Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion has received a $3.75 million grant from the San Francisco-based Koret Foundation to fully fund tuition for its Year-in-Israel Program.
HUC-JIR, the academic and leadership development center of Reform Judaism, said the grant will be administered over a three-year period beginning in the 2017-18 academic year. The Year-In-Israel Program is required of all first-year rabbinical, cantorial and education students.
“We are enormously grateful to the Koret Foundation for their commitment to our strategic vision of advancing Jewish higher education that is imbued with a love for Israel and Jewish peoplehood,” said Rabbi Aaron Panken, president of HUC-JIR, which claims to have 4,000 active alumni serving the Reform movement in some way.
“The Koret Foundation Scholars Program will enable us to recruit more outstanding Jewish leaders who will build and sustain the crucial sense of mutual responsibility — arevut — between North American Jewish communities and the State and people of Israel for generations to come.”
A commitment to Israel is a core tenet of HUC-JIR’s mission. The Year-in-Israel Program, based at HUC-JIR’s Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem, was established in 1970 to foster a vibrant connection to Israel and Jewish peoplehood among the future clergy and educators leading North American Jewry. HUC-JIR has North American campuses in Cincinnati, New York and Los Angeles.
“The 21st-century Jewish world is an especially dynamic one that simultaneously presents both inspiring opportunities and existential challenges,” said Anita Friedman, president of the Koret board. “We are enthusiastic about this new Scholars Program because HUC-JIR plays such a pivotal role in the shaping of the next chapter in our long history.”