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 Thanksgiving!
The next issue of HUCNews Digest will be published December 4, 2008
News at HUC-JIR
Academic Convocation at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem on November 14, 2008
Six Israeli Progressive rabbis were ordained at the academic convocation held on the Jerusalem campus of HUC-JIR. Each graduate of the inaugural cohort of eleven Mezorim (pastoral care givers) was presented with a certificate from this groundbreaking new program at HUC-JIR. Rabbi Rachel Cowan, Executive Director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, was presented with the President's Medallion for her significant work in the area of Jewish spirituality and her guidance of the Mezorim program at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem. Rabbi Gary Tishkoff, N '84, was presented with the Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, in recognition for his 25 years of distinguished service to the Jewish people. Dr. Michael Meyer, Ochs Professor of Jewish History at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, addressed the convocation. His full remarks are available at
Six New Israeli Rabbis Ordained by HUC-JIR/Jerusalem; Daniel Meyer is First Son of a Reform Woman Rabbi Ever to be Ordained
These six new rabbis are now among the 59 rabbinical pioneers working to create a contemporary Judaism that speaks to the values and lifestyle of modern Israelis. Through their efforts, the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) is gaining ground by attracting unaffiliated Israeli Jews to Jewish tradition and furthering a pluralistic approach to religious life in the Jewish State.
Inagural Cohort of 11 Mezorim (Pastoral Care Givers) Receive Certificates at Academic Convocation
HUC-JIR's groundbreaking Mezorim Program is creating the language and vocation for a new profession of chaplains to serve Israelis at times of illness, crisis, and joy. As these Mezorim serve in health care facilities, including hospitals, hospices, and rehabilitation centers, as well as in community educational settings, they are introducing the role of chaplain to Israeli society. The Mezorim Program is offered by HUC-JIR's Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling and is directed by Dr. Michael Muszkat-Barkan, Director of The Department of Education and Professional Development at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem.
Rabbi Rachel B. Cowan Awarded the President's Medallion at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
Ordained at HUC-JIR in New York in 1989, Rabbi Cowan was recognized for her groundbreaking contributions to Jewish spirituality and as a guide to the Mezorim Program at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, which is creating the language and vocation for a new profession of pastoral care-giving to serve Israelis at times of illness, crisis, and joy. "As an ardent advocate for spiritual practice in contemporary Jewish life, Rabbi Rachel Cowan is having a significant impact on the creativity and enrichment of worship, liturgy, and ritual throughout the Jewish community, its institutions and congregations," said Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President.
Richard J. Scheuer, z"l, Chairman Emeritus of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors, Honored with Study Program in Jerusalem
On Monday, November 17, the HUC-JIR academic community Jerusalem joined together in Jerusalem for a program of study in a tribute to Richard J. Scheuer, z"l. Speakers included Esther Herlitz, Richard Hirsch, Rachamim Goren, Uri Shetreet, David Harman, Naamah Kelman, Nilly Barelli, and Scheuer's daughter Marian Sofaer. A memorial tribute for Richard J. Scheuer, z"l, will take place at HUC-JIR/NY on Monday, December 15, 2008, at noon.
Spotlight on HUC-JIR's Programs and
Research Resources
HUC-JIR's David Ilan and Tel Dan are featured in The Bible's Buried Secrets on PBS's NOVA
Dr. Ilan says, "this two-hour program deals with the historicity of the Bible. Archaeology is now one of the most important tools for the investigation of Biblical history and the filmmakers interviewed archaeologists extensively, together with Biblical scholars. They also visited and filmed at many archaeological sites; Tel Dan plays a starring role.
Who Are the Real Chosen People? The Meaning of Chosenness in Judaism, Christianity and Islam by HUC-JIR Professor Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D.
In this examination of the religious phenomenon of chosenness, Reuven Firestone explores the idea of covenant, and the expressions of supersessionism as articulated through the scriptures of the three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He explores how and why the ongoing competition and friction between these religions came about, and offers thoughts about how to overcome it.
Righteous Gentiles in the Hebrew Bible: Ancient Role Models for Sacred Relationships by Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, Published by Jewish Lights
Noted author and educator Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin, N '81, provides an informative and inspiring look at the sympathetic non-Israelite characters of the Hebrew Bible and the redemptive relationships they had with the Jewish people.
HUC-JIR in the News
American Jewry's Challenge - The Jerusalem Post
Coverage of Rabbi Ellenson's participation in the United Jewish Communities General Assembly in Jerusalem, discussing conversion complexity.
Seminary Heads Join Rare Event - The Forward
"Sometimes, Rabbi Ellenson, Dr. Eisen and Richard Joel just being together is a statement," Joel said. "It's our way of saying, 'Yes we can.'" Ellenson praised the Conservative and Orthodox movements for their ability to inculcate a commitment to serious Jewish life. Eisen praised the Reform movement for its commitment to social justice.
Visions of the Holocaust, and of an Artist's Joys - The New York Times
The woman was the mezzo-soprano Regina Resnik, and she passed canvases in a new exhibition at HUC-JIR in Greenwich Village. The exhibition brings together brightly colored landscapes, portraits and stage designs with works for which, toward the end of his life, Blatas was perhaps better known: bronze bas-reliefs that he cast in the late 1970s and 1980s as memorials to the Holocaust.
Bridging the Muslim-Jewish Divide - JTA
The center is the first of its kind and was established through an agreement signed by the University of Southern California's Center for Religion and Civic Culture, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the education-oriented Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation. The three partners, all in the same Los Angeles neighborhood, had been working together for some time and decided to formalize their collaboration, said Reuven Firestone, a Professor of Medieval Jewish and Islamic Studies at HUC-JIR.
Xavier, Hebrew Union to Collaborate on Academics - Cincinnati Business News
HUC-JIR and Xavier University have formed an academic collaborative to offer classes on each other's campuses, the two Cincinnati schools said Tuesday. The collaborative was spearheaded by Rabbi David Ellenson, president of the Jewish rabbinical seminary, and the Rev. Michael Graham, president of the Jesuit-run university, according to a news release. A $750,000 grant from the Macy's Foundation is helping to fund the initiative.
Black, Jewish Vote for Obama May Signal a Renewed Tie - The Forward
"Liberalism is not of one piece," said Steven M. Cohen, a Sociologist of American Jewry at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. "Blacks are far more liberal in economic matters than are Jews. Jews are far more liberal on social issues."
Israeli Congregational Rabbi Seeks Further Support for State Recognition - WUPJ
Rabbi Miri Gold, spiritual leader of Congregation Birkat Shalom at Kibbutz Gezer, half-way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, has issued an appeal for additional signatures to a petition urging the state to recognize her and pay her salary. A graduate of HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, Gold is one of 17 rabbis serving communities in the Gezer Regional Council; the rest, all Orthodox males, are state employees and receive state salaries.
Strength in Unity - Reform Judaism Magazine
The celebrations began in Jerusalem on the sparkling campus of HUC-JIR, moved to the base of Masada for a concert with Dan Nichols, and concluded with a sunrise worship service at its summit.
Study Finds More Conservative, Orthodox Jews Drawn to Prayer Groups - Beliefnet
"There are only a small number of total newcomers to Jewish life as of yet," said Steven M. Cohen, a Jewish Social Policy Professor at HUC-JIR, who presented the study at the Independent Minyan Conference at Brandeis University
Rabbinic Drawing in Space Ben Schachter: Eruv Maps - The Jewish Press
The fascinating "Eruv Maps" by Ben Schachter is currently part of the "Envisioning Maps" exhibition at the HUC-JIR Museum.
Look Up to See Angels - The Jewish Journal
HUC-JIR Faculty Member Rabbi Anne Brener writes, "We train caregivers and community advocates to recognize the commonality of human experience by asking them to look into the eyes of others in the room and see not just the superficial things that differentiate us and may cause us to have pity on challenged individuals but the spark of God that we all share. Then, we instruct them to ask each other, "What is it that keeps you up at night?" This invitation to share deepest concerns helps to identify situations and issues that need our attention."
Upcoming Events at HUC-JIR
26th Annual HUC-JIR Cincinnati Associates Tribute Dinner to Honor Kevin T. Kabat
The dinner, on Sunday, November 23, 2008, will honor Kevin T. Kabat, President, CEO, and Chairman of Fifth Third Bancorp, for his civic and philanthropic leadership and achievement. The Associates of HUC-JIR are men and women whose commitment and annual support augment the College-Institute's educational and scholarly programs.
HUC-JIR/NY Soup Kitchen Serves Community for 20 Years
The HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen Beit Cafe, marking the soup kitchen's 20th anniversary, will take place on December 11, 2008. The Soup Kitchen was created in 1988 in response to HUC-JIR students' desire to help the community that surrounded them.
Rabbi Donniel Hartman to Present Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture: 'The New Narratives of Modern Israel' at HUC-JIR/NY
Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, Co-Director of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, will present the 2008-2009 Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture on Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 6:30 p.m.
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