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Wishing you a New Year blessed with health, fulfillment, hope and peace!
The next Digest will appear on October 16
News at HUC-JIR
God's Gift, Our Responsibility - Rabbi David Ellenson in the Jerusalem Report
"We need to acknowledge our human dependency on the Divine. At the same time, there is the equally crucial need to recognize that God demands we assume responsibility. Hence we must appreciate the challenges of the Days of Awe. Both poles are required for us to realize our destiny as human beings."
Rabbi David Ellenson is Featured in New Book: Hope Not Fear: A Path to Jewish Renaissance, by Edgar M. Bronfman
Edgar M. Bronfman, a distinguished Jewish leader and philanthropist, argues for openness and joy to reinvigorate Judaism in America, in his new book Hope Not Fear: A Path to Jewish Renaissance (St. Martin's Press). In his book, Bronfman notes that Rabbi David Ellenson "is an extraordinary man and a Jew of the future. In the North American Jewish community, we need to cultivate both respect for Jewish tradition and openness to the needs of our diverse Jewish population, and Ellenson is a leader who richly possesses both. As a person and as a Jewish leader, he is the epitome of welcoming, a man who is wide open to the Biblical rule of loving the stranger."
Rabbi Ellenson Speaks on "Shaking the Conscience of American Jewry: The Rabbinical Students who Challenged Jewish Leaders to Push Forcefully for Holocaust Rescue" at Fordham University School of Law
Rabbi Ellenson spoke about the role of rabbinical students at the Jewish Theological Seminary and their impact on the Synagogue Council of America, the national umbrella group of Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform synagogues. In early 1943, the Synagogue Council announced the establishment of an emergency committee of Christian and Jewish leaders to raise awareness of Nazi genocide and, following a suggestion of the students, a nationwide publicity campaign and memorial protests were held.
World Union Honors Rabbi Posner and Women of Reform Judaism
Rabbi David M. Posner, Senior Rabbi of Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York and Board of Governors member at HUC-JIR, and Women of Reform Judaism, HUC-JIR's longest cumulative donor, received the World Union for Progressive Judaism's highest honor - the International Humanitarian Award - at a black-tie gala dinner on Sunday, September 14th at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. HUC-JIR President, Rabbi David Ellenson presented the World Union's International Humanitarian Award to Rabbi Posner.
Government Provides Building to Fourth Israeli Congregation
Congregation Sulam Ya'akov, the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism affiliate in Zichron Ya'akov, recently took delivery of a state-supplied building for use as a synagogue and community center. It was the fourth of four pre-fabricated structures the state has provided to the Progressive Movement - congregations in Modi'in, Kiryat Tivon and Tzur Hadassah already took delivery.
Howard Gellis Inducted onto New York Board of Overseers at HUC-JIR
Rabbi Shirley Idelson, Dean of HUC-JIR/NY, said, "Howard Gellis's expertise in both the business and Jewish communal world will be a source of invaluable assistance as we strive to strengthen our academic programs, faculty, and resources on our campus."
Marissa Hollander Inducted onto New York Board of Overseers at HUC-JIR
"We look forward to Marissa Hollander's wise counsel, in advancing HUC-JIR's missions as the academic, spiritual, and professional development center for Reform Judaism," said Rabbi Idelson.
Linda K. Levi Inducted onto New York Board of Overseers at HUC-JIR
Rabbi Idelson said, "Linda Levi's profound understanding of the needs of Reform congregations and of the larger Jewish community will be of great assistance to our campus, as we seek to train the leaders of Reform Judaism and klal Yisrael."
Eating Justly
Those who keep kosher, including the growing number of Reform Jews who are embracing the observance of kashrut, should not be forced to choose between their ritual observance and their ethical values, states the resolution adopted by the Union for Reform Judaism this week. It calls for the fair treatment of workers and encourages all Reform Jews to follow the guidelines of the new Hekhsher Tzedek Commission.
WRJ Debuts Online Study Guide for The Torah: A Women's Commentary
Each month, one parashat will be presented for study. Commentary Editors and HUC-JIR faculty members Dr. Tamara Eskenazi and Dr. Rabbi Andrea Weiss have provided a study program to accompany the historic work.
HUC-JIR in the News
2008 Book Fair - Dayton Jewish Observer
Dr. Michael Cook, Professor of Intertestamental and Early Christian Literatures, and Professor of Judaeo-Christian studies at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, will discuss his latest book, Modern Jews Engage in the New Testament: Enhancing Jewish Well-Being in a Christian Environment, on Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 7:00 p.m.
Cantor-in-Training Welcomed to Temple Beth Jacob - The Times Herald Record
Temple Beth Jacob in Newburgh has welcomed Cheryl Wunch who recently joined the congregation as part of her training to become an invested cantor. Wunch is currently beginning her third year in the School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR/NY.
Jews Prepare for Holiest Days - The Herald-Tribune
Cantor Harold Orbach will lead services for the congregation that has recently grown from 250 to 290 member households. The graduate of HUC-JIR who has a doctorate in sacred music recently retired to Parrish. His 40-year-plus career at a synagogue near Detroit encompassed a performance at the Bicentennial celebration in Philadelphia in 1976.
Rabbi Friedman Takes the Helm at West Boca's Shaarei Kodesh - The Sun Sentinal
Recently inducted as the first full-time rabbi at West Boca Raton's conservative Congregation Shaarei Kodesh, Rabbi Jordan Friedman brings a diversified background to his new position. Friedman, 38, was ordained at HUC-JIR and says, "The business world was just not challenging me intellectually or spiritually, but when I began studying Judaism everything changed," said Friedman, a native of Colorado.
HRC to Host Faith and Fairness Townhall - Out
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, will host a town hall meeting in Rochester, MN to empower people of faith to take action on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality. Panelists include Rabbi Michelle Werner was ordained at the HUC-JIR/Cincinnati in 2006. She is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the international movement of Reform Judaism.
Upcoming Events at HUC-JIR
On Exhibit at the Frances-Henry Library at HUC-JIR/LA: "Gershom Scholem and the Messianic Idea in Judaism"
Gerhard (Gershom) Scholem (1897-1982) was the preeminent modern scholar of Jewish mysticism. Martin Buber once remarked, "all of us have students, schools, but only Gershom Scholem has created a whole academic discipline!" Scholem's bibliography of works, his biography, and more information are available at the library.
Spotlight on HUC-JIR's Programs and
Research Resources
Pre-doctoral M.A. in Jewish Studies to Commence in 2009; Accepting Applicants
HUC-JIR's new Pre-doctoral M.A. Program in Jewish Studies, commencing in 2009-2010, is designed to train a select cadre of students who aspire to become productive scholars in Jewish Studies. Inspired by the College-Institute's dedication to developing future intellectual leadership for the American and international Jewish community, this program is grounded in cultivating knowledge of classical Jewish texts, history, culture, and tradition.
Training Future Rabbis, Cantors and Educators to be Mavens at HUC-JIR - Storahtelling
Storahtelling leaders worked with the rabbinical, cantorial, and education students at HUC-JIR on a challenging Maven Torah Reading Ritual where students explored issues of inclusivity in Judaism and the boundaries the text puts in front of the community. With the unprecedented invitation from all three professional schools, Storahtelling staff presented a Maven "Demo" as a kick off for a new partnership between Storahtelling and HUC-JIR. Cantor Bruce Ruben, Director of the School of Sacred Music, Jo Kay Director of the New York School of Education, and Rabbi Renni Altman, Associate Dean and Director of the Rabbinical School, met several months ago to begin planning for this event. All were in attendance along with HUC-JIR/NY Dean Shirley Idelson to participate in the event alongside their students.
The Art of Yiddish Song on CD
Cantor Robert Abelson, N '57, and Joyce Rosenzweig have released A Leyter tsum Himl, A Ladder to Heaven: The Art of Yiddish Song on CD. They are available through the HUC-JIR bookstore - contact Jocelyn Nixon at
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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