Dr. Bernard Heller Museum at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Hebrew Union College, New York

The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (also known as HUCHUC-JIR, and The College-Institute) is the oldest extant Jewish seminary in the Americas and the main seminary for training rabbis, cantors, educators and communal workers in Reform Judaism.

HUC was founded in 1875 under the leadership of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise in Cincinnati, Ohio. The first rabbinical class graduated in 1883. The graduation banquet for this class became known as the Trefa Banquet because it included food that was not kosher, such as clams, soft-shell crabs, shrimp,frogs’ legs and dairy products served immediately after meat. At the time, Reform rabbis were split over the question of whether the Jewish dietary restrictions were still applicable. Some of the more traditionalist Reform rabbis thought the banquet menu went too far, and were compelled to find an alternative between Reform Judaism and Orthodox Judaism. This was a major cause of the founding of American Conservative Judaism.

In 1950, a second HUC campus was created in New York City through a merger with the rival Reform Jewish Institute of Religion. Additional campuses were added in Los Angeles, California in 1954, and in Jerusalem in 1963.

As of 2009, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is an international seminary and university of graduate studies offering a wide variety of academic and professional programs. In addition to its Rabbinical School, the College-Institute includes Schools of Graduate Studies, Education, Jewish Communal Service, sacred music, Biblical archaeology and an Israeli rabbinical program.

Presentation Prints in the collection:

Complete set of archive prints