The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation Awards $4.1 Million To Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation Awards $4.1 Million To Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Announcement Comes as Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D., Appointed the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio has awarded Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion $4.1 million to support the establishment of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost Chair and continued funding for the Mandel Initiative for Visionary Leadership.    

The new Chair, designated for HUC-JIR’s chief academic officer, will be held by Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D., as of July 1, 2013. Dr. Marmur currently serves as Vice President for Academic Affairs at HUC-JIR.

The Mandel Initiative for Visionary Leadership is designed to create a cadre of future rabbinical, cantorial, and education leaders who will guide 21st-century Reform institutions towards excellence in vision, learning, and Jewish identity formation.

Mr. Morton Mandel explained, “The Mandel Initiative students are committed to becoming leaders for the Jewish community throughout North America, Israel, and around the world.  Our Jewish future depends, in part on these students’ capacity to inspire the next generations of knowledgeable and engaged Jews.  In addition, we are pleased to support HUC-JIR’s academic excellence with the establishment of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost Chair."

Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, stated, “The College-Institute is grateful to the Foundation for their abiding support for our mission.  As our Mandel Provost, Rabbi Marmur’s intellectual rigor, scholarship, collegial spirit, and creativity, as well as his passionate commitment to Reform Judaism and or the College-Institute's sacred task will allow us to achieve ever-greater academic and professional excellence for our faculty and students.  The Mandel Initiative deepens our rabbinical students’ capacity for leadership and empowers them to develop their own visions based on increasingly informed and thoughtfully held values and commitments.”


Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D., Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost

As Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Marmur has strengthened the faculty, supported their teaching, scholarship, and publication, enhanced curriculum and student learning and assessment, and overseen the development of new distance learning degree and certification programs in Jewish education and the cantorate, which are attracting new students from throughout North America. He has successfully integrated the College-Institute’s accreditation to a single accrediting agency, Middle States. His areas of responsibility include the office of institutional research and assessment, the office of the registrar, the department of recruitment and admissions, and the library system.

As Dean of HUC-JIR’s Jerusalem School (1998-2008), he melded an excellent team of colleagues, who constitute one of the most exciting, innovative, and collaborative groups of academics and administrators working in Israel today. During his tenure as Dean, the Israel Rabbinic Program expanded exponentially in size, and the Year in Israel Program was overhauled. 

Rabbi Marmur completed a B.A. Degree in Modern History at the University of Oxford before moving to Israel in 1984. While studying for an M.A. in Ancient Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he completed his studies in the Israel Rabbinical Program at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. Following his ordination in 1992, he served for six years as congregational rabbi, high school teacher, and member of the executive at the Leo Baeck Education Center in Haifa. Dr. Marmur earned his Ph.D. in Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University (2006), where his Ph.D. dissertation was entitled “Heschel's Rhetoric of Citation: The Use of Sources in God In Search of Man.” Rabbi Marmur has lectured and taught extensively in North America, Israel, and Europe. As Assistant Professor of Jewish Theology, he has taught courses in Theology, Homiletics and Pluralistic Jewish Education.

Dr. Marmur has recently completed a manuscript of a book on Abraham Joshua Heschel. Recent publications include "Ethical Theories in the Reform Movement", in Dorff & Crane, The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality, Oxford 2013: 206-224; "Are You My Witnesses? The Use of Sources in Modern Jewish Thought", Modern Judaism, 32.2 (2012): 155-173. 


The Mandel Initiative in Visionary Leadership

The Mandel Initiative for Visionary Leadership is designed to enhance the leadership capacity of our students in order to enable them, once they are practicing rabbis, cantors, and educators, to shape vision-guided Jewish communities.  The Initiative provides students with the opportunity to engage in a process of learning, inquiry, and reflection that challenges them to develop a robust personal stance that articulates the ideals and values to which they are committed, with attention to the challenges of the Jewish people as a whole in our era. Development and reflection on one’s personal beliefs and commitments in turn, will help them work with the communities they will lead to develop compelling, substantive visions that will guide and inspire those communities and their members.

This three-year process is designed to help all rabbinic students integrate their academic learning in a personally meaningful way, and challenge them to foster an outlook on the key aspects and essential questions of Jewish life that will shape their personal approaches to Jewish life and their aspirations as rabbinical, cantorial, and educational leaders.  The process focuses on small group deliberation and reflection significant themes of Jewish life and belief.  Six themes that will spiral through the three years of the Initiative and include prayer, covenant, God, autonomy and obligation, collectivity, and particularism and universalism.  Each year, these themes are explored through a meta-lens that aligns with the curriculum.  In year one, Israel and Jewish Peoplehood, year two sacred texts, and year three Jewish belief and practice.

The Mandel Initiative in Visionary Leadership is guided by Dr. Lisa Grant and Professor Sara Lee of HUC-JIR.

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve 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 Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, 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.