Click here if you have trouble reading the content below
HUCNews is a weekly e-newsletter produced by HUC-JIR's National Public Affairs Office.

Contact the National Public Affairs Office.
Subscribe to receive the weekly e-newsletter.

How to Support HUC-JIR
News at HUC-JIR
Five New Members Inducted onto Board of Governors
Melvin Merians, z"l
Mel Merians served as chairman of the Union for Reform Judaism, chairman of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, chairman of the Neuberger Museum of Art, and member of the Board of Governors of HUC-JIR. He was an activist leader of Reform Jewish Outreach. In addition to these interests, he was an extraordinary businessman, ardent sailor and art collector, but his devotion to family exceeded everything else.
Helen Lieberman, Founder and Honorary President of Ikamva Labantu - Future of Our Nation - South Africa's Largest Community-based NGO Facilitating Positive Social Change Awarded Joseph Prize
HUC-JIR bestowed the 2009 Roger E. Joseph Prize upon Helen Lieberman, Founder and Honorary President of Ikamva Labantu - Future of Our Nation, in recognition of her exemplary work in providing programs and hope for the future for youth, the homeless, blind, aged, and disabled in South Africa. With more than 1,000 current projects assisting more than 70,000 people of all ages, including 45,000 children, Ikamva Labantu is the largest community-based, non-profit, non-governmental organization of its kind in South Africa. The presentation was made at Ordination and Investiture Ceremonies at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York on May 3, 2009 at 9 a.m.
NY Ordination/Investiture Address by Rabbi Norman J. Cohen, Provost
This is a moment of renewal of commitment to the values, ideals, beliefs which have fueled your life journey and which you will now share with those whom you will be blessed to teach and lead; a moment to focus upon what truly animates you as a Jew; what enables you to experience kedushah-holiness-in your lives. But this is also a moment to be unafraid to acknowledge your doubts and fears-which we all share, even the most accomplished leaders among us-that which makes us human. And then to come to realize that in that honest recognition of self, the moment of acknowledgment that we will always find ourselves in the midst of the journey, at times struggling to make our way through the desert of our lives, only then will we begin to model for others.
NY Graduation Address by Dov Seidman
Inspirational Leaders are mindful of the Paradox of Hedonism, the philosophical idea that if you pursue happiness directly it eludes you. But if you passionately pursue a higher, more meaningful purpose, you can achieve happiness. I have learned from my work that there is a corollary to the Paradox of Hedonism. I call it: The Paradox of Success - that you cannot achieve Success by pursuing it directly. What Inspirational Leaders understand is that real and sustainable value can only be achieved when you pursue something greater than yourself, that makes a difference in the lives of others.
Jewish Education Students Present Capstone Curriculum Guides
"This capstone project of the curriculum guide, completed over the course of an academic year, not only provides an opportunity for students to synthesize their Judaica and educational learning, but to create important resources for Jewish education in a variety of settings" said Sara S. Lee, MAJE, MSEd, and former Director of the RHSOE.
Graduating Communal Service Student Receives SAJES Honor
Jessica Ingram, a candidate for the M.A. in Jewish Communal Service living in New York City, will be honored by SAJES, the Suffolk County, NY organization that works to enhance Jewish lives through excitement and creativity in Jewish learning. Ingram completed her studies with an in-depth thesis on the SJCS Alumni Association's role throughout the 40-year-long history of the SJCS. She will graduate from the SJCS on Monday, May 18, at Graduation Ceremonies at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles.
Palestinian Doctor Calls for Coexistence at Program Moderated by Professor Rivka Dori
Profesor Rivka Dori, Director of Hebrew Studies at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, moderated a program featuring Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian obstetrician and gynecologist whose three daughters and niece were killed, and another of whose daughters and a son were wounded, along with his brother, during the recent Gaza war and who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize last month. He came to Los Angeles not to talk about peace, but to "focus on more realistic goals: working together so that both sides live in equal conditions, with equal rights and with mutual respect" at Temple Ner Maarav in Encino on April 22, hosted by "Americans for Peace Now."
Upcoming Events at HUC-JIR
Family Education Summer Conference: How Do Congregations Accompany Families on their Jewish Journeys?
Spend three days, August 3-5 at HUC-JIR/New York with Family Education experts from the Consortium for the Future of the Jewish Family. Learn with content specialists in the areas of: Spirituality and Ritual, Torah Learning, Service Learning and Jewish Peoplehood. Join with other individuals and teams from innovating congregations. Design outcomes and activities aligned to your congregation's vision for meaningful family learning and engagement. Sponsored by The Consortium for Future of the Jewish Family, The Central Agencies for Jewish Education in NY - BJE and SAJES, The Experiment in Congregational Education (ECE) and The Leadership Institute for Congregational School Educators (LICSE) of the Schools of Education of HUC-JIR and JTS in New York. This conference made possible with major support from the Gladys K. Crown Foundation, St. Louis, the Kripke Institute for Jewish Family Literacy, and the Whizin Foundation
URJ's Schindler Fellows Program for Conversion Certification at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
The URJ's Schindler Fellows Program for Conversion Certification will take place at the HUC-JIR/ Cincinnati campus from August 5th through 9th, 2009. This leadership training program will prepare you to work in partnership with your rabbi, counseling, supporting and welcoming prospective Jews into your community. You'll train with HUC-JIR faculty members, congregational rabbis, and the URJ program staff, learning how to lead discussions on the issues of authenticity, Jewish living and family. This exceptional program will not be held again until 2011, so do not miss the opportunity to study, pray and learn facilitation skills and techniques that will help your congregation provide a warm and supportive environment for those on the path to a Jewish identity. Download our brochure for more details and sign up now!
National Invitation to Graduation, Investiture, and Ordination
National Invitation to Graduation, Investiture, and Ordination Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President of HUC-JIR, has announced the class of 2009, who will be ordained, invested, and graduated this spring in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and New York. He said, "The Class of 2009 emerges from the College-Institute imbued with leadership skills, steeped in knowledge, strengthened by a commitment to service, and dedicated to bringing hope and healing to our troubled world. As they touch the lives of others through their sacred work as rabbis, cantors, educators, communal professionals, scholars, and pastoral care-givers throughout North America and around the world, they will be a source of inspiration and guidance." Rabbi Ellenson announced the Roger E. Joseph Prize, the 2009 Dr. Bernard Heller Prize, and recipients of the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. HUC-JIR alumni will be awarded honorary Doctorates of Divinity, Music, Jewish Religious Education, and Jewish Communal Service, as well as the Founders' Medallion, in recognition of their 25 years of distinguished professional service.
Spotlight on HUC-JIR's Programs and
Research Resources
New Cohort of Schusterman Rabbinical Fellows Announced
Eight outstanding rabbinical students have been named as Schusterman Rabbinical Fellows, a program that brings future leaders of the Conservative and Reform movements together for three years of formal study. This second cohort of the program-which was inaugurated last summer-will be composed of four students each from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). The program is designed to create a cadre of Reform and Conservative rabbis who share a broad and dynamic vision of communal leadership for American Jewry. The Schusterman Rabbinical Fellowship Program is funded by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and is managed by STAR (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal).
HUC-JIR in the News
U.S. Jews of all denominations unite to support pope on Israel trip - Haaretz
Some two hundred rabbis from America and leading figures in Jewish communities of all denominations from all over the world have joined together to back Pope Benedict XVI on his current trip to Israel, signing an open letter of welcome and support. The signatories of the letter include Rabbi David Ellenson, the president of the Hebrew Union College.
Activist heads Board of Rabbis of Southern California - Los Angeles Times
In her newest official capacity as the first female president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, Rabbi Denise Eger (NY '88) said the board's 300 rabbis must tackle a broader agenda, one that deals with hunger, interfaith relations, professional growth for religious leaders and affordable housing in Los Angeles.
Leading Combatant in Gay Marriage Fight To Head Southern California Rabbis - Forward
Rabbi Denise Eger, ordained at HUC-JIR/NY in 1988, said that her ascension to the presidency has profound personal significance. Back in 1992, she explained, when she founded Congregation Kol Ami, an Orthodox rabbi who then served as president of the rabbinic board made disparaging comments about her in a local Jewish newspaper. In the intervening years, Eger has worked to forge better relationships between colleagues from the different movements - despite sharp ideological differences - and has committed herself to interfaith outreach work. "I've really just tried to do my work and serve the Jewish community," she said. "Now, to be able to be president of the board of rabbis, I think, speaks to the work I've done building bridges."
18,000 Same-Sex Couples Await Ruling In California - NPR
Lisa Edwards (NY '94), a reform rabbi in Los Angeles, presided over almost four dozen same-sex marriages when they were legally recognized. "Obviously, there were so many weddings in that time period," Edwards says. "People were worried that Prop 8 would pass, and that this would be our only opportunity." Edwards and her partner, Tracy Moore, were among those who got married before the measure passed. "I don't look forward to being in a specialized category of this little island of 18,000 whose marriages may be allowed to stand," Edward says. "It's a difficult place to put us in with regard to our friends and peers."
Same-sex marriage: Faiths' views are wide-ranging - Stamford Advocate
At Congregation B'nai Israel in Bridgeport, a Jewish Reform congregation, the fact that Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz is a member of the gay and lesbian community has made same-sex ceremonies there in demand. Gurevitz said she has received calls from outside the state, including New York and New Jersey. Although the reform movement allows each congregation to make its own decision about same-sex marriage, Gurevitz and her colleague, Rabbi James Prosnit, do limit themselves to marrying only couples in which both members are Jewish. "Many reform congregations, with the support of the Union for Reform Judaism, feel that the human right of celebrating same sex-marriage is appropriate," Prosnit said. "The challenge is more the interfaith dynamics of the relationships."
Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, Grace Church to Celebrate Interfaith Weekend May 15-17 - Brooklyn Heights Blog
This year's resident scholar and speaker will be Dr. Lawrence A. Hoffman, Barbara and Stephen Friedman Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Ritual at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Sundance's Social Action Man - Jewish Journal
Fresh from his tenure combating global injustice with American Jewish World Service, former HUC-JIR dean Lee Bycel will assume the first-ever executive director position of The Redford Center, a public advocacy arm of Robert Redford's Sundance brand, which along with the cutting-edge independent film festival will include a forum for social action initiatives. With Bycel at the helm, leaders and artists will collaborate in developing action-based solutions to the most compelling civic, environmental and social challenges. The center will be based in San Francisco, but will offer a wide range of events and programs hosted at the Sundance Preserve in Utah.
Zooming In On Righteous Muslims - The Jewish Week
The mostly Muslim country on the southeast coast of the Balkan peninsula had a unique place in Holocaust history: it was the only land in Nazi-occupied Europe that had more Jews in its borders at the end of the war than before, and the only one that was Muslim. Albania's Muslims - and the country's Christian minority - would not surrender a single Jew to the Nazis. Exhibits about Albania's record during World War II opened during the last year at Yad Vashem, the United Nations, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion here and in Ramle. A traveling exhibit is being shown this year in Albania and Kosovo.
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

Search | Site Index | Contact Us

(c) 2009 Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion