HUC/New York Celebrates Graduation and Ordination 2022

Students, faculty, administration, alumni, Board members, and community leaders joined together to celebrate the 2022 Graduation and Ordination Ceremonies at HUC-JIR in New York, held at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York. Graduation on Thursday, May 5, and Ordination on Sunday, May 8, were among the series of events in New York, Los Angeles, and Cincinnati, during which 138 degrees and certificates will be bestowed. The Roger E. Joseph Prize was presented to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, at New York Ordination, with gratitude to the Joseph Prize Endowment and the Joseph Family (see below). Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker ’06 presented the New York Graduation Address and received the Sherut L’Am Award for his distinguished and courageous service to the Jewish People (see below). Judith Plaskow, Professor Emerita of Religious Studies at Manhattan College and the first feminist theologian, presented the New York Ordination Address (see below).

Newly ordained rabbis and cantors of the NY Class of 2022 with HUC administrators: (front, center, from left) Rabbi David Adelson, D.Min., New York Dean; President Andrew Rehfeld, Provost Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D., Rabbi Lisa Grant, Ph.D., Director, NY Rabbinical Program; Cantor Richard Cohn, Director, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music.

Watch HUC/New York Graduation 2022 below:

Watch HUC/New York Ordination 2022 below:

The following students were ordained:
Sasha Nicole Baken
Madeline Sarah Cooper
Benjamin Jacob Dyme
Rebecca Onea Sabin Hecht
Rebecca Lynn Jaye
Noach Lawrence
Leah Michelle Nussbaum
Jill Alana Rubin
Eliza Reich Scheffler
Alexandra Happ Stein
Samuel Myles Weiss
Noah Albert Westreich

Sara Lillian Anderson
Jennifer Elise Benrey
Stefanie Lynn Greene
Suzanne Chaya Hamstra
Michael Weir Jarvis
Jenna Leigh Mark
Jenna Rose McMillan
Samuel Aaron Rosen

The following students received graduate degrees:

Alexander Udekwe Agbata
Luke Chinedu Ibeh Andonios
Christophero Prayannis

Shelley Claire Hubert

Leslie Ann Bright
David Andrew Eber
Sarit Tsor Ferreira
Margaret B. Shapiro Haskett
Rina Liebeskind
Meredith Ileen Lubin
Susan E. Potechin
Eileen Fern Sadowsky
Matthew A. Vogel
Alison Kim Weikel
Rachel Leigh Weinstein White
Forrest Sidney Yesnes

Shani Tziporah Ben-Or
Ella Leila Gladstone Martin
Jordan L. Goldstein
Emily Anabeth Hoolihan
Kalix Rosenbaum Jacobson
Sydney Rose Lazar
Emma Rebecca Maier
Becky Alaine Mann
Isaac J. Sonett-Assor
Ze’evi Simcha Tovlev
Agnes Barroll Valdman
Rachel Paula Weston

Yonatan Arnon
George Louis Cheever Altshuler
Chelsea Rebecca Feuchs
Lily Sklar Goldstein
Jacob E. Leizman
Sienna Rachel Lotenberg
Andrew Kaplan Mandel
Daniel Dolph Reichenbach
Heather Alexandra Shore
Amanda Katherine Weiss


The following alums from the class of 1997 received Honorary Degrees:

Doctor of Jewish Religious Education, honoris causa
Lauren Chizner

Doctor of Music, honoris causa
Michael Moses
Mandel Jacqueline Marx
Jaime Shpall

Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa
Alan M. Berlin
Deborah Bodin Cohen
Joshua Michael Davidson
Renee Goldberg Edelman
Ellen Flax
Matthew D. Gewirtz
Neal D. Gold
Ari J. Goldstein
Sheila Beth Goloboy
Debora Sophie Gordon
Mark Kaiserman
Michele Brand Medwin
Sydney Mintz
S. Robert Morais
Wendy Drucker Pein
Jonah D. Pesner
Sarah Helaine Reines
Jennie Rosenn
Lisa Beth Silverstein
Adam Stock Spilker
Max W. Weiss
David Hillel Wilfond
David Dine Wirtschafter
Mary L. Zamore


The following alums from the class of 1996 received Honorary Degrees: 

Doctor of Music, honoris causa
Julie Beth Berlin
Claire Franco
Tamar Havilio
Fredda Rakusin Mendelson
Adelle Roberta Nicholson
Judith Ovadia
Rachel Stock Spilker
Steven Weiss

Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa
Batsheva Appel
Glynis Conyer
Elizabeth Amy Dunsker
Bruce Elder
Peter Kessler
Michele Ellise Lenke
Daniel E. Levin
Alan E. Litwak
Andrea Coustan London
Rosalin Mandelberg
Batsheva Hannah Meiri
Jay Charles Perlman
Jacqueline Romm Satlow
Ronald M. Segal
L. Shifra Weiss-Penzias

The following alums from the class of 1995 received Honorary Degrees:

Doctor of Music, honoris causa
Jennifer Bern-Vogel
Erik Contzius
Rogerio Marx
Judith Seplowin

Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa Leslie Bergson
Lisa Greene
Shira Joseph
Sharon Young Marcus
Barbara Metzinger
Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi
Joel Sisenwine
Robyn Tsesarsky

The Roger E. Joseph Prize was presented to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, at New York Ordination, with gratitude to the Joseph Prize Endowment and the Joseph Family. Roxane Joseph Leopold, daughter of Roger E. Joseph, presented the Joseph Prize citation: “The 2022 Roger E. Joseph Prize is presented to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Whose global mission, defined at its inception in 2000 as inspired by the conviction that all lives have equal value, has saved lives and protected people’s health by greatly increasing the equitable and sustainable use of vaccines; Whose partnership with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is strengthening primary health care and bringing us closer to the sustainable development goal of universal health coverage; Whose humanitarian initiative has helped vaccinate almost half of the world’s children against deadly and debilitating infectious diseases by providing affordable vaccines for the poorest of countries; Who, by improving access to new and under-used vaccines for millions of the most vulnerable children, is boosting the economies of lower-income countries and making the world safer for everyone; Who, in co-leading COVAX, the vaccine pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, has so far shipped nearly 1.2 billion doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines globally, with the majority distributed to lower-income economies supported through the Gavi Advance Market Commitment; Who, since 2000, in vaccinating over 900 million children around the world and thereby preventing 15 million future deaths, has ensured that no one is left behind; And whose impact on the generations of today and tomorrow exemplifies the Talmudic teaching that “to save one life is to save an entire world.” Read President Rehfeld’s remarks here. Paolo Sison, the Director of  Innovative Finance, accepted the Roger E. Joseph Prize on behalf of Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance. Read his speech here. We are grateful to the Joseph Prize Endowment and the Joseph Family for their support of New York Ordination.

Judith PlaskowJudith Plaskow, Professor Emerita of Religious Studies at Manhattan College and the first feminist theologian, presented the New York Ordination address. She remarked, “I am simultaneously grateful, humbled, and daunted by the opportunity and challenge of speaking to you on this fiftieth anniversary of the ordination of Rabbi Sally Preisand. As a girl who wanted to be a rabbi in the 1960’s but dismissed the idea as impossible, I am deeply moved to have the privilege of celebrating this milestone both for what it says about Rabbi Preisand and for all it has meant in terms of opening the rabbinate to women. I want to honor the clarity, courage, and pure grit that Rabbi Preisand needed to get through rabbinical school, the challenges she faced there and afterwards, and the personal sacrifices she had to make as the first woman in this role. When we celebrate the ways her determination changed the face of the rabbinate, let’s not forget the energy it takes to go where no one has gone before. Hundreds of women have walked through the door she opened, not only bringing their individual talents and energy, insights and leadership to the Jewish community but modeling an expanded sense of Jewish possibility for untold others and paving the way for the ordination of other previously marginalized groups.” Read Professor Plaskow’s full speech here.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker ’06 presented the New York Graduation address and received the Sherut L’Am Award for his distinguished and courageous service to the Jewish People. He stated, “Today, on this beautiful occasion, I want to focus on the love and support we received from the Jewish world. It reminded me of the story that I first learned from Rabbi Michael Marmur about whether a person with two heads should receive a double portion of inheritance. King Solomon ruled that boiling water should be poured on one head with the understanding that both would cry out and they should be considered one person. Based on this passage, Rav Soloveitchik teaches (in Kol Dodi Dofek) about Jewish Peoplehood that ‘if boiling water is poured on the head of a Moroccan ‎Jew, the prim and proper Jew in Paris or London must scream.’ On January 15, when four of us were being held hostage in Colleyville, TX, the Jewish world was screaming and praying and waiting. I know y’all were with us that day. The whole of the Jewish People was with us at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville. Every rabbi and cantor, every Jewish professional or future Jewish professional, every Jew – it hit everyone on a deeply emotional level. Four of us were in the sanctuary, but you were all there with us as well. And when something like that – something horrible, something tragic, or even something wonderful – happens to one of us, we all feel it. In those moments, we embody the spirit of Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Bah Zeh – All of Israel is responsible for one another.” Read Rabbi Cytron-Walker’s full speech here.

HUC-JIR’s mission is to prepare rabbis, cantors, educators, nonprofit leaders, scholars and pastoral caregivers to serve the Reform Movement, the Jewish people, and humankind. Through rigorous academic and professional study and mentored professional experiences, they gain the knowledge and skills to teach, lead worship, provide pastoral care, advocate for social justice, promote mutual responsibility among North American Jews and Israel, and serve effectively as visionary community leaders.