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

News at HUC-JIR
Jim Joseph Foundation Announces $15 Million Grant to HUC-JIR to Advance Jewish Education
The Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF) today announced that a $15 million grant over six years has been awarded to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, including nearly $1 million granted in September 2009, as part of a continued concentrated effort to increase the number of credentialed future Jewish educators and to improve the quality of professional preparation and Jewish education they receive. This grant is part of the $45 million in JJF grants that have been awarded to the three leading training institutions for Jewish educators: HUC-JIR, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Yeshiva University. These grants represent multi-year investments and a partnership between the foundation and the three institutions. The funding provides financial aid for students pursuing education degrees or certification in programs that prepare them to work with Jewish youth and young adults. The grants will also assist each institution in planning, staffing and implementing new and enhanced programs designed to attract more educators to the field.

Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, stated, "We are enormously grateful to the Jim Joseph Foundation for this historic, potentially transformative gift to advance the training of Jewish educators at HUC-JIR, which will enable us to recruit larger numbers of talented and motivated individuals, provide them with the necessary depth of knowledge, and nurture their creativity and aspirations so that they may serve the growing educational needs of the Jewish community. We are honored that our institution has been chosen to strengthen the crucial role of Jewish educators in ensuring the vitality of Jewish identity, practice, and values through shalshelet haKabbalah -- the chain of Jewish teaching and learning." More...
Jane F. Karlin, Ph.D. Appointed Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), has announced the appointment of Jane F. Karlin, Ph.D., as Vice President for Institutional Advancement, as of July 12, 2010. "We are delighted to welcome Dr. Jane F. Karlin, who brings extensive expertise in institutional advancement, from major gifts, foundation relations, planned gifts and bequests, and donor stewardship to capital and special initiatives, research and technology readiness for capital campaign fundraising, corporate gifts, and annual giving," said Rabbi Ellenson. "The College-Institute looks forward to Dr. Karlin's vision and leadership in guiding our capital and annual fund campaigns, supporting executive staff and volunteers, and supervision of national and regional staff development." More...
Los Angeles Ordination Address by Dr. Steven F. Windmueller, Dean and Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Chair in Jewish Communal Service, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles
Dr. Steven F. Windmueller, Dean and Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Chair in Jewish Communal Service at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, was the speaker at Los Angeles Ordination Ceremonies at Wilshire Boulevard Temple on Sunday, May 16, 2010. He said, "In such transformative moments, leaders are challenged to re-envision the core elements of society. Having listened to your sermons and having welcomed the occasion to study with you, earlier in this academic year, we considered your questions and concerns related to leading and serving the Jewish people during these transitional times. The place of spirituality, the complexities of making religious choices, the opportunities to test new ideas in a changing and competitive marketplace; these themes, and others, were reflected in your sermons, papers and thesis over the course of your tenure at the College-Institute. This struggle with complexity will define 21st century leadership: welcome to your time in history. Understanding these new core realities may help you embrace this challenging period in which you will begin your rabbinate." More...
Podcast of Los Angeles Graduation Address by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean's Chair, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean's Chair Vice President at American Jewish University, was the speaker at Los Angeles Graduation Ceremonies at the HUC-JIR Los Angeles campus on May 17, 2010. He said, "We live in a very interesting time. Denominational identity does not mean at all what it meant 15, 20, 25, 50 years ago. It may well be that we are the most fluid generation of Jews in the history of our people. You do not live where you were raised; your parents often do not live where they were raised. You chose partners as you want in categories your parents didn't even know were categories. And the level of our freedom extends to our geography, our labels, and recently to our transcending of labels. We live in an age in which I think it is still true that institutions have denominational labels but more and more individuals do not. You may be a member of a Reform congregation or a Conservative congregation, that doesn't make you a Reform Jew or Conservative Jew. More and more we take seriously that we are Jews first." More...
Dr. Gary P. Zola Invited to Attend White House Reception Honoring Jewish American Heritage Month
Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives-one of the original conveners of Jewish American Heritage Month in 2006-has been invited to attend the first ever White House Jewish American Heritage Month Reception on Thursday, May 27, 2010 with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The White House press office issued a statement saying that the reception will serve as an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the range and depth of Jewish American heritage and contributions to American culture, with guests representing the many walks of life that have helped weave the fabric of American history. The vision for a national month to celebrate Jewish contributions to American history was developed following the highly successful 2004-2005 celebration of the 350th anniversary of American Jewish life. Also invited is Rabbi Alysa Stanton (HUC-JIR/Cincinnati '09), the first African-American woman rabbi ordained by HUC-JIR. More...
HUC-JIR Students to Travel to Germany to Engage Global Jewry and Participate in "Germany Close Up"
Sponsored by the Federal Republic of Germany and administered by the Centrum Judaicum, HUC-JIR students from Los Angeles, New York, and Cincinnati, will spend 11 days in May in Berlin, Weimar, Worms, Heidelberg and Speyer as part of the German government's outreach program to American Jewish young professionals. Dr. Leah Hochman, Assistant Professor of Jewish Thought and Incoming Director of the Louchheim School of Judaic Studies at USC, will serve as the faculty guide. Dr. Hochman was a post-doctoral fellow at the Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum and Fellow at the Einstein Forum and the Dubnow Institute; she brings her academic expertise in 18th century European thought to the class. Established in October 2007, "Germany Close Up: American Jews Meet Modern Germany" provides Jewish Americans with the opportunity to visit historical sites, participate in contemporary Jewish life in Germany, and meet with Germans of all backgrounds. More...
HUC-JIR Students and Faculty Attend Unveiling of Abraham Geiger Home Plaque in Berlin
HUC-JIR students led by Dr. Leah Hochman, Associate professor for Modern Jewish Thought, HUC-JIR/LA), who are traveling through Germany on a mission of education and remembrance, attended the dedication of a plaque marking the home of Abraham Geiger on the occasion of his 200th birthday. In attendance were the deputy speaker of Germany's federal parliament Petra Pau, secretary of state for culture Andre Schmitz, the chairwoman of the Jewish Community of Berlin Lala Suesskind, many other dignitaries, and Geiger's great-grandnephew Micha Ramati and great-granddaughter Dr. Andrea Lissner. In their speeches Lala Suesskind, Andre Schmitz, and Rabbi Walter Homolka of the Abraham Geiger College honoured Abraham Geiger as pioneer of Reform Judaism, major force of Muslim-Jewish dialogue, and advocate of academic training for rabbis within the state university system. On Friday evening, HUC-JIR students and faculty will join the rabbinical students of the Geiger College in Potsdam to celebrate a joint Kabbalat Shabbat under the leadership of Rabbi Michael Leipziger, to be followed by an interactive conversation with Dr. Walter Homolka, Chairman of Geiger College. Please click here for the video of the proceedings. Follow HUCgermany on twitter at to find out what our students are doing right now! More...
Reform Judaism Magazine Summer 2010 Issue Features HUC-JIR Faculty and Alumni
The Summer 2010 issue of Reform Judaism magazine features lively articles by HUC-JIR faculty and alumni. Please click here to read more about:
  • "The Art of Muslim-Jewish Dialogue," including HUC-JIR's Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement
  • "My Fellow Arab Citizens," including Dr. Michael Marmur, Vice President for Academic Affairs at HUC-JIR, in a 3-part symposium on Israel by Israelis
  • Rabbi Edythe Mencher (HUC-JIR/New York '99) interviewed in "When Scott Got More Than Sue"
  • Rabbi Zoe Klein (HUC-JIR/New York '98) writes about necrophobia in "The Rabbi Who Dreaded Death"
  • Rabbi Steven Fink (HUC-JIR/New York '79) writes on being asked to do a house exorcism in "Exorcism in Baltimore"
  • Rabbi Deborah Prinz (HUC-JIR/Cincinnati '78) writes about interim rabbis in "When Your Rabbi Leaves"
  • Rabbis David Frank (HUC-JIR/New York '83) and Jeff Marx (HUC-JIR/Los Angeles '81 and HUC-JIR/New York '83) debate "Should Reform Congregations Have Kosher Kitchens?" More...
First Comprehensive Report on Muslim-Jewish Engagement Released
Debunking conventional wisdom, Muslim and Jewish groups throughout the United States are dialoguing with one another in increasing numbers. A report on the field of Muslim-Jewish engagement issued by the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (CMJE), indicates that the number of organizations and groups with missions to build relationships between Islamic and Jewish communities in the United States has been growing since 2001 and has risen significantly in the last two years. This report marks the first comprehensive survey of the burgeoning field and provides recommendations for strengthening and expanding the work done by practitioners. CMJE represents the only academic think tank and resource center in North America dedicated specifically to Muslim-Jewish relations and is a unique partnership between HUC-JIR, Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation and the University of Southern California. Please click here to view the report. More...
HUC-JIR in the News
Grant Pushes Historic Partnership of Seminaries -
Spurred by a major grant from one of the largest Jewish foundations, the rabbinical seminaries of three major synagogue movements are forging a groundbreaking partnership to train Jewish educators. The Jim Joseph Foundation announced Monday that it was giving a combined $33 million to the Reform movement's Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute for Religion, the Modern Orthodox Yeshiva University and the Conservative movement's Jewish Theological Seminary of America. The grant is aimed at helping the three seminaries attract more teachers to the field of Jewish education and offer them better training. Under the new initiative, each school will continue to teach its own brand of Judaism, but they will cooperate on elements of the educational process that impact all of the institutions. HUC-JIR is planning on starting an executive master's program and three new certificate programs in Judaica for early childhood educators, Jewish childhood education, and adolescence and emerging adulthood. "This partnership should have a significant impact on the number of future Jewish educators and the skills they will bring to their professions," the foundation's president, Al Levitt, said in a news release announcing the grant. "With the help of these grants, we know the institutions can reach their full potential and produce teachers who continue to positively shape the lives of Jewish youth." More...
The Special Relationship: The Great Divorce - Foreign Policy
Dr. Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy at HUC-JIR/New York, discusses Peter Beinart's recent essay, "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment," and whether the ties that bond American Jews to Israel remain strong. He writes, "American Jews' disillusionment with Israel is more far-reaching than Beinart portrays; the causes for distancing extend beyond dissonance with liberal values; and distancing operates differently for the Jewish public and the most engaged in Jewish life. Detachment from Israel among the American Jewish public differs critically from disillusionment among the more Jewishly active and engaged. For the public, distancing is not much driven by political considerations. If Israeli policies were largely responsible for distancing, then liberal Jews should be more distant from Israel than centrist or politically conservative Jews." More...
How to Succeed in Business? Some Advice. - HUC-JIR's Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning
Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Ph.D., Director of Continuing Alumni Education, writes, "At this time of year, when the College graduates new professionals and veteran professionals are making transitions, it is helpful to get some advice from others who have succeeded professionally. Several weeks ago Advancing Women Professionals held a first of its kind professional development day for women working professionally in the Jewish community. In a show of the importance of networking and mentorship, over a dozen leading Jewish figures briefly shared pieces of wisdom that they had learned along their professional journeys. While their words were meant for this female audience, the advice they shared can be helpful for all Jewish professionals." More...
House Honors Rabbi Plotkin with Resolution - Jewish News of Greater Phoenix Online
In a nod to the impact that the late Rabbi Albert Plotkin (HUC-JIR/Cincinnati '48) had on the state as a whole, the Arizona House of Representatives passed a resolution April 28 to express the lawmakers' "regret at the death of Rabbi Albert Plotkin and extend their deepest sympathies to his surviving family members." State Rep. David Schapira (D-Tempe) sponsored the resolution at the end of the recent legislative session in memory of the late rabbi emeritus of Congregation Beth Israel in Scottsdale. The resolution reads, in part: "Rabbi Plotkin's tremendous passion for others and zest for life was evident in all he did, whether pursuing his lifelong love of music and theater, writing books or counseling or helping people." More...
Edith Carter Wanted to Make Sure the World Never Forgot -
Edith Carter, a member of the Klau Library staff since 1973 and a Holocaust survivor, passed away at the age of 95. Like many Holocaust survivors, Mrs. Carter emerged from the Germans' most infamous concentration camp, Auschwitz, fiercely determined to try to make sense of the senseless, to teach lessons in the hope that the unspeakably horrific circumstances from which they arose would never be repeated. "She felt there had to be some reason she survived," said her daughter, Deborah Carter Berkson of Milwaukee. "While she was in the camps, what got her through the hard times was the hope that she would be reunited someday with her husband and family. Later, when that didn't happen, she felt she had to tell her story, that part of the reason she had lived was to teach others. That's what she did the rest of her life." More...
Faculty News
HUC-JIR is proud of our accomplished faculty:
Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman, Barbara and Stephen Friedman Professor of Liturgy, Worship, and Ritual at HUC-JIR/New York, will participate in "Prayer: An Answer to the 21st Century," a conference in Princeton from June 24 through June 27. The conference is a celebration of the 60th anniversary of Fellowship in Prayer, one of America's first interfaith groups established in opposition to the atomic bomb as a way to bring the spiritual life to bring different people together for the common good. Other speakers include Sister Joan Chittister, Dr. Uma Mysorekar, Zen Master Bernie Glassman, Gustav Niebuhr, Rev. James Forbes, and Fr. Edward Beck. There will be over 20 workshops on prayer and social action from a wide variety of traditions.
Rabbi Naamah Kelman will participate in the Annual World Council of Jewish Communal Service June Seminar, "Is What's Good for Israel Good for the Jews? How to Achieve Unity When Opinions Differ" on Sunday, June 20, 2010 from 1:45 pm - 4:00 pm at Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem. The Keynote speaker, Professor Shlomo Avineri, Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, will lead a discussion of the timely and critical issues faced by Jewish communal professionals during a time of tension and differences within the Israel Diaspora relationship. The event is held in cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel Annual Assembly. 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/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...
Jerusalem Student Services
May 31 at 9 am: Drasha: Eli Levin; Shaliah zibur: Uri Lem More...
New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery

Slice your Friday night challah with a knife carved by the world's preeminent Judaic glass artist, Steve Resnick. The rust-colored knife handle features a braided wheat engraving and the green-colored knife handle features engravings of Jerusalem and the temple wall.
Rust-colored handle: $170 plus shipping and handling.
Green-colored handle: $190 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