HUC-JIR Presents Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, to Steven A. Ballaban

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, will award Rabbi Steven A. Ballaban 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 Ballaban will be honored for 25 years of scholarly distinction as an alumnus of HUC-JIR.

Rabbi Steven A. Ballaban currently serves as Rabbi of Temple Shir Tikva in Bloomington, IN.  He served as an educational leader, including serving as Head of School at two Jewish Day Schools, and serving as a representative on a pioneering effort to develop national curriculum standards for Jewish studies in Day Schools. 

Rabbi Ballaban has worked to improve the quality of education available to Jews around the world through his service on the boards of ORT Atlanta and American ORT.  He developed internationally recognized programs to bring students from Ethiopian backgrounds in Israel to the United States to advance their educational opportunities in Israel, and created programs to increase interfaith understanding between Jewish, Christian, Catholic, and Muslim students. 

Rabbi Ballaban served as National President of the Progressive Association of Reform Day Schools (PARDeS), helping to develop programs to found and expand enrollment in Jewish Day Schools throughout the country.  He collaborated with representatives of the other Day School movements (Conservative, Orthodox, and Community) to engage in combined efforts to advance Jewish education in the United States.  

Rabbi Ballaban was a fellow in the inaugural cohort of the Secondary School Leadership Training Institute at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and helped to develop data based standards for measuring effectiveness of financial and administrative management of Day Schools nationally. 

Rabbi Ballaban worked to create the first integrated program for children with mild-moderate learning disabilities in a Jewish Day School – the Amit Community Day School in Atlanta.  He led a school for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (not a Jewish institution), and serves on the CCAR task force on Disabilities.  Rabbi Ballaban helped to found a Reform congregation in Bloomington, IN.

Rabbi Ballaban earned his BA at Vassar College with a degree in English Literature.  He received his MAHL at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati.  In 1994, he earned his M.Phil. in Bible and Cognate Studies at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, and in 1995 he earned his Ph.D., with areas of examination in Medieval Philosophy, Rabbinic Literature, and Semitic Languages, at the Cincinnati campus.

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