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March 31, 2011
Spotlight On
News at HUC-JIR
HUC-JIR in the News
Faculty News
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.
Spotlight On
Dr. Michael Marmur Announces Tenure and Promotions at HUC-JIR

Dr. Michael Marmur, Vice President for Academic Affairs, has announced the following promotions, effective July 1, 2011:

• Tenure granted to Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Bible (top left)
Dr. Jason Kalman promoted to Associate Professor of Classical Hebrew Literature and Interpretation (bottom left)
Dr. Sharon Koren promoted to Associate Professor of Medieval Jewish Culture (top right)
Dr. Jonathan Krasner promoted to Associate Professor of American Jewish History (bottom right)

Dr. Marmur stated, "The award of tenure to Dr. Andrea Weiss and the promotion of Dr. Jason Kalman, Dr. Sharon Koren and Dr. Jonathan Krasner gives powerful expression to our Board of Governors' commitment to scholarship, to the education of our students, and to the future of our institution. Their academic prowess and fields of interest, their personal commitments and their visions of Jewish Life, their love of teaching and concern for their students' growth, all these factors and more put them in the first rank of scholarship and pedagogy. We are lucky to have them."

News at HUC-JIR
HUC-JIR Mourns Professor Ben Zion Wacholder, z"l, Freehof Professor Emeritus of Talmud and Rabbinics at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

Dr. Ben Zion Wacholder, Freehof Professor Emeritus of Talmud and Rabbinics at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, passed away on Tuesday, March 30, 2011. Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, stated, "We mourn the loss of our esteemed colleague, teacher, mentor, and friend, Dr. Ben Zion Wacholder. Associated with HUC-JIR for nearly six decades, Professor Wacholder was a world renowned scholar on the origins and development of Talmudic Judaism and ancient Jewish commentaries and played a catalytic role in enhancing scholars' access to the Dead Sea Scrolls. A survivor of the Shoah, his life and work linked HUC-JIR with the glorious tradition of European Jewish learning of his origins. His memory is a source of blessing to us all." Soon after joining the HUC-JIR staff, he became a permanent member of the College-Institute's faculty, ultimately being named the Solomon Freehof Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics in Cincinnati, where he taught until his retirement. Wacholder's students speak of the warmth and magnetism that drew them to their teacher, a brilliant Talmudist who knew scripture and rabbinic texts by heart. When his eyesight deteriorated in the 1970s, dozens of his rabbinical and graduate students flocked to assist him with his research.

Rabbinical Student Keren Klein Presenting Paper at Society of Biblical Literature-Pacific Coast Region

Keren Klein, a rabbinical student at the Jack H. Skirball Campus at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, presented a paper at the regional meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature-Pacific Coast Region, entitled "Looking for Lament: Identifying Components of the Lament Genre in Psalm 77." The regional meeting was held from Saturday, March 26 through Monday, March 28 at Whittier College, providing an opportunity for individuals interested in biblical scholarship to come together to share new insights. Klein presented along with three other scholars (graduate students and professors) in a session focused on literary structures in the Hebrew Bible. Click here to read Klein's abstract. Click here to read Klein's presentation. Click here to view the video from Klein's presentation.

Rabbinical Student Carole Gould's Publication in The Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling

Carole Gould, a fifth-year rabbinical student at HUC-JIR/New York, recently published "On Suffering: A Chaplain's Letter" in The Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, Vol. 65, No. 1, Spring 2011. The Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling advances theory and professional practice through scholarly and reflective literature on pastoral and spiritual care, counseling, psychotherapy, education, and research. Gould draws on Jewish tradition to answer an unnamed person who asks, Why did God give me cancer? What did I do to deserve it? How can I believe in a God who does such terrible things? Where is God in my suffering?

Recent Musical Releases from Cantor Sheldon Merel (HUC-JIR/NY '52)

Cantor Sheldon Merel (HUC-JIR/NY '52) recently released his second CD, Chants of a Lifetime from Synagogue to Opera, including classical Shabbat and High Holy Day liturgical music, a song by Rabbi Levi Yitzchok (sung in Yiddish) about his 19th century controversy with God, and the dramatic aria from the opera, La Juive, about the Spanish Inquisition in 18th-century Italy. All of the selections were recorded live, in concert or services. Congregation Beth Israel of San Diego, where he has served as Cantor and now Emeritus for 31 years, is sharing the CD as part of the congregation's 150th anniversary celebration. Cantor Merel's version of Hashkiveynu by Max Janowski will be included on Transcontinental Music's forthcoming compilation album, Koleinu 2.

HUC-JIR in the News
The New Middle East: A View from Jerusalem - HUC-JIR's Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning

Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, writes, "The great story of this generation is that two strong and confident communities are evolving on parallel tracks. We are two generations away from the Holocaust and the founding of the state of Israel. As Israelis create a modern Hebrew Jewish culture and society, the gap with the Diaspora grows; although we no longer reject the Diaspora as did the early Zionists. Meanwhile, North American young adults are forging their Jewish identities reflective of their needs and dreams. Many of our students eagerly join Women at the Wall. For many secular Israelis this is a foreign experience. They would rather run in a marathon through the Old City than stop to pray anywhere. Many of our students are bewildered by the religious coercion in Israel; too many Israelis reject the coercion but also reject Judaism in the process. And often reject our form of Judaism too. Yet thousands attended Reform Purim events throughout Israel. Thirty of our Year in Israel students joined the Progressive Congregation in Modiin where hundreds attended Megillah reading, with many of our students reading! Increasingly, Israelis are finding their way to our Congregations and educational institutions. When terror strikes, all our fears return. At the same time, we remain steadfast and fearless to get on with our lives. The life of Israelis and Diaspora Jews will remain 2 parallel tracks for sure. It is our responsibility to build bridges, connect, exchange, argue, and keep the bonds between us alive and updated. As Reform Jews, we might be able to model a Judaism that lives in and with democracy. Israelis face issues of sovereignty and governance that are still very new for this emerging modern state.

Direct Service or Community Organizing? - Present Tense

Rachel Van Thyn, a third-year rabbinical student at the New York campus of HUC-JIR, writes, "In a class offered to seminary students through Jewish Funds for Justice and the Center for Jewish Organizing, this year I was presented with a different model: community organizing. This involves a slower process of building social capital through taking on a set of one-to-one relational conversations, learning what makes a person tick, what they care about, and the issues upon which they are motivated to act. Once you have gathered multiple stories from various people (which can be done in a salon or house meeting), you figure out what issue people have in common and leverage it to enact change in the immediate community."

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

Dr. Michael J. Cook, Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, will serve as Scholar-in-Residence at Temple Israel in Charleston, WV, on April 1-3, 2011.
Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Jewish Studies at the Jack H. Skirball Campus at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, participated in "Abraham: Where Three Faiths Converge" on March 30, 2011. We call Judaism, Christianity, and Islam the Abrahamic faiths, but is the Abraham discussed in each scripture the same person? Rabbi Firestone, along with his co-panelists, opened up a discussion on how Abraham is viewed through each religious tradition, what are the different religious qualities stressed, and what is it in Abraham that moves us, that helps us to understand how to respond to God's call.
Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Rabbinic and Second Temple Literature at HUC-JIR/New York, will be the Scholar in Residence at Temple Beth Israel in Longboat Key, Florida, on April 1-2, 2011.
Dr. Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service at the Jack H. Skirball Campus at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, will present "Unpacking the Middle East: A Geo-Political Analysis of the Region and United States Interests" on Friday, April 8, 2011 at Isaac Mayer Wise Temple in Cincinnati, OH. Click here for further information.
Rabbi Gary Zola, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and Professor of the American Jewish Experience at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, will serve as the Bernice and Seymour Nordenberg Scholar-In-Residence at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, IL, on April 29-May 1, 2011. The weekend will also mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the congregation. Click here for further information (see page 11). Dr. Zola delivered a lecture to the students and faculty of the Herzl Institute for the Study of Zionism at the University of Haifa on Wednesday, March 16, 2011. The title of his lecture was "Reform's Early Beginnings in America and in Germany: A Comparative Analysis." Haifa University's faculty have come to the American Jewish Archives over the years to study-more faculty from Haifa University have come to the AJA than any other university in Israel-engendering warm collegial relations.

HUC-JIR Faculty and Students Featured on Cablevision's Jewish Life: April 1 and April 8

On April 1, Cablevision's television show Jewish Life will air "A Tribute to Singer/Songwriter Debbie Friedman." Guests will include Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller, Professor of Cantorial Arts at HUC-JIR's Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music; Mark Kligman, Professor of Musicology; and HUC-JIR/New York cantorial students Joshua Breitzer and Vicki Glikin. On April 8, 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; 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.

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

Difficult Decisions: Issues of Conception, Adoption, and Abortion: April 5 at the Jack H. Skirball Campus at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

On April 5, 2011, from 12:10 pm to 1:10 pm, the Spiegel Seminar series at the Jack H. Skirball Campus at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles will host Difficult Decisions: Issues of Conception, Adoption, and Abortion. The topic is "I am pregnant, now what?" The Spiegel Seminar on Jewish Family Values, organized by HUC-JIR's Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health, is a series of seminars focused on topics related to Pastoral Care and Counseling most often seen as "stigmatized behaviors" that may not have been fully addressed in students' coursework.

Founders' Day: April 6 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

On April 6, 2011, the HUC-JIR/Cincinnati campus will celebrate the unique relationship between Jewish and Christian students as students from the Rabbinical School and Graduate School conduct a joint worship service combining appropriate liturgy and music of both religious traditions, under the guidance of Cantor Yvon Shore and Rabbi Kenneth Kanter, Director, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati Rabbinical Program. Of special note is distinguished and honored speaker, Professor Lowell McCoy, senior member of the Cincinnati campus, who served for decades as the Professor of Speech at HUC-JIR.

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. 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. RSVP to Sarah Strouse at or 513-487-3230.

Poetry Reading by Jerome Rothenberg: April 13 in Cincinnati

On Wednesday, April 13, 2011, Jerome Rothenberg will hold a poetry reading in celebration of the new Jewish Studies minor at Xavier University and the collaboration between HUC-JIR/Cincinnati and Xavier University. Born in New York City in 1931, Jerome Rothenberg is a founder of the ethnopoetics movement in poetry and a major figure in contemporary Jewish literature. He is the author or editor of more than 80 books of poetry, translations, essays and anthologies. Recent volumes include Poetics and Polemics 1980-2005, Concealments and Caprichios, and the three-volume anthology Poems for the Millenium. This event is free and open to the public. Reception to follow.

Theses and Curriculum Project Presentations: April 27 and 28 at the Jack H. Skirball Campus at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

Wednesday, April 27, 2011, from 1:00-4:00 pm, the Jack H. Skirball Campus at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles rabbinical students will present their theses. On Thursday, April 28, 2011, from 9:30 am-2:40 pm, students in the Rhea Hirsch School of Education will present their Curriculum Projects. This will be followed by an all-school final tefillah, lunch, and then School of Jewish Nonprofit Management theses presentations.

95th Birthday Celebration for Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman: April 30 in Chicago

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. 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.

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

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.

Photo of the Week

On March 22, 2011, the HUC-JIR/New York Campus held services honoring Dr. Leonard Kravitz and Dr. Philip Miller on the occasion of their retirement. Dr. Kravitz, who was ordained at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati in 1954, serves as Professor of Midrash and Homiletics at HUC-JIR. Dr. Miller served as Director of the Klau Library for nearly four decades. Rabbi Shirley Idelson, Dean, HUC-JIR/New York, says, "Drs. Kravitz and Miller have taught several generations of students at the New York School, and their influence here both in scholarship and as teachers has been monumental. It was a privilege to be able to honor them upon the occasion of their retirement. All of us-the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and board members of our school who have been blessed with learning from Leonard and Phil-wish them well, and pray they will only go from strength to strength."

Please click here for a larger image.

New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery

Polish artist Henryk Winograd (1916-2007) studied metallurgy in Warsaw and, after immigrating to the United States in 1972, began to produce jewelry, decorative art objects, and religious ceremonial objects. Winograd blends familiar images with uncommon textures. Winograd's one-of-a-kind mezuzzot, created of sterling silver, display varied images including scenes from Jerusalem and the Lion of Judah. From left to right: $160, $160, $175, plus shipping and handling.

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

Please click here for a larger image.

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