment to sustaining HUC-JIR’s pluralism and openness to all views, which represents our strength as the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center for the Reform Movement,” said Rabbi Kenneth Ehrlich, Dean of HUC-JIR’s Cincinnati campus.
As part of this grant, Rabbi Howard A. Berman, SCRJ Executive Director, will deliver a presentation to the Senior Seminar course on the Cincinnati campus, and will meet with all interested students on the Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and New York campuses. Classical Reform Judaism – its history, thought, and liturgical expressions – will be included in Core and Elective courses in the Rabbinical School on the Cincinnati campus, and in campus co-curricular activities and programs. Cincinnati faculty will work to develop an elective course on Classical Reform Judaism, which may be offered through e-learning to students on other campuses. Rabbinical students will be provided with resource materials, including the Union Prayer Book – Sinai Edition, books, journals, liturgical and musical materials, including the classics of Reform thought and liturgy in specially produced reprints of out-of-print titles.
Rabbi Howard A. Berman, SCRJ Executive Director, noted “Since its founding in 2008, the Society has been committed to the building of a collegial relationship with HUC-JIR in order to sustain the historic principles and worship traditions of Classical Reform Judaism as core values in its teaching and practice. The SCRJ affirms the broad inclusive, universal ideals of the Classical Reform tradition, which have a unique role to play in reaching a new generation of younger Jews today, including the increasing numbers of interfaith families within the Reform Movement. We are very excited to have this opportunity to share our vision with a new generation of rabbis, and to support them in rediscovering and reaffirming the heritage we all share as Reform Jews."
“The Society for Classical Reform Judaism salutes the Ackerman Foundation for its creative philanthropy in funding this initiative,” said B. H. Levy, Jr., President of the SCRJ Board. “We hope that this grant program will raise awareness of prophetic Judaism within coming generations of Reform rabbis to enable those rabbis to more fully appreciate Classical Reform as a living, breathing, and worthwhile model, both for daily living and public worship. We also hope that this initiative will lead to other creative paths along which the Society and HUC-JIR can partner to enrich the lives of North American Jewry.”
Through its support for HUC-JIR, the SCRJ seeks to foster the continuous creative development of a distinctively American expression of Jewish life and identity, and advocates on behalf of outreach and genuine inclusion of the diverse strains in today’s changing Jewish community. The SCRJ seeks to broaden its partnership with HUC-JIR to support and encourage an awareness of the Classical Reform tradition among the emerging generation of rabbis, cantors, and educators. www.renewreform.org
Over the past two years, HUC-JIR has invited the SCRJ to meet with students at the Cincinnati and New York campuses and to participate in the annual Senior Seminar with rabbinical and cantorial students completing their studies and approaching Ordination/Investiture. This past year, the SCRJ initiated its scholarship program in Cincinnati through awards to five students for their reflective essays on their understandings and connection to Classical Reform Judaism.
Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation's oldest 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 American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and communal service professionals, and offers graduate and post-graduate programs to scholars of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise renowned library and museum collections, the American Jewish Archives, biblical archaeology excavations, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. HUC-JIR invites the community to an array of cultural and educational programs which illuminate Jewish history, identity, and contemporary creativity and which foster interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu