Hebrew Union College may stop ordaining rabbis in the Midwest after 150 years : NPR



Cincinnati is the North American birthplace of Reform Judaism, largely due to the 1875 founding of Hebrew Union Faculty. However the faculty’s dwindling enrollment is forcing a troublesome choice.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Cincinnati is the birthplace of American-reformed Judaism. Its Hebrew Union Faculty has been ordaining rabbis for nearly 150 years. However a monetary deficit and low enrollment numbers have threatened the way forward for that rabbinical program. From member station WVXU, Jolene Almendarez stories.
JOLENE ALMENDAREZ, BYLINE: There are three Hebrew Union Faculty Jewish Institute of Spiritual campuses within the U.S. – New York, Los Angeles and Cincinnati, the unique campus. However with reducing Midwest enrollment numbers coupled with a big deficit, the varsity’s board of governors could remove rabbi ordinations in Cincinnati. That risk introduced out almost 100 individuals to rally on the faculty Thursday. Steve Pollak moved to Cincinnati 30 years in the past to affix what he calls a neighborhood of Jewish individuals whose material is product of many threads.
STEVE POLLACK: I am simply right here to ask that Cincinnati be given the chance to see what it could possibly do to assist make the Cincinnati HUC campus greater than it was and greater than it may be or greater than it’s at this time.
ALMENDAREZ: Greater than 350 rabbis throughout the nation have signed a letter disapproving of the cost-cutting measures. However school officers who declined interview requests say the change is critical. From 2006 to at this time, the Cincinnati campus has seen an almost 60% decline within the measurement of its rabbinical courses. College officers have spent two years growing a strategic plan that addresses the establishment’s issues. Cleveland Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk was not formally concerned in that planning course of however says the adjustments are wanted.
ROBERT NOSANCHUK: I imagine strongly within the capability of the president of Hebrew Union Faculty and the exceptional group round them to satisfy and surmount the obstacles forward together with how upset persons are proper now. And it is honest. Individuals do not – it is laborious to simply accept that it is come to this state, but it surely has.
ALMENDAREZ: He says the cost-cutting measure is the one means the faculty can remodel the best way it trains potential rabbis, like permitting them to do some on-line coaching with out having to uproot their lives to maneuver to coastal cities. These so-called low-residency rabbinical packages are more and more standard. However for Cantor Alane Katzew, who was ordained on the New York campus, not coaching rabbis in Cincinnati would not make sense.
ALANE KATZEW: Cincinnati, as a neighborhood, is – nationally – inexpensive for value of dwelling and the price of actual property, providers, and so on.
ALMENDAREZ: The college’s board of governors, comprised of greater than 50 rabbis, may vote on the adjustments within the subsequent few days. If rabbi ordinations are stopped, officers say the Cincinnati campus will not shut, however will probably be used as a analysis school. For NPR Information, I am Jolene Almendarez in Cincinnati.
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