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News at HUC-JIR
Sherman Grancell's 100th Birthday Feted at HUC-JIR/LA
The Los Angeles campus community was honored to celebrate the 100th birthday of Sherman Grancell, son of Anna and IH Grancell, of blessed memory, on Thursday, February 4, 2010. Mr. Grancell's parents were among the founding families of the Los Angeles School and the Anna Grancell Student Center is one of the most-often used spaces on campus. The Grancell Student Center is the primary space for student events, faculty lectures, classes, campus-wide celebrations, and many other activities. Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, holds the Anna and IH Grancell Chair of Jewish Religious Thought. More...
Recruitment Open House at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
The Jerusalem campus invites prospective students to an open house on Thursday, February 25. Sit in on classes, mingle with HUC-JIR students and faculty in Jerusalem, and explore career opportunities in HUC-JIR's rabbinical, cantorial, education, Jewish communal service, and graduate studies programs. For more information, please view the Jerusalem campus calendar at More...
HUC-JIR Recruitment Staff is Coming to YOU!
Rabbi Faith Joy Dantowitz will be the featured speaker at the NYU Kesher Shabbaton on Friday, February 19. The event will include students from many universities, including Rutgers, Columbia, Princeton, and more. It will be held at the NYU Bronfman Center, located at 7 East 10th Street in Manhattan. Services will begin at 6:00pm, followed by dinner at 7:00pm, and learning at 8:00pm with Rabbi Dantowitz. For more information, please contact More...
Melissa Zalkin Stollman's Website Rabbinical Thesis on Jewish Peoplehood
Melissa Zalkin Stollman's thesis, entitled "Envisioning Jewish Peoplehood Beit Knesset Yisrael: Envisioning the Place of Am Yisrael in the Lives of North American Reform Jews," is not in a paper document filled with chapters, but a website filled with pages, links, blog posts, "tweets," YouTube videos and music. This dynamic format, the first to be submitted to fulfill the requirement for ordination, may pave the way for other students to express their creativity when completing HUC-JIR's fifth-year thesis requirements. The pages are not lacking in the substantive research or content that one would expect to find in a traditional thesis; but they are also filled with educational and creative content to be used by educators, clergy and lay leaders in Reform congregations Using new and creative ways to look at holidays, children's books, and Jewish music through a "peoplehood lens," she incorporates enduring understandings, rationales, downloads and discussion questions, as well as a new ritual for celebrating Aliyah within a Reform context as a peoplehood ritual. More...
Upcoming Events
Student Services, Sermons, Recitals, and more!
Cincinnati - at 10:50 am unless otherwise noted:
Feb. 13 at 10:30 am: Leading Services: Jean Eglinton
Feb. 16: Leading Services: Jason Levine
Feb. 17: Leading Services: David Spinrad
Feb. 18: Leading Services: Ari Lorge

Los Angeles - at 10 am:
Feb. 18: Schaliach Tzibbur: Cantor Kent and Rabbi Zoe Klein; Reading Torah:Greg Weisman; Sermon: Samantha Orshan; Gabbai: Ethan Bair

New York - at 10 am unless otherwise noted:
Feb. 16: Leading Services: Rabbi: Sydney Hanning; Cantor: Sarah Krevsky
Feb. 17 at 10:45 am: School of Sacred Music Senior Cantorial Recital: Donna Mashadi Azu on "The Music of the Jews of Persia." She will be singing the music heard in the Synagogue, life cycle music, as well as secular Persian Folk songs in Farsi.
Feb. 18: Leading Services: Rabbi: Sydney Hanning; Cantor: Sarah Krevsky; Reading Torah: Nancy Bach; Gabbai: Lauren Phillips; Sermon: Ann Landowne

Feb. 13 at 9:30 am: Leading Services: Rachel Levin, Keara Cummings; Dvar Torah: Ethan Prosnit More...
Biblical Archaeology Lecture - Feb. 18 at 5 p.m. at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
The Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology will present a slide lecture by Dan Bahat on "The Transition between the Hashmonaean Temple Mount and Herod's Temple Mount" on Thursday, February 18 at 5 pm at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, 13 King David Street. This lecture, in Hebrew, is part of the lecture series "News in Archaeology 2009-2010" supported by the Fellner Foundation and its Trustee, Frederick L. Simmons. Admission is free. More...
HUC-JIR in the News
Banning the Burqa - LA Jewish Journal
Dr. Reuven Firestone, Professor of Medieval Jewish Studies writes: These new developments in France remind me of a similar move almost exactly two centuries ago when Napoleon called a Grand Sanhedrin in 1807. That was when an assemblage of Jewish notables was put under intense government pressure to change thousands of years of Jewish tradition in order to conform to French sensibilities. The Jewish leaders were asked 12 questions that were intended to determine whether Jews were worthy of French citizenship. They included such questions as whether it was acceptable in Jewish law for Jews to marry Christians or whether Jews were allowed to be usurious toward non-Jews. The Jewish leaders fudged their answers, wrote in vague language and were not entirely forthcoming (to say the least). Their answers nevertheless passed muster, but "passing" required, among other stipulations, that the Jewish leaders condemn all "false interpretations of their religious laws." How would that be determined? Who would rule on the so-called "false interpretations?" The trade-off for citizenship was the denial of the unique value of our religious culture and the vibrant nature of Jewish religious discourse. The result was, among other things, a huge wave of assimilation and loss of Jewish identity. More...
New York as America's Jewish Capital City - eJewishPhilanthropy
Steven Windmueller, Ph.D., Dean of HUC-JIR/LA and the Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Chair in Jewish Communal Service, writes:
Today, there are multiple centers of Jewish life within this country, in part augmenting and supplanting New York's claim as America's Jewish "capital". Demographic changes, institutional and communications options, and emerging cutting edge markets, all are contributing to the redistribution of Jewish intellectual, political and social power across the United States. The decline of great Jewish cities is not unique to New York, as Jewish history is replete with stories of such urban transitions. Historically, the change of trade routes and the emergence of political regimes hostile to Jewish economic and religious interests leading to forced conversions, discrimination, and explosion have contributed to population shifts and the transfer of wealth. In more contemporary times, as economic opportunities emerged and as the technology revolution developed, individuals were in a position to engage in business and professional ventures globally, thereby removing the reliance on any one place to geographically represent the base of power for a particular community or group. Similarly, as Jews have acculturated and assimilated into the American experience, they have been increasingly welcomed in all sectors of society, allowing them to pursue personal and professional opportunities wherever such options would become available. In turn, American society has embraced Judaism as part of the multicultural and pluralistic environment that over time has defined this nation. Over the course of the past half century American Jews have had occasion to benefit from this openness, leading in part to further geographical redistribution of populations. More...
Engaging New Torah Queeries - The Philadelphia Jewish Voice
There is often a brilliance to the Torah commentary of those who have been oppressed just for who they are. Such individuals often have an ability to see from a different angle, termed "bent" in the poignant non-fiction lament and solidarity of Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible. The Reform Movement's HUC-JIR ordained Elliot Kukla, the first rabbi admitted as a woman and ordained as a man, in 2006. He wrote in his commentary on parshat Shemot probably the most memorable lines in Torah Queeries. As a youth on a family retreat with the Buddhist scholar Rimpoche, Kukla was caught repeatedly ringing a gong during silent meditation. He recalls Rimpoche first telling him that nothing is inherently wrong with ringing a gong, but there was a lesson to learn. Kukla learned from Rimpoche that "The key in growing...would be to figure out the right moments to ring the gong and when I needed to respect the silence." This commentary, like many in the volume, helps us understand what sexual repression and societal oppression of those who are different sounds like and feels like. He urges us to, like the title of his commentary, be "Making Noise for Social Change" on gender matters. More...
Religion Briefs - The Huntsville Times
Professor Joel M. Hoffman, author of the newly published "And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible's Original Meaning," looks at the inaccurate or misleading English translations of the Hebrew Bible and of the New Testament passages that quote from it. Hoffman has served on the linguistic faculty at Brandeis University and HUC-JIR. He is the chief translator for the 10-volume series "My People's Prayer Book," and author of "In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language." He spoke at Temple B'nai Sholom in Huntsville, AL, on Wednesday, February 10, as part of his four-city Southern States Jewish Literary Series tour coordinated by the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. More...
Faculty News
HUC-JIR is proud of our accomplished faculty:
Dr. Michael J. Cook will be delivering eight presentations (thirteen topics) in the Atlanta area, Feb. 19-22. He will deliver five as "Scholar-in-Residence" at Temple Sinai (Feb. 19-21). He will then present a five-subject keynote for the Sandy Springs Interfaith Clergy Association (Feb. 21). Finally, he will lead two other presentations for the Study Kallah of the Atlanta Rabbinical Association (Feb. 22).
Rabbi Sam Joseph was Scholar-in-Residence for the Midwest Area Reform Rabbis (MWARR-CCAR) Convention in Phoenix, AZ on January 23-25, 2010. His topic was "The Rabbi Surviving the Addictive Congregation." He spent December first in Hong Kong with the congregation he helped found 20 years ago and then he traveled to Shanghai to help start a liberal congregation there.
Dr. Leonard Kravitz, professor of Midrash and Homiletics at HUC-JIR and the Scholar-in-Residence at Temple Shalom in Naples, FL on January 29-31, led the lecture series "The World According to Rabbi Kravitz." At Shabbat services Friday evening, he presented "Where Do Jews Belong?" and reviewed some of the logical implications of that question. After Havdalah services on Saturday, Dr. Kravitz questioned "Is The World The Way It Is Because God Made It That Way?" He discussed why the most perplexing issues of the Middle Ages are the ones we face today. On Sunday morning, Dr. Kravitz took a closer look at the future of Reform Judaism. More...
New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery in New York
Participate in the tradition of giving with a timeless olive tree tzedakah box by the world's preeminent Judaic glass artist, Steve Resnick. $375 plus shipping and handling. To purchase, please contact: 212-824-2218,

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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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