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News at HUC-JIR
Dr. Alfred Gottschalk Memorial Service at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
Members of the Board of Overseers, faculty, students, friends, colleagues, and former staff members of gathered to remember Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, z"l, at a Memorial Service on November 19th. Prof Eliyahu Schleifer provided the musical frame for the program, including a beautiful rendering of Lewandowski's High Holy Day Kaddish. Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, served as Memorial Service leader. Speakers included Rabbi David Ellenson, Rabbi Richard Hirsch, Rabbi Gil Nativ, and Beth Bachman, granddaughter of Jules Bachman, z"l, former Chair of the Board of Governors. Dr. David Harman, Chair of the Board of Overseers, warmly remembered the friendship between his father Abraham Harman, President of the Hebrew University and Dr. Gottschalk. Dr. Michael Marmur read some letters and messages from Dr. Gottschalk's children Marc and Rachel.

Please click here for Rabbi Richard Hirsch's Eulogy for Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, z"l
Dr. Jacob Neusner Awarded Honorary Doctorate by HUC-JIR
Dr. Jacob Neusner, the renowned historian and theologian, was awarded the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, by Rabbi David Ellenson in a ceremony at HUC-JIR's New York campus on December 1, 2009. In presenting the honorary degree, Rabbi Ellenson lauded Dr. Neusner for being "widely acclaimed for his penetrating mind, extraordinary research in rabbinic Judaism of the Mishnaic and Talmudic eras, a pioneer in the application of form criticism as an approach to rabbinic texts and the most published humanities scholar in the world, and a conscientious teacher, whose gifts as university professor has enriched and inspired generations of students and disciples world-wide, and whose direction, guidance and wise counsel have contributed to the establishment and growth of Jewish and religious studies in American universities." Rabbi Ellenson cited Dr. Neusner's "dedication to the study of religion as a system, which has made him a singular voice in the investigation of the problem of difference in religion, religion and society, religion and material culture, religion and economics, religion and altruism, and religion and tolerance."
Dr. Jacob Neusner's Dr. Bamberger Memorial Lecture: Reform Judaism in Our Day: Why It Is Necessary
I see three components of the intellectual platform on which Reform Judaism should take its stand.

[1] The first plank in the platform is to affirm the tradition of reason and criticism that characterized Reform Judaism from its inception. Reform Judaism founded modern critical learning in Judaism and has no business to do with fundamentalism. Its Scripture was not dictated word for word by a supernatural being from outer space. Its theology does not promise pie in the sky when you die. Reform Judaism cannot revert and sponsor reversionism. But Reform Judaism should not commit the error of being too traditional and not Jewish enough, to cite the criticism of a synagogue told to me by its rabbi. The power of Reform Judaism from its nineteenth century origins was its courage to say, that's the Judaism of the past, we stand for the Judaism of today.

[2] The second plank is to expand the realm of the secular that Reform Judaism defined as legitimate. Like Reconstructionism it should advance modes of Jewish cultural expression in secular media such as literature and poetry, art, music, and drama. Scholarship that is not a cover for apologetics should define the education of rabbis and teachers. Reform Judaism holds that one can be both Jewish and many other things - that affirmation of the realm of the secular forms the foundation of Reform. Reform and Reconstructionist Judaisms accord to the Halakhah a voice but not a veto, as Mordecai M. Kaplan said. That is the first step in the formulation of a realm of secular culture of Jewishness.

[3] The third plank is to affirm the tradition of individualism that Reform Judaism has fostered, to validate the individual conscience that Reform recognized. I was brought up to affirm what I found personally meaningful and to dismiss as irrelevant what did not fit. Individual meaning measures success by framing a program true to the criteria of reason and truth. But at the same time Reform Judaism must find the way for forming a consensus and establishing norms. The tradition of personal autonomy competes with the quest for consensus that Reform Judaism above all other Judaisms undertakes.

Please click here for the complete text of Dr. Neusner's Dr. Bamberger Memorial Lecture

Please click here to read an excerpted version of this address published in The Forward
Study Day Honors Dr. Michael Marmur
On November 19th the Jerusalem campus held a study day honoring Dr. Michael Marmur, Vice President for Academic Affairs, for his ten-year tenure as Dean. The afternoon included presentations by the senior rabbinical students about to be ordained the next day, and by graduates of the Israeli Rabbinic Program. They offered their visions, hopes, dreams, and dedication to building a Progressive Israel. Responding to these presentations were Dr. Yehoyada Amir, Dr Dalia Marx, and Rabbi Meir Azari of Tel Aviv's Beit Daniel and current Chair of the Council of Progressive Rabbis in Israel (MaRam). A Master Class taught in Hebrew by Rabbi Marmur followed. Dr. Marmur lectured on the Jewish thinker Ahad Ha'Am, who was the subject of research by HUC-JIR's former President, Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, z"l. To conclude the day, Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, moderated a lively panel for the Year-In-Israel Program, staff, and guests on "The Many Roles of the Rabbi," reflecting the different aspects of Rabbi Marmur's work. Rabbi David Ellenson talked about the "Rabbi as Scholar" giving a sweeping history of how Jewish Scholarship evolved; Rabbi David Rosen, Director of the Department for Interreligious Affairs and Director of the Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding of the American Jewish Committee, offered a masterful presentation on "Rabbi as Preacher, Rabbi in Dialogue," and Rabbi Felicia Sol of Bnai Jeshrun of New York gave an inspiring charge to our students on "Rabbi as Synagogue Leader." Rabbi Sol (N '99) was in Jerusalem leading a 20 woman delegation to attend the ordination the next day of Rabbi Chen Ziphoni, who had served as a Marshall T. Meyer Fellow at "BJ."
Israeli author Etgar Keret Meets with Year-In-Israel Students
As part of their weekly Israel seminar, students of the Year-In-Israel program met the renowned Israeli author and scriptwriter Etgar Keret, who has been described as the "voice of Israeli youth." The students were joined by a dozen pupils from the prestigious L'Yad HaUniversita High School. Keret read several of his short stories, including one written recently and yet to be published. He spoke of his interest in finding a synergy between Israeli and Jewish writing, praising the authors Philip Roth and Sholom Aleichem. When asked if he saw himself as representing Israel, Keret responded saying that although some people perceive him as such, he does not assume the responsibility. "I am not paid to be an ambassador," he said. Israel Seminar is a weekly program that takes students out into Israeli society and facilitates their engagement with the land and people of Israel.
Israeli Orthodox Newspaper Publishes Dr. Yehoyada Amir on Franz Rosenzweig
On November 20th, Rabbi Prof Yehoyada Amir wrote the featured showcased article in the mainstream Orthodox newspaper " Makor Rishon's literary supplement commemorating the 80th Yarzeit of philosopher Franz Rosenzweig. This is significant for a number of reasons; first and foremost that this press is recognizing both Reform Rabbi Amir to its mass Orthodox readers and offering Prof. Amir as the leading Rosenzweig scholar in Israel today. No less important is the very fact that Franz Rosenzweig is a subject of interest for this newspaper and its readership.
HUC-JIR/Cincinnati Rabbinical Students Organize the First "Over the Rhine Jewish Benefit" to Support Neighborhood Organizations
Ari Plost, a 4th-year rabbinical student, envisioned and organized the Over the Rhine Jewish Benefit in his role as the Tikkun Olam vice president of the HUC-JIR student government. He explained, "This event reflects our ideals as future rabbis and community leaders who are committed to encouraging pluralism in our society by reaching out to those of all faiths and backgrounds. What makes an urban environment exciting - and Over the Rhine is no exception - is the opportunity for people to come together in order to learn, work, and live together. This is made all the more meaningful when we appreciate how our diverse cultural heritages all reflect a common purpose to help those less fortunate. The strong support for OTRJB by the HUC-JIR community and by the wider Jewish community reflects our commitment to social and economic justice as well as our belief in the existing and future role that the Jewish community can play in revitalizing the Cincinnati community."
Upcoming Events at HUC-JIR

NY Memorial Service for Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, z"l at HUC-JIR, One West 4th Street, New York City - On Sunday, December 13th at 11 am
Student Services, Sermons, Recitals, and more!
Please note that services are curtailed, in part, due to reading week.

Los Angeles - at 10 am:
Dec.7: Schlichai Tzibbur: Stephanie Kramer, Cantor Bernstein; Reading Torah: Heath Watenmaker; Dvar Torah:Jaclyn Fromer; Gabbai: Beau Shapiro
Dec.8: Schlichai Tzibbur: Stephanie Kramer
Dec. 9: Schlichai Tzibbur: Matt Dreffin
Dec. 10: Schlichai Tzibbur: Matt Dreffin, Cantor Kent; Reading Torah: Rebekah Stern; Sermon: Miriam Terlinchamp; Gabbai: Keren Klein

New York -
On December 2nd, Leah Holland presented her Senior Recital on "The Music of Salomon Sulzer: A Tradition of Reform."

Jerusalem - at 8:30 am:
Dec. 7: Leading Services: Esteban Gottfried; Sermon: Ariela Gretz-Bartuv
Dec. 10: Leading Services: Sarah Lauing; Sermon: Molly Plotnick
Spotlight on HUC-JIR's Programs and
Research Resources
CCAR Journal Honors Dr. Eugene B. Borowitz
The Fall issue of The CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, features the published proceedings of the symposium honoring Dr. Eugene Borowitz on the occasion of his 85th birthday on February 20, 2009. The articles include Rabbi Shirley Idelson on "Borowitz in Relationship," Rabbi David Ellenson on "Words of Tribute and Thanksgiving," Dr. Borowitz's introduction to the program, Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi on "Freedom in Covenant: The Contours and Challenges of Eugene B. Borowitz's Theological Quest," Simon Cooper on "Covenantal Mutuality in the Work of Eugene Borowitz," and Rabbi Jonathan Crane on "Naaseh V'Nishma: For Rabbi Eugene B. Borowitz," followed by Dr. Borowitz's response to the questions raised by Beit-Halachmi, Cooper, and Crane. To order a copy, go to or call 212-972-3636, x 243.
Expert in Qur'an Recitation Teaches in Electronic Classroom Course on "Introduction to Islam"
On Wednesday, December 2, Mr. Ensar Demirkan, one of the foremost experts in Qur'an recitation, taught a class in Dr. Reuven Firestone's "Introduction to Islam" bi-coastal course. Students and faculty from the Los Angeles and New York campuses attended the class in the electronic classrooms on their respective campuses. Demirkan demonstrated how Qur'an recitation is used to preserve the oral integrity of the text, and he provided a variety of styles and approaches to the art of Qur'an recitation. As in Judaism, the "ta'amim" were developed in Islam to ensure the proper pronunciation and syntax of oral recitation of the divine word. More so than in Torah trope, however, there has developed a tradition of personal artistic expression and even virtuosity in the recitation of the Qur'an. Students and faculty were privileged to hear some of the most famous Qur'an reciters of the 20th century that have been digitally preserved, and Ensar also demonstrated personally how it is done.
HUC-JIR in the News
HUC-JIR's Ordination in Jerusalem - URJ Israel Connections
Rabbi Marc Rosenstein, Director of the Israel Rabbinical Program, writes about the ordination of six new Israeli Reform rabbis and the honorary degree bestowed upon Orthodox Rabbi Michael Melchior, who he quoted as saying: "in order for a Jewish state to be a Jewish state, it has to treat all of its citizens justly - there must be no 'outsiders, not the Arabs, nor the poor, nor women, nor the elderly, nor the handicapped, nor the youth-at-risk, nor the non-Orthodox denominations."
Jews in the Psyche of America - Institute for Jewish Global Affairs
Dr. Steven Windmueller writes, "The American Jewish experience is unique. Singularly different from other Diaspora encounters, one struggles to understand all of the historical, political, and social factors that have contributed to this exceptional national phenomenon. Yet it is as much an individualized encounter with this society as it is a formal connection to the nation called "America." Just as American society has embraced Jews, American Jewry has fully identified with this nation's core values, thereby creating a unique and significant relationship.
Clergy Sign Petition Urging Obama to Arrest Sudan's President - New Jersey Jewish Standard
On the anniversary of the opening of the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals, 220 Christian and Jewish members of the clergy have sent a petition to President Obama urging the United States to arrest the president of Sudan for his war crimes in Darfur. "More than eight months ago," according to the petition, "Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court for 'war crimes' and 'crimes against humanity,' involving 'intentionally directing attacks against an important part of the civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing, and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians, and pillaging their property.'Signers included Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff, rabbi emeritus, Temple Emanu-El in Westfield, vice president for special projects at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
The Shehecheyanu: Thanksgiving Prayer for All Seasons - The Jewish Week
With Thanksgiving weekend upon us, we wanted to get the dish on the Jewish prayer of gratitude - the shehecheyanu. The shehecheyanu is one of those feel-good things that have obtained an important place in the modern Jewish experience. Notwithstanding its popularity, this ancient prayer has deep roots and fascinating meanings. For the full story, we talked with Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Ritual at HUC and author of Jewish Lights' definitive series on prayer: "My People's Prayer Book." (

"Debbie Friedman and Friends" concert reviewed in:
The Jewish Week
and New Jersey Jewish News
Rabbi Richard Jacobs to Be Honored by NY Board of Rabbis -
Richard Jacobs, senior rabbi of Westchester Reform Temple, is being honored for his public service in the community by the New York Board of Rabbis. Jacobs has led the Scarsdale synagogue that serves about 1,200 households since'91. The author and educator previously served as rabbi of the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue before coming to Westchester. Under his tenure there, the synagogue partnered with the Brooklyn Ecumenical Cooperatives to build more than 300 units of affordable housing in Crown Heights.
"Running Rabbis" and Students Raise Money for Charity -
A group of 10 - six rabbis, two student rabbis, a student cantor and one son of a rabbi - just ran the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 1. They raised nearly $45,000 for the Hole in the Wall Camps, summer camps for children with serious illnesses, and helped send 40 children to have a wonderful summer camp experience. Since the two student rabbis were volunteering at a soup kitchen run by their seminary, Hebrew Union College in Manhattan, they decided to use their participation in the marathon to focus attention on the soup kitchen.

Click here for Matt Sofer's account of running this marathon.
NY Premiere of Senior Cantorial Recital "Bubby's Kitchen" at Museum of Jewish Heritage
Cantor Shira Ginsburg presents the New York premiere of "Bubby's Kitchen," created and first performed by Ginsburg as her Senior Cantorial Recital at HUC-JIR's School of Sacred Music last year. It will be performed by singer and songwriter Ginsburg at The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York on Saturday, December 5th at 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 6th at 2 pm. "Bubby's Kitchen" tells the heartwarming, true story of Shira Ginsburg's journey from youth through her 30s as experienced in her grandmother's kitchen and as part of a family of resistance fighters and Holocaust survivors.
Upcoming Faculty Lectures
Dr. Adam Rubin on "From Herzl to Bibi: The Zionist Idea in Theory and Practice"
Dr. Adam Rubin, Assistant Professor of Jewish History at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, will teach a four-part mini-course at Temple Israel of Hollywood on February 10, 17, 24, and March 3, 2010. Session I will focus on Revival: Exploring the Various Streams of Zionist Ideology in the Pre-State Period. Session II will explore Jewish Politics and Political Jews: Government, State-Building, and the Construction of a Jewish Collective in the Land of Israel. Session III will study The Communal Split: Religious, Cultural, and Ethnic Divisions in the Jewish State. Session IV will discuss A Land Without People? Jews, Arabs, and the Struggle over Israel/Palestine. Dr. Rubin teaches courses on Jewish history, literature, and politics and HUC-JIR and the University of Southern California. With a doctorate in modern Jewish history from UCLA, his academic work focuses on Hebrew and Yiddish culture in Eastern Europe and pre-State Palestine during the 19th and 20th centuries. He is currently writing a book on the Jewish community in Palestine during the period of the British Mandate, entitled Between Sacred and Profane: Judaism, Hebrew Culture, and the Sacralization of the Zionist Project, and has published in Prooftexts, Modern Judaism, and Journal of Modern Jewish Studies.
December Lectures by Dr. Steven M. Cohen
Dr. Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy, will be presenting lectures throughout the month of December at in London, New York, and Jerusalem:

Dec. 2nd - Institute for Jewish Research, London - From Jewish People to Jewish Purpose: The New Age of Social Innovation in American Jewish Life, and its Implications for British Jewry

Dec. 5th - West London Synagogue, London - Two Great Jewries Separated by a Common Language: American and British Jews in Dialogue

Dec. 9th - Center for Jewish History, NY - From Less Fate to More Choice: The Evolution of American Jewish Identities in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Dec. 10th - United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism - Next Dor: The Younger Generation of Jews and the Congregation

Dec. 21st - Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs - The Ethos of Innovative Jewish Leaders Today

Dec. 21st - The Practices and Purposes of Israel Education, The Hebrew University - Intermarried & Indifferent or Active & Alienated: Alternative Obstacles to Israel Engagement among Younger American Jews

Dec. 22nd - The Practices and Purposes of Israel Education, The Hebrew University - Sociology or Ideology - What is Missing in Israel Education?

Dec. 29th - Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem/ International Conference on Conservative Judaism - From Movement to Terrain: Post-Denominational Influences on Conservative Judaism in North America
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

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