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Ordination and graduation ceremonies will mark a significant weekend for Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion this year. This weekend is the 40th anniversary of the ordination of Sally J. Priesand, the first woman rabbi to be ordained in the United States, an event that occurred at the Cincinnati campus. Rabbi Priesand along with Rabbi Rick Jacobs, incoming president of the Union for Reform Judaism, and former U.S. Senator Russell D. Feingold will be participating in the weekend events.
Ordination will take place on Saturday, June 2, at 9 a.m. at Plum Street Temple. The graduation ceremony for the College-Institute’s School of Graduate Studies will take place the following day, Sunday, June 3, at 1 p.m. in the Scheuer Chapel, on the campus grounds in Clifton.
Rabbi Priesand will be honored as special guest during the ordination ceremony, during which 13 candidates will be ordained – eight of them women. After her ordination in 1972, Rabbi Priesand went on to serve as rabbi at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City, and later at Temple Beth El in Elizabeth, New Jersey. She then served as the spiritual leader of Monmouth Reform Temple before retiring in 2006. Rabbi Priesand also served on the executive boards for the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Union for Reform Judaism, as well as on the Board of Governors of the College-Institute and as president of the Rabbinic Alumni Association.
The speaker for the ordination ceremony will be Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the incoming president for the Union for Reform Judaism. He was ordained in 1982 by the College-Institute in New York, where he received numerous excellence awards. He also received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the College-Institute in 2007 and has been a longtime spiritual leader within the Jewish Reform Movement.
The 2012 graduation speaker will be Senator Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, who served in the U.S. Senate for 18 years (1993-2011). He attended the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and is a graduate of Harvard Law School. He served for 10 years as a state senator before his election to the U.S. Senate and is a recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
The College-Institute will present an honorary doctorate to Senator Feingold, as well as to Dr. Ruth Behar, the Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan; Rabbi Edward A. Goldman, the Ida G. Bettan Chair in Midrash and Homiletics and Professor Emeritus of the College-Institute in Israel; and Dr. Stephan A. Kaufman, Professor Emeritus of Bible and Cognate Literature of College-Institute in Cincinnati.
Larry Moses, the Senior Philanthropic Advisor and President Emeritus of the Wexner Foundation, will be awarded the American Jewish Distinguished Service Award. Dr. C. Hassell Bullock will receive the Graduate Medallion.
To Be Ordained
Thirteen students will be ordained this year: Ariel Cara Boxman, Erin Craig Boxt, Matthew David Cohen, Stephanie Clark Covitz, David Adam Gerber, Rachel Leah Joseph, Jennifer Michele Lader, Maura Hope Linzer, Michal Merraro Loving, Nicole Kauffman, Samuel Joseph Rose and Anne Rebecca Strauss. They will be taking positions as assistant rabbis, chaplains and Jewish educators around the world.
Also to be ordained is Dr. Jonathan Cohen, dean of the Cincinnati campus of HUC-JIR.
Earning Advanced Degrees
The 12 students receiving advanced degrees include: Stephanie Clark Covitz, Brent Phillip Gutmann, Jordan R. Helfman, Meredith Faye Kahan, Jon D. Kleinman, Jason Ross Levine, Ariel Sol Lorge, Jessica Huettner Rosenthal, David Leon Spinrad and James Avi Stoloff, receiving a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters; Audrey Rhona Korotkin, Ryan Lucas Korstange, Oshrat Morag, James Bradford Pate and Vanessa Oliver Ward, receiving a Master of Philosophy in Hebraic and Cognate Studies; Shane P. Cass and Jordan Wesley Jones, receiving a Master of Arts in Bible and Cognate Studies; Brian A. Bompiani, Donald Henry Carlson, Brian Paul Gault, Benjamin James Noonan, Sung Jin Park and Justin M. Rogers, receiving a Doctor of Philosophy. Several of these graduates have accepted teaching positions at various academic institutions across the country, or are already teaching. Others will be pursuing further study.