Rabbi Jan Katzew, Ph.D., Appointed Director of Service Learning at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati to Advance Newly Created Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Fellows Program

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rabbi Jan Katzew, Ph.D., a leading educator in the Reform Movement and distinguished rabbinical alumnus of HUC-JIR, has been appointed Director of Service Learning at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, effective June 1, 2012. 

This significant appointment is made possible by the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati’s transformative five-year, $5.225 million grant that will enable HUC-JIR enhance its rabbinical student curriculum and focus more of its resources on serving the Cincinnati Jewish community. A portion of this grant will develop the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Fellows Program – an advanced service learning curriculum that will dispatch rabbinical students to help build capacity and serve community needs through paid internships at local Jewish institutions.

Dr. Jonathan Cohen, Dean of the Cincinnati campus, stated, “Dr. Jan Katzew brings a wealth of expertise in Jewish education and service learning, which will enhance our rabbinical students’ professional leadership.  His implementation of this groundbreaking program of advanced service learning through placements at Jewish Family Service’s new Barbash Family Vital Support Center on our campus, made possible by the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, and throughout the Cincinnati community’s Jewish agencies, educational institutions, and organizations, will provide our students with the knowledge, skills, and experience to strengthen their careers as future leaders of the Reform Movement and the Jewish people.”

This new program at the College-Institute, which will be launched in September 2012, will provide Cincinnati’s Jewish community and its various institutions with an infusion of young Jewish leaders to work in the areas of basic needs, Jewish education and engagement, leadership development, and Israel connection as they pursue their rabbinical studies on the historic Cincinnati campus. Foundation dollars will also be used to leverage the expertise of more seasoned HUC-JIR faculty and administrators, many of whom are already serving as key resources in local Jewish Day Schools, congregations and UC Hillel.

Dr. Katzew’s responsibilities include partnering with faculty colleagues in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the professional development-clinical learning facet of the rabbinical school curriculum.  He will have a leadership role in developing a service learning curriculum that will use Cincinnati’s Jewish community as a laboratory for the development of students’ clinical and professional skills.  This curriculum will integrate professional development, Jewish text study, service in Jewish agencies in the greater Cincinnati area, and reflection. As a distinguished leader in the field of Jewish education, he will also teach, mentor, and supervise rabbinical students in education and Jewish thought courses. 

Dr. Katzew has served as a member of the adjunct faculty at HUC-JIR, teaching courses in Education, Jewish Thought, and Moral Philosophy to rabbinical, cantorial, and education students since 1999.  He comes to this newly created position at HUC-JIR after fifteen years as the Director of Lifelong Jewish Learning at the Union for Reform Judaism, where he created a network of regional educators, designed CHAI and Mitkadem for Judaic and Hebrew learning, respectively, in congregational schools, and implemented Chaverim B’Ivrit for Day Schools.  He organized Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism and directed the Commission on Jewish Learning and the Lifelong Learning Council, forums for building the Jewish education system in the Reform Movement.  He introduced “Torah at the Center,” a quarterly journal for Jewish educators. 

Previously, he served as Head of the Middle School at the Solomon Schechter of Northbrook, IL, Director of Adolescent Learning of the BJE (now CJFE) of Skokie, IL, and Rabbi-Educator of Community Synagogue of Port Washington, NY.

Dr. Katzew received his Ph.D. in Education and Jewish Thought from the Hebrew University (1997), his M.A. in Hebrew Letters and rabbinical ordination from HUC-JIR (1983), and his B.A. in Religious Studies, magna cum laude, from Wesleyan University (1978).

He has participated in significant assemblies of interfaith clergy and served as a scholar-in-residence and presenter at scores of congregations throughout North America and at CAJE, Limmud, NATE, CCAR, and URJ Biennial conferences.    He served as Editorial Board Chair of URJ Press for fifteen years.  He has published widely on the subject of Jewish education and Jewish thought, including articles in the Hebrew Union College Annual, CCAR Journal, International Journal of Jewish Education, and Reform Judaism magazine.

Dr. Katzew was Project Director-Adult Jewish Living and Learning Journeys for the Covenant Foundation, creating a North American network of avocational teachers of Jewish adults.

He received the Distinguished Educator Award from the National Association of Temple Educators and was selected as a Jerusalem Fellow as an international leader in Jewish education by the Mandel School in Jerusalem. 

The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati’s grant to HUC-JIR also supports a vitalized recruitment program that will recruit individuals with the intellect, spiritual depth, vision, and compassion required for leadership. In addition, this grant will renew the campus’s engagement with the larger Cincinnati community through programs accessing our renowned resources, including our world-class faculty, the Klau Library (the second largest Jewish library in the world), the American Jewish Archives, and the Skirball Museum. The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati is also partnering with the Jewish Federation, Jewish Family Service, and Bernie and Pam Barbash and other Jewish philanthropists in the creation of the Barbash Family Vital Support Center, which will be housed in the former Gymnasium Building on HUC-JIR’s campus.  This Center, slated to open in 2013, will provide a holistic approach to addressing client needs and serve as an entry portal to safety net services for the most vulnerable members of the Jewish community, and provide service learning opportunities for HUC-JIR’s students.

“The College-Institute is enormously grateful to The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati for its visionary commitment to sustain Jewish leadership and learning by ensuring the vitality of our institution and the larger Cincinnati Jewish community. This grant will have an extraordinary impact on our Cincinnati campus, our entire institution, and on the next generations of Jewish leaders for the Reform Movement and the Jewish people throughout North America, Israel, and around the world,” stated Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR president.


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