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News at HUC-JIR
Founder's Day at HUC-JIR
Each year, Founders' Day programs commemorate the vision of HUC-JIR's founders: Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise. New York: Rabbi Lance Sussman will present a lecture at services on March 18 at 10:05 a.m. on "New York State of Mind: Stephen S. Wise and the Founding of the Jewish Institute of Religion" Rabbi Sussman, Ph.D., is Senior Rabbi of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, PA. Cincinnati: Founders' Day Services on March 24 at 10:50 a.m. will honor the memory of Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, z"l, Chancellor Emeritus of HUC-JIR. Dr. Gottschalk's writings and speeches will be featured as the readings and creative liturgy in the service. Members of his family and friends in the Cincinnati area will be invited as special guests to attend this tribute. Los Angeles: Students and faculty gathered in the Hilborn Synagogue on February 9 for a Shacharit (morning) service in memory and honor of those who created this institution and the Reform Movement. The community prayed from Isaac Mayer Wise's prayer book Minhag America, offering prayers in his elegant English and a Hebrew which he revised considerably from the traditional text. More...
Advisors Convene for Kalsman Roundtable on Judaism and Health Research
HUC-JIR's Kalsman Institute was recently awarded a grant by the John Templeton Foundation to help develop a scholarly foundation for the field of Judaism, health and healing. The two leading health and religion researchers in the nation, Jeff Levin and Ken Pargament, travelled to Southern California earlier this month to advise and shape the Kalsman Roundtable on Judaism and Health Research. The Kalsman Institute is pleased to announce that in 2011, the first major research-focused roundtable on Judaism and Health will convene. The Kalsman Roundtable will engage influential researchers and scientists, congregational and pastoral leadership, and medical practitioners in cross-sectional dialogue and research that will develop, shape, and extend the reach of the Jewish healing movement. More...
HUC-JIR Joins Global Day of Jewish Learning
HUC-JIR is proud to announce that it has become a supporting partner of the Global Day of Jewish Learning, November 7, 2010. On that day, Jewish communities around the world - from Washington, DC to Paris and from Moscow to Buenos Aires - will be uniting in the study of Jewish texts. The event marks the completion of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz's historic Talmud commentary. On that day, Rabbi Steinsaltz will symbolically write the final lines of his monumental work, bringing to a close a 45-year project that comprises 45 volumes. To date, over 40 communities across North America are already engaged in Global Day activities. The Global Day of Jewish Learning is a once-in-a-lifetime event; HUC-JIR is proud to be participating in it. More...
New York Public Library Displays the Rose Haggadah
The New York Public Library will exhibit the Rose Haggadah in the McGraw Rotunda on the third floor of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building from March 25 through April 18, 2010. The three-volume Rose Family Passover Books illuminate passages of the Passover story through the artwork of celebrated 20th century American artists. The Rose Haggadah has been a work in progress growing annually by one piece since 1947. The personal family initiative not only documents generational artistic tastes, but provides a unique record of the dynamic art world over the last 63 years. HUC-JIR Museum Curator Laura Kruger has been an advisor to Sandra Priest Rose in the development of this project in recent years. The Rose Haggadah, which is only available for viewing to the public once a year, includes art from 63 leading figures in the field. The books include the work of: caricaturist David Levine known for his political drawing from The New York Review; painter Frank Stella; feminist artist Judy Chicago (whose drawings for the Rose Haggadah were exhibited at the HUC-JIR Museum in "Judy Chicago: Jewish Identity" and who will receive an honorary doctorate from HUC-JIR at Graduation in Cincinnati on June 6, 2010); caricaturist Al Hirschfeld; photographer Joan Roth (whose photographs of Jewish women in the Former Soviet Union were exhibited in the "Project Kesher" exhibition at the HUC-JIR Museum); and social realist painter and printmaker Jack Levine. The Library will display a spread from one volume of the Rose Haggadah alongside a video presentation of images contained in all three volumes. More...
Upcoming Events
Student Services, Sermons, Practica, Recitals, Thesis Presentations, and more
Cincinnati - at 10:50 am unless otherwise noted:
Mar. 6 at 10:30: Leading Services: Laila Haas
Mar. 8: Leading Services: Nicole Roberts and Michal Loving
Mar. 9: Leading Services: Matt Cohen
Mar. 10: Leading Services: Jen Lader
Mar. 11: Leading Services: David Gerber and Stephanie Clark

Los Angeles - at 10 am:
Mar. 8: Schaliach Tzibbur: Jaclyn Fromer; Reading Torah: Ilana Mills; D'var Torah: Adam Wright; Gabbai: Heath Watenmaker
Mar. 11: Schaliach Tzibbur: Jaclyn Fromer and Cantor Kent; Reading Torah: Daniel Brook; Sermon: Ethan Bair; Gabbai: Rachel Ackerman

New York - at 10 am unless otherwise noted:
Mar. 8: Rabbi: Rachel Van Thyn; Cantor: Lesile Niren; Reading Torah: Sydney Henning; Gabbai: Scott Fox; Dvar Torah: Jay Rapoport
Mar. 9 at 10:45am: School of Education Practica: Tifani Coyot presents "A Multi-Sensory Curriculum for Adults on Developing a Meaningful Prayer Experience." David Vaisberg presents "Keep it Together, Keep it Real: Holistic Healthy Living For Teenage Jews." The goal of David's curriculum is to empower adolescents through Jewish wisdom to make healthy balanced lifestyle decisions in the midst of their teenage experimentation and development.
Mar. 10 at 10:45 am: School of Sacred Music Senior Cantorial Recital: Raina Siroty presents "The Life and Legacy of Hazzan Gershon Sirota," about the life of her Great-great uncle and of one of Poland's greatest Hazzanim, Gershon Sirota. As an artist, ba'al t'fillah,and upstanding member of Warsaw's Jewish community, Gershon Sirota put an indelible mark on the art of hazzanut today.Through the research of his life, and explaining the role that chazzanut had to the Jews at that time, she incorporates the legacy of Sirota into the larger picture of chazzanut in the early 20th century and shows how important Sirota was in bringing chazzanut to the immigrants of America, and countries abroad.
Mar. 11: Reading Torah: Aviva Kolet; Gabbai: Elana Rosen Brown; Sermon: Cassi Kail

Mar. 6 at 9:30am: Leading Services: Marc Kasten; Dvar Torah: Jonah Zinn
Mar. 8 at 9am: Drasha: Esteban Gottfried; Shaliah Zibur: Tlalit Shavit
Mar. 11 at 8:30am: Leading Services: Bess Wohlner; Dvar Torah: Eric Mollo More...
HUC-JIR Honors Democratic Legislator and Public Servant: Representative Henry A. Waxman
HUC-JIR cordially invites you to honor Representative Henry A. Waxman (CA-D), Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa and a Distinguished Democratic Legislator and Public Servant. Please join us at the Los Angeles campus on Sunday, March 14 from 11am to 12pm for a presentation and remarks. More...
Ruth Weisberg: Drawings from The Open Door Haggadah
Please join us at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles on Sunday, March 14 from 3:30 to 5 pm for an artist's reception with Ruth Weisberg in conjunction with her exhibit titled "Ruth Weisberg: Drawings from The Open Door Haggadah." The program will also include a dialogue with Rabbi Laura Geller, Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanuel, Beverly Hills. RSVP online or call Delicia Sauerwald at 213.765.2106 or via email to The exhibition is organized by the Jewish Artists Initiative of Southern California and is on view from January 28 - May 31, 2010. More...
HUC-JIR in the News
Remembering Avi Gross Schaefer: Student, Soldier, Future Peacemaker - The Forward
Rabbi David Ellenson, President of HUC-JIR, gave the eulogy at Avi Gross Schaefer's funeral. He said, "Avi Gross Schaefer, a 21-year-old veteran of the Israel Defense Forces and a freshman at Brown University, was killed almost instantly February 12, after being hit by a car driven by a drunken driver. Rabbi Arthur Gross Schaefer and his wife, Laurie Gross, a prominent artist, have lost a son, and the wider world lost someone who was primed to make a difference as a peacemaker. I knew him from the day he was born, and I watched him develop over the years into the young man he was still in the process of becoming. Schaefer's nuanced understanding of the complexity and tragedy that marked the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians made him mature beyond his years. He acted as he did because his conscience compelled him to promote reconciliation, even as he worked, as a soldier, to ensure the survival and safety of his people. Avi Gross Schaefer was the best of our youth. He understood that God calls us to the task of creating community, and because he was true to that task, his life shines out in an instructive and commanding way; his memory is a blessing." More...
Stuart Matlins: Visionary for the People of the Book - The Jewish Journal
In light of our status as the People of the Book, there is no doubt one of our Top Jews is the visionary Stuart Matlins, Governor Emeritus at HUC-JIR. An accomplished businessman, Matlins left a lucrative career in management consulting to create Jewish Lights Publishing, which is now a major force in Jewish publishing. When explaining his strong ties to Judaism, he said, "God said to us, 'You should be a light unto the nations,' and so part of my reason for being a Jew is to help bring light to the world - in our values and understanding of the responsibility to help repair the world. While all that is important and intellectually interesting, the emotional side, the irrational side, is: 'I feel that's who I am - that's part of my destiny. Here in my kishkas, I am a Jew.' And it's very important to me and to Antoinette, my wife, that we help other Jewish people have this connection too." More...
Jews Responding to the Earthquake in Haiti - HUC-JIR's Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning
Amy Schwartzman, senior rabbi at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA, and President of the Rabbinic Alumni Association at HUC-JIR, is recognized nationally for her social justice work. She is working with Temple Rodef Shalom to look beyond the headlines in thinking about how best to form their communal response to the recent earthquake in Haiti. She writes, "We are those ordinary citizens and our Jewish tradition and commitment to tikkun olam calls us to not only offer comfort to the people of Haiti but to offer our resources, our creativity, our time and our energy to restore this nation. As our rabbis taught - 'it is not for us to complete the task, but neither are we free to refrain from engaging with it' (Pirke Avot 2:21)." More...
Spiegel Seminars at Hebrew Union College Bring Domestic Violence to the Classroom - Jewish Women International
When Marcia Spiegel founded the Spiegel Seminars on Jewish Family Values at HUC-JIR in 1984, she sought to change the way Jewish professionals viewed stigmatized issues in the Jewish community - including domestic abuse. States Ms. Spiegel, "The goal was to provide insights and information to budding professionals so that the voices of victims would be heard and helped to become survivors and thrivers." As a graduate of the HUC-JIR's School of Jewish Communal Service, Ms. Spiegel confronted issues of abuse in her personal and professional spheres and found community leaders preferred to perpetuate the silence instead of providing support for survivors. "For many years, helping professionals responded to those who presented cases of sexual or domestic violence by saying, 'What are you doing to cause this? Jews don't do it!' While we are beginning to accept that Jews 'do this,' too often these professionals don't identify the problem or know where to refer an individual for help," Ms. Spiegel says. More...
This Rabbi Wears Combat Boots - Reform Judaism Magazine
Captain Sarah Schechter, one of only two Reform rabbis on active duty in the U.S. military, reveals what it's like to serve as a chaplain in the Air Force during this time of war. She says, "All I knew, from a very young age, is that I wanted to see the world and live an adventure. And I did just that. Between 1986, when I graduated from the "Fame" high school in New York, and 1996, when I entered Hebrew Union College's rabbinic school, I went to Israel on the Reform Movement's college and kibbutz program; conducted research in Japan on the history of its Jewish community and on Israeli-Japanese trade relations; helped the chevra kadisha (Jewish burial society) in Kobe, Japan, to which I belonged, when an elder of the community died (and I was only 19 years old); worked in Tokyo as a Nippon Telephone and Telecommunications interpreter; freelanced for the Consulate of Israel as an interpreter for visiting Israeli delegations; and enjoyed an apprenticeship as a student of Tea Ceremony under a renowned tea master, through whom I was introduced to Kiko-san, one of the princesses of Japan. By the spring of 1994, as the last cherry blossoms were falling off of their branches, I realized that I, too, might fall off mine if I didn't return to my roots in the United States. For the next three years I worked as a researcher for the think-tank/investment bank Nomura Research Institute, which was then located at the World Financial Center, next door to the World Trade Center. But in 1999 Nomura began downsizing, and I feared my position would be eliminated. Unsure of what to do now, I called my mother. More...
The World's First-ever Black Female Rabbi -
Cleveland Heights native Alysa Stanton who, according to scholars, became the world's first-ever black female rabbi when she was ordained last June in Cincinnati, is the resident rabbi of a small synagogue in Greenville, North Carolina, a town about one hour and 15 minutes southeast of Raleigh. "We live in the middle of the Bible Belt," Stanton said in a recent telephone interview. "But I tell my Christian colleagues, 'We're all playing for the same team, just different positions.' " More...
Faculty News
HUC-JIR is proud of our accomplished faculty:
Dr. Richard S. Sarason, Professor of Rabbinic Literature and Thought, will be scholar-in-residence at Beth Tikva Congregation in Hoffman Estates, IL (a Chicago suburb) on March 12-13, where he will be speaking and teaching on "Whoever Sings Prays Twice: Music as a Vehicle for Prayer," sharing musical examples along the way.

In early May, Dr. William Cutter, Steinberg Emeritus Professor of Human Relations at HUC-JIR/LA, will be the speaker at the celebration of Sheldon Marder's Tenth Anniversary as chaplain to the SFO Home for the Aging. His subject will be Looking Faith in the Face--a Jewish way of being. Later in May, he will be scholar in Residence for "Havurah", a group of 15 young rabbis who gather annually in Arizona for study. This year's theme will be "Renewing The Art of Hebrew"--Three modern poets who have re-created the Hebrew: Dahlia Ravikovitch; Yehuda Amichai; Natan Zach. The first two weeks in June, Dr. Cutter will be working in Jerusalem with Sugiyot Chaim, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem's public education program there on health and healing.
New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery in New York
Celebrate your Passover seder with this glazed ceramic matzah plate. The plate was individually formed to emulate hand-made matzah by Barbara Krohn, a leading New York ceramist, for Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Textured stoneware, 11" diameter, $180 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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