Jewish Life

Rabbi Andrew Sklarz and Ira J. Wise to receive doctorates from Hebrew Union College

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Rabbi Andrew R. Sklarz of Greenwich and Ira J. Wise of Fairfield received doctorates from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) at the school’s graduation ceremonies to be held Congregation Emanu-El in New York City on Wednesday, May 4.

According to HUC-JIR president, Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., both men are recognized for 25 years of distinguished professional service as alums of HUC-JIR and for their “dedicated service to the Jewish people and the larger world.

Sklarz, who is spiritual leader of Greenwich Reform Synagogue, will be awarded a Doctor of Divinity from HUC-JIR.

Prior to assuming his Greenwich pulpit, Sklarz served as rabbi of Temple Beth Torah and Old York Road Temple-Beth Am in Philadelphia, Penn., and the Reform Temple of Putnam Valley, in Putnam Valley, N.Y. He received a Masters of Social Work from Fordham University and a Bachelors degree from Clark University.  As an undergraduate, he spent a year at Tel Aviv University.

Sklarz has authored chapters in Life, Faith and Cancer: Jewish Journeys Through Diagnosis, Treatment and Recovery; Jewish Relational Care A-Z; We Are Our Other’s Keepers; and Broken Fragments: Jewish Experiences of Alzheimer’s Disease through Diagnosis, Treatment and Moving On.

A thriving fifteen-year leukemia survivor, he was featured in the documentary, The Journey: A Survivor’s Story, has appeared on television, and is a frequent keynote speaker on survivorship.  He serves on the boards of ADL and the Israel Cancer Research Fund, and works on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Interfaith Council of Southwestern Connecticut.

Ira wise

Ira J. Wise

Wise, who has served as director of education at Congregation B’nai Israel in Bridgeport since 1995, will be presented with a Doctor of Jewish Religious Education from HUC-JIR.

A resident of Fairfield, he serves on the faculty of the Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) Eisner and Crane Lake Camps in Massachusetts’ Berkshire Mountains. He has chaperoned teens on the NFTY L’dor V’dor trip to Eastern Europe and Israel. In addition, he teaches at Merkaz, the Community High School for Jewish Studies.

As a member of the leadership of ARJE – the Association of Reform Jewish Educators — he serves as a mentor for other Jewish educators, including new graduates of the Schools of Education at HUC-JIR. He often consults with congregations to help adapt technology in their schools, and leads workshops and seminars for teachers and educators around the country on a variety of topics.

The author of several articles on Jewish education, most recently he contributed a chapter to the book Text Messages: A Torah Commentary for Teens, edited by Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin. A graduate of the University of Illinois and his M.A. in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR  in Los Angeles.

Wise blogs on Jewish education at Welcome to the Next Level (

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