Rabbi Leonard S. Kravitz, Professor of Midrash and Homiletics at HUC-JIR/New York, : Received Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from :Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rabbi Leonard S. Kravitz, Ph.D., Professor of Midrash and Homiletics at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters at HUC-JIR’s Graduation in New York on Thursday, May 5, 2011 at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, 10 East 66th Street, New York City.

Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, stated, “Renowned for his scholarship in medical ethics, medieval Jewish philosophy, and Maimonidean studies, as well as for his extensive commentary publications, Dr. Kravitz has enriched and inspired generations of disciples and students at the College-Institute for over five decades.”

A graduate of John Carroll University, he received his B.S., magna cum laude (1950).  He received the Master of Hebrew Letters and was ordained by the College-Institute in Cincinnati (1954). Awarded the Leo W. Simon Fellowship in Philosophy, he returned to HUC-JIR as a Teaching Fellow. Continuing his studies in Jewish philosophy, Jewish history, and rabbinics, he earned the Ph.D. at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati in 1957.

Dr. Kravitz served as an Army Chaplain (1957-59) and served the pulpit of Temple Beth El of Northern Valley in Closter, NJ (1959-69). During that time, he taught in the School of Education of HUC-JIR in New York. In 1969, Dr. Kravitz was named Professor of Midrash and Homiletics at that campus.

Rabbi Kravitz has long been interested in the field of medical ethics and was for many years a member of the Medical Ethics Committee of the New York Federation of Jewish Philanthropies. He is also a member of New York University’s Animal Welfare Board.

Rabbi Kravitz was one of the three editors of the new Prayer Book for Jewish Personnel in the Armed Forces, which was sponsored by the Jewish Welfare Board. In 1985, he was honored by John Carroll University with the University’s Centennial Medal.

Dr. Kravitz’s book on the esoteric meaning of Maimonide’s Guide for the Perplexed was published in 1988. He has co-authored, with Dr. Kerry M. Olitzky, Pirke Avot, A Modern Commentary on Jewish Ethics; Shemonah Perakim, A Treatise on the Soul; The Journey of the Soul; Traditional Texts on Teshuvah; and new translations and commentaries on Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.

Click here to view the National 2011 Graduation/Ordination/Investiture press release.

Click here to view the invitation.


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