Metuka Benjamin, Director of Education at Stephen S. Wise Temple and Schools and Milken Community High School, received the American Jewish Distinguished Service Award at HUC-JIR’s Graduation Ceremony in Los Angeles. The convocation took place on Monday, May 14, 2012 at 3 p.m. at the College-Institute’s Jack H. Skirball Campus, 3077 University Avenue.
Born in Tel Aviv, Benjamin became a founder of the Stephen S. Wise Temple educational system in 1964. Under her leadership, the early childhood center, elementary school, religious school, and Milken Community High School have become the largest and most comprehensive Jewish educational system in the country, boasting nearly 1,500 graduates.
A committed Zionist, Benjamin conceived the Tiferet Program, the most in-depth Israel educational experience and program offered to Diaspora Day School students throughout the Jewish world. She is International President of Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Israel and is involved with the Atidim program as well as the Ayalim program in the Negev.
Benjamin has been named Teacher of the Year by the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Los Angeles (now known as Builders of Jewish Education) and received the Milken Family Foundation Educator Award. She has been honored with the Dr. Jaimie Constantiner Award in Jewish Education from Tel Aviv University and received an honorary doctorate from the American Jewish University.
Benjamin graduated from the Columbia University-Jewish Theological Seminary combined program, where she received an M.A. in Education.
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