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Happy Purim!
Next Issue: April 5, 2012
March 8, 2012
Spotlight News In the Media Faculty Events Photo of the Week Judaica Gallery
Kol Hanshama: Every Soul Reaches towards God in Its Own Way
Experts in advocacy and service to people with disabilities engaged rabbinical, cantorial, education, and Doctor of Ministry students as well as alumni during a unique day of learning at the New York School devoted to exploring the responsibility and role of Jewish leaders and institutions in creating communities of inclusion and welcome. The Yom Iyyun on February 28 was organized by HUC-JIR in partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism, and included leaders from a broad range organizations and agencies offering assistance to disabled individuals. “Based on the success of last year’s Yom Iyyun on Special Needs for the MARE program at the New York School of Education (NYSOE), it was clear that this subject needed at be brought to the entire student and alumni community,” explained Professor Jo Kay, NYSOE Director. “The result was a magical ‘day of learning,’ which has inspired us to continue to build our own commitment to ongoing study and advocacy in addressing the needs of people with Special Needs.”
Year-in-Israel Students’ “Book of Purim” Shpiel – a Parody of “Book of Mormon”
Why do we celebrate Purim? In this fun-filled video, our Year-In-Israel students tell the story of Mordechai's fortitude and faith, as well as Esther’s feminist courage, in rescuing the Jewish people from their dire fate. Please enjoy watching these future Jewish leaders as they inspire us to remember the blessings of freedom through festivity.
Distinguished Leaders of Reform Movement and Jewish Community Inducted onto the HUC-JIR Board of Governors

Left: (from left to right) Irwin Engelman, Chairman, Board of Governors; Warren R. (Chip) Fagadau, M.D.; Joy G. Greenberg; Steven M. Sacks; Rabbi Rick Jacobs
Middle: Rabbi Steven A. Fox
Right: (from left to right) Rabbi Jonathan A. Stein; Rabbi Dr. Michael Marmur, Vice President for Academic Affairs

HUC-JIR is proud to welcome the following individuals onto our Board of Governors:
In Memoriam
Rabbi Helga Newmark, HUC-JIR/New York '00, was ordained at the age of 67, the first woman Holocaust survivor to be ordained as a rabbi. Her dream of becoming a rabbi was finally realized when she was admitted into HUC-JIR's rabbinical program by Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, then HUC-JIR President, z"l. Rabbi Newmark’s book, Letters to the Wise One: A Holocaust Survivor’s Conversations with God (2007), is a compilation of her personal recollections, essays, poetry, and diary entries that recount her tragic memories during the Shoah, her return to life and hope, and her fulfillment in becoming a rabbi.
Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati ’39, was an unparalleled scholar, leader, and rabbi of our Reform Movement and our People. HUC-JIR will be forever blessed that it had the zechut to bring him from Germany to our Cincinnati campus during the 1930s and save him from destruction during the Shoah. Rabbi Plaut served on the HUC-JIR Board of Governors and was honored by HUC-JIR with the Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, in 1964, and the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, in 2003.
Dr. David Weisberg, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati ’77, Professor of Bible and Semitic Languages at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati and our esteemed colleague and friend, was associated with the College-Institute for forty-five years. He was an internationally renowned scholar, beloved teacher, and mentor to generations of our students. May Dr. Weisberg’s memory endure as a source of blessing to all.
Announcing the Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute
The Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute (JECELI), a new collaboration between HUC-JIR and JTS, is now recruiting candidates for its inaugural Spring 2012 launch! Developed in consultation with the Bank Street College of Education and with the generous support of the Jim Joseph Foundation, JECELI will provide new and aspiring Jewish early childhood education directors with 15 months of intensive professional development. The institute will focus on best practices in early childhood education and Jewish education as the foundation for leadership, learning, and school culture. The JECELI experience will include one orientation program in late spring, two weeks of study in New York City for two successive summers, one winter learning experience, continued learning and practice in the participants' own schools supported by on-line communications, and interaction with a mentor and mentoring group for intensive individual support. JECELI is recruiting 16 participants (Program Fellows) for the first cohort. For more information, please contact Lyndall Miller, Program Director at
New Book by Dr. Norman J. Cohen: Masking and Unmasking Ourselves: Interpreting Biblical Texts on Clothing & Identity
In this highly engaging look at clothing and identity in the Bible, renowned teacher and scholar Dr. Norman J. Cohen, Professor of Midrash, presents ten Bible stories that involve clothing in an essential way, as a means of learning about the text, its characters and their interactions. But he also shows us how these stories help us confront our own life dramas, our own stories, ourselves. In doing so, he once again presents the Bible as a mirror, reflecting back to us our own personalities, ambivalences, struggles and potential for growth. By helping us uncover the garments of the Bible, Cohen shows us how to shed our own layers of insulation to reveal our authentic selves.
HUC-JIR's Steven Windmueller Addressed Changing American Politics at AIPAC Conference
This year’s annual policy conference by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) featured plenty of heavy-hitting policy makers, like Barak Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu. Making sense of the political landscape they face, however, may be just as important. That’s where Dr. Steven Windmueller, the Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service at the College-Institute’s Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, came in.
New Exhibition on Bat Mitzvah in NYC: Exhibition and Programs Celebrate Bat Mitzvah’s 90th Anniversary
To mark the 90th anniversary of Judith Kaplan’s bat mitzvah, the National Museum of American Jewish History and Moving Traditions have collaborated to organize a traveling exhibition, Bat Mitzvah Comes of Age, featuring the remarkable story of how, in less than a century, individual girls, their parents, and their rabbis challenged and changed communal values and practice to institute this now widely practiced Jewish ritual. The co-curators of the exhibit are Rabbi Carole B. Balin, Professor of Jewish History at HUC-JIR/New York; independent curator Lori Perlow; and Josh Perelman, the Museum's chief curator and director of exhibitions and collections. Bat Mitzvah Comes of Age opened March 6, 2012 and continues through April 27 at The Laurie M. Tisch Gallery at The JCC in Manhattan, and will travel to communities throughout North America.
Kalsman Institute Co-sponsors Bioethics Symposium
HUC-JIR’s Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health recently co-sponsored the symposium, “Biomedical Ethics: Traditional Jewish Values Across the Continuum of Life,” during the 2012 Meeting for the Society for Jewish Ethics in Washington, D.C. While the annual meeting – run concurrently with those of the Society of Christian Ethics and the Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics – targeted ethics scholars, Kalsman officials were excited to offer a special bioethics symposium to physicians, nurses, social workers, rabbis, and chaplains, and lay people interested in looking at bioethics issues at the end-of-life through a Jewish lens.
Rhea Hirsch School of Education Alumni Association Kallah
The Rhea Hirsch School of Education (RHSOE) Alumni Association gathered for their sixth Kallah on February 10-12, 2012, at Brandeis Bardin Camp in Simi Valley, CA. The Kallah consisted of a Shabbat experience of study, sharing and community building. RHSOE alumni participated in the leadership of the kallah; sharing stories of excellence, helping fellow alumni deal with challenges on the job, and leading worship. Current students were also invited to share Shabbat and lead morning worship.
Ride 4 Reform 2012
At the end of March, HUC-JIR students will participate in the “Ride 4 Reform,” the ninth annual bike ride to support the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ). Students will cover about 250 miles over five days, beginning in Haifa and ending in Mevasseret Zion. In addition to experiencing some of the most magnificent natural beauty that Israel has to offer, they will visit several Israeli Reform congregations along the way, bringing a message of friendship, solidarity, and support.
In the Media
Candidly Speaking: Ice Cream and Conversion – The Jerusalem Post
Rabbis David Ellenson, President, HUC-JIR, and Daniel Gordis, President, Shalem Foundation, authors “Pledges of Jewish Allegiance: Conversion, Law and Policymaking in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Orthodox Responsa,” quote responsa, dating from the 18th century until today, by universally respected giants of the Orthodox rabbinical world from all corners of the world, including Israel. They highlight the broad range of attitudes which prevailed toward conversion, ranging from the most stringent to the most liberal, including some who maintained that even ulterior motives in the first instance should not be considered a barrier to conversion. The responsa also demonstrate beyond any shadow of doubt that, like other halachic issues, rabbis took into account the social, cultural, and religious trends of the time.
Reform Judaism Magazine Spring 2012: Love
In what surprising context does the word "love" first appear in the Bible? Who is the first man in the Torah to "love" a woman? Which rabbi affirmed: "Extend what you have in your hands and in your heart toward other human beings. Love will grow along the lines of your giving"? Enjoy learning about these and other understandings of love. Online Exclusive: Love in the Movement - Did you meet your beshert, fall in love, or get married at a Reform synagogue, a Union for Reform Judaism camp, a NFTY retreat, a Reform in Israel program, a Union Biennial, HUC-JIR, or any other Reform Jewish setting? Share your story. Don’t Miss: Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie reflects on his 16-year legacy as president of the Union for Reform Judaism and on some of the key lessons learned from the experience. Dr. Gary P. Zola, Professor of the American Jewish Experience and Executive Director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, contributes "Lincoln—He Was Like One of Us," where he discusses how the man who many have called the greatest of all American presidents has also become a spiritual and moral kinsman of the Jews.
Jewish Movements ‘Cross-pollinating’ on Learning Initiatives for its Educators – The Jewish Chronicle
When it comes to educating educators, Yeshiva University, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion are finding that collaboration has its benefits. “The three schools are cross-pollinating,” said Rabbi Scott Aaron, HUC-JIR/NY ’98, community scholar for the Agency for Jewish Learning. “They’re saying education should not be siloed.”
Martha Stewart, Feminism, and Purim – Tzeh U’limad, HUC-JIR’s Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning
Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Editor, writes, “Is writing a cookbook a feminist act? As women’s history month begins, there is much to debate. When I read Lina Morgenstern’s Illustriertes Universal-Kochbuch für Gefunde und Kranke, The Illustrated Universal Cookbook, I read it as a feminist tome. Morgenstern spares us no detail, there is a drawing of a pea splitting knife and a recipe for reindeer meat – though not native to Germany she did not want anyone to be unprepared. Morgenstern presented an impossible vision of womanhood and set unattainable standards.”
The Campaign for Youth Engagement: A Call to Action – eJewish Philanthropy - Our Jewish organizations are full of dedicated and creative lay people and professionals who successfully connect with youth, but the facts are grim. Research tells us that if current trends continue, approximately 80% of the children who become b’nei mitzvah will have no relationship of any kind with their synagogue by the time they reach senior year of high school. What if we could reverse that trend?
Jewish Population of L.A., Valley Districts – The Jewish Journal - Bruce A. Phillips, Professor of Sociology and Jewish Communal Studies, asks, “So, how will Los Angeles’ Jews fare under the proposed City Council District boundaries?”
HUC-JIR is proud of our accomplished faculty:
Rabbi Susan Einbinder, Ph.D., Professor of Hebrew Literature, will present "A Death in Wisdom's Court: Poetry and Martyrdom in 13th Century Castile" during the session “Jews in Christian Society” at the conference, “Christianity and Culture in the Middle Ages” on March 10 at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Leah Hochman, Director of the Louchheim School for Judaic Studies and Assistant Professor of Jewish Thought, is speaking at the Ventura Jewish Film Festival on March 24, where she will introduce and lead a discussion on the German film, Kaddish For A Friend, which recently won the Audience Award at the Boston Jewish Film Festival. Click here for further information.
Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, recently wrote “The Rock from Which They Were Cleft” in the Jewish Review of Books. Click here to read his article. Dr. David Mendelsson, Head of Israel Studies, spoke to a United Jewish-Israel Appeal sponsored Seminar in London on March 5, 2012 on “Declining Faith – Increasing Faith: Jewish Parents and Day Schools.” He examined why supplementary education has been eclipsed by Jewish day schools within the landscape of Jewish education in the UK and shared the results of his research which places the issue in the wider context of the changing nature of British society, state education, Jewish socio-economic status and the growth of Jewish awareness. The visit coincided with the publication of his book: Jewish Education in England, 1944-1988 (Peter Lang, Oxford 2011). Click here for further information.
Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam, delivered the 2012 Julian Lecture in Jewish Studies at Indiana University on March 5. Click here for further information. Rabbi Firestone also presented the keynote speech at the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation’s 2012 Legislative Dialogue and Friendship Dinner on February 29. Dr. Gary P. Zola, Professor of the American Jewish Experience and Executive Director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, who received the 2012 King Legacy Award on January 16, was highlighted in “Northeast Suburban Life.” Click here to read the article.
Dr. Nili Fox, Director of the School of Graduate Studies and Professor of Bible, presented "Fashion vs. Ideology: Biblical Laws Pertaining to Israelite Dress" as part of the Jewish Studies Lecture Series entitled: The Matter of Israelite Religion at University of Chicago on March 1. On March 2, she presented "Israel In and Out of Egypt: Exodus in History and Tradition," an archeological perspective, at KAM Isaiah-Israel.
HUC-JIR’s Annual Soup Kitchen Benefit: March 15 at HUC-JIR/New York
Every Spring, we host a wonderful evening to benefit the HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen. Our Soup Kitchen Celebration will take place on March 15 at 6:30 pm at the New York campus. We invite you to join our community for a festive evening with entertainment, drinks, food, and a live auction to support the HUC-JIR's Soup Kitchen.
Judaism and Health: A Transdiscliplinary and Cross-community Conversation: April 24 in Irvine, CA
The Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health is co-sponsoring a Judaism and health conference with the University of California Irvine's Jewish Studies program and its Program in Nursing and Science on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at the University of California, Irvine.
The Search for the Spiritual Through Art: March 21 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
This lecture series explores how Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Hindu religious traditions are manifested through artistic expression. Join us at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati on March 21 at 7:00 pm for a presentation on Klezmer Music: The Story of the Jewish People, with Michael Alpert.
“Max Ferguson: Painting My Father” Opening Reception: May 8 at HUC-JIR/New York
The HUC-JIR/New York Museum is pleased to host the opening reception for “Max Ferguson: Painting My Father” on May 8 from 6-8:30 pm. Photo ID required for admission. Please RSVP: or 212-824-2298. Presented by the Irma L. and Abram S. Croll Center for Jewish Learning and Culture at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Photo of the Week
In honor of International Women’s Day and Purim, a group of about 200 people congregated in Ben Yehuda to hear women read the Megilla. Men attending were asked to come dressed as women, and Rabbi Dr. Michael Marmur, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Rabbi Stanley Davids, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati ’65, obliged.

Click here for the full article in Tzeh U’limad, HUC-JIR’s Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning.
Judaica Gallery
Renowned Maryland glass artist Steve Resnick’s blue stemmed Kiddush cup with etched clear glass cased with cobalt includes the blessing for wine and an image of Jerusalem. The cup measures 7.5" high. $350, plus shipping and handling.

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

Click here for a larger image.

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