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HUCNews Digest will be published monthly through August 2008.
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News at HUC-JIR
HUC-JIR Burton Lehman Faculty Retreat Held June 16-18, 2008
The entire HUC-JIR faculty convened 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.
Rabbi Dr. A. Stanley Dreyfus, Distinguished Leader of Reform Rabbinate and Beloved Professor at HUC-JIR Died on July 8, 2008
"Our community mourns the loss of a beloved colleague and friend, Dr. A. Stanley Dreyfus, whose consummate leadership, professional skill, scholarly wisdom, and compassionate concern reflected the highest teachings of our faith and our people," said Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President. "Dr. Dreyfus leaves a living legacy in the hearts of the thousands of students he mentored and taught. His gifts of intellectual strength and human warmth endure as a source of inspiration." Read the JTA coverage here.
650 Reform Movement Teens Celebrate Israel at 60, NFTY in Israel at 50, and ARZA at 30 at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
Over 650 North American teens participating in the NFTY 2008 Summer in Israel Program convened on the Jerusalem campus of HUC-JIR on Thursday, July 10 to celebrate milestone anniversaries. The youths, who come from throughout the U.S. and Canada, participated in a program featured a dinner and gala show featuring renowned Israeli musician Danny Nichols. Rabbi David Ellenson, President of HUC-JIR, made a special presentation to the group.
News from Abraham Geiger College: Fellowship Awarded to Dr. Reuven Firestone; Academic Excellence Prize Goes to Abraham Geiger College student; Dr. Dalia Marx in Germany; UJA Grant
Dr. Firestone is at Abraham Geiger College/Potsdam University as the 2008 Abraham Geiger Fellowship recipient. He will speak with the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany later this month.
Our Voices, Our Selves: Women Reclaiming Jewish Canonical Texts
Dr. Dalia Marx, Visiting Professor at the Abraham Geiger College/University of Potsdam and Professor for Liturgy and Midrash at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, led a panel discussion July 9th in Berlin, with Rabbi Ruth H. Sohn and Dr. Dvora Weisberg.
Rabbi Julie Pelc Succeeds Rabbi Donielle Aaron as Director of Berit Mila Program of Reform Judaism and the National Organization of American Mohalim
Rabbi Julie Pelc has been appointed as the new Director of the Berit Mila Program and NOAM. Rabbi Pelc originally is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, received master's degrees from the University of Judaism and from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and was ordained as a rabbi by HUC-JIR in Los Angeles in 2006. As a graduate student, she was the recipient of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship.
HUC-JIR Faculty Conducting Survey of Hebrew and Yiddish Influence in the United States
Yiddish. Ladino. Judeo-Arabic. Jews throughout history have spoken distinctively Jewish languages. What about American Jews? Two researchers from HUC-JIR, Linguist Sarah Bunin Benor and Sociologist Steven M. Cohen, are conducting a large-scale survey of Jews and non-Jews in the United States to determine just who uses Hebrew and Yiddish words and other distinctive language.

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Upcoming Events at HUC-JIR
Composer Ben Steinberg to Present Work at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
As part of the Union for Reform Judaism's Mifgash Musicale, composer Ben Steinberg will be conducting a performance of his work The Three Festivals on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 7:30 PM in the S.H. and Helen R. Scheuer Chapel at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati.
2008-2009 HUC-JIR Recruitment Programs in Israel
HUC-JIR faculty and staff will meet with students studying in Israel to introduce them to HUC-JIR's graduate programs through Shabbat and holiday dinners, programs at Hebrew University, and events at HUC-JIR's Jerusalem campus, in partnership with the Saltz Education Center and Kesher-URJ for 'Reform Judaism on Campus' in Israel.
Integrating Sephardi and Mizrachi Studies: Research and Practice Conference November 16-18, 2008 in Los Angeles
The conference will review the current state of Sephardic Studies, provide research from scholars, and offer models of integration for teachers.
Spotlight on HUC-JIR's Programs and
Research Resources
Day of Study at the Jerusalem Campus for Alumni and Friends of HUC-JIR
Alumni and supporters of HUC-JIR joined students and faculty on the Jerusalem campus for "Something Old, Something New: Attitudes to Antiquity in Judaism and in Modern Israel," a day of study on July 11, 2008. It included study sessions with faculty, a lunch-and-learn with Rabbi Naamah Kelman, and Kabbalat Shabbat Services and Dinner with Rabbi David Ellenson, President of HUC-JIR, and Rabbi Michael Marmur, Dean of HUC-JIR/Jerusalem.
Summer "Minimester" on Eco-Judaism at HUC-JIR/NY
Rabbi Arthur Waskow taught Eco-Judaism to HUC-JIR rabbinical students at the New York campus. The final assignment for this intensive course, taught over four weeks in May and June, was for students to take a festival and shape a celebration in an earth-conscious way. The curricula students created are available online at Shavuot and Sukkot.
HUC-JIR Recruitment and Admissions Directors Travel to URJ Camps for Summer 2008
Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, and Regional Directors of Admissions and Recruitment Deborah Shapiro Abelson, Rabbi Faith Joy Dantowitz, and Rabbi Shena Potter Jaffee are spending their summers traveling to URJ camps across America to introduce campers to HUC-JIR and to serve as camp faculty. Rabbi Ken Kanter, Director of the School of Rabbinical Studies in Cincinnati, and Madelyn Katz, Director of Student Life in Los Angeles, are also serving at the Reform Movement camps.
HUC-JIR in the News
Reform, Conservative Seminaries in Historic Partnership to Train Clergy in JTA
The largest Conservative and Reform seminaries are partnering in a rabbinic training program that officials from both schools say is the first to provide joint instruction to future clergy from different movements.
Fellowship for Rabbinical Students Targets US Jewry's Challenges - The Jerusalem Post
Through semi-annual retreats, monthly conference calls or "Webinars" and informal exchanges, Schusterman Rabbinic Fellows - four from the Conservative Movement's Jewish Theological Seminary and four from the Reform Movement's HUC-JIR - will develop strategies for appealing to marginalized Jews, including those in interfaith relationships and those unaffiliated with any Jewish congregation.
Jewish-Latino Interactions in the United States: Interview with Steven Windmueller
Key to improving Jewish-Latino intercommunal relations is shared values. Both have a great love for family and are strongly committed to their children's education. Yet another issue that has common aspects concerns diaspora relations. Jews are to a certain extent allies of the Latino community in being positively disposed to immigration even if positions on this issue are not identical.
For Some Jews, It Only Sounds Like 'Taboo' - The New York Times
"A lot of Jews of my generation are confused about tattoos," said Rabbi Mark Washofsky, 55. "We don't think it's a very 'Jewish' thing to do, but we're not really sure why. Many of us are baby boomers who remember being condemned for our modes of dress and expression." He added: "We swore we'd never do this to our kids. Now we are." Jewish law on tattooing is slippery. Leviticus 19:28 states, "You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead nor incise any marks on yourself: I am the Lord." For Rabbi Washofsky, it's unclear whether the passage strictly outlaws tattoos that refer to a god, or whether it generally condemns any personal adornment.
Dr. Steven M. Cohen and Dr. Ari Y. Kelman's "Uncoupled: How Our Singles are Reshaping Jewish Engagement"
Jewish Community Centers Open Their Doors to Wider Audiences - The Forward
JCCs and their precursors brought together a number of disparate demands on the part of American Jews, said David Kaufman, a Professor of Contemporary American Jewish Studies at HUC-JIR. According to Kaufman, who wrote "Shul With a Pool," a history of JCCs and synagogue-centers in America, JCCs provided Jews with a secular place to gather with other Jews, a place that could Americanize new immigrants.
A Strong Voice Quietly Changing the Cantorate - The Forward
In 1977, Cantor Faith Steinsnyder's family's cantor in Philadelphia, urged her to enter HUC-JIR, where women were finally being accepted as student cantors. She has taught at HUC-JIR and both Moment and Jewish Woman magazine named her among the "Top Ten Jewish Female Vocalists" in America. But she is also a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall.
Researchers Discuss Ways to Improve Jewish Education - Cleveland Jewish News
"There is a lot we need to know about Jewish education," agrees Michael Zeldin of HUC-JIR and Editor of the Journal of Jewish Education, "but information isn't knowledge." Although institutions and foundations need to know what is and is not working in Jewish education, research results may not be effective at informing policy.
News from the World Union for Progressive Judaism
  • Second IMPJ Congregation Dedicates State-Funded Building
  • Rabbinic Couple on Sabbatical Strengthens Progressive Judaism in Chile
  • Condolences to the Family of Patricia W. Tanenbaum
Woman with a Skullcap - The Hindu Business Line
In Israel the Reform Movement was born in the 1970s. "...there wasn't a movement to speak of... Only in 1986 did we have a real budget," Rabbi Naamah Kelman explains. "Then I was the first woman to apply." And in 1992 she became the first woman rabbi ordained by Jerusalem's HUC-JIR, where she now directs the Year in Israel Program.
HUC-JIR Students' Achievements
HUC-JIR Alumni in the News
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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