President of Hebrew Union College Dies in a Pennsylvania Plane Crash
Aaron Panken, 53, led the institution that ordains reform rabbis for the US and Canada
May 7, 2018
The president of Hebrew Union College died this weekend when his small plane crashed in New York State, said the UPI and other news sources.
Panken, 53, died when an Aeronca 7AC aircraft, crashed near Dolstontown Road just after taking off from the Randall Airport in Middletown on Saturday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. State police said one other person was injured in the crash.
The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute confirmed Panken's death in a statement, noting he is survived by his wife, Lisa Messinger, his children Eli and Samantha, his parents Beverly and Peter and his sister, Rabbi Melinda Panken.
"Rabbi Panken was a distinguished rabbi and scholar, dedicated teacher, and exemplary leader of the Reform Movement for nearly three decades," the seminary said. http://huc.edu/news/2018/05/05/rabbi-aaron-d-panken-phd-12th-president-hebrew-union-college-jewish-institute-religion-zl
Rabbi Panken is survived by his wife, Lisa Messinger, his children Eli and Samantha, his parents Beverly and Peter, and his sister, Rabbi Melinda Panken of Congregation Shaari Emeth in Manalapan, NJ.
Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D was elected the 12th president of HUC-JIR in 2014. A noted authority on rabbinic and Second Temple literature, with research interests in the historical development of legal concepts and terms, Rabbi Panken was killed in a plane crash on May 5, 2018, while piloting single-engine Aeronca 7AC over New York's Hudson Valley.
The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (also known as HUC, HUC-JIR, and The College-Institute) is a Jewish seminary with several locations in the United States and one location in Jerusalem. It is the oldest extant Jewish seminary in the Americas, and the main seminary for training rabbis, cantors, educators and communal workers in Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR has campuses in Cincinnati, Ohio, New York City, Los Angeles, California and Jerusalem. The Jerusalem campus is the only seminary in Israel for training Reform Jewish clergy.