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News at HUC-JIR
HUC-JIR Burton Lehman Faculty Retreat - June 16-18, 2008
The entire HUC-JIR faculty will convene for the Burton Lehman Faculty Retreat, endowed in honor of the past Chair of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors, in Lisle, IL, from June 16 to 18, 2008. The biennial Retreat will bring together faculty from HUC-JIR's Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York campuses. It will offer the faculty an unparalleled opportunity to study and worship together, address emerging trends in Jewish studies, confront current issues in American Jewish life, collaborate in shared teaching areas, hone pedagogical skills, and further strengthen the process of student assessment.
Consul General of Israel Joins HUC-JIR Community for Program and Reception Celebrating Israel's 60th and Tom Heyman's Photography Exhibition at HUC-JIR Museum
Three hundred people attended the special viewing of 10.6.73 - The Yom Kippur War: Photographs by Tom Heyman, presented in celebration of Israel's 60th anniversary. The reception was followed by a program featuring the Consul General of Israel, Asaf Shariv.
Dr. Lisa Grant Granted Tenure as Associate Professor of Jewish Education at HUC-JIR
Rabbi Ellenson said, "Dr. Grant's scholarly work and her teaching have had an important impact upon the field of Jewish Education and upon our community of faculty and students. She has contributed new understanding through her research into Israel education, teaching the Bible, Reform Jewish identity, and adult learning. As a teacher and mentor, she contributes to the New York campus as a vital learning community."
Dr. Dvora Weisberg Granted Tenure as Associate Professor of Rabbinic Literature at HUC-JIR
In announcing the promotion, Rabbi Ellenson said, "Dr. Weisberg is recognized for her excellence in scholarship, teaching, institutional planning, faculty collegiality, and mentorship of students. She has contributed new understanding through her research into gender issues in rabbinic texts, and has helped transform our Los Angeles campus to an ever more congenial learning community."
Dr. Yossi Leshem Promoted to Adjunct Associate Professor of Bible at HUC-JIR
Dr. Leshem has taught Biblical Hebrew at HUC-JIR's Jerusalem School since 1979, was appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor of Bible in November 2003, and has served the College-Institute in numerous programmatic capacities.
Dr. Dalia Marx Appointed Assistant Professor of Liturgy and Midrash at HUC-JIR
Dr. Marx received her Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where her doctoral dissertation on "The Early Morning Ritual in Jewish Liturgy: Textual, Historical, and Theological Discussion in Birkhot Hashakhar (The Morning Blessings) and an Examination of Their Performative Aspects," further developed her M.A. thesis on the development of Jewish morning prayers up to the 13th century, examining the literary, typologic, and halakhic aspects of this liturgical rubric. She received the M.A.H.L. and rabbinical ordination at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati in 2003.
Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., Appointed Assistant Professor of Rabbinic Literature
Rabbi Panken also serves HUC-JIR in an administrative capacity as Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, and previously served as Dean of HUC-JIR's New York campus, Director of the Rabbinical Program, and Dean of Students. Rabbi Panken's ongoing research interests include the change and growth of nascent Jewish law during the Rabbinic Period (70-600 CE), the application of Rabbinic texts to modern reality, and the intersection between science and religion.
Dr. Joshua Garroway Appointed Assistant Professor of Early Christianity and Second Commonwealth at HUC-JIR
An alumnus of HUC-JIR, where he was ordained in Cincinnati in 2003 and received the M.A. in Hebrew Letters in 2002, Dr. Garroway received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies at Yale University in 2008 and A.B. in Religion at Duke University in 1997. His Ph.D. dissertation was titled "Neither Jew nor Gentile, but Both: Paul's 'Christians' as Gentile-Jews."
Dr. Leah Hochman Appointed Assistant Professor of Modern Jewish Thought at HUC-JIR
Dr. Hochman received the M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion and Literature from Boston University, where her dissertation explored "Sign, Art, and Ritual: Moses Mendelssohn on Language and Religion." She received the B.A. with honors from Pitzer College and studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem's Rothberg School for Overseas Students.
Blumberg Family Jewish Community Services of Dothan in Alabama Announces Grants
The Blumberg Family Jewish Community Services of Dothan in Alabama announced grants of up to $50,000 per family to relocate to Dothan and join the established Jewish community there. The Blumberg Family Jewish Community Services' key objective is to move at least 20 Jewish families to the area, with a potential investment of $1 million, over the five year period of 2008-2012. The foundation hopes to reinvigorate the area's Jewish community and Temple Emanu-El of Dothan. Rabbi Lynne Downey Goldsmith, C '07, leads the congregation there. For more information, visit
Upcoming Events at HUC-JIR
Rabbi Ellenson to Teach at Hartman Institute in Jerusalem June 25-July 2, 2008 (PDF)
Rabbi Ellenson will deliver a lecture, "Visions of a New American Judaism and its Relationship to Israel;" lead a study session, "The Narratives of Contemporary North American Jewry;" and participate in a panel, "Conversion Controversies: Identity, Boundaries and the Future of the Jewish People."
Upcoming HUC-JIR Faculty Lectures
Dr. Steven Windmueller will address a 30-person rabbinical delegation visiting Los Angeles from the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, Florida on Thursday June 12t
Dr. David Kaufman and Dr. Windmueller will be speaking at the American Jewish Committee's 5th Annual Consular Corps Tour on Friday, June 13th 2008.
Dr. Windmueller will speak at a major gifts luncheon for the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging at Hillcrest Country Club on the 2008 Elections, Tuesday, June 24th, 2008.
HUC-JIR in the News
Act of Conversion as Old as Judaism Itself - The Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh
"Let us be absolutely clear: We are all for conversion and welcome anyone who wants to join us," wrote Rabbis David Ellenson and Kerry Olitizky, in a 2006 Forward column. "But if we are serious about a conversion strategy, then perhaps we should lower the barriers that currently exist for those who would be motivated to join our community. We can begin by offering all requirements for conversion free of charge, including instruction, books and materials, the process of circumcision and use of ritual baths. Second, we can make sure that courses are offered frequently and at schedules that are convenient to potential converts.
State Accredits Jewish Teacher Training - Jewish Journal
After six years of training soon-to-be-teachers, HUC-JIR/LA has earned the ability to grant state teaching credentials. This is the first time any Jewish institution in California has been authorized to give state accreditation, said Michael Zeldin, Director of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education. "We want to create a new kind of teacher who will be mindful of general and Judaic studies, who can incorporate and infuse all subjects of teaching. It takes a unique teacher to help students explore their Jewish self-identity, and it doesn't matter if he or she is a math, science or language teacher - it's all integrated," said Rivka Ben-Daniel, the program's Education Director.
Mayor Villaraigosa Heads to Israel - Fox
"There is a 'certain expectation' that candidates must make at least a symbolic visit to Israel if they hope to have a connection to a broad segment of the Jewish community and understand the issues they hold dear," Steven Windmueller, Dean of HUC-JIR/LA, told the Los Angeles Times.
Charter School Effort Opens Rift on Civic Values - The Forward
"Jews had a strong need to integrate into America and a strong interest in a tolerant, unbiased America," said Steven M. Cohen, a Professor of Sociology at HUC-JIR. "The public schools were seen as vehicles to do both - to make Jews American, and to make America a tolerant place."
The Ties That Fray? - The Jewish Week
Professor Steven Cohen of HUC-JIR, a sociologist of American Jewry, presented the bleak data from his recent study, "Beyond Distancing": only 60 percent of Jews under 35 believed that caring about Israel was a key tenet of Judaism. The study showed that with each generation Jews feel less attached to the Holy Land: young adults now care less than their parents, who in turn care less than their parents.
Connecticut Alumni Transitions Featured - The Jewish Ledger
Rabbi Howard F. Sommer, after 26 years at Beth Tikvah, is leaving for an opportunity to be Director of Rabbinic Placement for the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
Rabbi Richard S. Chapin, is leaving Greenwich after eight years to take the pulpit at Temple Israel in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Alan Ronkin to Receive Warren Kohn Award - The Jewish Advocate
Ronkin earned a master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California, as well as a master's degree in Jewish Communal Service from HUC-JIR/LA.
Point Foundation Announces 2008 Scholar Class
Rachel Timoner, from Miami, FL, has recently received a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters and is now pursuing ordination at HUC-JIR/LA.
Rosalyn Engelman at HUC-JIR/NY Museum - New York Social Diary
Engelman's exhibition at the HUC-JIR/NY Museum, 1 West 4th Street, runs through July 11. Called "Dry Tears," this installation was inspired by the suffering of those who endure cruelty and deprivation around the world. It deals with the most vulnerable victims of violence and violation - women and children. The artist used life-sized representational materials, which resonate universal concerns in dramatic fashion. Metal, plastic and paint combine in expressive outrage against war, hardship, and resulting barbarism.
Spotlight on HUC-JIR's Programs and
Research Resources
"Ten Great Texts" Distance Learning Program for HUC-JIR Alumni Concludes with "Conversion and Community" with Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President of HUC-JIR
The program will be held from June 23 through July 18, 2008, and is available to all HUC-JIR alumni. For more information and registration, visit
Dr. Alfred Gottschalk Featured in University of Cincinnati Video
The University of Cincinnati has produced a video "Preserving Memory, Creating Conscience: An Interfaith Journey of Renewal," featuring Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk, Ph.D., Chancellor Emeritus of HUC-JIR. The video features Rabbi Gottschalk's September, 2006, trip to Germany, also reported on in Journeys of Remembrance and Renewal: Dr. Alfred Gottschalk Commemorates the Past and Educates for the Future in Germany and China (PDF).
HUC-JIR Sephardic Conference Announced for November 2008
'Integrating Sephardi and Mizrachi Studies: Research and Practice' will be held in Los Angeles on November 16-18, 2008. This conference will review the current state of Sephardic Studies and provide research from scholars and offer models of integration for teachers. Public programs will feature scholars and members of the Los Angeles Jewish community.
Rabbi Ana Bonnheim, C '08, Writes "Find a Teacher, Acquire a Friend"
Rabbi Bonnheim writes, "How can I be open, straightforward, and thoughtful when I offer my experiences and my questions to my mentor? How can my mentor respond with insight, honestly, and nuance, in offering guidance, the reflections of personal experience, probing questions, or a quiet listening ear?"
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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