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HUCNews is a weekly e-newsletter produced by HUC-JIR's National Public Affairs Office.

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HUCNews will be published monthly during the summer.
The next issue of HUCNews will appear on July 22, 2010.
News at HUC-JIR
Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President of Union for Reform Judaism, Announces Intention to Retire in June 2012
Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the congregational arm of the Reform Jewish Movement in North America, announced his intention to retire in June 2012 at a meeting of the URJ Board of Trustees on June 10, 2010. The Union represents 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues across the United States and Canada. Installed as president in June 1996, Rabbi Yoffie has led the Reform Movement in exciting new directions, moving congregational life toward greater attention to Torah study and adult literacy. Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, expressed praise for Rabbi Yoffie's dynamic leadership, saying "Rabbi Yoffie has led the Union for Reform Judaism with integrity, intellect, and vision. His and the URJ's vital partnership with the College-Institute demonstrates a passionate commitment to the Jewish future." Rabbi Yoffie has spearheaded a major expansion of the Union's summer camping program. In 2005 he introduced the Sacred Choices curriculum to teach sexual ethics to teens in camps and congregations. Rabbi Yoffie has announced two worship initiatives. The first, in 1999, was designed to help congregations become "houses in which we pray with joy." The second, eight years later, encouraged congregations to rethink their Shabbat morning worship and fostered Shabbat observance among individual Reform Jews. Rabbi Yoffie has been a pioneer in interfaith relations and has launched Movement-wide dialogue programs with both Christians and Muslims. Rabbi Yoffie has also been deeply involved in issues of social justice and community concern. A prominent spokesperson for sensible gun control, he was the only religious leader to appear at the Million Mom March in Washington, DC. He has also worked tirelessly on behalf of the Jewish state and the rights of Reform Jews in Israel, and meets frequently with Israel's elected officials to present the concerns of the Reform Movement and North American Jewry.
Click here for Rabbi Eric Yoffie's Report to the URJ Board of Trustees.
Click here for more about Rabbi Eric Yoffie. More...
New Cohort of Schusterman Rabbinical Fellows Announced
Eight outstanding rabbinical students have been named as Schusterman Rabbinical Fellows, a program that brings future leaders of the Conservative and Reform movements together for two years of formal study. This third cohort of the program-which was inaugurated in August 2008-will be composed of four students each from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). The program is designed to create a cadre of Reform and Conservative rabbis who share a broad and dynamic vision of communal leadership for American Jewry. Rabbi David Ellenson, President of HUC-JIR, said, "We are grateful to the Schusterman Foundation for its vision in sustaining this fellowship. This program models the kind of cooperation that can and ought to mark American Jewish life. Ours is a partnership that respects denominational differences, while also recognizing that the American Jewish community faces a common set of challenges and requires transformational rabbinical leaders who will revitalize contemporary Jewish life." More...
Tribute to Dr. Steven Windmueller by US Representative Henry A. Waxman
United States Representative Henry A. Waxman recently congratulated Dr. Steven Windmueller on his retirement as the Dean of HUC-JIR/Los Angeles and the Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Chair in Jewish Communal Service. He wrote, "Throughout your career, you have been looked to as a mentor to America's future Jewish leaders and a leading authority on political issues and American Jewish affairs. Your articles, monographs, and commentary have illuminated countless topics, including the relations of Latinos and Jewish in Los Angeles, the formation of the United Jewish Communities, and Jewish voting patterns. You are owed a debt of gratitude for the remarkable contributions you have made to Hebrew Union College, its students, faculty, and staff, and the greater Los Angeles community during your 15-year tenure." More...
School of Jewish Communal Service Welcomes Largest Class in Years
The School of Jewish Communal Service 2010 Summer Session began on Monday, June 14th, with 15 first-year students joining 8 second-year classmates. The largest entering class in several years, the first-year cohort includes 7 Joint Masters students also studying with the RHSOE, 6 dual degree students also studying at USC (3 MSW, 1 MPA, 1 MBA, and 1 Communications Management), 1 single masters student, and 1 rabbinical student taking the Certificate in JCS. This summer's curriculum features three new courses reflecting the program's new strategic plan and adaptation to trends in the Jewish community and the field of nonprofit management: "Jewish Nonprofit Management in the Digital Age," "Collaborative Communications for Jewish Professionals," and "Introductory Hebrew for Jewish Professionals." Also featured this summer is the Lunch & Learn Encounter Seminar on the theme of "Presenting Culture: (In)Forming Jewish Identity," and the Rabbi Louis Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence, Nancy Kaufman, executive director of the Boston JCRC. More...
Cincinnati Ordination Address by Dr. David Aaron, Professor of Hebrew Bible & History of Interpretation at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
Dr. David Aaron, Professor of Hebrew Bible & History of Interpretation at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, was the speaker at Cincinnati Ordination Ceremonies on Saturday, June 5, 2010 at the Plum Street Temple. He said, "Serve Israel wisely, creatively, unselfishly. Be sensitive and attentive to life's ironies; capture words; restore meanings; interpret and innovate; bring sense to the life of the spirit through story; and...go window shopping, periodically, for you never know when new items will be put on display in old windows." Click here to read his complete address. More...
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, "Judaism, more than a creed, must learn to transcend itself. When you look at the great transformations in Jewish thought, the single most disturbing one, to my mind, is the shift between the Medieval and the Modern periods. If you read the great minds of the Medieval period - Rav Saadia, Rambam, others - you encounter Jews who ask broad, universal, human questions, and they mobilize Jewish tools to address those challenges. But when we switch to the modern period, we suddenly are exposed to great minds that ask little Jewish questions, while mobilizing universal tools to answer those questions: How can we enter the general culture? How can we survive as a people? What does it mean to be American? Let us say, frankly, that that modern experiment, necessary in its time, has run its course and is unworthy of the future. If Judaism is not a tool to become profoundly human, if it is not our entryway, our porthole into humanity, into all of creation, then it is unworthy of its legacy. We must be willing to stand for a Judaism that addresses broad, universal, human concerns, one which mobilizes the great resources of the Bible, of Rabbinics, of Hassidut and Kabbalah, of Jewish Poetry, Philosophy, and Art, to be able to allow us to be fully human." More...
Tamir Nir Introduces Compost to HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
Tamir Nir, a second-year rabbinical student at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, recently introduced compost to the Jerusalem campus. Nir is involved in sustainability and ecological issues in Jerusalem in general and in particular with the community that he founded in Beit Hakerem. The community, "Achva Ba'kerem," is a chavurah of Beit Hakerem residents committed to improving the quality of life for families living in urban settings. They have created a community garden for growing vegetables and greens of all sorts. In addition, they have ongoing Torah study, cultural events, and social action projects. Nir is emerging as a leader in the Independent Communities and Chavurot Movement in Israel. Next week, the Minister of the Environment in the Israeli Government will be visiting their community garden as a model for community building and ecology. More...
News from the Abraham Geiger College in Germany
The Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam, Germany, is Germany's first rabbinical seminary since the Holocaust. First-year Geiger students join the first-year HUC-JIR students in our Year-In-Israel Program at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. Rabbi David Ellenson writes: "The role that Abraham Geiger College has played during this last decade in reviving Jewish life on German soil has been nothing short of miraculous, and I am delighted that so many of our HUC-JIR faculty members have been able to teach and study at your institution during these past ten years. Geiger was convinced that the modern rabbinate was always to be informed by a commitment to modern scholarship. The Abraham Geiger College today stands proudly and ably within the tradition that he established. May your graduates be adornments of modern scholarship and may they continue to play a central role in the revival of Jewish life in Germany and Central Europe." Please click here to learn more. Please note that this is a large file and may take a few minutes to load More...
HUC-JIR in the News
HUC-JIR's Rabbinic Externship Program: Part II - Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education
Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish Education and Leadership Development at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, posted in the series on HUC-JIR's Rabbinic Externship program, "Exhausted does not begin to describe how we all felt at the end of the week. An exhilarated exhaustion to say the least! Six rabbinical students, pairs from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion campuses in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and New York, recently completed an intensive externship week at the Jacobson-Sinai Academy in North Miami Beach, FL. From a 7:00 am breakfast until well after 11:00 pm each night, we observed, taught, reflected, questioned, conversed, answered questions and threw ourselves into the culture of this Reform day school. Our purpose was to become passionate advocates for Reform day schools. We now have 12 alumni of the Externship. I am fully convinced we now have 12 wonderful advocates for Day Schools." More...
The Dangers of Jewish Genetics - HUC-JIR's Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning
Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Ph.D., Director of Continuing Alumni Education at HUC-JIR, writes, "This morning's paper brought news of genetic similarities among Jews of Ashkenazi and Sephardi backgrounds. Citing studies published in the prestigious journal Nature, the New York Times reported that "Jewish communities in Europe and the Middle East share many genes inherited from the ancestral Jewish population that lived in the Middle East some 3,000 years ago, even though each community also carries genes from other sources - usually the country in which it lives." Pondering both the study and its results, I realized that I had several different responses to this story. On the one hand, I love the underlying vision of Jews as diverse on the outside but united on the inside. Such a study suggests that despite our differences when it comes to important issues such as whether to eat rice at Pessach, we may well share a common ancient origin. It undercuts claims of supremacy, often implied by power structures if not overtly claimed, in terms of being the true keepers of Torah." More...
Upcoming Events
Annual World Council of Jewish Communal Service Seminar: June 20 in Jerusalem
Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean of HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, 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...
The Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology Lecture: June 24 at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
Please join HUC-JIR/Jerusalem and The Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology as Yuval Gadot and Taufik Dea'dle presents "Lod from the Time of the Mamluk to the Ottoman Period: Results of a Community-Based Archaeological Project." 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 June 24 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...
Annual Alumni Shabbat Program: July 10 at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
Alumni from around the world will convene at the Annual Alumni Shabbat Program at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem on July 10 at 4:30 p.m. Paul Liptz will present the keynote address on "Looking Back to the Future: Dilemmas of the Global Interaction of Reform/ Progressive Judaism," followed by breakout study sessions focusing on Israel-Diaspora Relations led by: Rabbi Marc Rosenstein, Ph.D., Director, Israel Rabbinic Program; Rabbi Dalia Marx, Ph.D., Jerusalem Faculty; and Rabbi David Levine, Ph.D., Jerusalem faculty. Alumni will have the opportunity to meet the new Year-In-Israel class and enjoy Havdallah with colleagues and incoming students. More...
The URJ's Kallah 2010: August 4-8 in Glen Cove, NY
Dr. Lawrence Hoffman, Dr. Jonathan Krasner, Dr. Mark Washofsky, and Dr. Andrea Weiss will be among the scholars teaching at the URJ's Summer Kallah. The URJ's Kallah is an intense immersion in Jewish texts and ideas with outstanding teachers within a vibrant community of committed leaders. This is an unparalleled opportunity for spiritual renewal with full days of study and spiritual growth, including six sessions of a limud (text-based study seminars), plus additional workshops and learning opportunities. The entire Kallah community joins together for daily worship and meals, plus entertainment, singing and socializing. Register now for an unforgettable learning experience August 4-8, 2010, at the Glen Cove Mansion in Glen Cove, NY. More...
Faculty News
Dr. Joel L. Kushner, Director of the Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation at HUC-JIR and a member of the steering committee of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable, was one of two spokespeople from Roundtable at a press conference on May 13 in Puerto Rico, where an elected official recanted a previous vote against same-sex marriage and spoke out for the first time in support of marriage equality. The National Religious Leadership Roundtable met from May 12-14 outside of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to build skills to function at the intersections of issues related to race, orientation, economics, religion, gender identity, age, ability, etc., so that differences become opportunities to build bridges rather than become obstacles. These leaders also held a historic meeting with five progressive congregations in Puerto Rico who are opening their doors to LGBT people in the face of significant discrimination and hatred. Click here for further information.
Dr. David Weisberg, Professor of Bible and Semitic Languages at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, offered a fascinating exploration of Jewish heritage and Biblical texts at Temple Sinai in Washington, DC on March 22. His talk focused on the textual evolution of the Bible, tracing its path from the papyrus and parchment of the Dead Sea Scrolls to the more modern codices forming the basis of our text used today. He enhanced his presentation through the use of an intriguing slideshow that featured the restored jar containing manuscripts of the Book of Esther, and by sharing a unique cuneiform tablet replica and translation of an ancient contract written in Hebrew. To read the article in Temple Sinai's newsletter, please click here.
Faculty Publications
At every critical juncture in Jewish history, Jews have understood a dynamic theology to be essential for a vital Jewish community. This important collection, "Jewish Theology in Our Time: A New Generation Explores the Foundations and Future of Jewish Belief" (Jewish Lights Publishing), which features a preface by Dr. Carole Balin, Professor of Jewish History at HUC-JIR/NY and essays by HUC-JIR faculty and alumni, sets the next stage of Jewish theological thought, bringing together a cross section of interesting new voices from all movements in Judaism to inspire and stimulate discussion now and in the years to come. Provocative and wide-ranging, these invigorating and creative insights from a new generation's thought leaders provide a coherent and inspiring picture of Jewish belief in our time. Contributors to the volume include HUC-JIR faculty and alumni: Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, D.H.L., Rabbi Carole B. Balin, Ph.D., Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D., Rabbi Daniel M. Bronstein, Ph.D., Rabbi Jonathan Crane, Ph.D., Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D., Rabbi Evan Moffic, and Rabbi Leon A. Morris. Click here for further information.

Dr. Jason Kalman, Assistant Professor of classical Hebrew text and interpretation at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, recently co-authored "Canada's Big Biblical Bargain: How McGill University Bought the Dead Sea Scrolls" with Jaqueline S. du Toit. Their new book tells the story of Canada's attempt to purchase the greatest manuscript discovery of the twentieth century. The discovery in 1947 of the first pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls, biblical texts dating from the time of Jesus, grabbed headlines around the world and catalyzed as many controversies and conspiracy theories over their ownership as debates about their place in Christianity and Judaism. Years later McGill University and the Vatican were among the first institutions to buy a significant selection of these texts from Jordan in order to protect them from the black market. Canada's Big Biblical Bargain recounts the nearly forgotten story of the complicated purchase of these texts by McGill University and the reasons they never arrived. Click here for further information.
Rabbi Dalia Marx, Assistant Professor of Liturgy and Midrash at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, recently published "When I Sleep and When I Wake: On Prayers between Dusk and Dawn" (2010, Hebrew). Her book, which deals with day and night prayer books, describes in detail the fascinating history of these texts and rituals from the time of the sages to today's modern arrangements. The book offers the reader a wide-ranging historical survey with surprising and new interpretations of well-known texts. Click here for further information.
Rabbi Dr. Marc Rosenstein, Director of the Israel Rabbinic Program at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, recently published "Galilee Diary: Reflections on Daily Life in Israel" (URJ Press, 2010). For most American Jews, Israel is only seen through the lens of the political debate, the impressions of the news report, or the windows of a tour bus. Begun as a weekly online essay in response to the Second Intifada in 2000, "Galilee Diary" goes beyond the headlines to provide an insider's view of the rich and complex reality that is Israel. First time readers and longtime fans of the series will enjoy this multidimensional look at Israel, which includes revised and updated highlights from the popular online series. Click here for further information. More...
New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery

Known as the "Grapevine Bowl," this unique piece is from the workshop of renowned Judaic glass artist Steve Resnick. It features gently engraved grape leaves and vines, as well as the phrase "flowing with milk and honey" in Hebrew. This beautiful piece is available exclusively at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum. $590 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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