Jewish Journal


April 17, 2009

USC to save Hebrew Union College?



I knew the folks at USC loved the Jews—but enough to save HUC’s L.A. campus from closure?

A source told Jewish Journal editor-in-chief Rob Eshman that the University of Southern California and Hebrew Union College-Jewish institute of Religion, which already share some faculty and facilities, are working on a deal to fold the L.A. campus into USC as a Jewish studies program.

“Its a win win,” the source said. “HUC gets a big chunk of money for what it owns—about a block of prime real estate by the USC campus—and USC gets to solidify a Jewish studies and outreach program that it has been building for some time now.”

USC would no doubt be interested in that property, which sits between the Greek houses and the USC campus. How would this happen? Well, the source told Rob that Stanley Gold—chairman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and a past chair of the boards of trustees at both HUC-JIR and USC—is helping make it happen.

“All roads lead to Gold,” the source said.

This is all unconfirmed right now. I’d call Gold to verify, but Rachel Heller is already doing that, and I don’t like stepping on toes. Even if it’s true, I’ve got to imagine discussion will be pretty hush-hush.

*Updated: More on the HUC campus closure story from The Jewish Week. A sampling regarding a letter sent before last week’s:

In an earlier letter to the college community, written last month, Rabbi Ellenson had warned: “Unless conditions improve quickly and significantly, the projections for the next several years could be even worse [than this year’s $3 million loss]. We cannot sustain such losses and survive.”

But the rabbi said the structural changes to be considered in the 134-year-old institution should turn things around.

“I have every confidence we will emerge from this a stronger institution,” Rabbi Ellenson told The Jewish Week on Monday.

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