Swimming in Debt, Hebrew College Relocates

Hebrew College of Newton, Mass., announced it will be move its operation to Andover Newton Theological School in 2011 or 2012, contingent on the sale of its current building.

The college is facing debt of more than $32 million.

Hebrew College offers undergraduate degrees and several master’s degrees and certificates in Jewish Studies and Jewish Education.

Hebrew recently teamed up with Northeastern University to provide interested students with a doctoral program option.

The Newton campus was built less than a decade ago by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, and according to the Boston Globe, planned to become a “preeminent Jewish cultural center and academic powerhouse.” Yet the economic downturn, and consequently insurmountable debt has plagued the college and made the goal impossible. The college’s president, Rabbi Daniel L. Lehmann, is hopeful that the building sale will “reposition the college to continue operating—and growing—albeit in rented quarters.”

Rabbi Lehmann is optimistic that the new location will afford the opportunity to continue interfaith collaborations, a salient goal for both Hebrew College and Andover Newton Theological School.

While previous Hebrew College leaders had hoped that Boston’s considerable Jewish population combined with its rich academic culture would provide the ideal setting for a distinguished Hebrew College, financial constraints have inhibited this objective.


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