Cincinnati Graduation 2021 Celebrates Academic Achievements

Graduates and administrators at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati's 2021 Graduation

Graduates and administrators at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati’s 2021 Graduation



Students, faculty, administration, alumni, Board members, and community leaders joined together to celebrate the 2021 Graduation Ceremonies at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati, held at the historic Plum Street Temple on October 3, 2021. The ceremony celebrated the academic achievement of the Class of 2021, presenting graduate degrees to 29 students of the Pines School of Graduate Studies and Rabbinical School. This celebration is part of HUC-JIR’s 2021 Graduation and Ordination ceremonies, during which 157 degrees and certificates were bestowed. Read more about the class of 2021 here.

President Andrew Rehfeld stated, “From its start, HUC was conceived in the idea that Judaism would be strengthened, not weakened, by the values of the Enlightenment. Conceived in the idea that the process of academic scholarship itself was a source of truth, that reason was the source of moral understanding, and that the value of our tradition lay not only in its intrinsic importance and beauty to us, but instrumentally in service to all of humanity. These academic values upon which HUC was founded are the foundation of moral virtues that I hope will guide you into your future.”  Read President Rehfeld’s full speech here.

Rabbi Jonathan Hecht, Ph.D., Dean and Interim Rabbinical Program Director of the Cincinnati campus, remarked, “We are so proud of the academic achievements of our graduates, and what they are going to contribute to the field of Academia and supporting the Jewish community. Throughout his career, our graduation speaker, Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, has contributed enormously to Jewish life around the world. As an inspiring teacher, he has advanced Jewish Education and community organization in a way that has had a dramatic impact on the Jewish people.”

Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph, Ph.D., Eleanor Sinsheimer Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Jewish Education and Leadership Development at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, was presented with the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, in recognition of his more than 40 years of teaching, leadership, and contribution to Jewish education and synagogue and Jewish nonprofit organizational management. In his Graduation Address, he described the new directions forced upon academic institutions by Covid. He stated, “The pandemic has required every educator in the world, with very few exceptions, to focus attention not only on what but on how we teach. Our unconscious assumptions were tested during these many months. We thought, in the main, that all teaching and learning occurred at the same time and the same place. We now know for sure that teaching and learning can occur along a continuum that includes from same time/same place to same time/any place, to same place/any time…up to any time/any place.” Read Rabbi Joseph’s full speech here.

The mission of the HUC-JIR Rabbinical School is to educate rabbis to serve the Reform Movement, the Jewish people, and humankind. Through rigorous academic and professional study, mentored professional experiences, and opportunities for personal and spiritual growth, the HUC-JIR Rabbinical School prepares rabbis to engage in critical study of Jewish thought, tradition, culture, history, Hebrew language, and text; teach effectively people of all ages, across denominations and faiths; organize and lead inspiring Jewish worship services, and religious ceremonies; advocate and act for social justice; promote meaningful relationships with Israel and its cultural life; provide pastoral care and religious guidance; serve effectively as visionary leaders in their work and communities; be self-reflective in their personal practice, ritual observance and belief, and in fulfilling their professional commitments; act as informed spokespersons for Judaism and the Jewish people; and foster the vibrant development of the Reform Movement.

The Joan and Phillip Pines School of Graduate Studies (PSGS) on the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion has some of the world’s leading scholars who guide individualized courses of study in the major fields of our degree programs. The PSGS has a long history of excellence in training scholars. Founded in 1947 as an institution of higher learning for students of all faiths, the School has conferred more than 400 M.A., D.H.L, and Ph.D. degrees over seven decades. The Pines School offers doctoral and M.A. programs focusing on Hebrew Bible and Interpretation, Jewish and Christian Studies in the Greco-Roman Period and Interfaith Studies, Rabbinic Literature, Jewish Thought, and Modern Jewish History and Culture and The American Jewish Experience.

The graduates of Cincinnati Graduation 2021 are below:
Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph, Ph.D.
Eleanor Sinsheimer Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus
of Jewish Education and Leadership Development

Doctor of Philosophy
Matthew Alan Boersma
Phillip Marcus Bollinger, In Absentia
Kyungji (Kevin) Ha, In Absentia
John C. Johnson

Master of Philosophy in Hebraic and Cognate Studies
Phillip Jordan Fischaber, In Absentia
Hara Jun
Michael Walter Owen
Ryan M. Replogle
Chelsea Ann Simon
Anthony Brian Stoller, In Absentia
Gretchen Suzanne Johnson
Matthew Reed Liethen, In Absentia
Devin G. Olachea, In Absentia

Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters
Madeline R. Anderson
Ashley Lynn Barrett
Rebecca Gabrielle Benoff
Caitlin Joy Brazner
Anna Meyers Burke
Randall M. Burke
Matthew Derrenbacher
Rebecca Anne Diamond
Ashley Englander
Jonathan Robert Falco
Daniel Paul Hotary, In Absentia
David Nathan Jaffe
Eliza Rosie Silk McCarroll, In Absentia
Benjamin Rosen
Jessica “Tzvia” Erin RubensEdith E. Yakutis

Please find a recording of Cincinnati Graduation below: