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News at HUC-JIR
Irwin Engelman Elected Chairman of HUC-JIR Board of Governors
Irwin Engelman has been elected the new Chairman of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors, effective February 9, 2010. A member of the Board of Governors since 2005 and prominent Jewish communal leader, Mr. Engelman has spent his career in executive level management positions, frequently serving in senior roles at major corporations that were going through periods of dynamic and profound change. He succeeds Barbara Friedman, who served as Chair since January 1, 2007.

"Irwin Engelman is a passionate advocate for the College-Institute's mission of preparing leaders for the Reform Movement and the Jewish people," said Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President. "His expertise in finance, extensive experience leading institutional change, and commitment to the Jewish future are a source of tremendous guidance and support as we begin the implementation of our new strategic plan that will advance our mission as the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism."

Rabbi Ellenson added, "On a personal level, I am enormously grateful to Barbara Friedman for her friendship, support, and dedicated leadership as Chair for the past three years. She has been the moving force in the development of a new strategic plan that will sustain our academic excellence, help us achieve financial sustainability, and further strengthen our mission as one, integrated institution. We look forward to her continued involvement in the implementation of our "New Way Forward." The College-Institute has surely been and will remain blessed by her ongoing commitment and dedication to this institution and our mission." More...
Hebrew Union College Annual, Volume 78: Dedicated to the Memories of Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, Chancellor Emeritus of HUC-JIR, and Richard J. Scheuer, Chairman Emeritus, HUC-JIR Board of Governors
Volume 78 of The Hebrew Union College Annual was dedicated to the memories of Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, Chancellor Emeritus of HUC-JIR, and Richard J. Scheuer, Chairman Emeritus, HUC-JIR Board of Governors. This issue of The Hebrew Union College Annual features a dedication essay by Rabbi David Ellenson, as well as articles by professors of Yeshiva University, New York University, University of Notre Dame, Bar-Ilan University, and many others.

Please click here for Rabbi Ellenson's essay and the Table of Contents More...
Adi Bodenstein Named Assistant Director of the Kalsman Institute
It is with great pleasure that the Kalsman Institute introduces the new Assistant Director, Adi Bodenstein. Having recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a Masters degree in Social Work, Adi returned to her hometown of Los Angeles with expertise in areas such as leadership, communication, community building, research, and fundraising. With a passion for growing non-profit organizations and creating new ways to strengthen them, Adi will be of great assistance in the growth of the Institute. More...
Upcoming Events
Student Services, Recitals, Sermons, and more!
Cincinnati - at 10:50 am unless otherwise noted:
Feb. 20 at 10:30: Leading Services: Joshua Leighton
Feb. 22: Leading Services: Sandra Bellush
Feb. 23: Leading Services: Michal Loving
Feb. 24: Leading Services: Brent Guttman
Feb. 25: Leading Services: Jon Kleinman and Jen Lader

Los Angeles - at 10 am:
Feb. 22: Schaliach Tzibbur: Lisa Berney; Reading Torah: Joshua Knobel; D'var Torah: Tamara Wheatley; Gabbai: Heath Watenmaker
Feb. 23: Schaliach Tzibbur: Lisa Berney

New York - at 10 am unless otherwise noted:
Feb. 22: Leading Services: Reading Torah: Daniel Geffen; Gabbai: Daniel Crane
Feb. 23 at 10:45 am: Vicky Glikin and Julia Rubin-Cadrain, third-year cantorial students in the School of Sacred Music, present The Life and Music of Moshe Wilensky. The program, created in honor of Moshe Wilensky's 100th birthday anniversary, describes the life of this prolific composer of Israeli popular music and features some of his most famous compositions, such as "Mul Har Sinai," "Kalaniyot," and "Uri Zion."
Feb. 24 at 10:45 am: School of Sacred Music Senior Cantorial Recital: Maria Dubinsky presents "From Moscow to Jerusalem: Russian and Soviet influence on the development of Shirei Eretz Yisrael."

Feb. 19 at 5:30pm: Leading Services: Julia Grishchenko; Dvar Torah: Jessica Lebovitz
Feb. 20 at 9:30am: Leading Services: Natalie Davidowitz; Dvar Torah: Allison Tick
Feb. 22 at 8:30am: Leading Services: Cantor Tamar Havilio; Sermon: Rabbi Michael Marmur
Feb. 25 at 8:30am: Leading Services: Amanda Greene; Dvar Torah: Mindy Sherry More...
HUC-JIR Recruitment Events
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

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...
The Four Children: Supporting children from interfaith families in the religious school classroom
How can teachers best respond to children who enter our classrooms without a clear message from their parents about religious identity?

Arlene Chernow, Outreach Specialist at the Union for Reform Judaism, will give us some tools and guidance.

Date: Mon 2/22/10
Time: 12:30 to 1:15 pm
Where: Lainer Beit Midrash at HUC-JIR/LA

Bring your own lunch, and we'll provide drinks and dessert! More...
"Our Engagement with Israel: Addressing Personal & Professional Challenges" - Thursday, Feb. 25 from 9-4:30 at HUC-JIR/NY
Please join us at HUC-JIR/New York on Thursday, February 25 from 9:00am - 4:30 pm for a Yom Iyun on "Our Engagement with Israel: Addressing Personal & Professional Challenges." The program will begin by setting the context for personal reflections. Dr. Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy, and Jay Michaelson, columnist for The Forward, Huffington Post, and Zeek, will begin with "What's Happening with American Jewry?" Hear personal reflections from faculty and students and share your thoughts in small groups. The program will continue with "Professional Challenges: Life in the Trenches," led by a panel of Jewish professionals including Rabbi Andy Bachman (Congregation Beth Elohim, Park Slope), Rabbi Deborah Bravo (Temple Emanu-El, Edison, NJ), Cantor Adina Frydman (Synergy, UJA Federation of Westchester), and Mindy Davids (Temple Educator, Temple Sha'aray Tefilah, NYC). The topic of Professional Challenges will continue with "The Place of Israel in Reform Judaism and the Place of Reform Judaism in Israel," a conversation with: Rabbi David Ellenson (President, HUC-JIR), Rabbi Na'ama Kelman (Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem), and Yehudit Werchow (URJ Shlichah & Israel Rabbinical Student). The program will be followed by Minchah. More...
HUC-JIR in the News
The Future of Conservative Jewry -
Arnold M. Eisen, an expert on American Judaism and the seventh chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, observes: "Quality control is so important because any individual's judgment of Conservative Judaism is based on what he or she encounters on the local level. At present we cannot ensure overall quality throughout the movement. We cannot see to it that every school, synagogue, summer camp, and youth group is performing well, let alone make sure that it is good all the time. That quality control is a genuine problem in part results from the structure of the Conservative movement. Reform has a distinctive edge in this matter thanks to the existence of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), which is a unified organization. There is one person at the top of its hierarchy, Rabbi Eric Yoffie. Together with Rabbi David Ellenson, the President of HUC-JIR, he sets most of the course for Reform Judaism." More...
'Our' rabbi: Albert Plotkin -
Considering the rabbi he would go on to become, Albert Plotkin's 1943 debut at HUC-JIR was less than auspicious. He hadn't done well on his entrance exam, and he was on academic probation because he'd learned no Hebrew as an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame. "They had great football teams," Plotkin writes in "Rabbi Plotkin," his 1992 memoir, "but they didn't give you any Hebrew." Plotkin, who received the degree of Rabbi, Master of Hebrew Letters, in 1948, two weeks after the State of Israel was born, passed away February 3 at the age of 89. Rabbi Stephen Kahn, the current spiritual leader of what is now known as Congregation Beth Israel in Arizona, said "I don't know what we'll do this year. He [Plotkin] still preached old school. No notes, no written speech, straight from the heart, and then he had that huge voice. He was, will always be ... a big presence in the synagogue." More...
Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh has joined Jewish Family & Children's Service as the agency's new Jewish community chaplain -
Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh has joined Jewish Family & Children's Service as the agency's new Jewish community chaplain. She joins the staff with extensive expertise in providing spiritual guidance to families and individuals experiencing physical and emotional loss. She previously served as a Rabbi at United Hebrew Congregation in St. Louis, and most recently served as a Rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Sydney, Australia. Hersh received her Bachelors degree in Government/Philosophy from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and was ordained as a Rabbi at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati. More...
JTS Revamps Cantorial School -
To squelch reports on the Internet that the cantorial school at Jewish Theological Seminary was closing, Alan Cooper, the seminary's provost, sent a memo to the faculty last week assuring it that the school would remain open and that there were no plans to merge with the cantorial school of the Reform movement's Hebrew Union College. However, he said, the seminary hopes to improve its collaboration with HUC both in Israel and New York. Rabbi Daniel Nevins, dean of the rabbinical school who will oversee the cantorial school, said in an e-mail to the JTS community that he assumes the cantorial school's director will be a cantor. He said also that there would be "increased cooperation" with Hebrew Union College cantorial students on "certain non-liturgical aspects of musical training." More...
Faculty News
HUC-JIR is proud of our accomplished faculty:
Rabbi Leonard S. Kravitz and Dr. Kerry M. Olitzky wrote "The Book of Esther: A Modern Commentary," published by the URJ Press. From the authors of classic commentaries on Lamentations, Jonah, Ruth, the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and Pirke Avot comes this new volume on the Book of Esther. Rabbis Kravitz and Olitzky shed new light on this familiar story by combining traditional rabbinic views and contemporary literary criticism to create a readable and relevant commentary. More than the centerpiece of Purim celebrations, Esther is unique in the biblical canon, and raises as many questions as it reveals answers. It is a rich source for text study, at Purim and throughout the year. The volume is number nine in the series and it completes five megillot.

Michael Chernick's book "A Great Voice That Did Not Cease: The Growth of the Rabbinic Canon and Its Interpretation" (Hebrew Union College Press, 2009) was reviewed in both the Winter 5769/2009 edition of Jewish Book World and the publication Shofar. The Jewish Book World wrote: "Despite the colorful painting on the cover, this book is not a light read. It is a dense monograph, tracking subtle shifts in the methods used by the rabbis to interpret texts. Chernick uses some of the new technologies now available to Talmudists, including databases with transcribed Talmudic manuscripts and advanced search engines, to lay the groundwork for his survey." Jacob Neusner wrote in Shofar: "What he (Chernick) has accomplished in this important and exemplary work is the presentation of elaborate models of what a dictionary of the language of Talmudic and Rabbinic hermeneutics would look like if it covered more than the approximately dozen cases treated so elaborately here. Chernick has written a series of elaborate encyclopedic entries and has definitively solved the problem of explaining their meaning and use. His book deserves a place in every library of Talmudic study with special reference to hermeneutics and is a model of how to spell out the meaning and message of the interpretive processes of the ancient Rabbinic canon."

Dr. Amira Meir, a member of the HUC-JIR/Jerusalem faculty, participated in the International Conference in Jewish Studies about "The Heritage of Italian Jewry." The conference took place at the University of Palermo in Lecce and the Pontifical Gregorian Universita in Rome. Dr. Meir chaired the opening session in Rome where the Magnifico Rettore of the Gregoriana, Prof. Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, and the Head of the Bea center for Judaic Studies in the Gregoriana, Prof. Father Thomas Casey, participated. They are both great supporters of promoting Jewish Studies in Rome, and emphasized it in their warm welcoming words. The subject of Dr. Meir's presentation was "'And there are none to say restore: Sforno's Commentary to the Pentateuchal Poetry." More...
New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery in New York
Bring some color to your Sabbath table with this detailed challah plate. Created by ceramic artist Gaia Smith from Jerusalem, Israel, this challah plate is porcelain with 14k gold and colored detailing. 13.5" x 10." $320 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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