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Best wishes for a Happy Hanukkah and 2009!
The next issue of HUCNews will be published January 8, 2009
News at HUC-JIR
"For the Sake of Heaven": Modern Orthodox Writings on Conversion - Rabbi David Ellenson in Sh'ma
HUC-JIR President Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., writes, "In a world where Jewish identity and status is frequently the object of debate, the range of opinions expressed by the Orthodox rabbinate on the issue of conversion has never been monolithic. Their diverse pronouncements and rulings demonstrate the range of lenient as well as stringent policy positions available to Jewish leaders as they struggle to grapple with the challenges the reality of intermarriage has presented to our community in modern settings."
Choosing an Ending to the Torah: Moses' Death, or Entrance into the Land of Israel - Rabbi Norman Cohen in Sh'ma
HUC-JIR Provost Rabbi Norman Cohen, Ph.D., writes, "The sojourn from Egypt to the Promised Land is both the main trope of Jewish life and the metaphor for our individual lives. The promise of the land of Israel to the Jewish people is the hallmark of God's covenant throughout the Bible. So why, then, does the Torah end with the death of Moses rather than the culmination of the Israelites' journey out of slavery and into the land? Furthermore, why leave the people at the end of Deuteronomy bereft of their leader Moses, fragile and lacking confidence as they prepare to enter Canaan to do battle with 'giants'?"
Online President's Forum for Alumni
For the first time, Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President of HUC-JIR, was able to spend time teaching and reflecting with alumni across the globe using cutting-edge technology. Linked together through the internet or telephone, more than 200 alumni joined Rabbi Ellenson for an online webinar.
Spotlight on HUC-JIR's Programs and
Research Resources
Jewish World Watch Discusses State of Humanity; Panel Explores Iranian Jewish Community - The Jewish Journal
Nearly 200 local Iranian Jews, academic scholars, and community leaders packed a Sinai Temple banquet hall on Nov. 17 to hear a panel of experts discuss the dynamic 30-year growth of Southern California's Iranian Jewry. The gathering at the Westwood synagogue was one of nearly a dozen during Integrating Sephardi and Mizrachi Studies: Research and Practice, a three-day academic conference that focused on the current state of Sephardic studies and was organized by HUC-JIR.
And Now - Women of the Book - Hadassah Magazine
Eve is no longer characterized as an "afterthought," second to be created and therefore "secondary in value," writes Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Project Editor and Professor of Bible at HUC-JIR/LA, in an introductory essay. Instead, a close reading depicts her "as a discerning, responsible person who, despite transgressions, maintains a creative partnership with both God and the first man. She is rightly recognized by her man as the source of life." In an e-mail, Eskenazi adds that Eve is the first theologian (quoting God in response to the serpent's questions) and the first historian (interpreting her family's experience in the names she gives her children).
Upcoming Events at HUC-JIR
Dr. Samuel Atlas Memorial Lecture
Rabbi Gordon Tucker, Senior Rabbi, Temple Israel Center, White Plains, NY, will deliver the 2009 Dr. Samuel Atlas Memorial Lecture at HUC-JIR/NY. Rabbi Tucker will speak on "Thoughts on Prophetic Halakhah" Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. The Dr. Samuel Atlas Memorial Lecture is made possible through the generosity of the Dr. Bernard Heller Foundation. We are grateful to the trustees of the Foundation, Mrs. Ruth O. Freelander, Mrs. Beatrice Weidman, and Carole L. Weidman, Esq.
HUC-JIR in the News
'Source Of Inspiration' - The Jewish Week
"Richard Scheuer's mission to advance liberal Judaism in a pluralistic, Jewish State of Israel – a mission grounded in his passion for biblical history and archaeological research and publication – shaped his vision for the expansion of our Jerusalem campus, the growth of our Israeli rabbinical and education programs, and the launching of the Tali school system for pluralistic education in Israel," said Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President. "His devotion to the College-Institute, commitment to the State of Israel, and love for the Jewish people as well as his intellectual curiosity, generous spirit and warm and kind heart will endure as an abiding source of inspiration."
First Son of a Woman Rabbi Ordained - The American Israelite
Daniel Meyer, the first son of a woman rabbi was ordained in Israel. His mother, Rabbi Margaret Meyer of Cincinnati, participated in the ordination. Meyer was one of six new Reform rabbis ordained in Israel this year by Rabbi David Ellenson, President of HUC-JIR.
New Reform Push for Rabbinic Funding - Haaretz
In a bid to revive its struggle for official recognition by the state of Israel, the Reform movement here has collected over 5,000 signatures on a recently launched petition. The petition, initiated by the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism and the Israel Religious Action Center, will be submitted to President Shimon Peres after it garners more than 10,000 names.
Biblical Sarah Scares the Men - Haaretz
Adler, 65, presents a subversive and sophisticated reading of Jewish texts. She goes beyond the original feminist reading, which focused on denouncing patriarchalism, and proposes new and surprising perspectives from which to understand them. Who is this woman who dared to enter the holy of holies of religious rulings and to make proposals that in Israel sound revolutionary? Adler is a Professor of Modern Jewish Thought and Feminist Studies at HUC-JIR/LA.
Harvey Milk, in Life and on Film, Typified the Proud Jew as Outsider - The Forward
Last month, Mark Leno became the first openly gay male member of the California State Senate. Leno, a member of Congregation Sha'ar Zahav – a San Francisco gay and lesbian synagogue – studied for two years at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Congregation Beth Adam: Progressive Judaism Coming to a Computer Near You - Soapbox Cincinnati
"Our religion is not a throwback to the past," says Rabbi Robert Barr, founder of Beth Adam. "A lot of people go, 'Wow! I've never heard a Rabbi say that.'" Drawing on almost 30 years of experience pushing boundaries, Beth Adam is now tapping into a cutting edge techno-religious trend. Earlier this year, Rabbi Laura Baum joined Beth Adam's staff to launch an online congregation, Our Jewish Community, as a compliment to its brick and mortar base.
High-Tech Hanukkah - The Forward
"We are a liberal congregation, and everything we do is Judaism from a humanist perspective," said Baum, who, like Barr, was ordained by HUC-JIR. "This is the way we live our Judaism, and it speaks to who we are as Jews."
Dallas Rabbi Emerges as Leader in Muslim-Jewish Dialogue - The Dallas Morning News
Rabbi Jeremy Schneider spends a lot of time talking to Muslims, and wants other Jews to do the same. He enrolled at HUC-JIR where he got involved in interfaith efforts and wrote a thesis titled "Jewish-Christian Relations: From Tolerance to Pluralism to Partnership." His thesis adviser was Rabbi Reuven Firestone, author of An Introduction to Islam for Jews and an advocate of Jews and Muslims learning from one another about their faiths.
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

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