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News at HUC-JIR
Faculty Promotions
Rabbi David Ellenson has announced the following faculty promotions, as of July 1, 2009:
HUC-JIR Launches Tzeh Ulimad Continuing Alumni Education Blog
The HUC-JIR Department of Continuing Alumni Education announces the launch of Tzeh Ulimad (; a blog dedicated to the discussion of resources and learning opportunities for Jewish professionals. Updated weekly, this blog will focus on resources and approaches that help to sustain our graduates in their ongoing educational journey. In addition to posts by the Director of Continuing Alumni Education, Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder Ph.D., the blog will feature interviews with those involved in professional education. Guest posts will highlight the learning journeys of HUC-JIR alumni and faculty.
Modalities in Medieval Jewish Law for Public Order and Safety Published by HUC Annual
Dr. Stephen Passamaneck writes: "The history of medieval Jewry presents one inescapable fact: the Jews were a people apart. No matter where or when we find a Jewish community in the Middle Ages, it was an "alien" enclave a host society which was sometimes cordial to it and sometimes not. Jews were a foreign element which managed its own communal affairs, creating religions, educational, and charitable institutions, mechanisms for collection and disbursement of taxes to the host government, and various systems for internal governance and the administration of justice. The Jews governed themselves and dispensed justice in so far as possible according to halakhah, their ancient internal legal system. This legal system was the subject of devoted and loving study and careful enhancement over the centuries by skillful interpretation, by mixture of local customs and by local ordinances, which helped the system keep pace with changing circumstances."
Spotlight on HUC-JIR's Programs and
Research Resources
Studying Religious Texts Fosters New Connections between Muslim and Jewish Peers
Can religious texts be used to unite? The pilot cohort of the Muslim-Jewish Text Study program believes that the answer is "yes." More than twenty Muslim and Jewish peers and professionals have spent the last four months meeting together to discuss themes from their respective traditions. This program has been organized by The Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (CMJE) is a collaboration of the Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and USC's Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. CMJE provides resources, experience and expertise to enhance the understanding of Muslims and Jews about each other's faiths, as well as increase their ability to engage with each on issues of mutual importance.
School of Jewish Communal Service Presents "Encounter Seminar: Trends in (Jewish) Philanthropy"
This year, the School of Jewish Communal Service's weekly Tuesday "Lunch and Learn" Encounter Seminar will look at some of the profound changes that have been taking place in the Jewish and general philanthropic community in recent years, including the emergence of mega-givers and mega-foundations who are challenging the central planning role of the Federation; the beginning of generational shifts of wealth and the emergence of a younger generation of Jewish donors; and the introduction of venture philanthropy and social entrepreneurship, guided by the standards and practices of the for-profit arena. All programs are held on the campus of HUC-JIR/Los Angeles.
HUC-JIR in the News
Jewish group organizes L.A. march against Darfur violence - LA Times
Rabbi Ted Riter, C '97, of Temple Adat Elohim in Thousand Oaks told throngs of demonstrators Sunday that it was important to rally against the deadly violence in Sudan because one day the marchers' grandchildren will ask: Where were you? "We . . . made a promise to our ancestors to never forget," Riter said, referring to a commitment by fellow Jews not to let atrocities such as the Holocaust go unchallenged. Janice M. Kamenir-Reznik, SJCS '75, president of Jewish World Watch, said that many Jews felt as though much of the world abandoned them during the Holocaust. As a result, she said, Jews and others cannot watch violence unfold against other groups without raising their voices.
Another first for a black American: the female rabbi breaking down barriers - Guardian, UK
In 2001, three years before Barack Obama came to national prominence, Alysa Stanton embarked on her own audacious journey. She spoke about breaking barriers, building bridges and providing, calling on people to focus on their similarities rather than differences. Parallels leap out between her journey and Obama's. She is 45, he 47. They both straddled racial and communal lines. They both faced hurdles and brickbats along the way.
New Rabbi Represents 'New Face of Judaism' -
"I represent the new face of Judaism, a new era of inclusiveness," she said in a recent phone interview. "I'm honored to have this opportunity, and I'm thankful to my God for making it happen."
First black female rabbi shatters von Brunn's goals - Toledo Blade
A week ago today, a Cleveland native became the nation's first black woman to be ordained a Jewish rabbi in Cincinnati at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Rabbi Alysa Stanton is a proof that America is moving forward on several fronts. Then on Wednesday, the fatal shooting of a black guard named Stephen T. Johns, 26, at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. by a gun-toting white supremacist served as a stark reminder that there are many on the fringe who won't embrace change on these racial, gender, and religious fronts.
Alysa Stanton: First Black Female Rabbi on Following Her Calling -
"Judaism is the language of my soul. It encompasses so many things. It's not just a religion for me-it's a social, ethical and moral gateway," says Alysa Stanton.
Religion and Ethics Newsweekly - PBS
Professor Steven Cohen (Hebrew Union College), replying to the question: Many American Jews are very moved by the concept of Israel. What's behind that?, said: "In part, they are reacting to Israel as a response to the Holocaust. For years, Jews have suffered from persecution. That persecution never reaches the height that it did in the destruction of six million Jews in Europe, and American Jews are very aware of that narrative from ashes to the glorious, miraculous state of Israel and that really cements the American-Jewish relationship with Israel."
How Should Jews Treat Their Arab Neighbors? - Moment Magazine
Rabbi Haim Rechnitzer writes: The imperative of tolerating the "other" is most challenging not when the "other" is radically different, but precisely when we recognize our own suppressed and, at times, frightening selves in strangers. The sages recall that redemption comes only for "He who walks righteously, speaks uprightly, and who despises the gain of oppression..."(Isa. 33). For "what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Mic. 6). I do not know of any more fundamental imperative than this, especially as Israeli Jews consider the Palestinian "other."
Upcoming Events at HUC-JIR
Alumni Gathering in Jerusalem in July
Rabbi Naamah Kelman, the incoming Dean of HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, is hosting an Alumni Gathering at the Jerusalem campus on Shabbat afternoon, July 11th. Alumni whose summer plans include a trip to Israel are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to meet with other alumni in Israel, study Rabbi Michael Marmur, Vice President of Academic Affairs, meet with the incoming Year-in-Israel students, and celebrate Havdallah with Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback, Director of the Year-in-Israel Program.
Inviting College and Post-College Students to Outreach Programs in Jerusalem
Do you know of any college students, or post-college young people who will be in Israel in 2009-2010? We at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem would like to reach out to them and support their Reform Jewish identity with an exciting lineup of programs and at High Holy Day services. Please forward this HUC-JIR/ Jerusalem Outreach Schedule or send me their e-mail or contact information so that I can be in contact with them and encourage them to be in contact with me at or phone at 054-2134-054.
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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