The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (also known as HUC, HUC-JIR, and The College-Institute) is the oldest Jewish seminary in the Americas and the main seminary for training rabbis, cantors, educators and communal workers in Reform Judaism.
HUC-JIR has campuses in Cincinnati, New York, Los Angeles and Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem campus is the only seminary in Israel for training Reform Jewish clergy.
HUC was founded in 1875
under the leadership of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise
in Cincinnati, Ohio
. A second campus in New York City
was created through a merger with the rival Reform Jewish Institute of Religion
and additional campuses were added in Los Angeles, California
Today, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is an international seminary and university of graduate studies offering a wide variety of academic and professional programs. In addition to its Rabbinical School, the College-Institute includes Schools of Graduate Studies, Education, Jewish Communal Service, sacred music, Biblical archaeology and an Israeli rabbinical program.
The Los Angeles campus operates many of its programs and degrees in cooperation with the neighboring University of Southern California, a partnership that has lasted over 35 years.
Notable faculty members have included Judah Magnes
, who was also the founding chancellor and president of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Abraham Joshua Heschel
, Nelson Glueck
, Moses Buttenweiser
, Eugene Borowitz
, Jacob Z. Lauterbach
, and Debbie Friedman
Gender equality and HUC
In keeping with the tradition of gender equality in Reform Judaism, HUC has both male and female students in all its programs, including rabbinic and cantorial studies. Since its founding, the College-Institute has ordained over 2800 rabbis and over 400 cantors. As of 2007, 520 ordained rabbis and 179 invested cantors have been women. (See Women and the rabbinical credential
The HUC library
system contains one of the most extensive Jewish collections in the world with close to a million volumes on the 4 campuses. The collection includes 150 incunabula (the earliest printed books), more than 2,000 manuscript codices, and many thousands of pages of archival documents. Special collections include Jewish Americana, music, an outstanding Spinoza collection, and extensive microforms. It also houses the American Jewish Periodical Center, which preserves American Jewish periodicals and newspapers on microfilm.
The three U.S. campuses share a catalog The Jerusalem catalog is separate.
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum
The HUC-JIR Museum includes the Petrie Great Hall, Klingenstein Rare Book Room, Chaim and Rivka Heller Archives Gallery, Joseph Gallery, and Backman Gallery. The Museum presents exhibitions highlighting Jewish history
, culture, and contemporary creativity.