Donor Spotlight: Steven P. Seltzer, z"l

Steven P. Seltzer, z”l
Member of the Eastern Region Board of Advisors

This interview was published on August 3, 2021. It is with great sadness that the HUC community mourns the passing of Steven Seltzer on February 8, 2022. To make a donation in memory of Steven, please click here or email Serena Young, Assistant Vice President, Institutional Advancement, at

Steven Seltzer

How did you get connected with HUC?
I was approached a few years ago by my dear rabbi, Irwin Zeplowitz at The Community Synagogue in Port Washington, New York. Rabbi Z asked if my wife Karen and I would like to join a small Shabbat dinner at his home with Dean David Adelson and a few others to learn a bit about HUC-JIR. Of course, I knew about HUC generally, having hosted our synagogue rabbinical and cantorial interns at our home many times and having escorted my daughters’ Hebrew school field trips to the Soup Kitchen on West 4th Street. But I had no specific personal connection to HUC at that time (other than my brief connection in the 80’s when I lived in the NYU Law School building one block away from HUC in Greenwich Village and I attended the open high holiday services at HUC!). Happily, for me, Rabbi Z knows me well enough to have thought that my devotion to progressive Judaism might make me a good candidate to become involved with HUC. And no surprise that Dean Adelson was a wonderful ambassador who sparked my greater interest that evening.

What made you want to serve on the Board of Advisors?
The Board of Advisors is a perfect way for me to feel invested in and participate in the work of HUC, through both personal involvement and financial support. I care very deeply about the critical role that the College-Institute plays in ensuring the future of Reform Judaism in the U.S., Israel, and beyond. I grew up in a large Conservative congregation in Connecticut with little knowledge about the Reform movement, despite having joined the local NFTY chapter to be with friends. As I grew into adulthood, it became clear to me that my personal connection to Judaism fell within the Reform movement. As it is the premier training ground for leaders of the Reform movement, I am very happy to be included within the HUC community.

What is the most meaningful way you have connected with HUC?
No doubt my most meaningful interactions have been in-person gatherings with students on the New York City campus. The students, in all of the programs, are truly inspirational and give me comfort about the future of the Reform movement! Whether meeting them at second-year (welcome back from Israel) gatherings or as guests during Board of Advisors events or during mock interview sessions, the devotion and intellect and holiness of the students is always so impressive. And yes, that means the loss of these in-person events during the pandemic has been a real sadness.

How did you stay connected to HUC during the past 18 months?
Though I have really missed in-person time at the New York campus over the past 18 months, the HUC team worked so hard to keep us all connected, with success. I helped organize the student mock interviews back in the winter, and the Zoom format works very well and is likely to remain a big part of both mock and actual job interviews. The Meet the Deans sessions were fantastic. I attended each one and they helped fill out my personal knowledge about the larger institution and the incredible leaders at each campus. I also attended several of the HUC Connect programs, an awesome platform for the impressive and prestigious faculty offering a very wide variety of excellent topics.