Hebrew Union College
Search Timelines:

Isaac Mayer Wise
Time Period
In 1875, with the Jewish population at 150,000-plus, Hebrew Union College was founded in Cincinnati to train clergy and Jewish leaders. It was the first of its kind in America.

The college’s catalyst was Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, the father of American Reform Judaism, who wanted to ensure a proper -- albeit progressive -- school of higher education for Jews. In 1883, when a banquet honoring the school’s first graduating class served non-kosher food, tensions between liberals and conservatives came to a head. That incident culminated in a formal break between what is now Reform and Conservative Judaism.

In 1950, the college merged with the Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. Campuses were later opened in Los Angeles and Jerusalem.

The academic center for Reform Judaism, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion has ordained more than 2,500 rabbis -- including the first woman rabbi in the country in 1972.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian)
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian) in American History
Religious Groups
Timeline Entries for the same religious group Judaism Family
Judaism Family: Other ARDA Links


Hebrew Union College- Hathi Trust- from Catalogue, Hebrew Union College 1910-11

Isaac Mayer Wise portrait- Internet Archive- from Isaac Mayer Wise, The Founder of American Judaism by Max B. May

Students and faculty, Hebrew Union College, 1921- Hathi Trust- from Hebrew Union College Monthly, vol 8 (1922)

Hebrew Union College, cropped from Clifton, Cincinnati panorama- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Bike756

Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Hovev.JPG
Book/Journal Source(s)
Cohon, Samuel S., 1950. The History of Hebrew Union College. Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society 40 (1): 17-55.
Melton, J. Gordon, 2009. Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions, Eighth Edition. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale.
Web Source(s)
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion website
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Bookmark and Share