Tribute Dinner To Honor Rabbi David Ellenson - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Tribute Dinner To Honor Rabbi David Ellenson

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D. to be Honored for His Major Contributions to the Significant Growth and Community-Wide Impact of the Cincinnati Campus

The Cincinnati Associates of Hebrew Union College will host its 30th Annual Tribute Dinner on Sunday evening, October 27, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Cincinnati.  During the event, Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., retiring President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, will be honored for his outstanding leadership that has resulted in significant growth of the College’s historic flagship Cincinnati campus and the expansion of the campus’ numerous academic, cultural and institutional partnerships across the region.

“The Cincinnati campus of the College-Institute has benefitted greatly from the inspired leadership, wisdom, insights and devotion of Rabbi Ellenson, “ said Dr. Jonathan Cohen, Dean of the Cincinnati campus. “During Rabbi Ellenson’s tenure, the Cincinnati campus completed the renovation of its internationally renowned Klau Library, expanded the resources, technological capabilities and facilities of the American Jewish Archives, restored the previously vacant gymnasium building for use as the new Barbash Vital Support Center of the Jewish Family Service, the Pines Conference Center and the Teller Lounge were opened and the Cincinnati campus-based Office of Recruitment and Community Engagement at HUC-JIR and the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Fellows Program were established. This exciting event will provide the community with an opportunity to see how these innovations and expanding community-wide partnerships have broadened the College-Institute’s contributions to the education, enrichment and well-being of the entire community.”

The Tribute Dinner event is being chaired by Karen Hoguet. Honorary Dinner Chair is Donald Stone. Dinner Committee members include Andrew R. Berger, Marty Betagole, Elizabeth H. Brown, M.D., Kathy Claybon, Thomas G. Cody, Lauren Cohen, Jennifer Dauer, Kay Geiger, Daniel J. Hoffheimer, Renee Kamrass, Mona B. Kerstine, Ellen Knue, Mark Knue, Jacqueline M. Mack, Rhoda Mayerson, Alvin Z. Meisel, Joseph A. Pichler, Joan Pines, Allison Ross, Betsy L. Shapiro and Paul G. Sittenfeld. 

Cocktails will begin at 5:30 p.m. The dinner and program will begin at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $150 per person with enhanced donor opportunities available.  The event will benefit the Rabbinical and Graduate Schools on the Cincinnati campus. For more information and to make reservations, please call Loria Carter at 513.487.3047; or via email at 


Internationally recognized for his extensive publications and research in the areas of Jewish religious thought, ethics, and modern Jewish history, Rabbi David Ellenson's 12 years as President of the seminary of the Reform Movement have been distinguished by his devotion to sustaining HUC-JIR's academic excellence and ensuring its financial sustainability.

Under his steady leadership, HUC-JIR's endowment has quadrupled, greater integration among the campuses has been effected, leading emerging scholars joined the faculty, new chairs were established and scores of new books and scholarly articles were published by faculty members.

Rabbi Ellenson instituted numerous transformative initiatives— such as leadership development Fellowship programs, professional advancement social responsibility and community service programs and new partnerships for spiritual development.

The distance learning degree and certificate programs he introduced engage learners throughout North America who are studying for advanced degrees in Jewish Education, Jewish Early Childhood Education and Cantorial studies.

Under his leadership, the campuses and their research resources and facilities were greatly strengthened.  In Cincinnati, the renowned Klau Library was renovated, and its Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Pavilion was dedicated. The Malloy Education Building with its Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Electronic Classroom at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives was constructed; and the Pines Faculty Center and Teller Lounge were opened.

Rabbi Ellenson's collaborative leadership style reflects his commitment to advancing Jewish unity.  He has worked to strengthen the Jerusalem campus's outreach to the larger Israeli community and has been an outspoken advocate for religious tolerance and pluralism in the Jewish State. He has fostered interdenominational and interfaith relations and forged closer ties between HUC-JIR and the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference, and the other arms of the Reform Movement.  And he has spoken out on controversies in North American society, including LGBTQI rights, marriage equality, stem cell research, and abortion ban laws.

Rabbi Ellenson received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1981 and was ordained by HUC-JIR in 1977. He also holds an M.Phil.M.A. degrees from Columbia University as well as the MA degree from, HUC-JIR, and the University of Virginia.  He received his B.A. degree from the College of William and Mary in Virginia in 1969.   A member of HUC-JIR's faculty since 1979, he also held the post of Director of the Jerome H. Louchheim School of Judaic Studies, which provides the undergraduate Judaic Studies program for USC.