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May you be sealed in the Book of Life. G'mar tov!
Best wishes for a joyful Sukkot!
HUCNews will resume weekly on October 7, 2010.
September 16, 2010
News at HUC-JIR
HUC-JIR in the News
Faculty News
Spotlight On
Photo of the Week
New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery
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HUCNews is a weekly e-newsletter produced by HUC-JIR's National Public Affairs Office.
News at HUC-JIR
Sara S. Lee Seminar Provokes Thought about Tradition and Innovation

On September 12-13, 2010, over 30 students, faculty, and alumni of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education (RHSOE) gathered at the Steve Breuer Conference Center in Malibu for the Sara S. Lee Seminar. Renowned Jewish educator Amichai Lau-Lavie, creator of Storahtelling, engaged the participants in a thought provoking exploration about how to re-envision the traditional Torah Service and by extension Torah study.

Visual T'fillah at the HUC-JIR/New York Kallah

Inspired by newly-appointed CCAR technology specialist Rabbi Dan Medwin's (HUC-JIR/Los Angeles '10) senior thesis, Visual T'fillah, HUC-JIR/New York students Jen Gubitz ('12), Gavin Hirsch ('10), Dave Mintz ('14) and Mary Thomas ('11) created a visual siddur for a service at the New York campus Kallah. Hoping to create a space for reflection and mindfulness as students prepare for the grueling High Holy Day season, the paperless service drew on prayers and themes from the Selichot service, which is traditionally observed on the Saturday evening before Rosh Hashanah.

"Jewish Resources on Poverty and Hunger" at the Frances-Henry Library at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

In anticipation of the upcoming academic year and the High Holy Days, the Frances-Henry Library at the Los Angeles campus of HUC-JIR recently installed "Jewish Resources on Poverty and Hunger." The exhibition combines texts and resources addressing poverty, hunger, and other issues of social justice within Judaism. All photographs on display were taken at the community garden, Gan Katan, which was created by HUC-JIR students last year to provide fresh produce to local food pantries. For more information about the Frances-Henry Library, check out the library blog at

The Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement: 2010-2011 Program

The Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement, a Partnership between HUC-JIR, the Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation, and USC's Center for Religion and Civic Culture, is launching this year's Muslim-Jewish Text Study program. After a successful pilot with a cohort of 11 Muslims and 11 Jews in 2008-2009, CMJE is expanding the program for 2010-2011. With scholars from both traditions, participants will study sacred texts in 10 sessions over the course of 5 months on topics such as "The Other," "Prophecy," "Gender," and "Poverty." For further information, please contact Sarah Bassin, 5th-year rabbinical student, at or visit CMJE's website,, for the application. Applications are due October 1st.

HUC-JIR in the News
Heeding Heschel's Call: Hebrew Union Seminarians Pray With Their Feet at Park51 - The Huffington Post

On Tuesday, August 31, over forty students, staff, and faculty from HUC-JIR/New York walked with signs of support, yalmukas, prayer shawls, and ceremonial rams horns from our campus on West Fourth Street to the Park51 community center. Since this summer, Park51 has become the focus of many Islamophobes. We wanted to counter their harmful rhetoric and demonstrate our solidarity with the American Muslim community in its right to freedom of religion.

The Ground Zero-Sum Game - Religion Dispatches

Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, writes, "Lurking behind suspicion about the new Islamic Center planned to be built near Ground Zero is something much more ominous than would appear. Skepticism about funding sources and concern for the sensibilities of those traumatized by the horror of 9/11-while legitimate concerns-are heightened by a deep-seated bigotry against Muslims and their religion. We come by it naturally because Islamophobia is deeply imbedded in the very culture of Western civilization. But most of us don't recognize it."

Jewish Studies Rises, but We Pay the Price - The Forward

Rabbi Jacob Neusner, Distinguished Service Professor of the History and Theology of Judaism and a senior fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard College, writes, "The flourishing of Jewish studies at secular American universities in recent decades is a remarkable and profoundly important development. As students return to their campuses, it is not only those who attend Yeshiva University, Hebrew Union College or the Jewish Theological Seminary who will have access to high-level teaching and scholarship on Jewish topics."

Lost in Mistranslation: Why the Bible Doesn't Always Mean What You Think - Reform Judaism Magazine

Bible scholar Dr. Joel Hoffman's article "Lost in Mistranslation: Why the Bible Doesn't Always Mean What You Think" was recently published in the Fall issue of Reform Judaism Magazine. He writes, "Most Jews who have read the Bible only in English think they know what it says. But do they? Translations from the original Hebrew have often changed the text's intended meaning in significant ways."

Jewish Choral Singing Predictive of High Jewish Community Involvement: Music Provides Meaning in Trans-denominational, Trans-political Setting - The Zamir Choral Foundation

Dr. Diane Tickton Schuster of HUC-JIR/Los Angeles and Dr. Ezra Kopelowitz of Research Success Technologies in Jerusalem conducted the first ever survey of Jewish choral activity in North America to demonstrate that the harmony singers produce between their Jewish and musical lives. The online survey, which included Jewish professionals, adult and teen singers, graduates of HaZamir, and financial supporters and friends, was carried out with the goal of learning more about the participants and the state of Jewish choral music in North America today.

Highly Engaged Young American Jews: Contrasts in Generational Ethos - Institute for Global Jewish Affairs

Professor Steven Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy at HUC-JIR/New York, explained in an interview that "many engaged Jews under the age of forty emphasize, more than their elders and predecessors, Jewish purpose. They have created new minyanim, expanded social justice activities, engaged in various cultural endeavors, undertaken Judaic learning singly and in groups, and established a powerful and significant presence on the Internet and other new media."

What's New in Jewish Education - The Jewish Week

The Leadership Institute for Congregational School Educators, an intensive professional development program, brings together 40 educators - most from the five boroughs, Westchester and Long Island - for two and a half years of shared learning, training and networking that includes two summer retreats and a trip to Israel. The only program of its kind in North America, the Institute is run jointly by HUC-JIR and JTS, and is funded by UJA-Federation of New York.

Integrity and Pride: We Hang in the Balance - HUC-JIR's Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning

Professor Alyssa Gray, Associate Professor of Codes and Responsa Literature at HUC-JIR/New York, puts the challenging impulses of integrity and pride into the context of rabbinic thinking. She writes, "We like to think that our world operates in this day and age on principles more elevated than 'might makes right.' Think again."

Summertime, And The Speaking Is Hebrew - The Jewish Week

Jonathan Krasner, Assistant Professor of American Jewish History at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, explains that in the early days of the afternoon religious programs in the United States, right after World War I, educators taught Hebrew as a living language as well as a liturgical one. At the time, the schools often met four days a week. Today, most afternoon programs meet for one or two days a week, and according to Krasner, "If you take a look at the allocation of hours, the time devoted to teaching Hebrew has decreased relative to other subjects."

Reasons to Sing - The Jewish Week

Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman, Professor of Liturgy at HUC-JIR/New York, writes, "Millions of people have gone through life intent only on maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. The crass form of this philosophy, hedonism, is rightly condemned as unrealistic and immoral. Some two millennia later, a Jewish form of pleasure-seeking set in with chasidism, which branded sadness a particularly dangerous form of sin. The idea grew out of the chasidic belief that everything exists within God. If God pervades everything, sadness about anything must be a misplaced delusion that God is in nothing. Melancholy is the ultimate sin, a denial of God! It is a mitzvah to rejoice."

Faculty News
HUC-JIR is proud of our accomplished faculty:

Members of the HUC-JIR faculty are featured in the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) Fall 2010 publication Reform Jewish Quarterly.

Michele Prince will present at the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics USC Office of Religious Life during "The Soul of Medicine" lecture series on September 16th, 2010, from 12 pm - 1 pm. She will discuss HUC-JIR's Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health as well as share her personal experiences regarding her religious and spiritual journey as it connects to health. Click here for further information.
Dr. Gary P. Zola, Director of the American Jewish Archives, moderated and presented at "The Jewish Experience during the Civil War" -- a public program held on May 27, 2010, at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. The panel discussion was part of 2010 National Commemoration of Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM), in which Eli Evans, author of Judah P. Benjamin: The Jewish Confederate, and Professor Pamela Nadell of American University discussed the contributions of Jewish men and women during the Civil War. Dr. Zola spoke on General Grant's Order No. 11, which called for the expulsion of all Jews in his military distric. A member of the JAHM council, Dr. Zola was a driving force behind its creation of JAHM in 2006 by Congressional resolution. C-Span-3 will broadcast the program will air on Sunday, September 19 from 11:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m and on Saturday, September 18 from 10:00 p.m. - 11:45 p.m.

High Holy Day Services at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem

Yom Kippur:
Erev Yom Kippur service: Friday, 9th of Tishrei / September 17th - 5:00 pm
Yom Kippur morning: Shabbat, 10th of Tishrei / September 18th, Mincha/Yizkor/Ne'ilah services - 3:00 pm
Services at the Blaustein Hall, Merkaz Shimshon-Beit Shmuel, Entrance at 6 Shama St.

100 Voices: A Journey Home: September 21 at participating theaters throughout the US

HUC-JIR/New York faculty members Cantor Jacob Mendelson, Cantor Faith Steinsnyder, and Cantor David Lefkowitz, as well as SSM alumni including Cantor Benjamin Maissner, are featured in the film, "100 Voices: A Journey Home," opening nationwide on Tuesday, September 21. It's a one-night-only showing, except in New York City and Los Angeles, where it will play for a week to qualify for Oscar consideration. Click here for a list of participating theaters.

WUPJ's International Humanitarian Award to Members of HUC-JIR Board of Governors and Board of Overseers: October 3 in New York

The International Humanitarian Award is the World Union for Progressive Judaism's highest honor. This year, WUPJ honors Dr. Arthur and Elizabeth Roswell, members of the HUC-JIR/New York Board of Overseers and Rabbi David J. Gelfand, member of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors, for their inspiration, dedication and demonstration of Judaism's highest ideals.

Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture with Dr. David B. Ruderman: October 12 at 6:00 pm at HUC-JIR/New York

Dr. David B. Ruderman, Joseph Meyerhoff Professor of Modern Jewish History and Ella Darivoff Director of the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, will present a keynote lecture on "The People and the Book: The Invention of Print and the Transformation of Jewish Culture" at HUC-JIR/New York. The Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture is sponsored by the Bamberger Family in memory of their father, Dr. Fritz Bamberger, z"l, who served as Assistant to the President and Professor of Jewish Intellectual History at HUC-JIR/New York. RSVP: or 212-824-2293. Free admission; photo ID required.

Opening Reception for A Stitch in Jewish Time: Provocative Textiles: October 13 at 5:30 pm at the HUC-JIR/New York Museum

The opening reception of A Stitch in Jewish Time: Provocative Textiles will take place on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 6:00 pm at the HUC-JIR/New York (One West 4th Street). Significant international textile artists explore issues of Jewish history, culture, social justice, ritual, and sacred texts. The exhibition is on view through June 30, 2011. RSVP: or 212-824-2293. Free admission; photo ID required.

27th Annual Cincinnati Associates Tribute Dinner: October 24 at 5:30 pm in Cincinnati

HUC-JIR invites you to the 27th Annual Cincinnati Associates Tribute Dinner to benefit the students of the Cincinnati campus on Sunday, October 24, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency (151 West Fifth Street, Cincinnati). The event will honor Karen M. Hoguet, Chief Financial Officer at Macy's, and James A. Miller, Chairman at Bartlett & Company. The Dinner Chairman is Dick Weiland. The reception will begin at 5:30 pm, followed by dinner at 6:00 pm. For more information, please contact (513) 487-3047 or

Spotlight On
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Photo of the Week

HUC-JIR/New York students and faculty marched to the Community Center at Park51 on August 31st to express solidarity with the mosque at Ground Zero.

Please click the image to the left for a larger photograph.

New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery
New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery

California-based ceramic artist Susan Duham Felix creates one-of-a-kind works that employ the forms and themes of ancient Judaic ceremonial objects in ways that are relevant to contemporary life. Her "Shabbat Candle Holder," marked by the processes of pit-firing and smoke-firing in earthy, desert-like colors, includes both Hebrew and English text, stating "Arise, shine, for your light has dawned."

$500, plus shipping and handling. To purchase, please contact: 212-824-2218, Purchase with your American Express card and receive double Membership Rewards points!

Please click the image to the left for a larger photograph.

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