Ed Septimus, M.D.

Professor of Internal Medicine, Texas A&M College of Medicine
and Senior Lecturer, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Ed Septimus, MD

How did you get involved with HUC-JIR?
I was introduced to the College nearly twenty years ago when my son applied to become a rabbinical student in the Class of 2007. Since then, I’ve taken classes with HUC-JIR faculty and students and engaged in conversations with rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit professionals. I understand the breadth of HUC-JIR’s offerings and its importance to the future of liberal Judaism, not just in the United States but around the world. I became an Overseer in 2011 and the rest is history!

What is the most meaningful way you have connected with the College-Institute?
It’s all about relationships. I became very close with then-President and now-Chancellor Emeritus Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D. Through our conversations, I began to understand the culture of Hebrew Union College, and my commitment to HUC continued to grow through my relationships with Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., z’l, and former Dean Rabbi Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D., and my connection continues now with President Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D. and Dean Rabbi Jonathan Hecht, Ph.D. When I joined the Central Region Board, I pushed to geographically diversify our Overseers and make our work meaningful on both a personal and professional level. Through our Board meetings (weekends of study, services, and business), members of the Board grew much closer, and together, we helped the Cincinnati campus thrive.

Can you tell us about your current role at HUC-JIR?
It has been an honor and a privilege to provide guidance to the College-Institute as we confront our current public health challenges. It is with a great deal of humility that I accepted President Andrew Rehfeld’s offer to serve in this role. I will continue to work hard to keep the College-Institute community safe, and hopefully provide some hope along the way.

Thank you, Dr. Septimus. One more question: In your opinion, what makes HUC-JIR so important?
When HUC-JIR thrives, liberal Judaism thrives. Reform Judaism needs a strong institution that can recruit the brightest and the best. We see, collectively, that we are making a difference. As long as I can, I will continue to support the College.