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News at HUC-JIR
What's New at the Seminaries? - The Jewish Week
Students on the school's campuses on opposite coasts are now learning together in "E-classrooms," after an inaugural class in Bible this fall. The class was team-taught by Andrea Weiss in New York and Tamara Eskenazi in Los Angeles, co-editors of The Torah: A Women's Commentary, and comprised of fourth and fifth-year rabbinical students. "In any classroom, it's the dialogue that takes place outside the classroom that we want to capture and connect to," said Gregg Alpert, National Director of E-Learning at HUC-JIR. E-learning has applications beyond the classroom as well. Teachers with a certain expertise who are located on one campus are able to teach students at HUC-JIR's campuses in New York, Los Angeles, Cincinnati and Jerusalem through video conferencing, and HUC-JIR already holds extensive online seminars, or "webinars," for alumni. And Alpert believes that the options for E-learning, in the seminary and beyond, are endless. "While certain classes might take better advantage of this kind of technology and environment, I don't believe there's a class that can't use this effectively;' he said. "I honestly don't believe there's a limitation ... once teachers try to take their material and look at how it can be enhanced by the use of E-learning, then it opens new doors."
HUC-JIR Professor and Alumna Selected as Finalists for National Jewish Book Awards
My People's Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries, edited by HUC-JIR Professor Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman and David Arnow, was a finalist in the Modern Jewish Thought & Experience category. New Jewish Feminism, by Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, N '83, has been selected as a finalist of the 2008 National Jewish Book Awards in the category of Women's Studies. Both works were published by Jewish Lights.
Spotlight on HUC-JIR's Programs and
Research Resources
HUC-JIR Kalsman Institute's Midrash and Medicine Conference - Registration Open
The Midrash and Medicine conference will highlight leadership and innovation in the healthcare and Jewish healing fields. Presentations and interactive workshops will draw from scholars of midrash, health and spiritual care providers, and artists who are creatively engaged in the landscapes of illness, wholeness, and spirit.
Israeli Congregation Receives Torah Honoring Fallen Soldier - WUPJ
Kehilat Mevasseret Zion, an affiliate of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism in the Jerusalem suburb of Mevasseret Zion, dedicated a new Torah scroll during a ceremony at Kabbalat Shabbat services on January 2.
Rosalyn Engelmann - Dry Tears at National Arts Club - Art Daily
By using an arsenal of explicit, graphic and brutal imagery to capture the viewer's attention, she translates horrific behavior into a compelling art installation. As Laura Kruger, Curator of HUC-JIR Museum wrote to create such an epic work, "requires maturity, compassion and a lifetime commitment to creating fine art."
URJ Offers Tu BiSh'vat Resources
On Tu BiSh'vat, the 15th of Sh'vat or February 9, Jews around the world will celebrate the "Jewish New Year for Trees" by planting a tree and marking the emergence of spring. How can we help families who are unfamiliar with this wonderful, "green" holiday to celebrate Tu BiSh'vat in our community and in their homes?
URJ Social Action Update
The Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism features projects and events on their social action calendar.
HUC-JIR in the News
Cold Temps, Warm Spirits At Limmud NY - The Jewish Week
A central session was "Jewish Law: Its Process, Development and Current Dilemmas" with Rabbi David Ellenson, president of HUC-JIR; Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz, president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter of Yeshiva University, and, Rabbi David Hoffman of The Jewish Theological Seminary, standing in for Chancellor Arnie Eisen, moderated by Rabbi Leon Morris. In a room whose large windows opened onto a wondrous scene of snow-covered pine trees against the Catskill Mountains, they spoke carefully and with candor about their movement's positions, as well as their personal journeys and struggles.
The Power of Prayer - The Wall Street Journal
Rabbi Nelson Glueck, President of HUC-JIR, delivered the Benediction for John F. Kennedy at the 1961 inauguration. He said, "In profound humility, O God, we pray that Thy blessing may rest upon our President and all associated with him in our Government, which we the people have set in authority, upon everyone and everything dear and precious to him and us, and we repeat the ever-new words of the ancient prayer in Sacred Writ: May the Lord bless thee and keep thee, May the Lord cause his countenance to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee. May the Lord lift up His countenance unto thee and grant thee peace. [Before each sentence, Glueck delivered the words in Hebrew.]
Jews and the 2008 Election - Commentary
A study published at the beginning of November by Steven M. Cohen of HUC-JIR and Samuel J. Abrams of Harvard University entitled "The Diminished Place of Israel in the Political Thinking of Young Jews" burrows even more deeply into the phenomenon. "Among those 65 and over, 54 percent rate 'high' or 'very high' the Israel-Palestine conflict as a consideration in determining their vote for Obama or McCain," Cohen and Abrams write. "This figure comes in contrast with far lower levels among younger non-Orthodox Jews: 39 percent among those 35 to 54 [years old], and just 29 percent among those under 35."
Could Abraham Lincoln Have Been Jewish? - The Australian Jewish News
Dr. Zola, Executive Director of the Jacob Radar Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, at HUC-JIR, is currently working on a book about Lincoln and the Jews. He said, "Obviously there is no scientific way either to prove or disprove the assertion that Lincoln had some Jewish ancestors somewhere long the line. With that having been said this 'urban legend' is merely the continuation of a longstanding tradition that began literally days after Lincoln's assassination American Jews have doggedly tried to embrace Lincoln as if he was one of us." Isaac M. Wise famously declared that the president told him he thought he was descended from Jewish parentage.
The Holocaust-Era Yanov Torah Will Make a Stop in Temecula - The Press-Enterprise
HUC-JIR Rabbinical Student Greg Weisman will bring the Yanov Torah scroll from Los Angeles and read from it during a service at Congregation Havurim. The scroll, which contains the first five books of the Old Testament, was smuggled piece by piece into a Nazi labor camp by Jewish prisoners during World War II.
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.
Symposium Honors 40 Years of SJCS at HUC-JIR
The Changing Landscape of Jewish Professional Leadership: A Symposium in Honor of the 40th Anniversary of the School of Jewish Communal Service will be held Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at HUC-JIR/LA.
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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