HUC-JIR Presents Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, to David Wechsler-Azen

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, will award Rabbi David Wechsler-Azen with the Doctor of Divinity at Graduation Ceremonies in Los Angeles on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 3:00 pm at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Jack H. Skirball Campus.  Wechsler-Azen will be honored for 25 years of scholarly distinction as an alumnus of HUC-JIR.

Rabbi David Wechsler-Azen was ordained in 1986 by HUC-JIR in New York, with honors in Academic Excellence, Counseling, Philosophy, Liturgy, and Creative Biblical Interpretation, and currently serves as co-Rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom of Carmichael, CA, with his wife, Rabbi Nancy Wechsler-Azen.

While increasing youth involvement at the synagogues he has served over the last 25 years, Wechsler-Azen has led to educating through the arts.  He founded New Legends and conceived, produced, and originated the role of Adam in "Guarding the Garden," a musical fable about the start of the environmental crisis in Eden, which toured for four years and was seen by tens of thousands, from Dartmouth to Miami, Chicago to New York, and points in between.

After a fellowship in film at Temple University, he wrote, produced, and directed teacher training tapes for the Union for Reform Judaism that won a National Educational Media Network award.  He has also written and performed a one-rabbi show called "I Caused the Big Bang."

Wechsler-Azen also founded and serves as CEO of Fresh Producers, which helps high risk youth improve health, wealth, and skills for life.  "The Super in the Natural" greeting cards he designed have been on sale at the National Institutes of Health gift shops, and he teaches "kaBASEBALLah: the Spirit of Teamwork in Jewish Mysticism," which was published in the book What's Jewish about the American Pastime?

Click here to view the National Ordination/Investiture/Graduation press release.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first 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 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