Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, awarded Marla Eglash Abraham 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). Abraham was honored for 25 years of scholarly distinction as an alumna of HUC-JIR.
Abraham received her B.A. in Spanish and Linguistics from UCLA in 1982. She received her Master of Arts in Jewish Communal Service from HUC-JIR/Los Angeles in 1985 and her Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California in 1985.
Abraham worked at HUC-JIR from 1992 to 2007. She has served as the Director of Field Education, the Interim Director, and Associate Director of the School of Jewish Communal Service in Los Angeles. Abraham is currently the Senior Vice President of Endowment Planning and Premier Philanthropy at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
As a Jewish communal professional, Abraham has focused on strengthening, building, and innovating Jewish communal organizational life. “For me, organizations (synagogues, day schools, all Jewish non-profits) are the fabric of Jewish life in the sense that we are Jews not solely as individuals, but in every way as a part of a holy and interwoven community – local, national, and global.” Abraham’s commitment to Jewish organizational life has taken many forms throughout her career: through her work in financial development; teaching, leading, and mentoring work with a generation of future Jewish communal professionals at HUC-JIR; strategic planning, consulting, and facilitation work; and board retreats and trainings. “I am particularly proud of the work I have done within the Reform movement, as a faculty member of the Scheidt seminar since its inception, strategic planning work with several national bodies of the movement (CCAR, WRJ, and ARZA), and the numerous rabbinic students I have mentored over the years at HUC-JIR.