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Zola, Gary Phillip


ZOLA, GARY PHILLIP (1952– ) U.S. Reform rabbi, historian, archivist. Zola was born in Chicago, Illinois, and received his B.A. from the University of Michigan (1973) and his M.A. from Northwestern University (1976). In 1982, he was ordained at *Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1991. Following ordination, he was appointed National Dean of Admissions, Student Affairs and Alumni Relations for huc-jir. In 1996, he was named executive director of The Jacob Rader *Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (aja), the world's largest archival resource documenting the history of North American Jewry. He was also associate professor of the American Jewish Experience at huc-jir in Cincinnati and editor of The American Jewish Archives Journal. Under Zola's leadership, the physical home of the aja tripled in size, making it the world's largest free-standing research institution dedicated solely to the study of the American Jewish experience. Dedicated in 2005, the aja's Malloy Education Building, which houses electronic classrooms, distance learning centers, and public exhibition galleries, introduced new digital technologies to the field of historical research and archival science.

Zola is credited with initiating the 2004 national commemoration marking the 350th anniversary of the establishment of New Amsterdam's first Jewish community in 1654: he was the organizer of the congressionally recognized Commission for Commemorating 350 Years of American Jewish History, a consortium of research institutions representing a historic collaboration of the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, the American Jewish Historical Society and the aja. As commission chairman, Zola served as guest chaplain at the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. In September 2004, he participated in opening ceremonies for the Commission's historical exhibitions held at the Library of Congress and delivered the invocation at the commission's gala dinner in Washington, dc, where President George W. Bush delivered the keynote address.

Active in both national and local Jewish communal affairs, Zola served as president of the Greater Cincinnati Board of Rabbis (1993–94) and rabbinic consultant to the Ethics Committee of Cincinnati's Jewish Hospital (1993– ), as well as on the boards of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and the Hillel Jewish Student Center. He was selected twice (1988, 1992) by the American Center for International Leadership to be one of two rabbinic delegates on the Religion Commission of the U.S.A./U.S.S.R. Emerging Leaders Summit. He was president of the Martin Luther King Coalition, and a member of the Boards of Trustees of the Cincinnati chapters of the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Community Relations Council. He was the winner of the Cincinnati Jewish Federation's Rabbinic Leadership Award (2004) and the Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn Prize for most effective congregational project in social action.

A contributor to numerous academic journals, and a former member of the editorial board of the Journal of Reform Judaism (1985–1990), Zola wrote Women Rabbis: Exploration and Celebration (2004) and Isaac Harby of Charleston (1994). He also edited The Dynamics of American Jewish History: Jacob Rader Marcus's Essays on American Jewry (1996) and co-edited A Place of Our Own: The Rise of Reform Jewish Camping in America (2006).

[Bezalel Gordon (2nd ed.)]

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