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March 10, 2011
Spotlight On
Photo of the Week
News at HUC-JIR
HUC-JIR in the News
Faculty News
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.
Spotlight On
Launch of New National Jewish Political Study: 2011 Jewish Voter Survey to Measure the Changing Jewish Vote

"Is the Jewish vote changing and are Jewish political interests shifting?" These and other questions have prompted Dr. Steven Windmueller, the Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service at HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles , to launch this major new national Jewish political study.

"I am particularly interested in seeing if we are in the midst of a political sea-change within the American Jewish community," noted Professor Windmueller. This study will explore a number of variables, including income, geographical region, age, religious affiliation, and education. It will examine the political priorities of Jews and, in turn, where they allocate their financial resources with regard to their support of political causes, both Jewishly and within the mainstream. Windmueller is interested in finding out how and where Jews acquire their political ideas and knowledge and wants to analyze how they self-define themselves with regard to specific political labels. An important feature of this research will focus on understanding the level and depth of engagement that Jews have with the State of Israel and other core social and policy issues.

Coming a year before the next Presidential election campaign, Dr. Windmueller has elected to explore the interest that Jews may have in the various candidates who are either considering a run for the White House or who have been identified by the media as potential challengers. The study is designed to capture a large cross section of the Jewish public, allowing for the "diverse voices" of American Jewry to be heard. Individuals can take the ten-fifteen minute survey on-line prior to April 1st. Click here to take the survey.

Photo of the Week

Within the framework of the Israel Seminar, HUC-JIR's Year-In-Israel students spent a day at an army base learning about the role of the army in Israeli society. The day included discussions with soldiers about the structure of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), daily life in the army, the IDF as a Jewish army, the status and role of women in the army, the values and codes of behavior in the IDF, and leadership in the IDF. Parallel Lives is a program that brings together 10-15 of our students with the same number of Israeli soldiers from one of the IDF's elite units. Participants learn about, interact and form meaningful dialogues with a segment of the Israeli population that they might not be exposed to while the soldiers are given the opportunity to learn about Progressive Judaism. The programs have both educational and social elements.

Please click here for a larger image.

News at HUC-JIR
Reception for "...L'chi Lach, on your journey I will bless you..." at HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles

On March 2, 2011, the Los Angeles Enhancement Committee hosted a reception for the participating artists in the exhibit, "...L'chi Lach, on your journey I will bless you...", co-sponsored by the Jewish Artists Initiative, at the Jack H. Skirball Campus of HUC-JIR in Los Angeles. During the reception, the featured artists spoke of their personal journeys as reflected in their art. In discussing the exhibition, Curator Anne Hromadka wrote, "The assembled artworks focus on the many journeys these artists and we, as viewers, will take throughout our lives. They are meant to give comfort along the way and remind us that, like for Abram, the end of our travels holds a promise of revelation, redemption, and the everlasting beauty of self-discovery along our journey." Miriam Philips, a rabbinical student at the Jack H. Skirball Campus of HUC-JIR in Los Angeles, was the closing speaker at the reception, which featured a tribute to Debbie Friedman. She delivered an Ahavah Rabbah prayer titled "Standing at the Wall," which she wrote and was edited by Debbie Friedman.

Rhea Hirsch School of Education Day of Learning

On March 1, 2011, the Rhea Hirsch School of Education (RHSOE) Alumni Association hosted an Alumni Day of Learning on the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles and New York campuse of HUC-JIR, entitled "Defining Community." More than 40 alumni participated and were linked via electronic classrooms on two campuses. The highlight of the day was a cross-campus (via videoconference) panel featuring Jewish professionals who all "build community" in innovative ways. The Day of Learning was planned by members of the Alumni Association's Sustaining Alumni Education Working Group and featured panelists included: Cantor Yonah Kliger and RHSOE alumni Rabbi Paul Kipnes; Debra Sagan Massey, RJE; Rabbi Lydia Medwin; and Ira Wise, RJE. Funding for this Day of Learning came from the Lieberman Family Fund for Continuing RHSOE Alumni Education and was supported by Alumni Dues.

95th Birthday Celebration for Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman

Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman, internationally recognized for his leadership of Reform, will be honored with a 95th birthday celebration on Saturday, April 30, 2011 at Emanuel Congregation in Chicago. World-renowned Israeli violinist and Stradivari Society recipient Vadim Gluzman and pianist Angela Yoffe will perform. The significant musical event will serve as an unforgettable tribute to Emanuel's Rabbi Emeritus, Herman Schaalman. Rabbi Schaalman, a native of Munich, Germany, was one of five young rabbinical students who were rescued by the College-Institute in 1935 with the help of former HUC-JIR President Julian Morgenstern. Morgenstern was instrumental in securing student visas for these five students, who escaped a likely fatal destiny by leaving Germany and coming to study at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati. Schaalman was later ordained by HUC-JIR and is Rabbi Emeritus of Emanuel Congregation in Chicago, where he has served for over fifty years. He is well known for his involvement with the interdenominational religious leadership in Chicago, having served as president of the Council of Religious Leaders of Chicago. Rabbi Schaalman is also past president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and a trustee of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions. In addition, he founded the first camp of the Reform Movement at Oconomowoc in Wisconsin. Rabbi Schaalman has published widely and lectures on college campuses. HUC-JIR Cincinnati awarded him a Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, in 1966 and he was also awarded the Order of Merit 1st Class by the President of Germany in 1995.

HUC-JIR in the News
Letter to the Editor: Important Distinction - The Jewish Week

Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, HUC-JIR, writes, "In his well reasoned and judicious Opinion piece, 'Combating Delegitimization Requires a Big Tent' (Feb. 18), John Ruskay has displayed a much-needed guidance and common sense regarding communal discussion and debate concerning the State of Israel. His nuanced understanding of the challenges the State of Israel confronts allows for an important and needed distinction between 'haters of Israel' who advocate delegitimization of the Jewish state and 'supporters of Israel' who question and critique specific policy positions that the Israeli government advances. His insights remind us that our people must display sufficient self-confidence to embrace Jews who love the State of Israel and who yet are critical at times of certain stances the government of Israel adopts. I applaud his defense of organizations such as the JCC in Manhattan that are unfairly targeted by those whose ill-conceived fervor attempts to curtail or even censure legitimate communal disagreements on these matters. As the late Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel Abraham Isaac Hacohen Kook observed at the end of his commentary on the Talmudic tractate Berachot, Jewish teachings demand that opinions representing different perspectives and different approaches to issues be expressed if a healthy and vibrant Jewish community is to exist. The Ruskay op-ed expresses a viewpoint that strengthens both our community and the State of Israel from those who would do them harm."

Is Pamela Geller Starting Judaism's Westboro Baptist Church? - The Huffington Post

Joshua Stanton, a third-year rabbinical student at HUC-JIR/New York, writes, "I am not only embarrassed but outraged and outright humiliated that people calling themselves Jews would in any way be associated with - much less co-sponsor - such hurtful protests against a fundraiser being held by a Muslim community organization in California. According to the Islamic Circle of North America, whose event fell victim to these outrageous voices of hate, Rabbi David Eliezrie of Chabad Yorba Linda and Pamela Geller, head of the infamous group "Stop the Islamization of America" were among those co-sponsoring the event. We, as Jews, comprise a religious community that knows what it is like to be on the outs, hated as new immigrants, hated for our religion. We are a community whose rabbinic sages have attributed the destruction of our two sacred Temples in Jerusalem to sinat chinam (acts of senseless hatred) within our community, and we know what it feels like to have our sanctuaries around the world burnt to the ground in the sinat chinam of others. I can only pray that Pamela Geller's hatred, so egregiously carried out in association with the name of my religion, is recognized for the blasphemy that it is - and do everything in my power to organize fellow Jews against her vitriol. Pamela Geller is a voice of hate who does not merit in any capacity use of the good name of Judaism. The institution she may seek to build is an embarrassment to the tradition she claims to be her own."

Be Stupid: Lessons for Jewish Learning - HUC-JIR's Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning

Joy Wasserman, National Director of Alumni Affairs at HUC-JIR, writes, "A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this display at the entry to the shopping area in "Departures" at Ben Gurion Airport. Mystified, I asked myself over and over, what is their real message? Diesel is a successful multimillion-dollar business-what do they know that I don't understand? As a Jewish educator, I am struggling with how to make sense of all this. What lessons can we draw from this jarring approach as we do our avodat kodesh (sacred work)? Crass language aside (though in this case that is a bit hard to ignore), I think one of lessons here is that while for most of us our lives seem to be dominated by left brain analytical thinking, most of us also have a strong need to engage our right brain selves. Many of us want opportunities to experience life through heart-felt emotional responses, creative experiences, opportunities for the heart and not the head to take the lead. I think this larger-than-life ad at Ben Gurion Airport is an important reminder to us as transmitters of Judaism. We must teach Judaism in ways that can be experienced by both right and left brain and we must share a Judaism that is both intellectually and emotionally engaging and challenging."

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

Dr. Michael J. Cook, Professor of Intertestamental and Early Christian Literatures at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, will be serving as Scholar-in-Residence at Congregation Beth Shalom in Cary, NC, March 11-13, 2011.
Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam at HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/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. The Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies presents the Elizabeth & Robert Plumleigh Lecture Series, "The Birth of Religion and The Making of Peace," with featured speaker, Rabbi Firestone, on March 22, 2011. Click here for further information.
  Professor Paul Liptz, a member of the faculty at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, presented commentary on religious, ethnic, and economic components, and led a discussion on the role of honor, pride and humiliation in this complex area with its 350 million citizens, at Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis, MO, on March 7, 2011.
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.
Rabbi Margaret Moers Wenig, a member of the HUC-JIR faculty at the New York campus, presented the paper, "'Male and Female, God Created Them:' The Intersex, Transsexual, and Transgender in Judaism," at the Annual Gender Studies and Women's Studies Symposium at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in Newark, NJ.

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

Essential Voices USA (EVUSA) inaugurates its new series, The Composer Speaks, with the music of Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Shulamit Ran, at HUC-JIR/New York on Sunday, March 13, 2011, at 7:00-8:30 pm. Two short homophonic works celebrating freedom, B'chol Dor Vador and Min Hameitzer were commissioned by HUC-JIR's Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Director, Cantor Bruce L. Ruben, for this workshop performance. B'chol Dor Vador, is based on a text from the Passover Haggadah: In every generation one must look upon himself as if he personally had come out of Egypt. Min Hameitzer is a setting of Psalm 118:5: Out of my distress, I called upon the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. Members of the HUC-JIR community can purchase tickets at a discounted rate of $12. 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.

Founders' Day Sermon with Rabbi Leonard Kravitz, Ph.D.: March 17 at HUC-JIR/New York

The HUC-JIR/New York campus invites you to commemorate the vision of HUC-JIR's founders, Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise and Rabbi Stephen Samuel Wise, at Founders' Day on Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 10:05 am. Rabbi Leonard Kravitz, Ph.D., will give a sermon on "A Matter of Definition." Dr. Kravitz is Professor of Midrash & Homiletics at HUC-JIR/New York. Please RSVP to or 212-824-2252. A light lunch will be provided for those who attend the service.

Founders' Day Tefillah and All School Case Presentations: March 22 at HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles

HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/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/Jack H. Skirball Campus/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.

Screening and Discussion of "Go for Zucker:" March 22 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

HUC-JIR/Cincinnati presents the next film in the Academy of Adult Interfaith Studies film class, "Go for Zucker," a German film with English subtitles, on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm. Dr. Nathan Abrams, from Bangor University in Wales, will lead a discussion on a German Jewish comedy with insights into contemporary German Jewish identity. Free and open to the public. Please RSVP to

Screening and Discussion of "Monty Python's Life of Brian:" April 5 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

HUC-JIR/Cincinnati presents the next film in the Academy of Adult Interfaith Studies film class, "Monty Python's Life of Brian," on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 5:00 pm. A discussion with Anne will follow. Free and open to the public. Please RSVP to

The Biblical World and Its Impact: Precept and Praxis - A Symposium Honoring Professor Samuel Greengus: April 10 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

The Gustav A. and Mamie W. Efroymson Memorial Lectures at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati presents "The Biblical World and Its Impact: Precept and Praxis," a symposium honoring Professor Samuel Greengus, former Director of the School of Graduate Studies in Cincinnati, on Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 9:00 am. Dr. Samuel Greengus has had a long career of service to the College-Institute as the Julian Morgenstern Professor of Bible and Near Eastern Literature and as Professor of Semitic Languages (1963-2010). The symposium will begin with a welcome from Rabbi David Ellenson, followed by sessions with Dr. Nili S. Fox, Dr. Stephen J. Andrews, Dr. John H. Walton, Dr. Jeffrey L. Cooley, Rev. Dr. Bill T. Arnold, Rev. Dr. Bryan E. Beyer, Dr. Rodney E. Cloud, Dr. Adam Kamesar, Dr. Ronald A. Veenker, Dr. Angela Roskop, Dr. Steven M. Voth, Rabbi Dr. Barry Kogan, Dr. David J. Gilner, Dr. Brian Webster, Rabbi Barton G. Lee, and a response and concluding remarks by Dr. Samuel Greengus. The Gustav A. and Mamie W. Efroymson Memorial Lectures were founded in 1946 by brothers Clarence W. and Robert A. Efroymson in memory of their parents. Since the inaugural lecture in 1975, the Efroymson Lectures have brought leading scholars to the Cincinnati campus, and have resulted in significant publications. RSVP to Sarah Strouse at or 513-487-3230.

American Jewish Archives to Host "Travels in American Jewish History:" June 1-5, 2011

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.

New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery

Celebrate your Passover seder with this glazed ceramic matzah plate by Barbara Krohn, a leading New York ceramicist. The plate was individually formed to emulate hand-made matzah. Glazed, textured stoneware, 11" diameter. $180 plus shipping and handling.

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

Please click here for a larger image.

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