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Best wishes for a wonderful Fourth of July!
HUC-JIR News is published monthly during the summer.
The next issue will appear on August 4, 2011.
July 01, 2011
Spotlight On
Special Opportunity
HUC-JIR Alumni Program in Germany
News at HUC-JIR
HUC-JIR in the News
Highlight on Judaism and Social Media
Faculty News
New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery
Quick Links
HUC-JIR News is a weekly e-newsletter produced by HUC-JIR's National Public Affairs Office.
Spotlight On
Dr. Jonathan Cohen Appointed Dean of HUC-JIR/Cincinnati: New Era of Leadership for Birthplace of American Reform Judaism

Dr. Jonathan Cohen, Associate Professor of Talmud and Halachic Literature, has been appointed Dean of HUC-JIR's Cincinnati campus as of September 1, 2011. Dr. Cohen stated, "Our Cincinnati campus is a historic and vibrant center for the education and training of liberal Judaism's future leaders and the education of scholars of all faiths. Our task is to build upon our strengths and successes in advancing the mission of the College-Institute and to enhance our school's programs in Cincinnati. We have a mandate to raise the profile of this campus as a center of study and innovation adding sustenance to the life of our greater academic community and transforming the religious and cultural experience of Jews and non-Jews in our region and beyond."

Rabbi Kenneth E. Ehrlich Appointed Counselor to the President of HUC-JIR

Rabbi Kenneth E. Ehrlich has been appointed Counselor to the President at HUC-JIR, after completing 31 distinguished years as Dean of its Cincinnati campus. In his new role, Dean Ehrlich will assume responsibility for special academic projects and will help raise the visibility and financial resources of the College-Institute through his work with benefactors, alumni, congregations, and foundations throughout the region. He assumes this new position on September 1, 2011. Rabbi Ehrlich noted, "It has been a privilege to serve as Dean of this campus. I am grateful to the scholars and teachers on our faculty who have shared with me their knowledge and their wisdom; to our students who have inspired me with their drive to learn and to serve; to our dedicated staff for their good work and their loyalty; and to our many friends, here and throughout the country, who endorse and support our efforts."

Special Opportunity
Exclusive Penthouse in Jerusalem

Located between the King David Hotel and the David Citadel Hotel on King David Street, this penthouse is perfect for your large family or two couples with kids in the heart of the vibrant city life. The apartment has 3 bedrooms and a media room for viewing movies that can be converted to another bedroom. There are 4 balconies for views to the private and exclusive gardens with views to the old city. The decor lends itself to a very high end lifestyle in this amazing apartment. You have access to a very large Jewish literary library.

HUC-JIR Alumni Program in Germany
Germany Close Up, a Ten-Day Program in Germany - January 8-17, 2012

HUC-JIR's Alumni Council is partnering with Germany Close Up to provide a ten-day program in Germany from January 8-17, 2012, designed especially for HUC-JIR alumni up to age 35. Established in October 2007, Germany Close Up - American Jews Meet Modern Germany is an initiative created to provide Jewish American young professionals with an opportunity to develop their own perspective on contemporary Germany.

News at HUC-JIR
A Message from Rabbi Ellenson on the Election of Rabbi Richard Jacobs as Next URJ President

Rabbi David Ellenson, President, HUC-JIR, writes, "Rabbi Jacobs is an outstanding individual and leader, and I am confident he will prove a most worthy successor to Rabbi Eric Yoffie as the leader of our Movement. Rabbi Jacobs has had a distinguished career as a pulpit rabbi. In addition, he is scholarly, charismatic, creative, warm, and a lover of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. He will surely guide and inspire our Movement and the Jewish people with integrity, wisdom, and love." Click here to read the URJ's recent release on Rabbi Jacobs' election as fourth President of the Union for Reform Judaism.

Gary L. Greenberg Inducted onto HUC-JIR's Board of Governors

Gary L. Greenberg, a prominent attorney and communal leader of Cincinnati, OH, was inducted onto the Board of Governors of HUC-JIR at its meeting on June 13 in New York. Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, stated, "We are honored to welcome Gary Greenberg, a distinguished civic leader of the Cincinnati community. His legal expertise and extensive experience in professional and Jewish communal organizations will serve as a great source of assistance to the College-Institute. We look forward to his partnership in our shared mission to strengthen Reform Judaism and secure the Jewish future."

HUC-JIR's Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education Launches Inaugural Cohort

The Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education at HUC-JIR, a program designed for educational professionals who seek advanced academic and professional training through a part-time program, launched its inaugural cohort of students on May 31, 2011 with a three-day intensive seminar on its Cincinnati campus that began their 24-month-long program of study. The newly established Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education is made possible by the generous grant support of the Jim Joseph Foundation. The Jim Joseph Foundation has provided $15 million to HUC-JIR to increase the number and enhance the quality of Jewish educators working with Jewish youth and young adults through the development of new certificate and degree programs and training and mentoring new and practicing educational professionals over the next five years. The Executive M.A. Program allows the students to strengthen their skills and knowledge while continuing to live and work in their own communities throughout North America.

Update on the Circumcision Ban from Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler, Director of the Berit Mila Program of Reform Judaism and NOAM at HUC-JIR

Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler, Director of the Berit Mila Program of Reform Judaism and the National Organization of American Mohalim at HUC-JIR's Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, writes: It's an interesting time to be the Director of the Berit Mila Program of Reform Judaism. Since the program's inception, more than 300 new mohalim have been trained and certified to perform circumcisions in North America and throughout the world. In the years since the program began and throughout Jewish history there have been movements aimed to limit or abolish the rite of berit mila. San Francisco has always been on the forefront in many important Civil Rights movements. It is important to note that the anti-circumcision movement is not one of them. People of all religions, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds have sought new lives in San Francisco to advance the very frontiers of liberty-- including religious liberty. The proposed ordinance targets a well-established religious practice of Jews and Muslims and denies parents a right to make a fundamental decision about the religious, cultural, and ethnic upbringing of their children. It is not only un-American, it is profoundly un-San Franciscan."

Tikkun Layl Shavuot at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem

The HUC-JIR/Jerusalem campus was greeted with more than 500 Israeli men and women for an all-night Tikkun Layl Shavuot, a joint program with Beit Shmuel (World Union for Progressive Judaism) and the Israel Religious Action Center of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, with the support of the New Israel Fund. The evening began in the Blaustein Hall at the Jerusalem campus with a panel on "Families through the Lens of the Book of Ruth" and the successful opening was followed by workshops and text study led by members of the HUC-JIR administration.

HUC-JIR Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling and NYU Silver School of Social Work: Roundtable on Issues of Early Aging

On May 12, 2011, the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling at HUC-JIR/New York and NYU Silver School of Social Work co-sponsored an interfaith, interdisciplinary Roundtable exploring the growing impact that aging baby boomers will have upon society and the ways in which social service agencies and religious institutions will need to respond. Nineteen individuals, engaged as clergy, mental health professionals, social workers, social service providers, and funders, gathered to discuss issues of early aging (60-75). Participants at the Roundtable interacted through a series of brief presentations and focused discussions on issues ranging from kinship patterns and story to end-of-life decision making. The Roundtable ended with the participants generating a list of suggestions for next steps and further discussion.

HUC-JIR in the News
A Movement of Change - The Jerusalem Post

Rabbi Dr. Michael Marmur, Vice President for Academic Affairs at HUC-JIR, writes, "Representatives of the boards of three major institutions of the North American Reform Movement - its congregational body, rabbinical association, and seminary - will be gathering to ponder the challenges and opportunities of the coming decades. The ground is certainly shifting beneath the feet of the Reform Movement, and indeed of the Jewish world in general. Anecdotal evidence and scholarly research point to new trends in denominational affiliation, generational attitudes, religious practices, economic priorities and much else. The fact that critics of Reform Judaism are predicting its downfall is neither surprising nor particularly interesting; some have been willing its demise for two centuries and see every achievement of the movement as a trivial prelude to its much-anticipated downfall. It is perhaps more significant that within Reform Judaism, a serious debate has been taking place about its future."

Are Jews Warming to the Tea Party? - The Jewish Daily Forward

Jews have been considered to be the religious group least supportive of the Tea Party. But at least one researcher thinks the community is warming up to the movement. "Historically, we've seen the community as being liberal, but now a counter voice is emerging," said Steven Windmueller of HUC-JIR. A recent Internet survey of Jews, conducted by Windmueller, found that about 42% thought the Tea Party movement was "refreshing" versus an equal percentage that found it "alarming." More support for the Tea Party idea came from Republicans, Orthodox Jews and males, and less from Democrats, Reform Jews and females. Even Windmueller cautioned that his study "does not permit one to make any defining conclusions." Nevertheless, Windmueller argues that his study shows "a distinctive Jewish conservative voice emerging on Israel-related matters and an array of domestic social issues" among "highly engaged Jews."

Finding a Reform Jewish Voice in New York State - The Jewish Week

Rabbi Marci Bellows (HUC-JIR/NY '04) writes, "As fortunate as we Jews are, there are still many who are not able to live equally in peace or openness. It is our responsibility to ensure that freedom and justice are possible for all not just in the country at large, but also to ensure that this takes place on a state level. To that end, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, together with the URJ Commission on Social Action, created a project a number of years ago called "Reform Jewish Voice of New York State," meant to advocate for the many issues relevant to residents of our fine state, and to offer meaningful local programming. Through the RJVNYS, 100 congregations are represented, totaling over 100,000 Reform Jews. Nationally, there is no other group like it."

Highlight on Judaism and Social Media
The God and Twitter Series - HUC-JIR's Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning

Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Ph.D., Editor of Tzeh U'llimad, HUC-JIR's Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning, is composing a series on God and Twitter.

In her first article, Helping Clergy Do What They Do Better, she writes, "Twitter is a social media tool that allows users to broadcast short messages no longer than 140 characters and followers to track these short bits of news and commentary. Twitter has become a valuable tool with particular benefits in Jewish professional life. Today, there are many HUC-JIR alumni on Twitter, not to mention, accounts for HUC-JIR (@hucjir & @hucinci). Talking to some of those that tweet, it is clear that Twitter is playing a powerful role in the ways Jewish professionals do their jobs and live their lives."

In her second article, Spiritual Innovation and Connection, Rabbi Abusch-Magder discussed Jewish projects taking place on Twitter. She writes, "At first glance it can easy to dismiss Twitter. Small bites of conversations not necessarily joined in linear progression have the potential to be devoid of meaning. But playing with the medium, it is clear, that the format also lends itself to innovation and is an opportunity to do the unexpected."

Enjoying the series on Judaism and social media? Sign up for Tzeh U'llimad to learn more.

Can You Twitter Judaism? - The Jewish Week

Is Twitter a good medium for Judaism? Two articles were recently posted on the Web that took opposing viewpoints on this question. Donniel Hartman, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute and Director of the Engaging Israel Project, penned a critique titled "Judaism is not a Twitter-able Religion" in which he explained that the ideas of Judaism cannot be tweeted using the social networking site Twitter. An opposing viewpoint was blogged by Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder in a post (above) for HUC-JIR's Tzeh U'llimad. Both Rabbis Hartman and Abusch-Magder make valid points regarding Judaism in the 21st century. Hartman is correct that we shouldn't allow ourselves to water down Judaism into soundbites (or tweets). Our millenia-old Tradition should not be squeezed into 140-character messages. However, there are important opportunities to utilize Twitter (and other social networking sites) for the promotion of Judaism in positive ways. This medium shouldn't be quickly rejected as useless when it comes to bolstering Judaism and having our religion compete in an open marketplace of ideas.

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

Rabbi Yehoyada Amir, Ph.D., Associate Professor for Jewish Thought at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, will be a 2011-2012 Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization fellow. Click here for further information.
Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Jewish Studies, 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. Rabbi Firestone presented a lecture series on Muslims at Beth Chayim Chadashim in Los Angeles. Click here to read more.
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. Jonathan Krasner, Associate Professor of the American Jewish Experience, served as Program Chair of the 25th Annual Conference of the Network for Research in Jewish Education, which was held at York University in Toronto, Canada, June 12-14. Dr. Krasner's new book, The Benderly Boys and American Jewish Education, was featured in Jewish Ideas Weekly article, "Hebrew School." Click here to read the article.
Rabbi Dr. Michael Marmur, Vice President for Academic Affairs, participated in a global Jewish forum "A Big Blue Tent and Jewish Dissent: Cultivating Resilience against Israel's Delegitimization" at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem's Blaustein Hall on June 29, 2011. The forum explored the principles and practices necessary to mobilize a wide Jewish consensus to address the challenge. In the session, "Sources of Resilience - Cultivating Activists for Israel," Dr. Marmur and Rabbi Dr. Daniel Gordis participated in a panel discussion chaired by Yonatan Ariel, Executive Director, Makom.
Bruce Phillips, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish Communal Service, published an article in the Spring edition of the CCAR Journal: "A Demographer Considers the Twenty-First Century."
Dr. Yaffa Weisman, Director, The Frances-Henry Library, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at HUC-JIR's Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, is the recipient of the 2011 Shoah Foundation Institute Teaching Stipend, which is designed to support new course creation or substantial revision to an existing course.
Rabbi Margaret Moers Wenig, Instructor in Liturgy and Homiletics, with HUC-JIR alumni, Rabbis Eliot Kukla (HUC-JIR/LA '06) and Reuben Zellman (HUC-JIR/LA '10), contributed to an anthology that recently won a Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction: Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community, edited by Noach Dzmura, North Atlantic Books. The review explains, "Margaret Moers Wenig's linguistics piece "Spiritual Lessons I Have Learned From Transsexuals" mixes word-geekery with a wondrous analysis of the nature of trans experience that left me cheering in my chair."
Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, D.Min., led a workshop entitled "Insights about Self-Care from Leviticus: Spiritual and Geographic Transitions of the Caregiver" at the 8th Spiritual Care Conference for Professionals, Spiritual Support as a Therapeutic Language in Israeli Society, held in Jerusalem, May 16-17.
Steven Windmueller, Ph.D., Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service, recently had his review essay, "Jews in the Shaping of Modern Capitalism," published in Virginia Commonwealth University's Menorah Review #75, Summer/Fall 2011. Click here to read more. Dr. Windmueller's recent survey was discussed in The Jewish Daily Forward's "Jewish Seat Threatened by Growing Latino Bloc." Click here for further information. Click here to view his survey. Dr. Windmueller published "In This Time, In This Place: Establishing Your Voice and Defining Your Message" in the Spring edition of the CCAR Journal.
Dr. Michael Zeldin, Director, Rhea Hirsch School of Education, chaired the opening plenary and wrote the preface for the book, The International Handbook of Jewish Education, a two-volume tome published by Springer Science & Business Media in April, which was launched June 12 at the 25th annual conference of the Network for Research in Jewish Education.
Dr. Sharon Koren, Assistant Professor of Medieval Jewish Culture; Dr. Adriane Leveen, Senior Lecturer in Hebrew Bible; and Dr. Andrea Weiss, Assistant Professor of Bible; taught at the annual conference of the Women's Rabbinic Network, "Fire and Water: Passion and Renewal," on May 22-25, 2011. Click here for conference details.
Dr. Adriane Leveen, Senior Lecturer in Hebrew Bible, and Dr. Alyssa Gray, Associate Professor of Codes and Responsa Literature, served on a panel at the Tikkun on Shavuot at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in New York.

The Daniel Centers for Progressive Judaism Celebrate their 20th Anniversary

The Daniel Centers for Progressive Judaism in Tel Aviv-Jaffa are proud to celebrate their 20th anniversary this year. In 1991, Beit Daniel, the first ever Reform synagogue, opened its doors with HUC-JIR/Jerusalem graduate Rabbi Meir Azari ('92). In honor of this occasion and to celebrate the 95th birthday of Gerry Daniel, the founder of Beit Daniel, the Daniel Centers are hosting a reception on July 1, 2011. Joining the celebration at Beit Daniel will be leading figures in Israeli society, congregation members, and overseas supporters. This year, the Daniel Centers reached a critical milestone. Their Judaic education work in Tel Aviv's elementary schools has been recognized by Israel's Ministry of Education in the most concrete and tangible way, with a $30,000 renewable grant. Joining the Daniel Centers in receiving a first ever government grant to a Reform organization involved in Judaic education is the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism.

Teaching Israel: Challenges and Opportunities: July 9 at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem

HUC-JIR alumni are cordially invited to "Teaching Israel: Challenges and Opportunities" on Shabbat afternoon, July 9 at 4:30 pm, for an afternoon of learning, discussion, and community. The afternoon will begin a welcome in the library courtyard with Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. The program will continue with "Here and There" with Dr. Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy, and Dr. Dave Mendelsson, Head of Israel Studies; moderated by Rabbi Josh Zweiback, Director, Year-in-Israel Program. Small group discussions and learning will follow with Rabbi Dr. Marc Rosenstein, Director, Israel Rabbinical Program; Rabbi Dr. Dalia Marx, Assistant Professor of Liturgy and Midrash; Rabbi Dr. Michael Marmur, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Assistant Professor of Jewish Theology; and Rabbi Naamah Kelman. Seudah shlishit followed by Havdallah will be led by Rabbis Ken Chasen and Josh Zweiback. Please RSVP to Iris Ben-Zvi at

Murstein Synagogue Service Schedule 2011 at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem

Shabbat services will be held on the following dates:

  • June 2011: 18 and 25
  • July 2011: 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30
  • August 2011: 6 and 13
Shabbat morning services begin at 9:30 am. On dates when we are not holding T'fillah in the Murstein Synagogue, please visit one of the local Reform Congregations listed below:
  • Kehillat Har El, 16 Shmuel HaNagid, 054-4742314
  • Kehillat Kol Haneshama, 1 Asher Street, 02-6724878
  • Kehillat Mevakshei Derech, 22 Shai Agnon, 02-6792501

New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery

From the studio of prominent Judaic textile artist Reeva Shaffer comes an elegant collection of hand-crocheted kippot for women. Kippot are beautifully adorned with feminine touches including beaded flowers, sequins, and lace.

$60 plus shipping and handling. To purchase, please contact: 212-824-2218,

Please click here for a larger image.

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