Xavier University, a Jesuit, Catholic university, and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) a Reform Jewish Rabbinic Seminary, are undertaking a groundbreaking educational joint venture to create a Jewish and Interfaith Studies Program that will be offered to students at both institutions. This is the first partnership of its kind between a Jesuit, Catholic University and a Reform Jewish Rabbinic Seminary.
The partnership was celebrated during the Cincinnati Associates of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion 26th Annual Tribute Dinner on Sunday, November 23. The dinner also honored Kevin T. Kabat, President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Fifth Third Bancorp, for his exemplary leadership of Fifth Third as it continues its strong commitment to community investment efforts to strengthen neighborhoods and schools and to improve healthcare disparities within Cincinnati’s diverse population.
The dynamic, transformational partnership between Xavier and HUC-JIR is consistent with and furthers the missions of both institutions. It will bolster existing academic programs, and open new learning opportunities for students. Xavier will create the largest and most comprehensive undergraduate Jewish Studies program in any Catholic institution of higher learning in the world. In addition, Xavier students will have full access to the unparalleled academic resources of HUC-JIR’s Klau Library and American Jewish Archives.
HUC-JIR’s Rabbinical School will be able to offer students new learning opportunities in such areas as: Catholic-Jewish Dialogue; History of the Catholic Church; Comparative Ethics; Comparative Theology and more. HUC-JIR’s School of Graduate Studies will be expanded to offer a new area of academic concentration in Christian Studies.
The first phase of this collaborative effort will allow HUC-JIR faculty to teach undergraduate courses in Jewish Studies, enabling Xavier to pursue the establishment of a minor in Jewish Studies. Many courses will be interdisciplinary in nature and some team taught by Xavier and HUC faculty.
During the second phase HUC-JIR and Xavier faculty will work to establish guidelines by which Xavier faculty will teach courses in HUC-JIR’s Rabbinical School and School of Graduate Studies and be available to serve on graduate dissertation panels at HUC-JIR’s School of Graduate Studies.
A steering committee consisting of Xavier and HUC-JIR faculty and administrators will determine annual course offerings at both institutions. The committee will also oversee assessment of courses and instructors, consistent with Xavier’s and HUC-JIR’s assessment policies and procedures.
When completed, this new joint venture, combined with other collaborative academic efforts and the world-renowned HUC resources such as the Klau Library and the Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, will position our city of Cincinnati as home to one of the most prestigious and competitive centers of Jewish and Interfaith Studies in the country.
This year’s Tribute Dinner Honorary Chairman was Thomas G. Cody, Macy’s Divisional Vice Chair. James A. Miller, Chairman and Senior Portfolio Manager, Bartlett & Co., serves as Corporate Council Chair. Dinner Co-Chairs are Jerry and Suzanne Teller and Patty and Lewis Beck.