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Spotlight On
Body, Soul, and Midrash - The Jewish Week

"Midrash and Medicine: Healing Body and Soul in the Jewish Interpretive Tradition," a new book edited by Rabbi William Cutter, Ph.D. (Jewish Lights), Steinberg Emeritus Professor of Human Relations at HUC-JIR, includes essays that show, in different and creative ways, how midrash not only can be used to find new meaning in the biblical text - but also as a resource for healing, focusing more on spiritual rather than physical healing. Contributors include physicians, rabbis, social workers, psychologists, and philosophers. Rabbi Cutter writes, "Between every health professional's experience and behind every caregiver's constant attention to an ill family member is the need to move from the material and physical necessity of curing a particular malady to the deeper (or higher) purposes of their work, to make the move form 'curer' to 'healer.' And behind every ill person's experience is the need to see the deeper significance of their experience with illness." The book stands out from other volumes of collected essays in its format. Each essay is paired with another and the two appear together; sometimes one makes reference to the other, creating a call and response. Some themes run through many of the essays, and readers will gain an understanding of the history and evolution of the Jewish healing movement.

News at HUC-JIR
Shabbat Worship and Torah Study with HUC-JIR Scholars at the URJ North American Forum

The URJ West District presents the URJ North American Forum, three days of learning, networking, and community on February 25-27, 2011, in Los Angeles. The Forum will offer the opportunity to engage in inspiring Shabbat worship and enlightening Torah study with HUC-JIR scholars, including Rabbi Lewis Barth, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Midrash and Related Literature; Rabbi Joshua Garroway, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Early Christianity and Second Commonwealth; and Leah Hochman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Jewish Thought.

Rabbi Joseph A. Skloot Awarded Javits Graduate Fellowship

Rabbi Joseph A. Skloot (HUC-JIR/New York '10), Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at Columbia University, was awarded the 2010 US Department of Education's Javits Graduate Fellowship. This program provides fellowships to students of superior academic ability-selected on the basis of demonstrated achievement, financial need, and exceptional promise-to undertake study at the doctoral and Master of Fine Arts level in selected fields of arts, humanities, and social sciences.

HUC-JIR in the News
HUC-JIR Kalsman Institute 2011 Roundtable on Judaism and Health Research - Jewish Journal

Few would deny a connection between spirituality, Judaism, and health, but how does it function and how would one prove it? HUC-JIR's Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health gathered about 30 scholars, rabbis, and doctors to plumb these questions as part of its 2011 Roundtable on Judaism and Health Research. The goal was to begin creating a more concrete basis for research into the field of health and Judaism. "So much of our work is done on what I call a kishka level, on an intuitive level. We are here to do just the opposite," Michele Prince, Director of the Kalsman Institute, told the group. Topics for the roundtable included pastoral education, Jewish bioethics, the health care system, spirituality and healing, and responses to illness and wellness.

Finding God in my Phone - Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills Synablog

Rabbi Sara Mason-Barkin (HUC-JIR/LA RHSOE '08, Rab '10) writes, "As Jews, we are the people of the book. It's true that we resonate with scrolls and pages, pens and ink. But as our lives expand to encompass the mobile realm, so too can our sanctuaries. Not only does God dwell among people who study together from across a table, but God can also dwell among people who light candles together from across an ocean. The screen does not have to devalue our ancient words and texts. Rather, there are times where it may have the power to make holiness even more accessible to those who are as adept with the flick of a finger across the surface of a smartphone as they are with the flip of a page in a book."

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

Rabbi William Cutter, Ph.D., Founding Director of HUC-JIR's Kalsman Institute on Judaism & Health and Steinberg Emeritus Professor of Human Relations, will share "Midrash and Medicine: Healing Body and Soul in the Jewish Interpretive Tradition," his new book of essays by Jewish health leaders and important thinkers from within the national Jewish community, on Shabbat morning on February 26, 2011 at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills (8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills); on February 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm during a special Havdalah service for the Union of Reform Judaism meeting (The Westin Los Angeles Airport, 5400 West Century Blvd., Los Angeles); and on February 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm at Chevalier's Bookstore (126 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles).
Dr. Susan Einbinder, Professor of Hebrew Literature at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, will present "Seeing the Blind: Trauma and Poetry in Medieval Ashkenaz," a workshop on Medieval Hebrew poetry, on Friday, February 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm at Stanford University's Taube Center for Jewish Studies.
Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, will participate in the lecture series, "Understanding Islam," at Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Congregation of Pacific Palisades on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Firestone will discuss political issues and Jewish-Islamic relationships, the concept of Jihad, and where we are today and what we can do about it. Click here for further information. Firestone was awarded The Summer Institute for Israel Studies flagship fellowship at the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. During and through the fellowship, Firestone will develop a new course at HUC-JIR and at USC on Israel in which students will have the opportunity to learn about the country and its history from a perspective that is supportive of Zionism while treating the complexity of Jewish-Muslim/Israeli-Palestinian relations responsibly. Click here for further information.
Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Rabbinic and Second Temple Literature at HUC-JIR/New York, will speak on "From Talmud to Today" at East End Temple on Friday, March 11, 2011. He will illuminate modern issues facing our society with timeless Rabbinic wisdom.
Dr. Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Chair in Jewish Communal Service, received this year's Sam Beber Distinguished AZA Alumnus Award Winner. Dr. Windmueller will accept this honor in Los Angeles on February 20, 2011, while addressing more than 700 teens at BBYO's International Convention. "During my high school years, AZA represented both the most positive Jewish experience and social connections," said Windmueller. "In many ways my involvement with BBYO helped to prepare, inspire and teach me about those complex issues that challenge and impact the lives of teens. I shall be forever grateful for the friendships and connections afforded to me through BBYO." Click here for further information.

HUC-JIR Faculty and Students Featured on Cablevision's Jewish Life: February 18

On Friday, February 18 and again on April 8, Cablevision's television show Jewish Life will air "The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion" with guests Cantor Bruce Ruben, Director of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music; Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller, Professor of Cantorial Arts at HUC-JIR's Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music; and HUC-JIR/New York cantorial students David Mintz and Julia Katz. Jewish Life, with host Stewart Ain, airs on Fridays across Long Island on Cablevision Channel 115 at 5:00 pm.

James' Journey to Jerusalem: February 22 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

The next film in HUC-JIR/Cincinnati's Academy of Adult Interfaith Studies film class, "Jewish Films through an Interfaith Lens" will showcase "James' Journey to Jerusalem" with Rabbi Dr. Haim Rechnitzer, Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Thought, on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 7:00 pm at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati. Free and open to the public. Please RSVP to

Schusterman Fellow Lecture with Dr. David Mendelsson: March 1 in Los Angeles

The Louchheim School of Judaic Studies presents the second Schusterman Fellow Lecture with Dr. David Mendelsson, Schusterman Visiting Professor of Israel Studies at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles. Dr. Mendelsson will present "Circumventing the State? Religion, Politics and (Jewish) Education" on March 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm the Leavey Library Auditorium on the USC campus.

"L'chi lach, on your journey I will bless you..." Artists Reception: March 2 at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

The exhibition "...L'chi lach, on your journey I will bless you..." was curated by Anne Hromadka and organized by the Jewish Artists Initiative (JAI) of Southern California, in partnership with the Enhancement Committee of HUC-JIR/Los Angeles. The Artists Reception will take place on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 from 7:00-9:00 pm, and remarks with featured artists honoring Debbie Friedman, z''l, will take place at 7:30 pm. Please RSVP to or 213-765-2106.

Spring High School Retreat: March 4-6 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

Presented by the American Jewish Archives, during the Spring High School Retreat in Cincinnati on March 4-6, 2011, students and faculty will discuss "In the beginning...there was reform: How Judaism has maintained its relevance throughout history."

HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen Celebration at the New York Campus: March 10 at HUC-JIR/New York

The HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen Celebration will take place on Thursday, March 10, 2011, from 6:30-8:30 pm at HUC-JIR/New York. The annual Soup Kitchen Celebration brings together students, faculty, administrators, Soup Kitchen community volunteers, members of the Board of Governors and Boards of Overseers, College-Institute alumni, and friends of HUC-JIR to commemorate the Soup Kitchen's achievements and raise funds to support its vital work. It also provides an opportunity to honor community volunteers who are essential to the Soup Kitchen's continued vibrancy.

Screening and Discussion of "The Infidel:" March 15 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

HUC-JIR/Cincinnati presents the next film in the Academy of Adult Interfaith Studies film class, "The Infidel," on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm. Dr. Nathan Abrams, from Bangor University in Wales, will lead a discussion on a rollicking yet intelligent and poignant tale of a British Muslim who discovers his birth parents were Jewish. Free and open to the public. Please RSVP to

Spring Open House: March 16-17 at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem

HUC-JIR welcomes interested students to the Jerusalem campus on March 16-17 for the Spring 2011 Open House. Enjoy a day in the life of HUC-JIR/Jerusalem and explore your career opportunities. Meet our students and others who share your vision for the future while exploring contemporary issues with our faculty experts. Learn with HUC-JIR President, Rabbi David Ellenson, and find a career that will transform your life and make a difference for others. Registration is free. We offer home hospitality and generous travel subsidies for interested students.

Photo of the Week

Rabbi Heather Borshof (HUC-JIR/New York '10), pictured on the right during training at an obstacle course, is the U.S. Army's first-ever female Jewish chaplain on full active duty. Borshof is one of four females out of 82 chaplains in her course.

Please click here for a larger image.

New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery

Bring color to your Sabbath table with Israeli ceramic artist Gaia Smith's challah plate. Using an inlaid technique on colored porcelain, Smith's challah plate depicts the imagery of the Sabbath dinner table.

$320, plus shipping and handling.

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

Please click here for a larger image.

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