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April 07, 2011
Spotlight On
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News at HUC-JIR
HUC-JIR in the News
Faculty News
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HUCNews is a weekly e-newsletter produced by HUC-JIR's National Public Affairs Office.
Spotlight On
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Announces 2011 Ordination, Investiture, and Graduation Ceremonies

Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) has announced the class of 2011, who will be ordained, invested, and graduated this spring in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and New York. HUC-JIR is the nation's oldest institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism.

Rabbi Ellenson said, "The Class of 2011 emerges from the College-Institute imbued with leadership skills, steeped in knowledge, strengthened by a commitment to service, and dedicated to bringing hope and healing to our troubled world. As they touch the lives of others through their sacred work as rabbis, cantors, educators, nonprofit management professionals, scholars, and pastoral care-givers throughout North America and around the world, they will be a source of inspiration and guidance."

The College-Institute will award 119 earned degrees, and honor distinguished communal leaders, scholars, and alumni. Click here for full press releases.

Photo of the Week
HUC-JIR Alumni Gather at the 2011 Central Conference of American Rabbis Convention

Over 400 alumni from HUC-JIR gathered at the 2011 Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) Convention in New Orleans on March 27-30, 2011. In keeping with a time-honored tradition, Rabbi Scott Shpeen (CN '84), President, HUC-JIR Alumni Association, and member, HUC-JIR Board of Governors, called the roll of classes as alumni cheered for their fellow classmates. Rabbi Jack Stern (HUC-JIR/CN '52), the most senior alumnus at the Convention, received an enthusiastic standing ovation when he stood as his class was acknowledged (pictured on the right with his son, Rabbi David Stern (RHSOE '88, NY' 89)).

Click here for further information on alumni events at the convention.

News at HUC-JIR
Rabbi Jonathan A. Stein Installed as President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis

Rabbi Jonathan A. Stein (HUC-JIR/CN '75) of Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City was installed as President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) on March 28, 2011. The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) is the world's oldest and largest group of Jewish clergy, representing nearly 2,000 Reform rabbis. Rabbi Stein succeeds Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus of B'nai Yehuda Beth Sholom in Homewood, IL, who will be completing her two-year term as CCAR President. The themes Rabbi Stein plans to emphasize during his tenure include creating a blueprint for the evolving role of rabbis in the Reform movement, explaining, "About 30% of Reform rabbis are now community rabbis and not affiliated with a congregation. They have other roles such as academics and chaplains. We need to make sure their voice helps redefine the movement." He wants to face up to the effects of the economic downturn, stating, "As congregations and other institutions have cut back, we now, for the first time, have under-employed rabbis. We must help them continue to contribute - and do so in a way that supports their emotional and economical needs." Finally, he wants to respond to challenges faced by women rabbis, explaining, "While seminary is now half male and half female, women are under-represented in the higher income rank of Reform rabbis. They're paid less for equal work, and we need to address that."

Sandra M. Mills, CPA, Promoted to Chief Financial Officer at HUC-JIR

Sandra M. Mills, CPA, was promoted to Chief Financial Officer at HUC-JIR. Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., HUC-JIR President, stated, "Sandra Mills brings extensive expertise to her responsibilities for all financial, budget, and accounting aspects of the College-Institute. We look forward to her guidance, which will enable HUC-JIR to achieve the financial sustainability that is the goal of the New Way Forward plan." With over 20 years of not-for-profit experience, Mills joined the College-Institute as Director of Finance and Accounting in October 2007. For the past three-and-a-half years, she has provided leadership in the National Business Office and has served as Interim Chief Financial Officer for the past six months. She will continue to serve as staff liaison to the Board of Governors' Audit, Finance, and Investment Committees. Reporting to Rabbi Ellenson, her expanded responsibilities include supervision of the National Offices of Financial Aid and Gift Administration.

Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue Visiting HUC-JIR

On April 11, 2011, a delegation of Muslim religious leaders from the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue (DICID) led by its chairman and former President of Qatar University, Prof. Ibrahim Saleh Al-Naimi, will spend the morning at the Jack H. Skirball Campus at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, where graduating rabbinical student Sarah Bassin and Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Professor of Medieval Jewish Studies, will lead them in chevruta style text study with students, faculty and area rabbis. Rabbi Firestone has participated in DICID's annual conference in Qatar in recent years and says unequivocally that it is the most groundbreaking example of substantive dialogue held in the Muslim Arab world. Click here for more information on the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue.

Reform Judaism Magazine Offers Access to the Magazine's Back Issue Content

The editors of Reform Judaism magazine are pleased to announce a new and valuable resource that has been created to serve families and congregations. For the first time ever, the newly redesigned RJ magazine website ( offers instant access to the magazine's extensive back issue content by topic. This content-and still timely, in-depth articles on many other relevant topics-is now instantly accessible.

HUC-JIR in the News
New President for the World Union - Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs - World Union for Progressive Judaism

The World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) is delighted to announce the appointment of Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs to the position of President of the organization. Rabbi Fuchs has served as the senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford Connecticut since 1997. He has also served as Adjunct Professor at the Hartford Seminary, Connecticut. Rabbi Fuchs said, "To work for k'lal yisrael, to advance Progressive Jewish life in Israel and around the world is the opportunity for which I have been preparing my entire life. I know that working together as a team, a dedicated staff with a deeply committed group of lay leaders can and will make the World Union's wonderful work even more effective in the years ahead."

Demographer: Bay Area-style Judaism Has its Advantages -

Dr. Steven M. Cohen, Professor of Jewish Social Policy at HUC-JIR/New York, found himself in the middle of a generational conundrum a few years ago. "I was in my late 50s, and I had a 24-year-old staff member and 90-year-old donor. I was running an institution, and it became clear that I needed to learn from both of them in order to be effective." The question of how to engage with multiple generations of American Jews simultaneously is at the center of Cohen's most recent study, an eye-opening look at the differences in how aging baby boomers and their children express and relate to Judaism. "With my generation of Jews, there was always an assumption that along with being a good person comes a variety of institutional commitments," said Cohen. "And now the younger generation is saying, 'You cannot expect us to automatically buy into Jewish affiliation unless there's some other purpose.' They don't automatically buy into being members of a synagogue, or a JCC, or the federation, or in-marriage, or the concept of a Jewish neighborhood, or support for Israel."

Opinion: Is the Jewish Vote Undergoing Some Sort of Significant Shift in Emphasis? - The Jewish Exponent

Dr. Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service at the Jack H. Skirball Campus at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, writes, "American Jews are political animals, deeply passionate about politics, as generally more than 80 percent of eligible Jewish voters participate in the electoral process. Throughout American history, Jews have held a special regard for their civic responsibility. Throughout much of the 20th-century, Jews have supported Democratic Party candidates. Over time, there has been a debate about whether 'the Jewish vote' remains static, or whether Jews are possibly shifting their party loyalties."

The Forgotten Woman Cantor: Julie Rosewald Now Getting Her Due - The Jewish Week

The evidence was always there. But until Judith Pinnolis found it, nobody remembered that there had been a female cantor leading services at San Francisco's Temple Emanu-El for nine years between 1884 and 1893. Now, with the publication of Pinnolis' article on Julie Eichberg Rosewald in the latest edition of the American Jewish Archives Journal, her status as the country's first woman cantor can be properly assessed and saluted. When Cantor Max Wolff of Temple Emanu-El, the city's largest synagogue died in 1884, Julie Rosewald quickly replaced him. How is it possible that Rosewald's milestone was completely forgotten? "Rosewald's 'rediscovery' never would have been possible without the digital resources available on line," Pinnolis said. "It's a testament to the way that we have changed the teaching and performance of library research. This story gives you an insight into the power of digital research to change the way we look at history." Click here to read Pinnolis's article on the American Jewish Archives website.

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

Rabbi Lewis M. Barth, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Midrash and Related Literature, will be the Scholar in Residence at Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester on April 8-10, 2011. The weekend will be devoted to the overall theme of how Ancient Rabbinic Judaism deals with some of the great problems and concerns of our contemporary world: baseless hatred, extreme language and slander in he public arena, corruption that undermines a healthy society, and finally the need for forgiveness and understanding.
Dr. Michael Chernick, Deutsch Professor of Jewish Jurisprudence and Social Justice, spoke on the topic, "The Beginnings of the Rabbinic Seder: Study vs. Action and the Uses of Memory in the Celebration of Passover," on March 31, 2011. Chernick received notification of the acceptance of his paper titled "Shabbat Shalom: The Sabbath and Its Connection to Peace," which will be presented at the November 2011 meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in San Francisco.
Dr. Michael J. Cook, Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies, will serve as Scholar-in-Residence at the Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center, Bridgewater NJ, Sunday, April 10, 2011. He will be the keynoter of the Clergy Institute on the history of Easter season Passion dramas from the 17th Century through the modern day, to be held at Temple Beth-El, Hillsborough, NJ, on April 11, 2011.
Rabbi William Cutter, Ph.D., Steinberg Emeritus Professor of Human Relations, presented the keynote address at the annual conference of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation on "Stories of Living: Shattering Stereotypes of Aging." He spoke on the Healer as Aged Person. Rabbi Cutter also conducted a series of workshops.
Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Jewish Studies, will give a lecture at the University of New Mexico on Wednesday, April 13, 2011, on "Images of Muhammad in medieval Jewish and Christian literatures: the problematic of a 'New' prophet." Click here for further information. Rabbi Firestone will participate in an international symposium, "Legal Scholar - Preacher - Spiritual Adviser: Changing Roles of Rabbis, Pastors, and Priests" in Regensburg, Germany on September 19-22, 2011. Click here for further information.
  Dr. Leah Hochman, Director, Louchheim School for Judaic Studies, and Assistant Professor of Jewish Thought, will be the Scholar in Residence during Temple Sinai of Las Vegas's annual retreat to Zion National Park on April 29-May 1, 2011. Dr. Hochman will be teaching and learning on "Telling Our Stories: Jewish Stories About Ourselves and Others," "The Beauty in Judaism, Aesthetics, Nature and Religion," and "It's Not Easy Being Green: Nature, Jewish Ethics, the Beautiful and You."

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, Ph.D., Barbara and Stephen Friedman Professor of Liturgy, Worship, and Ritual, will participate in an international symposium, "Legal Scholar - Preacher - Spiritual Adviser: Changing Roles of Rabbis, Pastors, and Priests" in Regensburg, Germany on September 19-22, 2011. Click here for further information.
Dr. David Mendelsson, Schusterman Visiting Professor in Israel Studies at the Jack H. Skirball Campus at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles and Director of Israel Studies at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, presented "Bringing Israel to You" on March 4, 2011 at University Synagogue in Los Angeles. In light of the current turmoil in Egypt and around the Middle East, Dr. Mendelsson provided an inside view of what all of this means for the people and State of Israel.
Dr. Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service, 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, 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.

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

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.

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

On Wednesday, April 27, 2011, from 1:00-4:00 pm, rabbinical students at the Jack H. Skirball Campus at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles 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.

Panel Discussion with Artists Laurie Gross and Susan Jordan, and Dr. Norman Cohen, Professor of Midrash: April 28 at HUC-JIR/New York

On Thursday, April 28, 2011, artists Laurie Gross and Susan Jordan will join Dr. Norman Cohen, Professor of Midrash at HUC-JIR/New York, for a discussion of "The Seven Days of Creation," a monumental tapestry created by the artists. The textile, composed of jacquard woven and hand-embroidered cotton, is split into seven panels and has embroidered imagery depicting God's creation from the first day to the Sabbath. A reception will be held from 5:00-7:00 pm, with a panel discussion from 5:45-6:45 pm. Photo ID and RSVP required: or 212-824-2293. This program is presented by the Irma and Abram S. Croll Center for Jewish Learning and Culture.

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 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati 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.

New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery

Celebrate your Passover seder with this glazed ceramic matzoh plate by Barbara Krohn, a leading New York ceramicist. The plate was individually formed to emulate hand-made matzoh. 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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