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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Our Future in Cincinnati?

Yes, it's true. The HUC Board of Governors is going to be making some decisions regarding the future of HUC on May 3rd. And, as their bylaws do not allow them to vote in the same month a decision is made, the final decision will be voted on at their meeting in June. There have been so many rumors that have been spread. Many news articles have been written, in the US and in Israel. Truth is this: No one really knows what is going to happen. Rabbi Ellenson, the President of HUC, has told us that with the economic crisis affecting HUC like it has (and everyone else), it is possible one or even two campuses might close. The key word is might...no one really knows. And, there are numerous other scenarios that are being discussed.

I guess what is most scary about this is the lack of knowledge. The students and faculty at HUC in Cincinnati (and I would guess on the other campuses as well) have no idea what is going on. There seems to be a lot of information that is being left "in secret." That bothers me. A conversation regarding the future of HUC - whether that conversation includes closing a campus or not - needs to involve the "future of HUC." In my opinion, that future includes the students AND the faculty. As of right now, we are not involved. I do NOT want to put blame on any one person or group of individuals...but, it is wrong to not involve the students and the faculty.

In my opinion, whatever decision is made will greatly affect ALL of the Reform Jewish congregations in the United States (also in the rest of the world). So, what does this mean? Well, no one really knows right now. But, lots of organizations (and individuals) are coming together to create solutions, responses, etc. to any and all rumors that are circulating. I hope that URJ congregations throughout the United States will get their opinions out - in letters, on websites, etc. Whatever your opinion is - it is important, and it should be considered.

Of course, as a student with a family, I would be GREATLY affected by the closing of the Cincinnati campus. After all, there is NO way my family could afford to live in LA or NY. Batya and I have talked at great length about these possibilities...and it boils down to a choice for us: Do I quit HUC (a life long dream) or do I go to *insert city here* and Batya and Carlie move to Houston while I finish school? This is the choice we will be faced with. I know my situation may be specific to my family, but there are many other students with similar situations.

Bottom line - get involved. Send letters to David Ellenson and Barbara Friedman (the Chair of the Board of Governors) (dellenson@huc.edu ; bfriedman@huc.edu) and let them know how you feel. After all, if you do have an opinion, you should share it! Also, check out the following website: www.savehuc.com. There are links to articles written about this situation.

Here's hoping Batya, Carlie and I get to spend the next 3 years in Cincinnati!

Erin