Click here if you have trouble reading the content below
HUCNews is a weekly e-newsletter produced by HUC-JIR's National Public Affairs Office.

Contact the National Public Affairs Office.
Subscribe to receive the weekly e-newsletter.

How to Support HUC-JIR
Happy Sukkot!
News at HUC-JIR
"Our Faith Embraces Humanity At Sukkot" - Rabbi David Ellenson in The Jewish Week
Rabbi Ellenson, Ph.D., President of HUC-JIR, writes, "The openness of the Sukkah to nature sensitizes us to our human vulnerability and reminds us that our fate as individuals and as Jews is inextricably linked to the fate of all who live within the larger world. Sukkot challenges us to consider our responsibility as Jews to build a world of human rights and social justice, reminding us of the Maimonidean injunction (Laws of Kings) to care for all persons, for 'God is good to all, and Devine mercy is extended to all creation' (Psalms 145:9)."
Rabbi David Ellenson, President of HUC-JIR, Joins "New York's Coolest Jews" in High Holidays Discussion on TV
Jewish celebrities ranging from Matisyahu to Ed Koch, plus editors at New York Magazine, Radar, Huffington Post, Esquire, and Gawker Media joined Rabbi David Ellenson, President of HUC-JIR, on The Jewish Channel's "Holy Dazed" program.
Honors for Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, HUC-JIR Chancellor Emeritus
Dr. Alfred Gottschalk has been re-elected to a three-year term on the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, where he previously served as President. Associated with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, DC from its inception, Dr. Gottschalk has been reappointed to the USHMM's Academic Committee and Committee on Conscience. He delivered a memorial tribute to Miles Lerman, the past Chair of the USHMM, at a special evening of remembrance on June 18, 2008.
The Wexner Foundation Introduces New Fellows
HUC-JIR rabbinical students Daniel Crane and Dara Lithwick have been named Wexner Fellows by the Wexner Foundation. The Wexner Foundation's Fellowship Program funds outstanding rabbinical students and graduate students in Jewish education and Jewish communal service programs.
Inaugural Retreat for Schusterman Rabbinical Fellows Explores Unity of Purpose Across Denominational Lines
In August, eight rabbinical students selected from Hebrew Union College-Jewish HUC-JIR and The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) as the first Schusterman Rabbinical Fellows began to chart new territory. In the first interdenominational collaborative study program of its kind, these rabbinical students will be challenged to become transformational leaders who will take their insights and experience about leadership and community to profoundly impact the communities they serve. In particular, they will focus on the need for outreach to interfaith couples and families as well to Jews of all kinds who increasingly disengage from many aspects of Jewish life.
RHSOE Holds Inaugural Sara S. Lee Colloquium
This year's colloquium, Synagogue 101: Exploring the Forces Driving Congregational Life, featured guest scholar Amy Asin. The annual colloquium will provide Jewish educators, and students preparing to become Jewish educators, the opportunity to engage with a leading expert in Jewish education.
Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles Names Rabbi Sharon Brous Recipient of Inaugural Inspired Leadership Award
The Foundation announced it has selected HUC-JIR Faculty member Rabbi Sharon Brous as the recipient of its first Inspired Leadership Award. Read a recent Q&A with Rabbi Brous in The Forward (pdf).
Spotlight on HUC-JIR's Programs and
Research Resources
Jewish Rite No Longer is Solely in Men's Hands - The Chicago Tribune
Gerson, 60, a longtime pediatric surgeon and the wife of Rabbi Gary Gerson, is part of a new generation reshaping one of Judaism's oldest and most widely followed rituals. Some scholars even say brit milah is enjoying a renaissance in the Reform Movement. In the current issue of Reform Judaism magazine, Mark E. Washofsky, Professor of Jewish Law and Practice at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, wrote: "Circumcision serves as an indelible physical mark of Jewish peoplehood. . . . Of all the ritual practices by which we have historically made that declaration, none is more physical, more visceral or more tangible than brit milah." "I think liberal Jews are looking for something that maintains the tradition but understands today's world," said Rabbi Julie Pelc, Director of the Brit Milah Program of Reform Judaism.
ASSAF: Judaism, Health and Healing for Physicians, December 2008 through March 2009
The HUC-JIR Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health, in partnership with Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Los Angeles, is offering a program of Jewish study for Jewish physicians interested in learning directly related to Judaism and health.
HUC-JIR in the News
Bless This Hut: The Rise of the Prefab Sukkah - Rabbi David Ellenson in The New York Times
This pastoral history may be an important reason for Sukkot's recent American revival, said Rabbi David Ellenson, a historian of modern Jewish practice and President of HUC-JIR. "People live in an urban society where many Jews have a frenetic experience," he said. "Here you have an opportunity to tap into the agrarian roots of Jewish tradition."
Avraham Biran 1909-2008: Archeologist of Biblical Sites - The Chicago Tribune
Avraham Biran, an archeologist of biblical sites who excavated Tel Dan, an ancient city along Israel's northern border, and uncovered an unexpected stone fragment bearing what might be the earliest reference to the House of David, died Sept. 16 in Jerusalem. He was 98. See HUC-JIR coverage here and further New York Times coverage here.
To make a gift in Dr. Biran's memory, click here.
Why How Matters: Dov Seidman in The New York Times
Dov Seidman, member of the HUC-JIR President's Council, was featured in Thomas Friedman's column. Friedman writes, "And we will not get out of this without going back to some basics, which is why I find myself re-reading a valuable book that I wrote about once before, called, How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything in Business (and in Life). Its author, Dov Seidman, is the C.E.O. of LRN, which helps companies build ethical corporate cultures. Seidman basically argues that in our hyperconnected and transparent world, how you do things matters more than ever, because so many more people can now see how you do things, be affected by how you do things and tell others how you do things on the Internet anytime, for no cost and without restraint."
For Jewish Voters, the '08 Race Raises Interesting Challenges - JTA
Steven Windmueller, Ph.D., Dean of HUC-JIR/LA, writes, "With emergence of new threats to Israel, Judaism and the Jewish people, Jews are focusing on the presidency as an institution pivotal to their security."
The Fight for the Jewish Vote - Newsweek
Obama has been the subject of a malicious, and mendacious Internet smear campaign that has sought to stoke Jewish fears. All of this "created an air of uncertainty," says Steven Windmueller, Dean of HUC-JIR/LA. "It was that level of doubt that has weakened his base of support that would normally be for the Democratic ticket."
Vote, Schmote: Courting the Never-Elusive Jewish Vote - Philadelphia Weekly
In 2003, Steven Windmueller wrote, "Where once the Democratic Party could count on a 90 percent Jewish turnout for its candidates, these numbers are now generally 60-75 percent."
Film Portrays Obama as Friend to Israel - The Forward
"There are Jews of a certain age and perspective who have great difficulty dealing with an African-American at this level of authority," said political scientist Steven Windmueller. "That, too, is an element that has to be put in the mix."
Rabbis on Anti-Gay Marriage Prop 8 - The Jewish Journal
Reform rabbis and congregants constitute the most vigorous segment of the Jewish community in fighting Prop. 8, supported by the American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, and National Council of Jewish Women. Also heavily involved are such groups as the Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation (IJSO) at HUC-JIR. Psychologist Joel Kushner, Director of the IJSO, observed that opposition to Prop. 8 is in line with the "Jewish heritage of justice," while clearly not forcing any objecting rabbi to officiate at same-sex marriages.
Survey Numbers Show American Jews To Be Less Religious on Many Measures - The Forward
"In Jewish terms, Jews are very religious," said Steven M. Cohen, a Sociologist at HUC-JIR. Cohen assembled the new report along with Lauren Blitzer, with data from the Pew survey. "But it's not a matter of personal religious belief, it's a matter of group belonging, which includes secular reasons for belonging."
Leaders of Indie Prayer Groups Get Grants, Become Mainstream Darlings - The Forward
"The mainstream Jewish world around 1970 took umbrage at the havurah movement," said Steven M. Cohen, a Jewish demographer who co-authored the Synagogue 3000 study of emergent Jewish communities. "This movement has not evoked the type of resistance that the havurah movement did a generation ago."
Upcoming Events at HUC-JIR
Rabbi David Ellenson to Speak at Adath Israel Congregation in Cincinnati (pdf)
Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President of HUC-JIR, will speak at a Critical Issues Forum on "Religion and Politics: The Role of Religious Leaders," along with Xavier University President Father Michael Graham, SJ. Dr. Louis D. Bilionis, Dean of the University of Cincinnati Law School, will moderate the event.
Rabbi David Ellenson to Participate in Roundtable Discussion: "Three Movements - One Future: Challenges Facing American Jews" (pdf)
The panel will feature Rabbi Ellenson, President of HUC-JIR; Richard Joel, President of Yeshiva University; and Dr. Arnold Eisen, Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary.
Reception for To Speak Her Heart: Leslie Golomb and Barbara Broff Goldman at HUC-JIR Museum in NY October 29, 2008
The reception will feature a program and book signing with Dr. Wendy Zierler, Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Literature and Feminist Studies at HUC-JIR.
Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation's oldest institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and communal service professionals and offers graduate and post-graduate degree programs for scholars of all faiths. With campuses in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, New York, and Jerusalem, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise renowned library, archive, and museum collections, the American Jewish Archives, biblical archaeology excavations, research centers and institutes, and academic publications. HUC-JIR invites the community to an array of cultural and educational programs that illuminate Jewish history, culture, and contemporary creativity, and foster interfaith and multi-ethnic understanding. Visit us at

Search | Site Index | Contact Us

(c) 2008 Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion