Monday, April 27, 2009

Last week, the HUC, or the Hebrew Union College, which is the Reform center for Rabbinical studies, made an announcement that they might be closing the doors of their Cincinnati location, the heart and soul of the HUC.  When I heard this, I was shocked and in disbelief.  Yes, the HUC also has locations in Israel, Los Angeles & New York, but Cincinnati is where it all began.  It's the largest of the campuses, and since it is located in the midwest it is considered to be the central campus.  Before reading further into the issue and why the HUC is considering closing the Cincinnati location, I felt as if they would be making a terrible decision in doing so.
It wasn't until I discovered the website, which was created just recently, that I learned more about why the HUC wants to do this.  The main reason is that the HUC is facing a huge debt, so it might lead to closing not only one, but two of the four campuses.  Ideally, people would like to see campuses on each of the coasts, because of the heavier Jewish populations located there.  I understand why this would be the preferred way of picking which campuses remain, but at the same time I still do not necessarily agree with it.
The HUC-Cincinnati campus is central to the well-being of Reform Jewish life during and after graduating college.  It is the birthplace of the Reform Rabbincal schooling system, and by shutting it down you are shutting down history for the Hebrew Union College.  I do hope that people realize that when determining if, and which ones, any of the locations need to be closed.  Yes, it's a shame that they are so much in debt - but what about the future for Reform Judaism?

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