Carolyn Starman Hessel Receives American Jewish Distinguished Service Award from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Carolyn Starman Hessel, Director of the Jewish Book Council and Founder of the Jewish Book Network, received the American Jewish Distinguished Service Award from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) at Graduation in New York on Thursday, May 2, 2013 at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York. 

Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, states, "For the past eighteen years, Carolyn Starman Hessel has worked tirelessly in the field of Jewish literature, heightening awareness of its significance throughout North America. She has contributed in large measure to the cultural renaissance in Jewish life today."

Carolyn Starman Hessel joined the Jewish Book Council (JBC) in 1994, when the JBC, originally created in 1941, became an independent organization. Since then, she has been named to the Forward 50 five times for her work in Jewish literature. In 1999, she founded the Jewish Book Network, a popular program that currently tours over 200 authors to hundreds of Jewish book programs around the country. Carolyn initiates and encourages new programs to meet the changing needs and interests of its many constituents. She mentors new authors while also working with literary agents and publishers to help heighten awareness and strengthen the world of Jewish literature in North America. 

The American Jewish Distinguished Service Award is a national award presented to outstanding and prominent Jewish leaders in recognition of their commitment to enhancing the cause of Jewish life and Jewish learning. The American Jewish Distinguished Service Award was first awarded in 1974 to Irving S. Shapiro, Chair and CEO of Dupont, and philanthropist Laurence A. Tisch. Recent recipients have included Jewish camping advocates Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, Jewish Lights publisher Stuart Matlins, Wexner Foundation President Larry Moses, and Gail Twersky Reimer, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Jewish Women's Archive.  

Click here to view the National Graduation and Ordination press release.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation'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


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