HUC-JIR Presents Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, to Linda Jean Motzkin

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, will award Rabbi Linda Jean Motzkin with the Doctor of Divinity at Graduation Ceremonies in Cincinnati on Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm at Isaac M. Wise Temple (8329 Ridge Road). Rabbi Motzkin will be honored for 25 years of scholarly distinction as an alumna of HUC-JIR.

Rabbi Linda Jean Motzkin has served since 1986 as co-rabbis of Temple Sinai in Saratoga Springs, NY, with Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein. She was ordained in 1986 at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. Rabbi Motzkin serves part-time as the Jewish Chaplain at Skidmore College.

Rabbi Motzkin is a member of the Capital District Board of Rabbis and of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the United Jewish Communities. Rabbi Motzkin is co-chair of the 2010 United Jewish Federation Saratoga campaign. She serves as volunteer chaplain at Saratoga Hospital; in addition, Rabbi Motzkin is a long-serving member of the Hospital’s Ethics Committee.

Rabbi Motzkin has been involved in numerous community organizations. She has served on the steering committee of the Adirondack Religious Coalition for Choice and on the Board of Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services. She is also the author of several Hebrew language textbooks, including the Union for Reform Judaism’s 4-volume adult Hebrew language series.

Rabbi Motzkin is one of a handful of women in the world who is trained as a soferet (a scribe) and is currently writing a Torah scroll, processing deer hides into parchment for the scroll with the help of volunteers. 

In 2004, Rabbis Motzkin and Rubenstein founded the Bread and Torah Project, through which they offer hands-on programs based on their scribal arts and bakery activities. Together, they have given Bread and Torah presentations at conferences, colleges and retreats, and worked with church and synagogue education programs (youth and adult), school groups, scout troops, civic organizations, agencies serving adults and youth with disabilities, and facilities for seniors.

Rabbis Motzkin and Rubenstein are the parents of Rachel (Ruhi) Sophia, a 2007 Smith College graduate now enrolled at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Ari Shalom, a senior at Brown University, and Shira Bracha, a sophomore at Brandeis University.

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 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