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Best wishes for a joyful Thanksgiving!
The next issue of HUCNews will appear on Friday, December 3, 2010.
November 19, 2010
Spotlight On
News at HUC-JIR
HUC-JIR in the News
Faculty News
Photo of the Week
Internship Opportunity
New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery
Quick Links
HUCNews is a weekly e-newsletter produced by HUC-JIR's National Public Affairs Office.
Spotlight On
HUC-JIR Graduates Singing at the Vatican

On Tuesday, November 16, 2010, American Conference of Cantors (ACC) Cantors sang at the Vatican as part of a conference on Catholic-Jewish relations. Cantors of the ACC include graduates of the HUC-JIR School of Sacred Music in New York. Twenty ACC cantors presented, for the first time, a concert of Jewish music at the Basilica of Santa Marie degli Angeli e dei Martiri before Pope Benedict XVI and other Vatican leaders utilizing music towards greater understanding among Catholics and Jews. The concert was part of the second conference on Catholic Jewish Relations, taking place November 14-18, 2010, in Rome.

News at HUC-JIR
Reform Movement Think Tank with the URJ, CCAR, and HUC-JIR: November 21 at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles and Online!

The future of the North American Jewish community is being shaped by divergent forces unlike those we have confronted in the past. The URJ, CCAR, and HUC-JIR are convening a Think Tank to provide creative leadership in addressing these trends and they need your input! Congregations and individuals are invited to participate in several public forums that will impact the work of the Think Tank and the future of Reform Judaism. The first Think Tank public forum will take place on November 21, 2010 at 7:00-8:30 pm ET (4:00 - 5:30 pm PT) at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles and streamed live over the internet. In addition to watching the discussion, there are three ways to participate during and after the event:

  • Twitter
    If you have questions that you'd like the moderator to ask the presenters, please tweet them during the presentation @URJ using the hashtag #rjthinktank.
  • Live Blog
    You can also submit questions that you'd like the moderator to ask the presenters via the live blog at
  • Online Response Form
    In the hours immediately after the presentation, we ask participants to submit comments by using the feedback form at That feedback will be shared with the thirty members of the Think Tank core group and will inform their thinking and planning for future sessions. All comments received by midnight Pacific Time will be included in the summary shared with the core group on Monday morning.

Ordination and Academic Convocation at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem

The Jerusalem campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion held its Ordination and Academic Convocation on Friday, October 29, 2010 at 13 King David Street, Jerusalem, Israel. Click here to view the program.

Four new Israeli Reform rabbis were ordained: Zohar Ufaz-Lipsky, Gabriel (Gabby) Dagan, Myra Hovav, and Haim Shalom. Click here to read about these newly ordained rabbis.

Rabbi David Ellenson, President of HUC-JIR, presented Honorary Degrees to Nurit Eldar; Javier Simonovich, Ph.D.; Cantor Professor Eliyahu Schleifer; and Tsvia Walden, Ph.D. Click here to read about the recipients.
Certificates for graduates of the Life Texts - Talmudic Bibliotherapy Program, sponsored by the Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling, were presented to twelve students. Click here to learn about these individuals.
Six students received the Certificate in Pluralistic Jewish Education, part of the Master's Program in Jewish Education in partnership with the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University. Click here to read about these graduates.

Dr. Dvora Weisberg's Ordination Blessing to Abraham Geiger College

Dr. Dalia Marx, Assistant Professor of Liturgy and Midrash at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, attended the Ordination ceremony in Berlin on November 4, 2010. Marx read Dr. Dvora Weisberg's blessing to Abraham Geiger College in the presence of President Wulff, the President of Germany, members of the government, distinguished guests, and ordainees. Dr. Weisberg, Director of the School of Rabbinical Studies and Associate Professor of Rabbinics, wrote, "Our Torah portion this week begins with the words, Eleh Toldot, 'These are the generations.' The rabbis who will be ordained today represent the latest link in a chain of tradition that reaches back to the rabbis of antiquity, to the great Jewish luminaries of medieval Europe and more recently to the innovators of the modern period, whose accomplishments over the past two hundred years we acknowledge at today's ceremony. At the same time, these new rabbis will be our link to the future, as they teach and serve and shape a new generation of Jews, as well as the broader community. May they be blessed in their work and may they be a source of blessing to all whom they encounter."
Please click here to read Dr. Weisberg's blessing.
Please click here to read Rabbi Ellenson's message in the service booklet.

Seeking Insight Five Years after Katrina: My Trip to New Orleans with the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Rabbinical student Suzy Stone participated in the Religious Action Center's Commission on Social Action in New Orleans. She writes, "As many of you know, this is the fifth year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. With that in mind, many Jewish organizations have descended upon New Orleans with the hope of understanding what life in the Big Easy looks like five years after the fact. In part, this was the goal of the Religious Action Center's (RAC) Commission on Social Action (CSA), which met in New Orleans from October 23-26, 2010. As student representatives from HUC-JIR in Los Angeles, Jordana Chernow-Reader and I had the unique opportunity to be a part of this amazing group. The CSA is comprised of approximately sixty lay leaders, rabbis, and organizational affiliates from across the Reform Movement."

HUC-JIR/Los Angeles Latke Eating Contest

On December 1, 2010, at 12:00 pm at the student lounge at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, HUC-JIR students, faculty, and staff will participate in a latke eating contest. Contestants will have seven minutes to eat as many latkes as possible. This is a fundraising event, with proceeds going to the IMPJ via the Ride for Reform. Click here to meet the competitors.

HUC-JIR in the News
The Ugly Secret: An Increase in Domestic Abuse Spotlights the Role of Verbal Violence - Jewish Journal

Marcia Burnam, a member of the Los Angeles Board of Overseers, shares her family story as a victim of domestic abuse. Throughout Marcia and now ex-husband Norman's 41-year marriage, Norman constantly told her how inferior she was - her looks, her intellect, her cooking, her clothing, even her voice. "For the first time, I realized that what he said had no basis in fact," Marcia said. That a prominent Jewish couple from upscale Bel Air could carry a dark secret like domestic abuse was hardly acknowledged when the Burnams got married in 1954, and was only slightly more out of the closet when they divorced in 1995. Today, for the most part, the Jewish community no longer turns a blind eye to domestic abuse. Jewish social service agencies play a large role in helping victims of domestic violence, both Jewish and non-Jewish, and rabbis and community leaders consistently, if not frequently, put the issue in the public eye.

Is Reform Movement Going Kosher? - JTA

"No longer an oxymoron, 'Reform kashrut' has entered the Jewish lexicon, although there is no consensus on what this means exactly," Rabbi Carole Balin, a Jewish history professor at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, writes in "The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic," which is being published by CCAR Press next month. Balin, who teaches a course on food for rabbinic and cantorial students, says Jewish dietary practice and the politics and morality of food choices "are very much on the minds of these future Reform leaders."

Jewish Voters Not Singular Bloc - The Daily Pennsylvanian

As in past election cycles, Democratic candidates won a majority of the Jewish vote in the midterm elections, but the complete story of the Jewish vote is far more complex. "The reality is that Jewish voters have a whole array of interests," explains Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Professor in Jewish Communal Service at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles. Arguing that younger Jewish voters are less wedded than their parents both to the Democratic Party and Israel as a singular voting issue, Windmueller explained these voters might be "more selective in their choice of political candidates in the future."

Help Coordinating Volunteers: Lots of Helping Hands - HUC-JIR Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning

Lots of Helping Hands is the kind of web resource that puts to rest any skepticism about the usefulness of the web for creating and maintaining real life community. A tool for organizing volunteer help, it can become an indispensible aid not only for specific individuals but also for the Hesed Committee coordinators.

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

Dr. David Aaron, Professor of Hebrew Bible & History of Interpretation at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, was honored as the outstanding faculty member of the year for HUC-JIR/Cincinnati at the 23rd Annual Celebration of Teaching event sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities. To recognize his contribution to both the Rabbinical School and Graduate School, the presidents of both the Rabbinical Student Association (Jason Levine) and the Graduate School Association (Jill Abramowitz Guttmann) were present. Dr. Aaron was introduced by Rabbi Ken Kanter, Director of the Rabbinical School.
Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Professor of Bible at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, was invited to present in the Feminist Hermeneutics Section of the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting on November 19-23 in a panel on "The Politics and Practices of Commentary Writing."
Dr. Nili Fox, Professor of Bible at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, will present at the SBL Annual Meeting in Atlanta on Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm. She will present "Biblical Sanctification of Dress: Why Wear Tassels on Garments (Num 15:38-40; Deut 22:12)?" during the session on Israelite Religion in its West Asian Environment.

Third Annual Twinning Weekend: November 19-21 in Toronto

Dr. Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam at HUC-JIR, will present at the Third Annual Twinning Weekend with Dr. Mahmoud Ayoub, Faculty Associate in Shi'ite Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary and former professor and director of Islamic Studies in the Department of Religion at Temple University in Philadelphia. Click here to view the program of events.

Textual Ecstasy and Spiritual Struggle: Serving the Soul of the Practicing Rabbi: November 30 at 4:00 pm at NYU Wagner

Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D., member of the faculty at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, will present "Textual Ecstasy and Spiritual Struggle: Serving the Soul of the Practicing Rabbi" on Tuesday, November 30th at 4:00 pm at the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at NYU Wagner. Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, will provide an introduction, and Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, Ph.D., will follow with a conversation.

Presentation of the Steinberg Distinguished Professorship in Human Relations and Counseling to Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, D. Min.: December 2 at 10 am at HUC-JIR/NY

The Dr. Paul M. and Trudy Steinberg Distinguished Professorship in Human Relations and Counseling will be presented to Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, D. Min., Clinical Director of the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling, on Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 10 am at HUC-JIR/New York. Rabbi Wiener will share some words of Torah. Please RSVP with Allison Glazer at or 212-824-2293.

HUC on the Road in SEATTLE: December 16 at Temple De Hirsch Sinai

Join us in Seattle at Temple De Hirsch Sinai for a day of learning on Thursday, December 16, 2010. The greater Seattle Jewish community is invited to participate in a presentation, discussion, and lunch from 12:00 - 1:30 pm with Dr. Joshua Holo, Dean, HUC-JIR/ Los Angeles & Associate Professor of Jewish History, on "Marranos, Sephardim and The Jewish Identity Crisis." Free and open to the public. RSVP required.

Rabbi David Ellenson to Receive 2010 Gitelson-Meyerowitz Distinguished Service Award: December 18 at Sutton Place Synagogue in New York

On Shabbat morning, December 18, 2010 at 9:15 am, Rabbi David Ellenson, President of HUC-JIR, will receive the 2010 Gitelson-Meyerowitz Distinguished Service Award for his exemplary scholarship on modern Jewry and his creative leadership of the Reform Movement's educational institutions. The award will be presented at Sutton Place Synagogue in New York, NY, by Dr. Susan Aurelia Gitelson in memory of Jerome Meyerowitz.

Photo of the Week

Rabbinical student Brandon Bernstein and cantorial student Amanda Winter held services in the Joseph Gallery at the HUC-JIR Museum at the New York campus in the midst of the current exhibition, "A Stitch in Jewish Time: Provocative Textiles." Experimentation with creating spiritual experiences in alternative settings is part of students' exploration of new ways to engage others in worship.

Please click here to view a larger photograph.

Internship Opportunity
Internship Opportunity at the HUC-JIR Museum at the New York campus

The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum in New York is seeking Museum Interns who will assist in the development of exhibitions. The HUC-JIR Museum is recognized as a leading center for the presentation of works by contemporary artists exploring Jewish identity and experience. Its exhibitions and cultural programs illuminate Jewish history and contemporary creativity and foster interfaith and multiethnic understanding. The Museum encourages contemporary artists of all faiths to explore Jewish themes in their work, serves as an experimental laboratory for research in new and progressive theories of museum education, and provides a forum to explore the role of the arts as an expression of spirituality.

New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery

Israeli goldsmith Moshe David designs and creates gold and silver set jewelry featuring antique Jewish coins and Roman glass, as well as traditional Yemenite jewelry.

Cuff links: sterling silver and gold, ancient Jewish coin. $600, plus shipping and handling.
Money clip: sterling silver with ancient Jewish coin. $300, plus shipping and handling.
Earrings: silver and green Roman glass. $140, plus shipping and handling.
Necklace: braided silver chain with Roman glass pendant. $500, plus shipping and handling.

To purchase, please contact: 212-824-2218,

Please click here for a larger photograph.

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