HUC, Hillel team up to grow a new generation of leaders


Image courtesy of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

A collaboration between Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and Hillel International was announced in September to support an emerging generation of Jewish leaders. 

It is designed to address a declining interest in religious leadership. The institutions intend to build a professional development pipeline to inspire students to become Jewish leaders. Andrew Rehfeld, HUC-JIR president explained the purpose of the initiative.

“This agreement is about taking HUC’s relationship with Hillel to the next level,” said Rehfeld, former president and CEO of Jewish Federation of St. Louis. “We already work together in numerous ways, but now we are thinking more holistically about the career paths of college students and Hillel professionals and strengthening the pipeline of future Jewish leadership together. HUC is offering career building opportunities for Hillel professionals and supporting the Springboard Fellowship through mentorship and faculty.”

Rehfeld said young Jewish college students who gravitate to Hillel are a logical target group because they have an affinity for Jewish heritage, community organizing and the possibilities of leadership.

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“We must encourage more of them to channel these values and aspirations toward careers of Jewish service, where they will have the platform to have tremendous impact,” he said. “Our forthcoming flexible residency clergy program, launching in the fall of 2024, will allow many more potential students to study for the rabbinate and cantorate where they currently live and work.”