Andrew Rehfeld to Begin Second Consecutive Term as President of Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion

Board Extends Term through 2029

March 5, 2024

Andrew Rehfeld, Board of Governors

The Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) announced it has extended the term of Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D. as President of HUC-JIR through June 2029. The extension of President Rehfeld’s term comes in recognition of his outstanding leadership during a period of global turmoil and significant challenges in higher education and seminary education.

President Rehfeld, a distinguished leader and scholar, assumed the presidency of HUC-JIR in April 2019, less than a year after the tragic death of President Rabbi Aaron Panken, z”l. President Rehfeld has built on work begun under President Panken and his predecessor, President Rabbi David Ellenson, z”l, to address HUC-JIR’s most pressing strategic needs. During his initial five-year term, President Rehfeld has guided HUC-JIR through numerous challenges, including the COVID pandemic and the current war in Israel, while reshaping and strengthening the institution for the future.

“Andrew has led HUC-JIR with purpose and skill, nurturing and safeguarding the institution in the face of numerous challenges, and positioning it for a vibrant future,” said David Edelson, Chair of the Board of Governors. “We are grateful for Andrew’s persistence and resilience, and we are excited by his vision of HUC-JIR as a laboratory for academic inquiry, spiritual exploration, and cultural creativity, where we study, create, and learn to apply Jewish wisdom.”

Through the outstanding efforts of faculty, program directors, and administration, HUC-JIR has achieved significant milestones under President Rehfeld’s leadership:

  • Educational Innovations and Growth: Under a unified vision, launched key initiatives, including a redesign of the Rabbinical School curriculum and the development of a virtual pathway for rabbinical education, which will position HUC-JIR at the forefront of seminary education and Jewish learning.
  • Academic Excellence: The appointment of five new tenure track faculty, unifying the North American Rabbinical program under a national Director, and visionary new leadership for the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music and the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, have reinforced HUC-JIR’s commitment to excellence in education and scholarship.
  • Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem: Culminating decades of work, the campus renovation was completed and dedicated, opening the campus to the broader Jerusalem community. The home of HUC-JIR’s Israeli Rabbinical Program and signature Year-In-Israel program, it has become a touchstone for international delegations and scholars even during the war, driving a global exchange of ideas and connection.
  • Fueling the Reform Movement in Israel: With the admission of its largest ever class of new Israeli rabbinical students last year, HUC-JIR continues to build and serve the growing Israeli Reform Movement as it expands partnerships and training to prepare clergy and Jewish educators to meet ongoing needs. By supporting the expansion of trailblazing programs in Jewish education like Rikma (with Hebrew University) and Teachers’ Lounge, HUC-JIR has promoted pluralism and shared society for a Jewish and democratic State of Israel.
  • Laboratory of Exploration: President Rehfeld’s vision of HUC-JIR as a vibrant laboratory of exploration for Jewish thought and life, with innovative approaches to the study of Torah, engagement with Israel, and Jewish practice at its center, has been a driving force behind the institution’s strategic planning. The strategic plan generates cohesion, consolidation, and collaboration and the development of new research and learning opportunities.
  • Sacred and Respectful Culture: HUC-JIR has undertaken the difficult process of confronting our history with sensitivity and care, initiating a process of teshuvah and investing in supporting a sacred and respectful culture throughout our community.
  • Strengthening Institutional Partnerships: Building on decades of collaboration, HUC-JIR and USC entered an historic new 25-year partnership. This unique learning partnership spans HUC-JIR’s Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management and Louchheim School for Judaic Studies, fostering the active sharing of resources and exchange of scholarship.
  • Maximizing Campus Facilities and Assets: HUC-JIR is undertaking initiatives to maximize the potential of HUC-JIR’s four campuses, shaping the physical landscape of HUC-JIR in the US and the renovation of the Taube Family Campus as a vital hub of Jewish learning and community in Jerusalem.

“I am honored by the Board’s support and by the opportunity to lead HUC-JIR,” said President Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D. “Our legacy is unique and our role in Jewish education and public life has never been more vital. I thank the Board of Governors and the HUC-JIR faculty, students, staff, and alumni for their ongoing support and partnership as we build the next generation of Jewish leaders and clergy and fuel sustained engagement with Jewish ideas and culture.”

“The Board profoundly appreciates President Rehfeld’s strong leadership,” added David Edelson. “Andrew has helped the Board address strategic issues critical to the future of our institution. We look forward to Andrew continuing to guide HUC-JIR in our ongoing pursuit of excellence, innovation, and impact.”

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion was founded in 1875 to provide rabbinical training for those who would offer progressive, enlightened, and modern spiritual leadership for the new American pulpit. Today, HUC-JIR is the premier Jewish seminary in North America and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. Learn more at

For more information about Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and President Andrew Rehfeld, please contact:

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