Click here if you have trouble reading the content below or to see all photographs
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
Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving!
The next issue of HUCNews will appear on December 3rd
News at HUC-JIR
Rabbi David Ellenson Announces the Retirement of Dr. Samuel Greengus as Director of the School of Graduate Studies in Cincinnati
Rabbi David Ellenson has announced the retirement of Dr. Samuel Greengus as Director of the School of Graduate Studies at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, as of July 1, 2010. "As a distinguished scholar and teacher for nearly five decades at the College-Institute, Dr. Greengus has demonstrated his extraordinary breadth of knowledge and depth of expertise in subject areas including Bible, Commentaries, Biblical Theology, Ancient Near Eastern History; Hebrew, Aramaic, Akkadian, Sumerian -- Languages and Literatures; and Liturgy, Mishnah, Talmud, Codes," said Rabbi Ellenson. "Dr. Greengus has provided guidance and mentorship to generations of graduate and rabbinical students, ensuring that the chain of Jewish scholarship and tradition will be sustained, and has strengthened our institution's international renown as a venue for serious research and publication." Dr. Greengus has served in key administrative positions at HUC-JIR throughout the past 30 years, including Vice President for Academic Affairs (1990-96), Dean of Faculty, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati (1987-96), Director, School of Graduate Studies (1985-90), Dean of the Cincinnati campus (1985-87), and Dean of the Rabbinical School in Cincinnati (1979-84). A member of the HUC-JIR faculty for nearly five decades, he was appointed the Julian Morgenstern Professor of Bible and Near Eastern Literature in 1989, after serving as Professor of Semitic Languages (1970-88) and Instructor in Semitic Languages (1963-69).
Dr. Nili Fox Appointed Director of School of Graduate Studies in Cincinnati
Rabbi David Ellenson has appointed Dr. Nili S. Fox as Director of the School of Graduate Studies at HUC-JIR/incinnati as of July 1, 2010. Dr. Fox is Professor of Bible at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, Director of the Archaeology Center - Skirball Museum on its campus, and Co-Director (with Dr. David Ilan) of the Tel Dan Excavations of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. "Dr. Fox brings scholarly excellence and pedagogical skill to her teaching in her areas of specialization: the study of Israelite history and culture in the context of the ancient Near East, with a special focus on religion, literacy and state-organization," said Rabbi David Ellenson. "She has enriched our institution's excavations at Tel Dan in Israel by expanding research opportunities for our graduate and rabbinical students , while creating a successful center for archaeological inquiry at our Cincinnati campus that welcomes students of all ages from throughout the greater Ohio-Kentucky area. We look forward to her extensive talents and creativity in advancing and consolidating the mission of the School of Graduate Studies in Cincinnati and across all our sites."
Six Israeli Rabbis Ordained at Academic Convocation at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
Six new rabbis for Israel's Progressive Movement were ordained by Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), at the Ordination and Academic Convocation at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem on Friday, November 20, 2009. The ordinees are Judith Edelman-Green, Chen Ester Ben-Or Tsfoni, Jehiel Benjamin Gruber, Zipora Livneh, Oded Mazor, and Dalia Tibon Lagziel. These four women and two men join the 59 alumni of the Israel Rabbinical Program, established in 1975, which, with this new cohort, will have ordained 65 Israeli rabbis to date to serve Progressive congregations, schools, and communities throughout Israel. The academic convocation also featured the inaugural cohort of seven graduates receiving certificates in Specialization in Pluralistic Jewish Education, the HUC-JIR program that is part of the M.A. in Jewish Education from the Melton Centre for Jewish Education of the Hebrew University. The graduates receiving certificates are Michal Burstein-Azrieli, Maital Cohen-Sabag, Nitza Harel-Attias, Oded Mazor, Lior Nevo, Israela Ravid, and Rinat Safania. Rabbi Michael Melchior, former Deputy Foreign Minister, Deputy Minister of Education and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's office and one of Israel's leading legislators, was presented with the Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa; Rabbi Edward Rettig received the Doctor of Hebrew Letters degree; and Larry Tishkoff received the Doctor of Jewish Religious Education, honoris causa.
"An Evening with Debbie & Friends" Benefit Concert Raises $450,000 for School of Sacred Music
Nearly one thousand guests of all generations packed the sanctuary at Central Synagogue for "An Evening with Debbie & Friends" - a concert celebrating the creativity of world-renowned folk songwriter and performer Debbie Friedman - and raised $450,000 to benefit Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and its School of Sacred Music (SSM). The concert on Thursday, November 12, featured the music of Debbie Friedman performed by Debbie Friedman, the Afro-Semitic Experience, HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir, The Western Wind, Alumni, Faculty, Students, and surprise guests. Honorary Celebrity Co-Chairs were Jason Robert Brown, Mandy Patinkin, and Paul Schaffer. Concert Co-chairs were Barbara Friedman and Bonnie Tisch. Benefit Committee Co-Chairs were Marjorie and Morgan Miller. Rabbi David Ellenson set the tone for the evening in his welcoming remarks: "We celebrate Debbie Friedman, an esteemed member of our faculty, who is strengthening HUC-JIR's role in the area of worship renewal and revitalization in our day. She inspires and helps to guide our students' spiritual and leadership development, and provides them with innovative strategies to transform congregations into communities of meaning."
Dr. Carol Ochs Retires as Director of Graduate Studies in New York
Dr. Carol Ochs has retired as Director of Graduate Studies at HUC-JIR/New York, as of July 1, 2009. Dr. Ochs instituted the formal practice and teaching of spiritual guidance at the New York campus of HUC-JIR several years before it became available at other Jewish seminaries. During her fifteen years as a valued member of the faculty, she met with more than two hundred rabbinic and cantorial students in weekly one-on-one sessions, assisting them in facing their spiritual questions and helping them resolve their religious doubts. She introduced a course in Comparative Religion at HUC-JIR. Among the other courses she taught were Theology for Pastoral Care, Women and Spirituality, the Philosophy of Spinoza, and of course, Jewish Spiritual Guidance. For the past ten years, she also directed the College's Doctor of Ministry program, which accepted and graduated ordained members of many faiths and from many countries.
Spotlight on HUC-JIR's Programs and
Research Resources
School of Jewish Communal Service's 40th Anniversary Honored by Journal of Jewish Communal Service
Richard A. Siegel, Director of the SJCS, served as editor of this volume and writes: The HUC-JIR School of Jewish Communal Service (SJCS) in Los Angeles was founded in 1968, enrolled its first students in 1969, and graduated its first class in 1970. Now 40 years later, the SJCS has established itself, not just as one of the leading graduate programs training professional leaders for the Jewish community but also as a shaper of the contemporary practice of the profession itself. The more than 600 graduates of the program provide informed, experienced, and Jewishly grounded direction, guidance, and leadership to Jewish communal agencies throughout the world; and the research and creative thought reflected in their master's theses has provided insight into the professional experience in the Jewish communal world and led to the exploration of new fields, issues, and constituencies. All of the articles in this Journal are written either by alumni or faculty of the school, and all relate to broad issues of concern to Jewish communal professionals wherever they are in the world and for whatever agencies they work.

To order this special issue, please contact:
Upcoming Events at HUC-JIR
Dr. Jacob Neusner to Present the 2009 Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture at HUC-JIR/NY -- December 1 at 6 pm
Dr. Jacob Neusner, the renowned historian and theologian, will present the 2009 Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 6 pm at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, One West 4th Street, New York City. Dr. Neusner will lecture on "Reform Judaism for Our Day: Why It Is Necessary." This lecture is sponsored by the Bamberger Family in memory of their father, Dr. Fritz Bamberger, z"l, who served as Assistant to the President and Professor of Jewish Intellectual History at HUC-JIR/New York. Dr. Neusner is Distinguished Service Professor of the History and Theology of Judaism and Senior Fellow, Institute of Advanced Theology, at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. He also is a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, and Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, England. He has published more than 1000 books and unnumbered articles, both scholarly and academic and popular and journalistic, and is the most published humanities scholar in the world. Photo ID and RSVP required: 212-824-2278 or

NY Memorial Service for Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, z"l at HUC-JIR, One West 4th Street, New York City - Sunday, December 13 at 11 am
Student Services, Sermons, Recitals, and more!
Cincinnati - at 10:50 am unless otherwise noted:
Nov. 21 at 10:30 am: Leading Services: Dena Shaffer
Nov. 23: Leading Services: Elana Sondel
Nov. 24: Leading Services: Ari Lorge
Nov. 25: Leading Services: Nicole Roberts

Los Angeles - at 10 am:
Nov. 23: Schlichai Tzibbur: Jake Singer-Beilin, Cantor Bernstein; Reading Torah: Lauren Luskey; Dvar Torah: Suzy Stone; Gabbai: Aron Klein
Nov. 24: Schlichai Tzibbur: Jake Singer-Beilin,

New York - at 10 am unless otherwise noted:
Nov. 23-25: Leading Services: Rabbi: Scott Fox; Cantor: Mary Thomas
Nov. 23: Reading Torah: Joshua Stanton; Gabbai: Jillian Cameron
Nov. 25 at 10:45 am: Practica: Aviva Kolet, Leslie Niren

Jerusalem - at 8:30 am:
Nov. 21: leading Services: Mindy Sherry, Kelly Levy; Sermon: Yoni Regev
Nov. 26: Leading Services: Lauren Trexler; Sermon: Rachel Kaplan
Dr. Gary Zola to Lecture of Museum of the City of New York
Dr. Gary Zola, Director of the American Jewish Archives, will present a lecture on the "Jews in New Amsterdam" at the Museum of the City of New York, Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, on November 30th at 6:30 pm. Sponsored by the John L. Loeb, Jr. Foundation, Dr. Zola's lecture is presented in conjunction with the exhibition "The Flushing Remonstrance: Who Shall Plead For Us?" The Flushing Remonstrance, written in 1657, is recognized as the earliest political assertion of freedom of conscience and religion in New York State.
HUC-JIR in the News
Jewish support for Israeli-Arab causes goes mainstream, irking some - JTA
When the Reform movement passed a resolution endorsing advocacy for Israeli Arabs, it wasn't the first time an American Jewish group had backed the cause of Israeli-Arab equality. Quoting the biblical injunction to "welcome the stranger in your midst," Ellenson says it's a religious imperative -- and eventually it will strengthen Israel. "In general," he said, "I think that people who are treated with respect and dignity tend to respond to those who treat them this way."
Windmueller to step down as HUC dean - JTA
The dean of the Los Angeles campus of the Reform movement's Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is retiring. Steven Windmueller, a prominent figure in Jewish communal and academic life, will leave his post July 1 after serving on an interim basis for three years. Joshua Holo, the director of the Jerome H. Louchheim School of Judaic Studies, will succeed Windmueller, announced Rabbi David Ellenson, president of the four-campus institution. The Louchheim School provides instruction to more than 600 University of Southern California undergraduates each year. Windmueller, 67, said he will continue at the college as a professor and the Alfred Gottschalk chair in Jewish communal service.
Windmueller to Retire, Holo New Dean at L.A.'s Reform College - Jewish Journal
Ellenson praised Windmueller's contributions in advancing the Los Angeles campus' academic, rabbinical, research and communal service programs, the relationship with USC and in creating the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement. He has also strengthened the campus ties with its board of overseers and philanthropic supporters, Ellenson said. Holo, an authority on the social and intellectual life of medieval Jewry in the Christian Mediterranean, is currently the director of the Louchheim School of Judaic Studies, which provides instruction to more than 600 USC undergraduates each year. Ellenson said, "We look forward to [Holo's] expertise, wisdom and guidance as he advances our mission in preparing men and women as leaders of vision for the Reform movement and the Jewish people worldwide."
Slips of the Tongue - Tablet
The results are in: the words "shpiel" and "klutz" have been thoroughly absorbed into the American vernacular, while "mensch" and "kvetch" remain primarily in the linguistic domain of Jews. A third of Jewish Americans who did not grow up in New York have nonetheless been told that they sound like they're from that city. Sixty-eight percent of Reform Jews pronounce the word for the annual Jewish harvest festival "soo-COAT," as Israelis do, while only 34 percent use the Yiddish pronunciation "SUK-kiss"; among the ultra-Orthodox, those numbers are basically reversed. And gay non-Jews use more Yiddish than straight non-Jews, though gay Jews and straight Jews use about the same amount. These are just a few findings of the Survey of American Jewish Language and Identity, the results of which were published online late last month by linguist Sarah Bunin Benor and sociologist Steven M. Cohen. "Patterns of language use can tell us things about identities and communities that might not even be known to the actors themselves," said Cohen, who has been conducting Jewish identity surveys of the more direct variety for some four decades. (You can still take the survey online)

Click here for a video about the survey
Say What?
Hebrew Union College has just released a survey of "American Jewish Language and Identity." Sarah Bunin Benor, an assistant professor of contemporary Jewish studies, and Steven M. Cohen, the go-to Jewish demographer, did an e-mail survey. Their 25,000-strong sample of Jews isn't random, but rather a revealing snapshot of the speech patterns of "Jews with strong Jewish engagement and social ties." Older Jews are more likely to sprinkle their language with Yiddish phrases like heimish, macher, and nu (homey, big shot, and, well, nu). Younger Jews, especially those with stronger Jewish ties, have brought more Hebrew into the Jewish-English vocabulary, with words like yofi, balagan, and davka. And when you dig down into the younger religious population, Yiddish stages a comeback. "Language use not only differentiates Jews from non-Jews; it also differentiates Jews from other Jews," the authors write. The HUC study suggests that a core of engaged Jews, like me, is using more Hebrew and Yiddish words than a previous generation. But in that previous generation, I'm willing to bet, more Jews shared a common vocabulary and a common set of references.
Concerted effort needed to meet demand for educators - JTA
Jehuda Reinharz writes: The Jewish community must move quickly to prepare more, better teachers for both day- and religious-school classrooms. We must place a greater emphasis on encouraging our bright and talented young people to consider the field of Jewish education as a serious career opportunity. We must recruit and train them. And then we must work hard to compensate them fairly and to retain them. A number of positive signs have emerged recently indicating a move in the right direction. In September, the Jim Joseph Foundation announced $12 million in grants to three leading academic institutions that train Jewish educators. The Jewish Theological Seminary, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and Yeshiva University will receive the funds in an effort to increase the number of future educators, and to improve the quality of professional preparation and Jewish education they receive. The initial grants will be used as financial aid for students pursuing education degrees or certification in programs that prepare them to work with Jewish youth and young adults, and to assist each institution in planning new and enhanced programs that will attract more educators to the field. Our tradition teaches us that "kol Yisrael areivin zeh la zeh" -- "all of Israel are responsible for one another." This grant has inspired a meaningful realization of this beautiful ideal.
Building Identity Through Art - Forward
When Argentine artist Mirta Kupferminc escorts her mother, a Holocaust survivor who fled her homeland of Hungary in the wake of World War II, to view exhibits of her work, she sometimes worries that her mother will find the material too disturbing, too reminiscent of her experiences during the war. Her mother's answer, Kupferminc recalled, is always the same: "'Oh, Mirta,' she says, 'What's hard is what I lived, not what you're doing.'" But it's that hard-lived life that Kupferminc - whose first solo show in New York, "Mirta Kupferminc: Wanderings," is on display now through June 30, at the museum at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion - features so prominently in her work. Shifting seamlessly among printmaking, painting and other media, Kupferminc has spent the past two decades producing a body of work that speaks to the Jewish cultural soul, exploring themes of pilgrimage, exile and what she calls "built identity," the idea of building your own character, "because my work has a very strong mark of Judaism, but also a very strong mark of Argentinean identity."
From the Dead Sea to McGill - Montreal Gazette
It is nearly 9,000 kilometres from McGill University's Roddick Gates to the desert caves at Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered from 1947 to 1956. But the distance is not as great as it might seem, according to a forthcoming book chronicling McGill's role in one of the greatest archaeological sagas of all time. In 1954, the university became the first institution outside the Middle East to buy a share of the biblical manuscripts. Its $20,000 purchase rescued the scrolls from being scattered on the market and represented the largest collection of the biblical treasures outside government hands. But McGill's "Big Biblical Bargain," as the Toronto Star Weekly dubbed it, would never reach Montreal. In 1961, Jordan cancelled the sale and barred the priceless manuscripts - which had remained in Jerusalem for study - from leaving the country. McGill's footnote to the history of the scrolls was soon forgotten. Jason Kalman, Assistant Prof. of Classical Hebrew Texts and Interpretation at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, and Jaqueline du Toit seek to remedy that in Canada's Big Biblical Bargain: How McGill University Bought the Dead Sea Scrolls, to be published next spring by McGill-Queens University Press. Kalman and du Toit became curious about McGill's acquisition of the scrolls as PhD students at McGill. Browsing through the university archives, they discovered a wealth of correspondence on the episode.
Teaching Award Winners Celebrated -
On Friday, November 13, the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities (GCCCU), a non-profit alliance of 16 colleges and universities in the Greater Cincinnati area, held its 22nd Annual Celebration of Teaching Luncheon at the Schiff Family Conference Center at Xavier University's Cintas Center. The event collectively honored the faculty teaching award winners at all 16 of GCCCU's member institutions. Jason Kalman, Assistant Prof. of Classical Hebrew Texts and Interpretation at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, was among the twenty-two faculty members honored.
Forward 50 - Forward
Alysa Stanton broke new ground this year when she became mainstream Judaism's first black female rabbi. Ordained in June, she leads the 60-family Congregation Bayt Shalom in the one-synagogue town of Greenville, N.C. The 46-year-old former psychotherapist and single mother of an adopted daughter converted to Judaism in the late 1980s. Soon after, she began her rabbinical studies at the Reform movement's Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. Stanton faced no small measure of opposition in her journey toward becoming a rabbi, including racist discrimination here and in Israel and even death threats on the eve of her ordination. Even so, Stanton remains firm in her belief that a rabbi's life is her true path. Her spirit, courage, and fierce love of Judaism give her every chance to succeed in her chosen work.
'Sacred Parenting': a book of revelations - Sarasota
Elaine Rose Glickman, author of "Sacred Parenting: Jewish Wisdom and Practical Guidance for Your Family's Early Years" (URJ Press), wrote the book as a way to combine raising her children and continuing the intellectual engagement she had enjoyed while studying for her rabbinical ordination at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. "I found a lot of wisdom and guidance and inspiration in the traditional Jewish texts, some that you might not see at first glance," said Glickman.
New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery in New York
Celebrate the Festival of Lights with the New York City skyline Hanukkah menorah created by renowned ceramic artist Barbara Krohn, $700 plus shipping and handling. To purchase, please contact: 212-824-2218,

Please click the icon to the left for a larger image.
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, 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