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Congratulations Kerry!

Last Thursday, May 4th, I had the pleasure of attending the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s (HUC-JIR) Graduation Ceremony at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, at which JOI’s Executive Director, Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, received his Doctor of Divinity honorary degree on the 25th anniversary of his graduation from the HUC-JIR. HUC-JIR is the academic, spiritual, and professional development center of Reform Judaism, preparing men and women for careers as rabbis, cantors, educators and communal professionals.

Kerry can be described with many different titles including doctor, educator and executive director, but he is foremost a rabbi. He sees his role as using the tools of our tradition to teach, motivate, and provide healing for others. His innovative training, teaching, and writing (he is the prolific author of over 60 books and hundreds of articles) have been motivated by lowering the barriers to Jewish engagement.

Kerry regards outreach as literally “reaching out” to where people are in order to share the rich resources of the Jewish tradition. His compassion and concern for people in underserved populations, especially people in recovery, the elderly and those in intermarried families, has been the catalyst for many of his accomplishments in the North American Jewish community.

He has touched many lives over the past twenty five years. The Jewish community is very fortunate to count him as one of our leaders. And we look forward to celebrating many more milestones with him in the years ahead. Yasher k’oach! (Keep up the good work!)

Here are some photos…


Rabbi David Ellenson, President of HUC-JIR, presents Rabbi Olitzky with his honorary doctorate.



1 Comment

  1. I don’t know if Kerry Olitzky will remember me and my family but we knew him when he was a youngster in St. Petersburg, Florida. We also had the honor of attending his ordination in Cincinnati, Ohio and his wedding in Pittsburgh. To this day we are friends with his parents who now live in Lantana, Florida and we went to visit them in March before we returned to our northern home for the summer.

    Our son Mark is now a Vice President of the Boston Company. He lives in Passaic, N.J. with his wife and 5 children. (Yes, he his an orthodox, black hat, Jew.) Sadly, Freida died last November at the age of 48 from Pancreatic cancer. She left ust 3 wonderful grandchildren and a very wonderful son in law.

    Fred and I are still OK Thank G-d. I guess I have chattered on enough. Again, best wishes. Shirly Herskovitz

    Comment by Shirly Herskovitz — May 26, 2006 @ 11:55 am

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