HUC-JIR Presents Doctor of Jewish Communal Service, honoris causa, to Karen S. Bernstein

Monday, May 3, 2010

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

Bernstein (Marmalefsky) graduated from HUC-JIR with a Master of Jewish Communal Service degree and from the University of Southern California with a Master degree in Social Work.  In 1983, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine.

After graduation, Karen left her native California for the frozen Midwest where from 1985 to 1988, she worked at the Milwaukee Jewish Federation as the Director of Human Resources.  She then moved to the Washington, DC area where from 1988 to 1998, she worked in the same capacity for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

From 1998 to 2001, Karen was the Executive Director of the Baltimore Institute for Jewish Communal Service, a graduate training program similar in nature to the HUC-JIR program from which she graduated.  Following her work in the academic community, Karen returned to her first love, Jewish camping.

For the past nine years, Karen has worked fro Capital Camps & Retreat Center, a Jewish community overnight camp and retreat center serving the Washington, DC and Baltimore region where she has help both camp and administrative positions at Capital Camps.  On the camp side, she served as Assistant Camp Director and coordinator of the teen leadership programs.  And currently, in her capacity as the Director of Advancement, Karen is responsible for fundraising, grant writing, special events, board development, and alumni relations.  Karen particularly enjoys her summers at camp where her work focuses on nurturing and training future Jewish communal leaders.

Karen is married to Michael Bernstein, an FDA lawyer, and has two children, Nathan, a Wooton High School senior and soon to be University of Wisconsin freshman, and Maya, an eighth-grader at Robert Frost Middle School.


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