Central Synagogue Announces $1.4 Million Grant Awarded to Hillel International and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion to Strengthen Reform Jewish Life on College Campuses



June 18, 2018

NEW YORK CITY – Central Synagogue is thrilled to award $1.4 million and launch a new partnership between Hillel International and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), which will strengthen Reform Jewish life on college campuses by supporting the creation of new Reform Senior Jewish Educator positions, beginning with Johns Hopkins University Hillel and Hillels of Georgia.

A multi-year grant of $1.4 million from Central Synagogue’s Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein Fund for the Renaissance of Reform Judaism will provide training, placement, and support to graduates of HUC-JIR to become Reform Senior Jewish Educators on campus. The fellowship will allow these rabbis to build personal relationships with hundreds of students, serve as role models, and develop new models of Reform Jewish life.

“Central Synagogue is proud to provide funding to support Reform Rabbis on college campuses because we know how important strong leadership is for building Jewish identity at this critical time,” said Senior Rabbi Angela W. Buchdahl, Central Synagogue. “In honor of our Rabbi Emeritus Peter J. Rubinstein, whose leadership elevated Central Synagogue and Reform Judaism worldwide, we established this fund to help Reform Judaism thrive into the future. By convening Hillel and HUC-JIR we are excited about the prospects of strengthening Jewish life.”

“I’m honored that Central Synagogue is supporting the growth of vibrant Reform Jewish programming on college campuses and training future Reform Jewish leadership to lead these communities,” said Rabbi Emeritus Peter J. Rubinstein, Central Synagogue. “This innovative collaboration between Hillel and HUC-JIR will provide Reform Rabbi educators to strengthen Jewish engagement, celebrations, and learning for our college students in service of their Jewish future and our people’s unparalleled mission.”

“This new partnership between Hillel International and HUC-JIR, and the support of Central Synagogue, will allow us to provide rabbinical role models who feel familiar, accessible, and authentic to Reform Jewish students on campus,” said Eric D. Fingerhut, President and CEO of Hillel International. “The new Reform Senior Jewish Educators will help students to seamlessly transition to Jewish life on campus, while strengthening their connection to Jewish life, learning and Israel through the lens of Reform Judaism.”

In addition to strengthening Reform Jewish life on campus, the new Reform Senior Jewish Educators will:

“We are excited about this opportunity to partner with Hillel International and Central Synagogue to encourage inspiring Jewish educators to work on campus and support the next generation of Jewish life,” said Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., Interim President of HUC-JIR. Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D., National Director of Recruitment and Admissions and President’s Scholar at HUC-JIR, noted, “This groundbreaking partnership comes at a crucial moment in time because it will also enable HUC-JIR to recruit new talent while fostering the future of Reform Jewish leadership on the college campus and in North America as a whole.”

Hillel International’s research has shown that Senior Jewish Educators are critical in engaging students and have the greatest impact on students’ Jewish growth. On average, each educator connects more than 200 students per year to Jewish life, many of whom would not be engaged without their presence. The effect of an educator is much greater on a student with little or no prior involvement with Hillel or those with less structured Jewish backgrounds.


About Central Synagogue

Central Synagogue is a thriving reform congregation in midtown Manhattan, serving 2,500 families and the larger community.  We work tirelessly toward a world in which Judaism is central to the lives of Jews everywhere and is a profound and positive force for humanity. We are relentless in our pursuit of that goal, constantly evolving to reach far beyond the walls of our synagogue to learn, worship, serve and continually redefine what it means to be Jewish today. For more information about our organization visit

About Hillel International

Founded in 1923, Hillel has been enriching the lives of Jewish students for more than 90 years. Today, Hillel International is a global organization that welcomes students of all backgrounds and fosters an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. Hillel is dedicated to enriching the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. As the largest Jewish student organization in the world, Hillel builds connections with emerging adults at more than 550 colleges and universities, and inspires them to direct their own path. During their formative college years, students are challenged to explore, experience, and create vibrant Jewish lives.

About Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America’s leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR’s scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. For more information about HUC-JIR recruitment initiatives contact [email protected]