HUC-JIR Presents Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, to Eliot Joel Baskin

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, awarded Rabbi Eliot Joel Baskin with the Doctor of Divinity at Graduation Ceremonies in Los Angeles on Monday, May 17, 2010 at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles (3077 University Avenue, Los Angeles).  Rabbi Baskin was honored for 25 years of scholarly distinction as an alumnus of HUC-JIR.

Rabbi Baskin, D.Min. serves as Denver’s Jewish Community Chaplain and the Rabbinic Director of Rafael: Spiritual Healing Center as part of Jewish Family Service of Colorado, where he visits Jews in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, correctional facilities, and mental health institutions.  He also serves part time as the spiritual leader for Congregation Har Shalom in Durango, CO.  He served as past President of the Rocky Mountain Rabbinic Council.  He enjoys teaching theology, ethics, and history for the Melton Adult Mini School and Philosophy and Comparative Religion for Argosy University, volunteering for the Denver Police Chaplains’ Unit, leading Jewish holiday services for Cruise Lines, and lecturing frequently throughout the country on topics of contemporary Jewish spirituality for ReJewvenate.net.

He graduated from HUC-JIR/Cincinnati in 1985.  He wrote his thesis on “The Development of Progressive Judaism in Australia” after serving liberal congregations in New Zealand and Australia as a student rabbi.  Following ordination, he served as the Jewish chaplain at the Mayo Clinic where he completed a residency in Clinical Pastoral education.  He previously served congregations in Rochester, MN; Fort Collins, CO; Glastonbury, CT; and Evergreen, CO.

As he sees relationship to be at the heart of his rabbinate, he became the first rabbi to earn the Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Care and Counseling in 1993 at HUC-JIR/New York where he did his demonstration project in the use of Sacred Stories for Patients with AIDS.

Originally from Toronto, Rabbi Baskin makes his home in the land of elk and honey with his wife, Hilary, an orthodontist, where they practice “brachas (blessings) and braces.”  They are blessed with two sons, Jonah (b. 1995) and Gabriel (b. 1997) who share their passion for skiing, hiking, biking, reading, theatre, and travel.


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, 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