Staff Spotlight: Kristin Young


Kristin Young

Manager of Special Projects and Events

HUC/New York

Kristin YoungKristin YoungKristin YoungWhy is HUC Connect and your work for strategic planning important to HUC and the larger public?

People are at the heart of HUC – those who are here to learn, those who share their knowledge, those who help facilitate the moving forward of HUC’s mission, and the religious and secular communities alike that we seek to serve. HUC Connect and the strategic planning process both provide spaces in which the voices, contributions, and expertise of these groups of people are amplified and recognized.

Please tell us about your musical performance training and career, and how you enrich HUC with your talents in this area.

I studied vocal performance in college and grad school but started my career in music with the violin at age 5. Even though the violin didn’t stick, I have been fortunate enough to sing with several companies along the East Coast, such as Gotham Chamber Opera, Harlem Opera Theater, and New York City Opera, and most recently performed in The Sound of Music with Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, FL. Prior to working at HUC, I worked for several years in arts administration for an artists’ manager whose roster included classical musicians and conductors, and briefly in Lincoln Center’s Programming Department.

I’ve been able to apply my training in music and performance to my work at HUC on countless occasions, particularly with producing HUC Connect and helping to plan Symposia One and Two, as well as President Rehfeld’s Inauguration and other events. We schedule everything from dress rehearsals to sound checks as part of this work, and, once live, all the events absolutely generate those excited feelings of nervousness, similar to those I get when on stage.

What are you most proud of, professionally, during your time at HUC?

It has been incredibly fulfilling to see the work we’re doing as part of HUC Connect come alive.  I loved being in school and still consider myself to be an academic of sorts. Each HUC Connect session – and the preparatory meetings that take place with speakers prior to the actual event – has allowed me to return to the classroom setting at least once a week! Our faculty members and featured speakers are so incredible, and it’s been such a pleasure to learn from them while helping to share their stories and expertise through these online events. I would be remiss if I did not mention how fortunate I am to be able to collaborate with wonderful colleagues from across the College-Institute to make HUC Connect happen, learn more about them and their work, and create a product together of which, I believe, we are all proud.
Allison Glazer, Angele Osborne, and I are also working to developing the Hineinu Kaleidoscope Collective. Over the course of my 7 years at HUC, I’ve been in awe over the ways in which we come together in times of tragedy and celebration. Both inspired by world events from the past year and our inability to support each other in person as we normally might, we sought to formalize a space in which staff members of color and their allies can celebrate each other, grow, and learn from our differences. We’re looking forward to beginning this work in the coming months with any interested staff members!

What is your favorite experience or moment during your time at HUC?

A few years ago, during one of the Founders Fellowship weekends, in which about 15-20 college students from across North America visited the NY campus for a leadership program, the participants were asked to draw a picture of their own Jewish journey. I managed the logistics for the weekend, and, since I was there, decided to interpret the question for myself. I was raised Catholic and attended 9 years of Catholic school, followed by 4 years of Quaker high school. In graduate school, my final recital took place in the Reform synagogue at Boston University’s Hillel. I had recently completed a yoga teacher training…and, I thought, “I work at a seminary!” Although I don’t have an explicitly Jewish journey, the exercise gave me an opportunity to reflect on my own spiritual journey, which is very much integral to who I am, and I was pleased to realize how seamlessly HUC fit within it.