Barbara Shear, a prominent communal and civic leader of Pittsburgh, was inducted into the Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) by Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, on May 6, 2013 at its meeting in New York.
Rabbi Ellenson stated, “Barbara Shear’s devotion to the Jewish and larger community of Pittsburgh is a source of strength and inspiration to us all. Her commitment to her congregation, the State of Israel, and social responsibility reinforce HUC-JIR’s important task of preparing leadership for the Reform Movement and klal yisrael. We are privileged to have her guidance as we look to the future.”
Shear is a former member of the HUC-JIR’s Central Region Board of Overseers and has remained an active supporter of HUC-JIR over the past decade. A member of Congregation Rodef Shalom in Pittsburgh, she has served on the Board of both the Temple and its Sisterhood.
In addition to her activities in the Reform Movement, Shear is active in the Pittsburgh Federation and its activities. She and her husband Herb have served as Honorary Chairs of the Jewish Family and Children's Service Dinners in the Pittsburgh area and have contributed philanthropically to this organization as well as other groups served by the Pittsburgh Federation (including sponsorship of a circus in the Galilee in Israel for Jewish and Arab Children). She and her husband are also committed members of AIPAC.
An active participant in the Jewish National Fund, Shear currently serves as the Chair of the Sapphire Committee of the JNF in Pittsburgh, as well as the Sapphire Committee of the JNF in the Southern Region of Florida. In 2006 the Pittsburgh JNF honored her for her efforts at an event where Rabbi Ellenson was the featured speaker.
Shear is also active in philanthropic activities in the larger Pittsburgh community. She is a past Chair of the The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and currently serves on the Financial Committee of The Friendship Circle, a program that connects special needs children with teenagers in Pittsburgh.
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