Click here if you're having trouble viewing the page below
February 24, 2011
News at HUC-JIR
HUC-JIR in the News
Faculty News
Photo of the Week
New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery
Quick Links
HUCNews is a weekly e-newsletter produced by HUC-JIR's National Public Affairs Office.
News at HUC-JIR
American Jewish Archives Hosts "Travels in American Jewish History"

The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives will host 'Travels in American Jewish History - A Journey of Jewish Identity & Discovery to Historic Savannah, Georgia" from June 1-5, 2011. This unique program will offer participants the opportunity to travel to Savannah to examine its particular Jewish heritage while studying with the foremost scholars of American Jewish history. The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, founded in 1947 by its namesake at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, is committed to preserving a documentary of the religious, organizational, economic, cultural, personal, social, and family life of American Jewry. The Marcus Center contains over 12,000 linear feet of archives, manuscripts, nearprint materials, photographs, audio and videotapes, microfilm, and genealogical materials.

Women and the Temple: Feminist Commentary on the Talmud

HUC-JIR/Jerusalem is co-sponsoring "Women and the Temple: Feminist Commentary on the Talmud," a conference on March 7 and 8, 2011, in memory of Professor Hannah Safrai, z''l, who taught at HUC-JIR Jerusalem for many years. The international project of the feminist commentary on the Babylonian Talmud will be introduced in the conference. The conference will touch on issues of the presence and role of women in the time of Second Temple in Jerusalem. Key HUC-JIR speakers include Rabbi David Levine, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Talmud and Halachah; Rabbi Dr. Dalia Marx, Assistant Professor of Liturgy and Midrash at HUC-JIR; and Dr. Ruchama Weiss, who oversees all the programs at the Blaustein Center. Rabbi Dr. Dalia Marx initiated this conference with Professor Tal Ilan of Freie Universitat, Berlin. Click here to view the flyer (Hebrew).

"Siona Benjamin: Esther Megillah" at the HUC-JIR Museum in New York

The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum in New York presents "Siona Benjamin: Esther Megillah," on view from February 28, 2011 - June 30, 2011. Originally from Bombay, Jewish artist Siona Benjamin was raised in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim area of India. Now living in the U.S., Benjamin creates work that combines the imagery of her past with the role she plays in America today. Her work is inspired by both Indian miniature paintings and Jewish and Christian illuminated manuscripts.

Image: Siona Benjamin, Esther Megillah, illuminated manuscript on parchment, 2010. Courtesy of Flomenhaft Gallery, NY.

Founders' Day Tefillah and All School Case Presentations at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

HUC-JIR/Los Angeles will gather together as a community on March 22, 2011, to honor the founders of HUC-JIR in prayer, in learning, and in community building. Each year, the campus presents a case on a topic of interest and concern to the Jewish community. This year, students and faculty at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles will address the issue of bullying and teen suicide. Rabbinical student Julia Weisz, education student Amanda Greene, and nonprofit management student Shira Landau will respond to the case study from their particular professional perspective.

HUC-JIR in the News
So, the Pharaoh Is Gone - Jewish Journal

Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, writes, "The Egyptians are a clever people. They know a good thing when they see it, and a bad thing as well. That is why they will not go the way of Iran despite calls in some quarters for 'Islamic government.' They see the three Islamist countries of the Middle East - Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia - and they are not fooled. All are oppressive, dictatorial states that care little for the welfare of their own citizens. They are failed states, held together by brutal regimes propped up at the expense of the lives and spirit of their own people. The Egyptians have been there, done that. The Egyptian people do not want to go the way of Iran. But if they are not encouraged with material as well as moral support in developing a real democracy, we may see them being sucked into the most obvious alternative."

'Morphing' To Hit New Audiences - The Jewish Week

Twenty Reform synagogues across the country were awarded $5,000 incubator grants from the URJ with the goals of engaging current members and interacting with the unaffiliated. "We wanted to challenge congregations to dream about how might they engage members of their communities," said Rabbi Dan Freelander, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of URJ. And 168 congregations accepted that challenge, submitting creative, unorthodox and bold ideas targeting everyone from empty nesters to returning college students to the intermarried to the LGBT community. From growing a wheat field in South Portland, Me., to developing an iPhone app in Durham, N.C., to entering a float in the gay pride parade in Chicago, the 20 winning grant applications pushed the boundaries of the traditional synagogue model. Although the grants are relatively small, "We're asking synagogues to morph themselves," said Rabbi Freelander, who was also a member of the grant review committee. "We're not going to fund you doing the same stuff you're doing now."

100 Years Later, the Roll of the Dead in a Factory Fire Is Complete - New York Times

Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, past President of HUC-JIR, and his wife, Judy Zimmerman, had family who passed away in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory fire of 1911. Judy Zimmerman's great aunt, Fannie Rosen, also known as Faiga Resnik, was 21 and a newly arrived immigrant from Kiev (present-day Ukraine) and had worked at Triangle for two days prior to the fire. Up until recently, Rosen and five other individuals, all of whom are buried under the Evergreens monument, remained unknown to the public at large, though relatives and descendants knew that a loved one had never returned from the burning blouse factory.

Jewish Peoplehood: The World Union of Progressive Judaism - HUC-JIR's Blog of Continuing Jewish Education

Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Ph.D. (HUC-JIR/New York '06), editor of HUC-JIR's Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning, writes, "It is easy to dismiss 'Jewish Peoplehood' as just the latest of trends in organized Jewish communal life. But behind the slogans lies a complex reality of global Jewish diversity. People from other places, even when they share a commitment to liberal Judaism, have different ways expressing and experiencing Judaism. Embracing peoplehood means that we will inevitably experience some disconnect. Acknowledging the places where we differ is essential if we are to truly embrace global diversity and not simply impose our own vision of self on others. Anticipating and accepting that some of these differences may make us uncomfortable is critical for building a sense of Jewish peoplehood that goes beyond slogans."

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 present the lecture, "How the Birth-pangs of Religion Complicate Peacemaking between Faith Communities," at the Hong Kong Network on Religion and Peace on March 2, 2011, at the Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Center in Hong Kong. Rabbi Firestone 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.
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. Click here for further information.
Joyce Rosenzweig, Artist-in-Residence at HUC-JIR/New York's Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, was honored at a Shabbat Shirah Concert at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, where she serves as Musical Director, on Sunday, February 13, 2011. The concert honored Rosenzweig for her years of incredible music to the CBST community and supporting the world of Jewish music as teacher, performer, mentor, and advocate. Click here for further information about the concert. Click here for pictures and a video made by members of CBST about Rosenzweig.

Shabbat Worship and Torah Study with HUC-JIR Scholars at the URJ North American Forum: February 25-27 in Los Angeles

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.

The Academy of Adult Interfaith Studies Presents West Bank Story: March 1 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

HUC-JIR/Cincinnati presents the next film in the Academy of Adult Interfaith Studies film class, West Bank Story, a Middle Eastern West Side Story, on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 7:00 pm. Rabbi Dr. Haim Rechnitzer, Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Thought, will lead a discussion. 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.

Rabbi David Ellenson Speaking at Temple Israel of Memphis: March 11-12 in Memphis

Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., will deliver the D'var Torah at Temple Israel, Memphis, on Friday, March 11, 2011 at 6:15 pm at the evening Shabbat service. At the Shabbat dinner which follows, he will discuss "Renewing the Old and Sanctifying the New." On Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 8:45 am, Rabbi Ellenson will continue to teach and inspire by leading Shabbat Torah study. At 10:00 am, Rabbi Ellenson will give the D'var Torah at the Saturday morning Shabbat service.

The Composer Speaks: Shulamit Ran: March 13 at HUC-JIR/New York

Watch Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Shulamit Ran at work on Sunday, March 13, 2011 from 7:00-8:30 pm at HUC-JIR/New York. Listen and compare different versions of the same piece and experience premieres of exciting, new works. Sing along with HUC-JIR/New York Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music student Joshua Breitzer. For further information and to purchase tickets, click here. Photo ID required.

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 who share your vision for the future while exploring contemporary issues with our faculty experts and discovering 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

HUC-JIR/New York fifth-year rabbinical students at their Rabbinic Thesis Celebration on February 17, 2011.

Please click here for a larger image.

New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery

Beautify your home with unique mezuzah covers by renowned ceramic artist Barbara Krohn. $150 plus shipping and handling. To purchase, please contact: 212-824-2218,

Please click here for a larger image.

© 2020 - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion