An opportunity to support HUC

October 13, 2009

Originally from Gary Zola – Director of the American Jewish Archives:

I am writing today to urge you to attend a very special program in the life of the College-Institute here in Cincinnati.

You may have already heard that HUC is planning a major celebratory reception for the greater Cincinnati community on the occasion of the rededication of its world famous Klau Library.  This event will be a dessert reception, held at the Jewish Community Center (Amberley) on Sunday evening, November 1, 2009. The evening will begin at 7:30 p.m. and we are planning to conclude by 8:45 p.m.

In addition to rededicating the Klau Library, we will also mark the beginning of the school’s 135th year of historic presence in Cincinnati.

All of us at HUC are honored that Dr. Gregory Williams, the new president of the University of Cincinnati has agreed to serve as the keynote speaker for this event.  November 1st is actually Dr. Williams’s very first day on the job!  He will be speaking, of course, about the historical relationship that has united the Hebrew Union College and the University of Cincinnati – past, present, and future!

You may also be interested in knowing that there will be approximately 50 out-of-town guests at this dessert reception:  the Board of Governors — the school’s governing body — will be present.  They will be in Cincinnati for a special meeting of the Board and, of course, to attend the rededication of the Klau Library.  At the meeting, the Governors will, hopefully, vote to adopt a plan which commits itself to preserving the future of the Cincinnati campus.

The Board of Governors comes to Cincinnati only once a year (and sometimes even less frequently).  These meetings typically take place on the school’s campus, and the Governors rarely have an opportunity to meet the greater Cincinnati community.  Last April, many Governors received calls and letters from Cincinnatians who were concerned about the school’s future.  These communications declared that Cincinnati was immovably committed to HUC’s future in Cincinnati.  On November 1, these Governors will have a rare opportunity to experience these sentiments for themselves!

I am sure you can understand that if our school’s Governors see a large and enthusiastic crowd of HUC supporters at the JCC on November 1, they will experience a tangible demonstration of the community’s interest in and commitment to the College-Institute.  In this respect, you truly have a historic opportunity to help the College — simply by attending this special reception.

I hope you will agree to attend this historic dessert reception on November 1.  The event is complimentary, and there will be no solicitation.

In order to insure that we have enough dessert for all those present, would you please RSVP so we can plan accordingly.  To RSVP, please E-mail Phyllis Volan ( or call Phyllis Volan (513-487-3032).

I thank you very much – in advance – for your help and support.  I look forward to seeing you on November 1.

Possible Outcomes

May 12, 2009

There has been almost no new details to emerge.  Anecdotally, a certain number of the Cincinnati are taking the decision for granted.  Between the frenzy around ordination (in particular around Alyssa Stanton, to whom we wish Mazal Tov), and relative lack of interest in the news media, we are all pretty much in the dark.  If any one has media contacts, please try to reclaim some of the buzz.  In the midst of this historic ordination, there will be a dark cloud floating overhead.  

Please continue to encourage your friends to write letters and gather media coverage of the HUC situation.

If you can, please make an online donation to help Hebrew Union College maintain its ability to educate and create the future of the Reform Movement.

The Board Speaks

May 5, 2009

Below find the transcript of HUC’s press release offering a commitment to the three campuses:

The Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion met in New York on Monday, May 4th, 2009.  There was a discussion of many constructive approaches to resolving HUC-JIR’s financial issues.  The Board decided that the restructuring plan would proceed on three principles:

·       Financial sustainability

·       Academic integrity of programs and excellence of faculty and students

·       Service to the Reform Movement, Klal Yisrael, Israel, and world Jewry

The Board has charged the administration to devise a plan that will attain financial sustainability and enhance our academic excellence while preserving our presence in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and New York.  The model being developed includes innovative strategies for learning and teaching, increased use of technology, a firm commitment to the Klau Library and American Jewish Archives, and an evolving vision of education that will meet the needs of the 21st century. Significant financial restructuring will establish a sustainable, balanced budget, ensuring the future of the College-Institute.  

The Board and administration have been heartened by the outpouring of thousands of expressions of support and concern by alumni, Reform congregants, and the larger community.  The College-Institute is grateful for this groundswell of support.

On June 23rd, 2009, the administration will bring its recommendations to the Board of Governors. 

The College-Institute affirms its commitment to strengthening and fulfilling its mission of training and sustaining Jewish professionals throughout their careers of service to Reform Judaism and Klal Yisrael – the Jewish people worldwide.  

Rabbi David Ellenson, President                   Barbara Friedman, Chair, Board of Governors

Earlier, the Cincinnati Enquirer had the following to say on this story:

The decision to keep all three campuses open came after an aggressive campaign by leaders of Cincinnati’s Jewish community to save the Clifton campus, where Reform Jewish rabbis have received training since the school opened here in 1875.  A group of lobbyists, rabbis and alumni mobilized quickly last month when school officials in New York said the Cincinnati campus was in jeopardy because HUC could not afford to maintain three campuses.

Thank you to everyone who wrote comments, sent letters, and passed the word along.  Your efforts have changed the facts on the ground and influenced the Board’s decision.

There is still a great deal of work to be done, and we believe that the time is now to put our money where are mouths are and to donate to HUC.   If you can do so, please click here to donate.