September 20, 2022
Partnership Gives Hillel Professionals Pathway to Further Jewish Study
Today, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and Hillel International announced the launch of a new collaborative partnership to support the emerging generation of leaders who will build a strong and vibrant Jewish future. Together, the global seminary that is HUC-JIR and Hillel, the world’s largest Jewish campus organization, will address the declining interest in religious leadership that is a challenge in the Reform movement and in the broader faith community. The two institutions will build a professional development pipeline, starting in college, that will enable and inspire students and Hillel professionals to become Jewish leaders.
“We are excited to engage in this strategic, innovative partnership with Hillel International. The partnership leverages our shared strengths to set a new standard for collaboration for Jewish institutions during a moment of tremendous change,” said Dr. Andrew Rehfeld, HUC-JIR President. “We look forward to developing a new generation of mission-driven young leaders, steeped in Jewish knowledge, imbued with ahavat yisrael (love of the people and Israel), committed to building sustainable communities of Jewish learning and practice that help bring healing to our world.”
Adam Lehman, President and CEO of Hillel International, said, “The Hillel movement is the talent pipeline for Jewish communal life in America, and we pride ourselves on providing best-in-class professional development and lifelong learning for Hillel professionals. We’re thrilled that this expanded partnership with HUC-JIR will enable us to take that commitment to the next level.”
This pipeline will start in college, by offering students educational and engagement opportunities that will help them build the body of knowledge and skill sets required by Jewish leaders. The expanded cohort of Hillel professionals emerging from this effort will find HUC-JIR is a valuable partner in training and education that will enhance their careers. HUC-JIR representatives will become trusted advisors, guiding them on their educational and professional journeys.
“Both Hillel and HUC-JIR nurture Jewish leadership. This first-of-its-kind partnership allows for collaboration on multiple fronts towards this common goal. We can invest in college students, Springboard fellows, Hillel staff, HUC students and alumni, enhancing spaces where we already organically overlap and building future Jewish leaders together,” said Erin Fine, Assistant Director, Office of Recruitment and Admissions, HUC-JIR.
HUC-JIR is primed to contribute stimulating new content and expert coaching to inform, educate, and inspire Judaism’s best and brightest emerging leaders through Hillel’s robust roster of programming on campuses, immersive Israel Experiences, Springboard Fellowships, conferences, and communications. The synergy between the two organizations is the key to advancing these initiatives.
Through this new partnership, HUC-JIR and Hillel are building upon the foundation of a longstanding and productive relationship. There are currently 50 HUC-JIR alumni and students working as Hillel and Schusterman International Center staff. Since 2017, over 30 students from HUC’s Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management have been professionally involved with Hillel, including five Springboard fellows. The Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein/Central Synagogue Fellowship has placed HUC-JIR graduates as Senior Reform Jewish Educators as well as rabbinical student interns at a broad range of universities, including Hillels of Georgia, Columbia/Barnard Hillel, USC Hillel, Ohio State Hillel, Hillel 818 Loyola Marymount, Princeton Hillel, Cincinnati Hillel, and Rutgers Hillel. These HUC-JIR placements indicate how strongly the two organizations are aligned and poised for these next collaborative steps to strengthen Jewish leadership for the future.