Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion
1 West Fourth Street
New York, NY 10012
Description of Organization
Hebrew Union College educates and prepares Jewish clergy and professionals to become innovative, vibrant, and progressive leaders on the local, national, and world stage. Their four campuses are located in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York.
In 2021, a special COVID-19 Operational Grant of $2,000 was awarded in order to assist in the implementation of Hebrew Union College’s Student Support Help Desk (SSHD) for the purpose of increasing educational, marketing, and infrastructure needs resulting from the onset of the Covid-19 crisis in order to aid students navigating potential issues that might threaten to erode the trust, vulnerability, or other necessary elements to support a productive educational environment.
The COVID impact: The Student Support Help Desk was already in the planning stages for launch in July 2020 when the Covid-19 crisis commenced. Due to the pandemic, the students were faced additional stresses stemming from the pandemic’s impact, the sense of isolation that came with transitioning from in-classroom learning and on-campus communities to online learning and connecting solely through virtual platforms, the loss of income from part time jobs and internships that disappeared in the wake of the pandemic and the resulting economic shut-down, the disappointment and sadness that resulted from losing important in-person milestones and celebrations such as graduations, ordinations, and senior presentations as well as the uncertainty and questioning about how ready they feel to become spiritual leaders and counselors to others during a time when they themselves are struggling with the fallout of the crisis.
In 2019, a grant was awarded for $20,000 in support of the Spiritual Direction Program. This program is a mindfulness practice which supports the underlying Jewish principle that by cultivating awareness in every moment one can access the interconnectedness of the self and the universe, leading to a greater connection to the divine and the ability to see God in all things. Its meditative and reflective practices are designed to help current and future Jewish religious leaders develop the inner life necessary from which they will draw inspiration and authenticity throughout their careers as spiritual mentors, teachers, and community leaders. This grant is also known as the Norman Marcus Memorial Lenz Foundation Grant, dedicated to the memory of Norman Marcus who served as the resident of the Lenz Foundation for nearly two decades.