Russell D. Feingold, United States Senator for Wisconsin (1993-2011), Awarded Honorary Doctorate from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Monday, June 25, 2012

Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) awarded U.S. Senator Russell D. Feingold the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, in recognition of his devotion to the values of Judaism, concern for all humankind, and extraordinary contributions to strengthening the United States. The presentation was made on June 3 at HUC-JIR’s Graduation Ceremonies on the Cincinnati campus; Senator Feingold presented the Graduation Address.   

Rabbi Ellenson stated, “Throughout his political career, Senator Feingold has demonstrated his faith in the values and processes of democracy and has never wavered in his determination to search for common ground in all Americans of good will.  His strongest legislative passions have been reserved for fiscal ethics in government, elimination of deficit spending, education, civil rights, protecting jobs, and affordable health care.”    

Senator Feingold represented the state of Wisconsin from 1993 through 2011 in the U.S. Senate.  He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1975, attended Magdalen College, Oxford, England, as a Rhodes Scholar and received a graduate degree in 1977; and graduated from Harvard University Law School in 1979.  He was admitted to the Wisconsin bar in 1979 and practiced law in Madison, WI in 1979-1985.  While serving as a visiting professor at Beloit College 1985, he was elected a member of the Wisconsin State Senate 1983-1993.  He was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1992; reelected in 1998, and again in 2004, and served from January 3, 1993, to January 3, 2011.  He was defeated in his 2010 reelection bid by a Tea Party Republican candidate.

Senator Feingold is best known for his work with Senator John McCain to clean—up election campaign finance abuses, via the Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002.  An independent progressive thinker, he was the first senator to call for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq (2005) and was the lone Senator who voted against the USA Patriot Ace (2001). 

Click here for the text of Senator Feingold’s Graduation Address.


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