( University Heights ) - Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion lost its leader this weekend when he was killed in a plane crash. Rabbi Aaron D. Panken was flying a small aircraft in the Hudson Valley on Saturday when it crashed. He was 53-years-old.
It is not clear what caused the aircraft to go down after taking off at Randall Airport. Panken was a licensed pilot.
Panken led the college’s campuses in Cincinnati, New York, L.A. and Jerusalem. He served as the college’s 12th president. HUC-JIR was founded in Cincinnati in 1875.
Rabbi Panken is survived by his wife, children, parents, and sister.