Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s Month of Ordinations Culminates in Cincinnati

Five New Ordinees Round Out the Diverse, Dedicated, and Inspiring 149th Class

June 5, 2024

Cincinnati ordinees and faculty

Cincinnati, OH—On June 1, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion ordained five rabbis at the Plum Street Temple, a 158-year-old landmark in downtown Cincinnati.

Faculty at Cincinnati ordination

Pictured, left to right: Edward J. Septimus, M.D., Member, HUC-JIR Board of Governors; Rabbi Jonathan Hecht ‘87, Dean, Cincinnati Campus; Ordination Speaker Rabbi Leon A. Morris ’97; President Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D.; Provost Rabbi Andrea Weiss ‘93, and Rabbi Richard S. Sarason ’74, Ph.D., Director, Pines School of Graduate Studies

President Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D. set the tone with clear directives in his opening remarks. “Offer your prophetic voice to a world in need of healing. Find paths for engagement into the richness and majesty of Jewish life. Apply Jewish wisdom to the most pressing challenges of our day. And through that work, you will build and sustain robust and resilient communities and bring peace and justice to our world.” View full remarks.

Rabbi Leon A. Morris at podium

Rabbi Leon A. Morris ’97 delivered an inspirational message in his Ordination Sermon

In his ordination sermon, Rabbi Leon A. Morris ’97, in a wide-ranging commentary that measured the distance between Jewish universalism and Jewish particularism and considered both the promise and the peril of unlimited freedom, Morris said to the ordinees, “The Jewish communities you lead will need your intellectual leadership to remind [others] we are a people, we are family, and we will not allow others to dictate our self-definition. What promise and potential you bring for the future of American Jewish life and Reform Judaism, even or especially on these largely unexplored paths that this century and this land present–if you walk in God’s laws, if you walk with courage and hope and faith, you will lead a new generation of American Jews to understand the possibilities inherent in their freedom.” View full remarks.

The history and significance of the setting were not lost on the day’s speakers. In his benediction, Rabbi Richard S. Sarason ’74, Ph.D., Director, Pines School of Graduate Studies shared the charge Rabbi Jacob Rader Marcus, founder of HUC-JIR’s American Jewish Archives, offered to Sarason’s ordination class 50 years ago to the day in June, 1974: “You must be the incarnation of Jewish learning and morality, carrying with you, wherever you go, our exalted tradition, our spiritual homeland. Never succumb to doubt; constantly affirm that Jews and Judaism will abide.” View full remarks.

Man and woman at podium

Rabbi Madeline Torop Budman ’24 and her sponsor, Rabbi Jan Katzew ‘83, Associate Professor of Jewish Thought and Education HUC-JIR, as he offers words of blessing.

Before the laying on of hands, Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss ’93, Ph.D., Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost acknowledged the challenging world these new rabbis are stepping out into, and exhorted them to have courage and strength. “Now more than ever, people need you: to heal the brokenhearted; to teach and preach words that inspire people to do justice and treat one another with loving kindness, to model what it means to speak truth and promote peace in our war-torn world.” View full remarks.

The five rabbis ordained were:
Aaron David Torop Budman, Madeline Torop Budman, Shirah Coran Kraus, Emily S. Dana, and Samuel Isaac Rheins.

Bios for all alumni honorees, graduates, and ordinees in the 149th Class can be found here.

Particularly of note, three of the five ordinees are the children of two-rabbi couples, all ordained at HUC. Samuel Rhein’s father is Rabbi Rick Rheins ‘88, and his mother Rabbi Susan Rheins was recognized for her 36th year in the rabbinate. Shira Kraus’s father is Rabbi Matthew Kraus, and her mother Rabbi Sissy Coran, z”l, served as senior rabbi of Rockdale Temple in Cincinnati, until her untimely passing four years ago. Aaron Torop Budman’s parents are Rabbi Betsy Torop and Rabbi Michael Torop, who were ordained together in 1990.

Among many highlights across the uplifting morning, Cantor Yvon Shore ‘95, Director of Liturgical Arts and Music, offered a beautiful anthem providing both uplifting music and a wonderful message about the importance of passing on wisdom and leadership to the next generation. Her Saturday anthem came from the Talmud, “as my ancestors planted for me, so do I plant for the future.” Rabbi Zachary S. Goodman ’19, Associate Rabbi of Isaac M. Wise Temple, reinforced the importance of remembering those whose shoulders this class stands on, paving the way for them to do their work in the world.

This will be the final ordination as leaders of the Cincinnati campus for Cantor Yvon Shore and Rabbi Jonathan L. Hecht. The ordinees gave a special mi shebeirach during Saturday’s Torah service in their honor.

Ordinees at the podium

The five newly ordained rabbis in order, left to right: Rabbi Samuel Isaac Rheins ’24, Rabbi Shirah Coran Kraus ‘24, Rabbi Madeline Torop Budmanm ’24, Rabbi Aaron David Torop Budman ‘24, and Rabbi Emily S. Dana ‘24

The last four weeks provided much-needed joy and inspiration as the dedication and creativity of all of the 149th Class was evident. Steeped in text and tradition, they are prepared to shape this complicated moment into a Jewish future that will be as familiar and enduring as it will be surprising and inspiring.

View the full ordination ceremony.