Know Your Seminary: Hebrew Union College

With the members familiarizing themselves with the different rabbinical schools the applicants may have attended, we present the third in our continuing series “Know Your Seminary!” with a profile of Hebrew Union College.

Billed as the largest Jewish seminary in North America, HUC is affiliated with the Reform movement and has campuses in Jerusalem, New York, L.A., and Cincinnati (although the Ohio campus is said to be closing). The college was established in 1875 by the Reform movement’s founder himself, Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise. When it was launched in Cincinnati, it became the first permanent Jewish institution of higher learning in North America. In 1950, it merged with the Jewish Institute of Religion, founded by the renowned advocate for human rights, Rabbi Stephen Wise, (making the school’s official name HUC-JIR.) Its Klau Library is the second-largest Jewish library in the world.  

The school has 400 full-time students, 135 part-time and graduate students, and over 700 undergraduates. A year of study in Israel is a degree requirement. The school has a robust music program and an intensive Pastoral Care curriculum.

The HUC website touts its social justice bona fides, and its history of advancing gender equality and LGBTQI rights in Jewish leadership, ordaining both the first woman rabbi and the first woman cantor, in the early 1970s.

All in all, the school has a long tradition in preparing students in both the spiritual and more-secular demands of leading a congregation, and nearly all graduates find gainful employment almost immediately. The values they cultivate and promote are unmistakably progressive (inclusivity, social justice, environmentalism, etc.).

Visit their website:

To view a timeline of the rabbinic search process, visit the WJC website:

As always, the SRSC welcomes your thoughts and concerns!  Please share at this address: And access earlier reports on the WJC website:


 To be as prepared as possible, the committee has begun to familiarize itself with the different rabbinical schools the applicants may have attended. This is the first in a series called, “Know Your Seminary!” to share with the community what we are learning about these schools.

As always, the Committee welcomes your thoughts and concerns! Please share at this address: