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 joyful Shavuot! Please click here for a message from Rabbi David Ellenson and a video by our cantorial students. The next issue of HUCNews will appear on May 27.
News at HUC-JIR
HUC-JIR/Cincinnati Graduation and Ordination Ceremonies 2010
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati will hold Ordination Ceremonies on Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 9 am and Graduation Ceremonies on Sunday, June 6, 2010 at 1 pm. Ordination Ceremonies will take place at Plum Street Temple (726 Plum Street, Cincinnati) and Graduation Ceremonies will take place at Isaac M. Wise Temple (8329 Ridge Road, Cincinnati). Rabbi David Ellenson, President of HUC-JIR, will present honorary degrees and awards to leading academic, communal, and civic leaders; award earned degrees to HUC-JIR's graduates; and ordain the Rabbinical Class of 2010. Please click here to view the national invitation for event details. More...
Roger E. Joseph Prize Speech by Dean G. Lorich, M.D.
The Roger E. Joseph Prize was presented to Dean G. Lorich, M.D., Associate Director of Orthopaedic Trauma Service, Hospital for Special Surgery; Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College; Leader of the Hospital for Special Surgery mission of orthopedic trauma surgeons, nurses, and anesthesiologists to Haiti, at New York Investiture and Ordination Ceremonies on Sunday, May 2, 2010. Dr. Lorich said, "Each one of us is going to be confronted at some time in our lives with the opportunity to help some poor unfortunate souls in some way. It is all too easy to take a left turn and leave that responsibility to someone else as being too difficult or overwhelming or inconvenient. I always tell the orthopaedic residents I train if the medical decisions they are making are based on your own convenience, it ultimately tends to be the wrong decision for the patient. Everyone is here today because they believe in society's greater good. Our reasons for participating in humanitarian causes are individually different. For many, including myself, we feel better about ourselves by helping others. I am grateful for the opportunity God has given me with my training and surgical abilities to directly help people. What my colleagues and I did is not heroic at all, only a natural consequence of what we could and should do. However, I would hope all agree as we look at our children that they see these small acts of kindness and are inspired to the human cause that they may be the next generation of Rosa Parks or Victor Kuglers." More...
NY Ordination and Investiture Address by Barry Shrage, President, Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston
Barry Shrage, President of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, was the speaker at New York Investiture and Ordination Ceremonies on Sunday, May 2, 2010. He said, "I wanted to tell you that this is no time for trepidation, but that this is exactly the moment for courage and not fear, optimism and not pessimism, hope and not despair. I have worked in the Jewish community for over forty years, starting in 1969 (yes, as my son frequently says: since the mighty dinosaurs roamed the earth!) and I think there has never been a better moment or a time of greater promise for American Jewry or for the Reform Movement, which both captures the American Zeitgeist, a culture of radical choice, and can also transform it into something greater, a culture of meaning and purpose. On the surface, this is a time of assimilation and decline. But beneath the surface, renaissance and renewal. For a moment, a brief moment perhaps, the American Jewish community has the power to define itself and to move toward a renaissance of its own design." More...
American Jewish Archives Website Selected for Inclusion in the Library of Congress "Single Site" Project
The United States Library of Congress has selected the website of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) for inclusion in its new Single Site project. The goal of the project is to harvest and archive historic websites covering a diverse array of topics selected by recommending librarians from the Library of Congress. The AJA website features extensive online exhibitions, catalogs, major manuscript and genealogical collections, educational resources, videos, microfilm records, multi-media presentations and more. More...
Leadership Institute for Congregational School Educators Seeking Applicants for Third Cohort of Program Beginning in February 2011
The Leadership Institute for Congregational School Educators is seeking applicants for the third cohort of this program, which will begin in 2011. Guided by the vision and funding of UJA-Federation of New York, this historic initiative allows the New York School of Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and the Davidson School of Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) to work together to further the professional skills and Judaic knowledge of congregational educators. In partnership with the BJE/SAJES of New York, congregational educators are invited to apply for this third cohort and join the LICSE community of learners! The Leadership Institute was established in 2005 to enhance leadership in Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative congregations in New York, Long Island, Westchester and the greater metropolitan region. Focus is given to the areas of leadership, pedagogy, and Judaic knowledge, upon which the Institute curriculum is designed. More...
Rabbi Sheldon Marder (HUC-JIR/NY '78) Honored at Jewish Home of San Francisco
Rabbi Sheldon Marder (HUC-JIR/NY '78) was honored at the Jewish Home of San Francisco for ten years of dedicated service. Participating in the program were Rabbi Janet Marder, Rabbi Martin Wiener, Rabbi Lawrence Raphael, and Rabbi Eric Weiss. Dr. William Cutter, Steinberg Emeritus Professor of Human Relations at HUC-JIR, was the guest speaker at the plenary session. His lecture, entitled "The Legacy of Shelley, Leading People to Still Waters," reflected on Rabbi Marder's love of poetry and his ability to encourage aging and often compromised elders to put their thoughts and feelings into song and rhyme. Rabbi Marder has been able to use the arts in his work, encouraging painting, dance, poetry and music in this unique residence of nearly 500. In addition, Rabbi Marder continues to play a significant role mentoring HUC-JIR's students during their weekend internships, which are funded in part by the home. More...
Zamir Choral Foundation Launches Survey of Jewish Choral Singing
Dr. Diane Tickton Schuster, Visiting Senior Research Fellow at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, in collaboration with Matthew Lazar, founder and director of the Zamir Choral Foundation, and Dr. Ezra Kopelowitz, a Jerusalem-based sociologist, announced the inauguration of the first-ever survey of Jewish choral singing in North America. The effort is designed to elicit information from choral singers of all ages, as well as family members and friends who encourage their efforts by attending concerts and making donations to support their choirs. Special sections of the survey are also geared towards cantors, conductors and other Jewish communal professionals whose work is impacted by Jewish choral singing. For more information, visit the Foundation's website at More...
Father-Son Rabbis Inspire a New Generation of Rabbis
Martin Weiner, Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Sherith Israel of San Francisco and a Past-President of the CCAR, and his son, Daniel Weiner, Senior Rabbi of Temple DeHirsch Sinai in Seattle, WA, will each present an HUC-JIR student for ordination in Los Angeles on May 16, 2010. Joshua Samuels (HUC-JIR/LA '10) grew up at Rabbi Martin Weiner's congregation in San Francisco. Miriam Terlinchamp (HUC-JIR/LA '10) worked at DeHirsch-Sinai and has been mentored by Rabbi Daniel Weiner. More...
Dr. Norman J. Cohen National Symposium – Online Video of the Proceedings
Dr. Norman J. Cohen National Symposium – Online Video of the Proceedings
"Moses and the Journey to Leadership: Visions for the 21st Century," a National Symposium Honoring Dr. Norman J. Cohen, took place across HUC-JIR's stateside campuses on Sunday, April 18, 2010 with presentations and discussion nationally linked through HUC-JIR's e-classroom technology. Organized in tribute to Dr. Norman Cohen, Provost Emeritus and Professor of Midrash, the symposium featured a keynote address by Dr. Cohen on Moses and leadership. Distinguished faculty scholars responded in a national dialogue, live from their campuses in New York, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles, on leadership in the American Jewish community and preparing HUC-JIR's students for their leadership roles. The participants included Rabbi David Ellenson, President; I.H. and Anna Grancell Professor of Jewish Religious Thought; Rabbi Jerome Davidson, National Coordinator of Leadership Initiatives, New York; Rabbi Sam Joseph, Professor of Jewish Education and Leadership Development, Cincinnati; Professor Sara Lee, Director Emerita, Rhea Hirsch School of Education, Los Angeles; and Dr. Steven Windmueller, Dean, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, moderator.

The event is now available to view online. To view the event, please click below:
High Quality - Strong Internet Connection
Lower Quality - Standard Internet Connection

If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to the Dr. Norman J. Cohen Chair, please visit or send your check to: Dr. Norman J. Cohen Chair, HUC-JIR, One West 4th Street, Room 418, New York, NY 10012. For questions, please call Eve Starkman at 212-824-2285. More...
HUC-JIR in the News
Honoring the Memory of Rabbi Michael Signer -
The University of Notre Dame held a symposium marking the publication of a festschrift in memory of Rabbi Michael Signer (HUC-JIR/Cincinnati '70), who served on the faculty at HUC-JIR for more than 15 years. The new book, Transforming Relations: Essays on Jews and Christians throughout History in Honor of Michael A. Signer, is a loving testament to the life's work and passion of a remarkable man. Rabbi David Ellenson, President of HUC-JIR, said "Michael's passion was to introduce friends to friends." All who knew him recognized this sweet truth. The day was truly a celebration of his dynamic career - in both academia and the world of social justice, activity, and education that stemmed from the textual tradition he so loved. More...
Transgender Rabbinical Students Finding Equality in the Jewish World - Jewish Journal
Reuben Zellman, the first transgender rabbinical student at HUC-JIR, and for that matter, in the entire Jewish community, will be ordained as a Reform rabbi on May 16 at a ceremony at Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles. "I chose to become a rabbi because I believe that Judaism has the power to transform people's lives for the better," Zellman said, "[and] to pursue a better and more just world." The notion of pursuing a "more just world" isn't one that Zellman takes lightly. He said he has been welcomed with open arms at Congregation Beth El in Berkeley, where he currently serves as a rabbinic intern. Nevertheless, the Jewish community as a whole is just beginning to understand and accept transgender individuals. Zellman is aware that educating others about transgender inclusion is going to be a part of his calling. Taking steps to become more welcoming and inclusive, Zellman said, is part of our responsibility as Jews. "The Torah reminds us 36 times that we must welcome and be kind to the stranger because we were strangers in the land of Egypt," he said. "We have a cultural memory, a cultural and religious understanding of what it means to be marginal." To hear Zellman explain it, though, many of the issues he has faced are no different than what any of us face - being honest about who we are, being faithful to the calling of our own souls and being brave in the face of adversity. And if we continue to challenge ourselves to be more open-minded, he said, we're on the right path. More...
Glee: TV's Most Jewish Show - HUC-JIR's Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning
Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Ph.D., Director of Continuing Alumni Education, writes, "The most Jewish show on TV? In my opinion it has to be Glee. Each week the songs and story lines revolve around a particular theme, musician or type of music. Excellent execution transforms a somewhat goofy concept -yes, students do just break into song in the gym- into good television. It is also a wonderful contemporary example of the value of intertextuality. The idea that old texts, ie. songs, can resonate if we work to reinterpret them is a very Jewish notion. But in reality, Glee does this kind of reinterpretation each week. The songs chosen, whether based on a theme or an artistic body of work, harken back to the original context and ways in which they were presented. Much like Torah study, the ability to understand the story is greatly enhanced by knowledge of the original texts and contexts in which they existed. The ways in which music, text and meaning interact in the show shares similarities with the ways in which music adds layers of interpretation and meaning to prayer in Jewish worship. In Glee, as in midrash, stories reference each other even as they move in different directions and interpretations of the themes under consideration. More...
Galilee Diary: Reform Zionism -
Marc Rosenstein, HUC-JIR/New York '75 and Director of the Israel Rabbinical Program at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, writes, "Among the programs operating at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem are two different rabbinical training courses: since August, I have been directing the Israel Rabbinic Program, a four-year course of study designed to ordain Israelis to serve as Reform rabbis here. These students tend to be in their 30s and 40s, often already experienced educators, from varied religious and cultural backgrounds. Meanwhile, we share the campus with another 50 or so full-time rabbinical (and cantorial and education) students spending their required first year in Israel before beginning their studies at New York, Cincinnati, or Los Angeles. They tend to be recent college graduates, from Reform backgrounds; their focus here is Hebrew language and Israel studies - and the experience of Jewish peoplehood. People often wonder why we operate two separate programs - after all, they're all learning to be Reform professional leaders. However, it is obviously not so simple - the gaps in age, experience, language, life-stage, and program structure make it quite challenging for the faculty to design even limited joint programs and shared experiences. Having decided to try harder, Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback, Director of the Year-In-Israel Program at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, and I have managed to pull off a couple of interesting experiments this year." Click here to learn more. More...
Faith Professional, Personal for Couple - The Columbus Dispatch
In 1983, Misha Zinkow and Elka Abrahamson were married, and two years later, they were ordained rabbis at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles. Today, Zinkow and Abrahamson are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their ordination. They live in Bexley and are the parents of four. Both are Reform rabbis. Zinkow is senior rabbi at Temple Israel on the East Side. Abrahamson is vice president of leadership programs for the Wexner Foundation. Their marriage has been strengthened because of their shared career and the understanding that comes with it, they said. Zinkow called it "spiritual compatibility." More...
Faculty News
HUC-JIR is proud of our accomplished faculty:
Rabbi Dr. David Aaron, Professor of Hebrew Bible and History of Interpretation at HUC-JIR, has been awarded the Krister Stendahl Medal in Biblical Studies. This award was granted May 7 at the 48th annual graduation ceremony of the Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana. Upon receiving the award, Dr. Aaron spoke briefly to a diverse group of graduating students to share his personal experiences of knowing Dr. Krister Stendahl. Dr. Aaron was simultaneously inducted as an Honorary Fellow of the Foundation, the highest honor the institution may bestow upon a scholar who is not a faculty member. He was joined by his son, Joshua, during the graduation festivities on May 6 and 7. Inaugurated in 2009 in honor of the late Dr. Stendahl, the Krister Stendahl Medal in Biblical Studies is presented once annually to an outstanding scholar in Biblical Studies. Click here for further information.
Debbie Friedman, Instructor in Music at HUC-JIR's School of Sacred Music, has been invited by President and Mrs. Obama to a reception in celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month to be held at the White House on Thursday, May 27, 2010.
Dr. Jonathan Krasner, Assistant Professor of the American Jewish Experience at HUC-JIR/New York, will be the guest scholar in a Webinar to study sacred texts on May 25th with Rabbi Joan Glazer Farber, Adult Learning Specialist at the URJ. The topic for the webinar is "Insiders and Outsiders: Jews and the Civil Rights Movement." Through firsthand accounts and a text study of Rabbi Joachim Prinz's oration at the 1963 March on Washington, this webinar will explore the experiences of Jewish activists in the Civil Rights Movement as Jews. Please click here for further information.
Bonia Shur, Director of Liturgical Arts Emeritus at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, a well known composer not only of Jewish Liturgical Music but also on the concert stage of America, was invited to be the guest composer with the Sarasota Key Chorale/Ft. Meyers Symphonic Chorus at their 25th anniversary celebration at the Sarasota Opera House. During the concert, three of Shur's compositions were featured with great success. In 1998, Shur was invited as a guest conductor of his own work by that same 130 person Chorale. His rousing composition "Kol Ha N'Shemah" with brass and percussion concluded the concert. The Sarasota newspaper said, "It took a composer/conductor from out of town to make the people of our city stand on their feet and scream Bravo". Again on April 25, 2010, they sang three of his works, honoring him publicly. He was told by the conductor, Joseph Caulkins, that a week previously, the Ft. Meyers Symphonic Chorale concluded their concert with three of his works, again with a standing ovation. More...
Upcoming Events
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Announces 2010 Ordination, Investiture, Graduate, and Honorary Degree Recipients
Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) has announced the class of 2010, who will be ordained, invested, and graduated this spring in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and New York. Rabbi Ellenson said, "The Class of 2010 emerges from the College-Institute imbued with leadership skills, steeped in knowledge, strengthened by a commitment to service, and dedicated to bringing hope and healing to our troubled world. As they touch the lives of others through their sacred work as rabbis, cantors, educators, communal professionals, scholars, and pastoral care-givers throughout North America and around the world, they will be a source of inspiration and guidance." Click here to view the national invitation for event details. More...
HUC-JIR/Los Angeles Graduation and Ordination Ceremonies 2010
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles will hold Ordination Ceremonies on Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 10 am and Graduation Ceremonies on Monday, May 17th, 2010 at 3 pm. Ordination will take place at Wilshire Boulevard Temple (3663 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles) and Graduation will take place at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles (3077 University Ave., Los Angeles). Rabbi Ellenson will present honorary degrees and awards to leading academic, communal, and civic leaders; award earned degrees to HUC-JIR's graduates; and ordain the Rabbinical Class of 2010. Click here to view the national invitation for event details. More...
Rabbi Norman J. Cohen to Speak at Louisville Jewish Community Center: May 17 at 7:30 pm in Louisville
The Louisville community is invited to hear Rabbi Norman J. Cohen, former provost of HUC-JIR and this year's Jewish Community of Louisville Goldstein/Leibson Scholar-in-Residence on Monday, May 17, 7:30 p.m., share his unique insights at the Jewish Community Center in the Patio Gallery. The evening's topic, "How the Bible Can Help Me in My Struggles as a Parent and as a Child," will allow the rabbi to do what he does best - use selected midrashim - commentaries on stories from the Bible - to help us confront our own struggles in the world we live in today. He is renowned for his expertise in Torah study and currently is a professor of Midrash at HUC-JIR in New York. For more information, please visit More...
Rabbi David Ellenson at Tikkun Leil Shavuot: May 18 at 10:30 pm at B'nai Jeshurun, NY
Rabbi David Ellenson will participate in a dialogue on "The Jewish Future: What is Essential?" with Dr. Devora Steinmetz at B'nai Jeshurun's Tikkun Leil Shavuot on Tuesday, May 18 at 10:30 pm. Their dialogue will follow services at 8:30 pm and a dialogue between Dr. Deborah Lipstadt and Jonathan Rosen at 9 pm. Dr. Steinmetz is the founder of Beit Rabban and faculty member at Yeshivat Hadar. B'nai Jeshurun is located at 257 West 88th Street (between Broadway and West End Avenue). More...
Putting Faith into Action: May 26 at 10 am in Los Angeles
The Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation at HUC-JIR, California Faith for Equality, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation invite you to Putting Faith into Action, a training that will to maximize your capacity to work effectively at the intersection of LGBT equality and religion. Please join with clergy and lay leaders from congregations and organizations in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 26, 2010, from 10 am to 4 pm at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles (540 South Commonwealth Avenue, Los Angeles). More...
Sex in the Shtetl: The Eastern European Roots of the Modern Jewish Family
Dr. Olga Litvak, the Rabbi Sally J. Priesand Visiting Professor at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, will present a lecture on "Sex in the Shtetl: The Eastern European Roots of the Modern Jewish Family" on Wednesday, May 26, at 7:00 p.m. at Mayerson Hall at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati (3101 Clifton Avenue). The view of the Eastern European Jewish family as the bulwark of tradition against the incursions of the modern world is a much-beloved contemporary cliche. This lecture explores the social and cultural beginnings of the modern Jewish family in late imperial Russia, and will revisit classical imaginative treatments of Jewish family life such as Sholem-aleichem's Tevye the Dairyman, Jabotinsky's The Five and Agnon's The Bridal Canopy. Dr. Litvak is a graduate of Columbia University and specializes in Eastern European and modern Jewish history. She has written and lectured on a wide range of subjects related to the study of Russian Jewry, including urban violence, literary and artistic life, war, revolution and migration. Dr. Litvak currently serves as associate professor at Clark University and holds the Michael and Lisa Leffell Chair in Modern Jewish History. Please RSVP for this event at (513) 487-3231 or More...
The Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology Lecture: May 27 at 5 pm at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
Please join HUC-JIR/Jerusalem and The Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology as Aren Maeir presents "Canaanite, Philistine and Israelite: Excavation at Philistine Gath - Tel Zafit." The lecture, conducted in Hebrew, is designed to present the results of recent archaeological research to the general public in Israel. It will take place on May 27th at 5:00 pm at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. Admission is free. The series is supported by the Fellner Foundation and its Trustee, Mr. Frederick L. Simmons of Los Angeles. More...
Jerusalem Student Services
May 14 at 6 pm: Dvar Torah: Julia Grishchenko
May 17 at 9 am: Drasha: Gila Ken; Shaliah zibur: Haim Shalom More...
New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery

Fine art photographer and fiber artist, Beth Shepherd Peters has created a line of beautiful and meaningful tallitot. Using a unique method, photographs are printed on one side of a pure silk tallit, with the other side being a solid color. The tzit-tzit are wool and hand tied. Each tallit is 17" x 72".

Featured in the picture from left to right:
Sunset in Israel: This tallit is created from a photograph of a sunset in Tel Aviv. The atarah has a Hebrew prayer printed within a stitched border: May the One who causes peace to reign in the high heavens cause peace to reign amoung us, all Israel, and all the world.

White Cosmos: The flowers on this tallit are Cosmos, grown in Beth Shepherd Peter's garden, blooming in the autumn. The soft drape makes it comfortable to wrap yourself in for prayer. The atarah is stitched with a simple border.

Maple Leaves: The leaves on this tallit are from a Japanese Maple Tree in autumn. The atarah has a Hebrew prayer printed within a stitched border: How good it is, and how pleasant, when we dwell together in unity.

Pink Cosmos: The flowers on this tallit are Cosmos, grown in Beth Shepherd Peter's garden, blooming in autumn. The atarah has a Hebrew prayer printed within a stitched border: Grant us peace, Your most precious gift, O Eternal Source of peace, and give us the will to proclaim its message to all of the peoples of the earth.

Each tallit is $360 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 | Support HUC-JIR

(c) 2010 Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion