Hebrew Union College

Our History & Mission

HUC-JIR is the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. Founded in 1875, HUC-JIR cultivates scholars, leaders, and change-makers transforming Jewish communities worldwide.

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) is North America’s premier institution of Jewish higher education and the center for professional leadership development of Reform Judaism.

Our Mission

A multi-campus academic and spiritual learning community, HUC-JIR builds vibrant progressive Judaism in North America, Israel, and around the globe by:

  • Studying the great issues of Jewish life, history and thought with an open, egalitarian, inclusive and pluralistic spirit;
  • Educating innovative, visionary clergy and professionals who embody the sustaining values, responsibilities, practices and texts of Jewish tradition to inspire future generations; and
  • Advancing the critical study of Judaism and Jewish culture in accordance with the highest standards of modern academic scholarship.

About Our Founding

In 1875, the Hebrew Union College was founded in Cincinnati by Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise as the first permanent Jewish institution of higher learning in America. In 1950, HUC merged with the pluralistic Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, founded in 1922 by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise. The Los Angeles campus opened in 1954 to serve the second-largest Jewish population. The Jerusalem campus opened in 1963, today serving as the center for stateside/Israeli academic programs.

A Timeline of Firsts

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