Dear Community Members,

As our new year approaches, we have an opportunity to reflect on the blessings of our lives and take stock of where we have been and where we are going. We at HUC-JIR recognize the talent and the treasure of our community sustaining us throughout this time. We identified the profound impact of the pandemic and in response mobilized immediately to chart a path addressing our significant challenges; the challenges of maintaining safety and excellence in our daily academic operations, supporting our alumni in the field, and disseminating the work of our faculty and guest scholars to our stakeholders. Our priorities have remained constant. We have sustained HUC as the premier source of inspired leadership education for our community and beyond.

Challenges, obstacles, problems. All unavoidable. All part of life. It is how we face our challenges, the actions that we take, that define us as individuals and collectively, as a community. These actions will define the quality of our future.

We turn to you now to help us address the steep challenges that have mounted as we accomplished what we have promised you for the last 145 years. We have accumulated significant deficits in our budget in order to ensure our mission and our work. Technological upgrades to our hardware and software, increased training for our faculty and additional support for student needs have a profound impact on our bottom line. At the same time, support from our Reform congregations that goes in equal measure to the URJ and HUC is expected to decline significantly and continued economic uncertainty continues to threaten the support we need.

We have launched a COVID-19 Renewal Fund, a concrete action, reflecting our commitment to you and our larger community. Specifically, our Commitment to Academic Excellence. Our Commitment to Operational Excellence. Our Commitment to Jewish Life and Learning.

Together with your help, we will secure the quality of our collective future. We will address our financial challenges as well as providing more training, support, and focus to bring to life a new vision, a renewed vision to inspire and invigorate the larger Jewish public sphere, building a world of goodness and justice fueled by our tradition.

I have recorded a brief video which is enclosed here. Please take a couple of minutes to listen to our message and please join me today in supporting our COVID-19 Renewal Fund.

On behalf of all of us at HUC-JIR, I wish you and yours a happy, healthy and safe new year.

Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D.

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