HUC-JIR Presents Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, to Steven Folberg

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, awarded Rabbi Steven Folberg with the Doctor of Divinity at Graduation Ceremonies in New York on Thursday, April 29, 2010, at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York.  Rabbi Folberg was honored for 25 years of scholarly distinction as an alumnus of HUC-JIR.

Rabbi Folberg has been the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel for more than 18 years.  He began his service in the summer of 1991, on the cusp of the city of Austin’s explosive growth as a major technology and business center, and has helped the congregation grow by more than 200 households over the years.  During this time, he also helped to shepherd the congregation through a major capital campaign that funded the creation of a new, three-story Learning Center classroom building and a remodeled Social Hall.

Rabbi Folberg is known as a gifted teacher and powerful speaker.  He has been active in social justice work and community affairs in greater Austin.  He was awarded a 208 Hope Award from Austin Area Interreligious Ministries, and a 2009 Peacemaker Award from the Dispute Resolution Center, both for his role in hosting the 2007 AAIM Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration at Congregation Beth Israel after a local church withdrew its invitation due to Muslim participation in the event.  Rabbi Folberg has also been deeply engaged in the cause of the religious environmental stewardship, and is a founding member of the Interfaith Environmental Network of Austin.

He is married to Saundra Goldman, a writer, and is the father of Shira, age 8.


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