University description (as per official university website)
Siegal College History - 1920s to 1980s
(With thanks to Bea Stadler z”l for her article, “A Unique Institution in the Western Reserve” for much of the content of this history and to Dr. David Ariel, who wrote “The History of Siegal College” in 2007.)
In 1925, the earliest predecessor of the Laura and Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies, Beth Midrash L’Morim, a Hebrew teacher training school, was founded by Abraham Friedland, the first director of the Bureau of Jewish Education and a prominent Hebrew poet and educator. It was located near East Boulevard & 105th Street, the epicenter of the Jewish community in the early 1900s. At the same time, a Jewish Teacher’s Institute was founded by Rabbis Abba Hillel Silver, Louis Wolsey and Solomon Goldman for the purpose of training Sunday school teachers. In 1947, the two teacher training organizations merged to become the Cleveland Institute of Jewish Studies under the leadership of Nathan Brilliant, Director of the Bureau of Jewish Education.
In 1952, the Institute became an independent agency with its own Board of Governors and its own dean, Dr. Jacob Kabakoff. In 1952, along with the Bureau of Jewish Education, the school moved into its new home, Bet Friedland on Taylor Road.
The goals of the Institute were not that different from the College’s goals today;
• To provide training for new and existing teachers in the Jewish schools in the community
• To issue teaching certificates to qualified teachers
• To provide and sponsor educational activities to adults who wanted to enrich their Jewish knowledge and to enhance their understanding of Jewish life
In 1959, at the height of the baby boom, the Bureau of Jewish Education recommended converting the Institute of Jewish Studies into a college of Jewish Studies. In 1964, following provisional accreditation by the American Association of Hebrew Teachers Colleges, the Institute formally became the Cleveland College of Jewish Studies. The focus of the new College was to continue to address the dire shortage of Jewish teachers and educating teachers to work with the burgeoning number of students enrolled in afternoon and weekend synagogue schools.
During the 1960s, the College began to offer courses in modern Hebrew to teachers as well as adult learners. The classes quickly caught on and enrollment at the College increased dramatically. Classes in Judaic Studies were added and grew even faster than the Hebrew classes. A new student base of adult learners began to emerge.
In those days, the Cleveland College of Jewish Studies was located on South Taylor Road and shared a building with the Bureau of Jewish Education. The school continued to expand, due to its enlarged scope and range of activities. As a result of these new programs, the College received accreditation by the American Association of Hebrew Teachers Colleges and the National Board of License and authorization by the Board of Regents of the State of Ohio to confer Baccalaureate and Master’s degrees.
There are a variety of financial aid options available to Siegal College students. The process of determining who receives limited financial aid resources is structured so the distribution of funds is as equitable as possible to meet the needs of students, while meeting the criteria of Siegal College, and other sources that provide funding for student aid programs. Siegal College also awards a limited number of merit based fellowships and scholarships.
United States and Canadian citizens and permanent residents may apply for Siegal College financial aid.