Hebrew Union College Turf Battles in Full Swing
Hebrew Union College has probably generated more news in the past week than in the past decade. For those following the in-process reorganization, here’s just a sampling of what’s been published. Confusion at its best.
from The Daily Trojan – the student newspaper of the University of Southern California
HUC-JIR makes up most of the undergraduate Jewish studies department at USC, and HUC-JIR faculty teach 25-40 classes to about 650 USC students yearly, some on USC’s campus, and some on HUC-JIR’s campus, said Lee Rosenblum, acting director of USC Hillel.
“The closing of HUC’s Los Angeles campus could potentially reduce or eliminate the courses in Judaic studies and Hebrew that have enriched USC’s undergraduate educational choices,” said Brie Loskota, managing director of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at USC.
The closure of HUC-JIR would significantly impact the community in many ways, Loskota said.
“If HUC-JIR L.A. was closed, the library resources that HUC maintains would no longer be available to USC and to the broader community, which would be a terrible loss,” Loskota said.
from The Jewish Journal
“We are looking at the college-institute as a whole to see how it can continue to fulfill its mission while still being fiscally responsible,” [Rabbi David] Ellenson [HUC President] said in a telephone interview from New York, where he is based. “We have different scenarios. We are really in the midst of a process. Everything is possible.”
from The Cincinnati Enquirer
Greater Cincinnati’s Jewish community will try to save the Clifton campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where the school was founded 134 years ago, but the college’s financial problems may prove too severe.
Advocates here will argue that the campus here is less expensive and that the College could save more by selling its real estate in New York or Los Angeles, where the other two campuses targeted for potential closing are located.
“It’s a lot cheaper to run the place here,” said Dick Weiland, the lobbyist who has been on HUC’s local advisory board. “We hope it is (about finances), because the bottom line shows that we can save a fortune by having it here.”
from The Jewish Week
As the Reform movement and the Hebrew Union College ponder their next moves to remain financially viable, one key question emerging is the fate of its flagship, 20-acre campus in Cincinnati.
The Union for Reform Judaism, the movement’s congregational arm, owns the land on which the college sits. But its president, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, said it has no contingency plans should the college close. “It’s premature,” he said. “We are not looking at that issue. The college will decide what it does [with the campus]; we are not dealing with it. We don’t want to be seen as interfering.”
If you’re not yet confused over the many conflicting statements, here’s more from last week: