The next issue of HUC-JIR News will appear on December 1.
November 10, 2011
HUC-JIR Announces Dedication of Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music: December 7 at the New York Campus

The dedication of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music (DFSSM) will take place on Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 10 am at the New York campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion at One West Fourth Street, with a special service, tribute, and performance by cantorial alumni and students of the DFSSM. Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, stated, "A beloved member of our faculty since 2007, Debbie Friedman, z"l, inspired our students through her creativity and musical talents, helped guide their spiritual and leadership development, and provided them with innovative strategies to transform congregations into communities of learning and meaning. Our students were blessed by her devotion, and our faculty was enriched by her gifts and talents. Her words and her music will live on and shape the world of prayer in our synagogues and in the larger Jewish community throughout the world for this and future generations."

RSVP and Information: or 212-824-2204. Photo ID required for admission.

HUC-JIR/Jerusalem Ordination and Academic Convocation 5772/2011

Three new rabbis for Israel’s Progressive Movement will be ordained by Rabbi David Ellenson at the Ordination and Academic Convocation at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem at 13 King David Street on Friday, November 18, 2011 at 11 am. The ordinees are Shai Beloosesky, Ariella Graetz-Bartuv, and Gila Caine.

The academic convocation will also feature the third cohort of graduates of the Blaustein Center for Pastoral Care and Counseling’s Mezorim Program: Yuki Bartura, Daniela Brafman, Yael Granit, Anna Michelle Gerrard, Debbie Lapin, Sandra Ahr, Noga Eshet, Ofra Feffer, Dr. Martin Vahrenhorts, Gila Caine, Imbar Rimon, Baruch Shalev, and Rachi Shamir. Eleven graduates of the Life Texts – Talmudic Bibliotherapy Program will receive their certificates: Rabbi Judith Edelman-Green, Ada Ahiman, Vered Jaia Bogomoski Yahalom, Tova Birnbaum, Fruma Brickner, Dr. Hagit Dee-Noor, Dina Hertz, Rachel Walfish, Irit Tunik, Uri Lam, and Yehudith Miller-Zamir.

Rabbi Uri Regev will be presented with the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree and present the Ordination Address. Sally Klein-Katz will receive the honorary Doctor of Education degree. Cantor Mikhal Shiff Mater will receive the honorary Doctor of Music degree. Lia Van Leer will be presented with the President’s Medallion.

HUC-JIR Alumni Opportunity: The Gerecht Institute

For over a decade, the Gerecht Institute at HUC-JIR has provided top-notch introductory training on the process of conversion and the role of the sponsoring clergy person to a generation of HUC-JIR students. Students often speak of the three-day retreat as one of the pivotal experiences of their student tenure. This Institute will represent a deepening and expansion of the student training, designed specifically for experienced clergy working in the field. Over the years, many HUC-JIR Alumni have expressed interest in a similar experience for clergy who have been in the field. Now, for the first time ever, thanks to generous funding by the Gerecht family, HUC-JIR and the URJ are excited to offer this wonderful educational opportunity to clergy (rabbis and cantors) who are alumni of the College-Institute. This retreat is open to those in the field who have not had the opportunity to experience the Gerecht Institute’s training during their student years.

In the Media
Making it Easier for LGBT Jewish Kids to be Open, Honest – Jewish Journal

A number of Jewish schools and youth organizations in the area are doing their part not only to provide resources for students struggling with their sexuality, but also to ensure inclusive environments where they can thrive. Simply providing access to information is one easy way to help LGBT students, said Joel L. Kushner, Director of the HUC-JIR’s Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation. Based in Los Angeles, it has a massive online collection of resources at “It’s really important for Jewish settings … to have the information so that a child can ... know that ‘oh, I can be Jewish and not an abomination — you know, from the Leviticus 18:22 verse — and my community will still accept me,’” he said.

The Work of Venetian Glass Artist Michael Gore Coming to The Skirball Museum at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati –

An exciting new exhibition of glass creations by renowned artist Michael Gore will open at The Skirball Museum on Sunday, December 4, with a reception from 4 to 6 pm. This is the second major exhibition this year at the museum located on the Cincinnati campus of HUC-JIR (3101 Clifton Avenue). The show demonstrates the school’s ongoing commitment to bringing a new dimension to the Cincinnati art world with exhibitions that celebrate Jewish art as well as other acclaimed works.

Online Initiative Enriches Study of Sacred Texts and Deepens News Coverage – On Being

Joshua Stanton, a rabbinical student at HUC-JIR/New York, recently co-wrote an article for the Common Ground News Service with Matthew L. Skinner, which was then picked up by Krista Tippett's blog, On Being. They write, “[T]he Internet’s potential can yield various outcomes. Despite our increased connectivity, people of different faith traditions remain all too likely to talk past one another. Just look at the comments section of any online news article. The Internet also allows people to perpetuate longstanding arguments over the most central of religious identifiers: sacred texts and the figures within them. Recycled ignorance and nasty disagreements over disparate prophetic texts often leave online dialoguers depleted and demoralized. The key, it would seem, is not whitewashing the differences that exist between religions and their sacred texts but clarifying them and using them as a basis for informed discourse online.”

HUC-JIR is proud of our accomplished faculty:

Dr. Michael J. Cook, Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies, will lecture from November 11-13, 2011 at the University of South Carolina on "Is the New Testament Anti-Jewish?" along with serving as Scholar-in-Residence at Temple B'nai Israel in Spartanburg, SC, and in two local churches where he will address, respectively, "Jewish Elements of Jesus' Parables" and "Jewish Symbols in Renaissance Nativity Paintings." Dr. Cook will be one of three presenters at a symposium on "Bach's St. John's Passion," at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, on November 15, 2011. Dr. Michael Zeldin, Professor of Jewish Education and Director of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education, was the speaker at a gathering of Rashi and Akiva Donors at the Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Community Day School in Foster City, CA. His topic was "More Than a Century Later and a World Apart: The Debates Over Jewish Day Schools Then and Now."
Dr. David Mendelsson, Director of Israel Studies at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, had his new book, Jewish Education in England 1944-1988, published by Peter Lang (Oxford). Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and Professor of the American Jewish Experience, will serve as the scholar-in-residence at Temple Beth Or, in Raleigh, NC on November 11-13, 2011. Click here for further information. From December 2-4, 2011, Dr. Zola will serve as the scholar-in-residence at Temple Emanuel of Dallas, TX. Click here for further information.
Cantor Josee Wolff, D.Min., Director of Student Placement in the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, presented at the workshop, The Jews of The Netherlands, at The Jewish Museum. Click here for further information.

"Jewish Ritual: Rethinking, Renewed" Artists’ Reception: November 16 at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

HUC-JIR’s Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles is hosting an artists’ reception on Wednesday, November 16 for its newest exhibition, “Jewish Ritual: Rethinking, Renewed.” Organized in collaboration with the Jewish Artists Initiative (JAI) of Southern California and curated by Georgia Freedman-Harvey, the display features the work of 16 Jewish artists. At the heart of the exhibit is this question: How can art add more relevance to rituals that play an important role in the personal lives of artists and their communities? It is based on the idea that rethinking and/or renewing how one engages in rituals allows one to reconnect with Judaism.

Meet the Composer/Master Class with Ben Steinberg: November 30 at HUC-JIR/New York

During our second Meet the Composer/Master Class on Wednesday, November 30 at 10:45 am at the HUC-JIR/New York campus, distinguished Jewish composer, conductor, and teacher Ben Steinberg will discuss his career and music with the students of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, who will perform his works.

“Women’s Participation in Torah and Mitzvot: Surprising Views from Sephardic Sources” with Professor Zvi Zohar: November 30 at HUC-JIR/New York

Professor Zvi Zohar, Professor and Founding Director of the Program for Hermeneutic Studies at Bar Ilan University in Israel and Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, will present “Women’s Participation in Torah and Mitzvot: Surprising Views from Sephardic Sources” on Wednesday, November 30 at 6:00 pm at HUC-JIR/New York.

Photo of the Week

HUC-JIR/Jerusalem's new Israel Engagement Coordinator, Udi Tzemach (second from right), is introducing Year-in-Israel students to the faces and experiences of Israel society and culture and helping them develop a stronger bond to Israel. A recent program Udi organized was a tour of downtown Jerusalem, based on poems of the renowned Israeli poet, Yehuda Amichai. Year-in-Israel students Polly Berg and Elle Muhlbaum (pictured from left) join Udi and a student from Hebrew University in discussing the poem and how it relates to the special character of Jerusalem.

Please click here for a larger image.

Judaica Gallery

Renowned New England blacksmith Stephen Bronstein forged this ribbon inspired Hanukkah menorah for the HUC-JIR Museum in New York. Its dramatic silhouette creates a meaningful focal point for the Celebration of Lights. Iron, 8.5" high x 11" wide. $210.00, plus shipping and handling.

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

Please click here for a larger image.

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