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Best wishes for a joyful Shavuot!
Click here for greetings from Rabbi David Ellenson and Irwin Engelman.
May 24, 2012
Spotlight News In the Media Faculty Events Photo of the Week Judaica Gallery
The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Invests in Innovative New Initiatives at HUC-JIR
The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati announced a new significant investment in the Cincinnati Jewish community: a transformative five-year, $5.225 million grant that will enable HUC-JIR to enhance its rabbinical student curriculum and to focus more of its resources on serving the Cincinnati Jewish community. “The College-Institute is enormously grateful to The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati for its visionary commitment to sustain Jewish leadership and learning by ensuring the vitality of our institution and the larger Cincinnati Jewish community. This grant will have an extraordinary impact on our Cincinnati campus, our entire institution, and on the next generations of Jewish leaders for the Reform Movement and the Jewish people throughout North America, Israel, and around the world,” stated Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President.
HUC-JIR/Los Angeles Graduation and Ordination Ceremonies
HUC-JIR held Los Angeles Ordination Ceremonies on Sunday, May 13, 2012 at Temple Israel of Hollywood and Los Angeles Graduation Ceremonies on Monday, May 14, 2012 at our Jack H. Skirball Campus. Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, said, “The Class of 2012 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, educators, nonprofit professionals, and scholars throughout North America and around the world, they will be a source of inspiration and guidance.” 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 William Cutter, Ph.D., Founding Director, Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health; and Steinberg Professor Emeritus of Human Relations and Professor Emeritus of Modern Hebrew Literature and Education, HUC-JIR; presented the Ordination address. Click here to read his address.
Professor Sara S. Lee, Director Emerita, Rhea Hirsch School of Education; Project Leader, Mandel Initiative for Visionary Leadership; and Adjunct Professor Emerita of Jewish Education, HUC-JIR, presented the Graduation address. Click here to read her address.
Dr. Gary P. Zola Sworn in as a Member of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
In a ceremony that took place at the United States Supreme Court on April 25, 2012, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer administered the oath of office to the newest members of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad. Those members included Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati. Dr. Zola was appointed to the Commission by President Barack Obama in February 2011. “It is a privilege to serve on this Commission together with so many accomplished individuals. I look forward to participating in the Commission’s work,” said Dr. Zola.
The New Educator Transition Boot Camp
On May 7 and 8, thirteen alumni of our Schools of Education who are entering the world of work this summer participated on two campuses in The New Educator Transition Boot Camp, an intensive learning experience intended to launch new alumni into their transition with hands-on support through skill development and an expanded network of colleagues. Over the two days, there were eight different learning sessions led by fifteen different alumni in the field. Sessions focused on both the professional and personal challenges of the transition to the workplace. The New Educator Transition Boot Camp is the first pilot project of the Induction Initiative of the Jim Joseph Foundation Education Initiative of HUC-JIR.
Gunter Demnig Accepts Dr. Bernard Heller Prize Ceremony at HUC-JIR/NY Graduation
The Dr. Bernard Heller Prize was presented to Stumbling Stones and accepted by Gunter Demnig, Co-Creator, at HUC-JIR/New York Graduation. Demnig researched the fates of thousands of Cologne’s Jews at the Nazi Documentation Center and sought a meaningful way to memorialize them. He seized on the idea of tracking down the names, dates of birth, and dates and places of deportation of Jews who had lived in that city, and engraving those names and their fates on small brass squares that would be embedded in the pavement in front of the buildings where they once lived. These Stolpersteine or Stumbling Stones, upon which present day Germans would stumble without choosing to find them, would serve as individual, eternal memorials. During his acceptance, he stated, “The Stolpersteine are a decentralized social sculpture in the public urban space. Whoever ‘stumbles’ over them and wants to decipher the inscriptions has to ‘bow down’ in order to read – make a ’bow’ before the victim.”
Marlene Louchheim’s “Commitment – Gathering Sparks” On View at the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles
Marlene Louchheim’s sculptures are about more than replicating large-scale burlap sacks using a variety of metals. Her art pieces talk to each other – about love, about distance, about fear and tenderness. Above all, perhaps, they talk about commitment and the need to heal the world. Now this artistic conversation is taking place at HUC-JIR’s Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles. In an exhibition entitled, “Commitment – Gathering Sparks,” lasting through May 31, 2013, the College-Institute is featuring four works by Louchheim. A unique Jewish artist and Los Angeles native, her creations range in size from small, intimate sculptures to giant aluminum and bronze bags.
HUC-JIR Alumnus Dr. Alan Appelbaum’s New Publication
Dr. Alan Appelbaum, who earned his MAJS from HUC-JIR/New York in 1998, recently published "The Rabbis' King-Parables: Midrash From the Third-Century Roman Empire," which shows the ancient Rabbis at work in different ways and with different purposes, but always with the same tools, parables of kings. As it attends in detail to the king-parables' form, structure, functions, settings and characters, it emphasizes the Rabbis' distinctive ideas about the relationship of humanity to God, and it engages with studies by scholars such as David Stern, Daniel Boyarin, Martin Goodman and Clemens Thoma and with the method of dating rabbinic material advocated by Jacob Neusner.
In the Media
The Magic of Summer Camp – The Forward
Dr. Jonathan Krasner, Associate Professor of the American Jewish Experience, writes, “Individual Jewish summer camps may come and go; the trappings of these camps may adapt to changing times. But the idea of culture camping is as promising for building Jewish identity and personal growth today as it was when the first Jewish culture camps were founded almost a century ago.”
Female Reform Rabbi Seated on Jerusalem Suburb’s Religious Council - JTA
Rabbi Alona Lisitsa, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem ’04, a female Reform rabbi who teaches at the Jerusalem campus, took her place on the religious council of Mevasseret Zion, a suburb of Jerusalem. Religious councils supervise kashrut, and are the central address in their communities for marriage registration, synagogues, mikvehs, and burials. “I came with much optimism and hope, and indeed I found a different Mevasseret community," Lisitsa said. "We talked about the need for cooperation and the need to ignore internal differences for the residents. This is a triumph for Israeli democracy. "
End of an Era at Temple Emanu-El – The Wall Street Journal
Rabbi David Posner, 64, member of HUC-JIR’s Board of Governors, was invited to work at Temple Emanu-El at age 25. In the four decades since, Posner—known for his teaching of linguistics and his willingness to perform interfaith marriages—has shepherded one of the largest Reform congregations in the U.S. Looking back on his career, Dr. Posner said his guiding principle has been serving his congregants, in whatever way and in whichever venue they have needed. Most notably, that meant performing marriages between Jews and non-Jews, co-officiating with clergy of other faiths, and marrying couples in secular settings—or even in churches. "I've always said yes and I never said no," he said. "I've always been flexible." Rabbi David Ellenson, a friend of Dr. Posner, said the rabbi's position on interfaith marriage—unusual among Reform rabbis—carries weight because of the prominence of his pulpit. "It is certainly significant that a rabbi of his stature has taken his stance with relation to intermarriage," Ellenson said.
Women's Strides Spotlighted this Spring at Reform Movement’s Graduations, Ordinations - Jewish Women’s Archive
This month marks 40 years since the ordination of the first woman rabbi in America. And the Reform Movement is doing some serious celebrating. Not only was the history-maker herself – Rabbi Sally Priesand – a special guest at the HUC-JIR/NY’s Ordination ceremony earlier this month, but Rabbi/Cantor Angela Buchdahl, the first Asian-American woman rabbi in US history, was the featured speaker. In fact, women’s role in Jewish life and history was front and center that week, as JWA’s own Gail Reimer stepped up at graduation to accept one of the Movement’s most prestigious honors: the American Jewish Distinguished Service Award. But the proof of this pudding is how the 40-year-old push for inclusion is impacting Jewish life today.
Why is this Visit to The Rashi School Different From All Other Visits? –
Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Senior Vice President of the URJ, discusses the Externship with The Rashi School. He writes, “We’ll be joined by 10 HUC-JIR students, future rabbis, cantors and educators who were selected from a host of applicants to visit Rashi for a week of experiential learning about Reform day school education in the 21st century. They’ll attend classes, participate in t’fillot, and confer with teachers and administrators as part of the Reform Day School Externship, jointly sponsored by Rashi, the URJ, HUC-JIR, and PARDES: Day Schools of Reform Judaism. I am confident that by the time they return home, they’ll have acquired a deep understanding of many facets of Reform Jewish day schools that they’ll share with fellow students now and incorporate into their future work as rabbis, cantors, and educators.”
The Reform Day School Externship: The Business of Building JDS Advocates – PEJE Blog
The Reform Day School Externship, now in its fourth year, is a model of collaboration between HUC-JIR, the Union for Reform Judaism, PARDES: Day Schools of Reform Judaism, and host member schools across North America. The school-based experiential learning component brings ten HUC-JIR students to The Rashi School in Dedham, MA, from May 21-25. When these externs head back to their HUC-JIR campuses in the fall, they will conduct programs for fellow students, faculty, and campus leaders about the contemporary Jewish day school from a Reform perspective. This will go a long way to spreading their insights about day schools to academic communities—and eventually to communities all over North America.
Welcome the Stranger: Grandpa and the Meaning of Ruth – HUC-JIR’s Alumni Blog
Rabbi Seth Goren, HUC-JIR/NY ’07, writes, “We cannot always anticipate how we will welcome others emerging from their isolation or where we ourselves will stumble upon sanctuary when we are lost among the unknown and unfamiliar. There will be times when we will be strangers, as we were in Egypt, and times when there will be strangers among us. Nevertheless, deliverance, both for ourselves and for those whom we help, is possible when we take care of each other and provide a haven to the stranger who seeks shelter among us.”
HUC-JIR is proud of our accomplished faculty:
Rabbi Rachel Adler, Ph.D., Professor of Modern Jewish Thought and Judaism and Gender at HUC-JIR, interned at Beth Chayim Chadishim, the oldest GLBT outreach synagogue in the Reform Movement. During her last Shabbat service as the rabbinic intern at BCC on May 12, 2012, she delivered a powerful sermon: an affirmation of equality and inclusion in the Reform Movement. Click here to watch her sermon. Rabbi Dr. Dalia Marx, Assistant Professor of Liturgy and Midrash, will lead a study session with Professor Sabine Bieberstein on Luke during the German Catholic rally in Manheim. Click here for further information.
Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, explored issues of conversion and Jewish identity during the discussion “The Conversion Conundrum: Jewish Status and Jewish Law” at Congregation Rodeph Shalom on May 23. Dr. Michael A. Meyer, Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Jewish History, will speak at the University of Zurich on "Annäherung an eine pluralistische jüdisch-religiöse Erziehung aus liberaler Perspektive" within the framework of a conference on "Pluralism Within Judaism" on June 12.
Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Professor of Bible, presented “Five Biblical Scrolls and the Journeys of Our Lives” at Congregation Ahavath Sholom in Fort Worth, TX, on May 22. Rabbi Melissa Zalkin Stollman, MARE, Coordinator of the Certificate in Jewish Education Specializing in Adolescents and Young Adults, presented “Professionalizing The Youth Professional” as part of the Reform Youth Professionals’ Association webinar series on May 23. Click here for further information.
Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam, will present “Compassion: An Urgent Global Imperative” on May 30 at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, which is taking place in Doha, Qatar. Click here for further information. Rabbi Firestone will speak at the International Conference of Christians and Jews and as the featured speaker in their new International Abrahamic Forum, focusing on Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations, in July in Manchester, England. Click here for further information. Rabbi Firestone will teach at Geiger College and the University of Potsdam as the Visiting Professor of Jewish and Islamic Studies for the 2012-2013 academic year.
“Song of the Land” Exhibition – On View through May 31 at HUC-JIR’s Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles
“Song of the Land,” on view through May 31 at the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, is a collection of 44 works whose theme challenges artists to consider contemporary issues of environmental sustainability. It not only shares concerns about what is happening to the world physically and spiritually, but offers a challenge to protect the planet in order to ensure the future of Earth’s blessing.
Four First Women Rabbis – June 3 at Monmouth Reform Temple in New Jersey
On June 3, attend a very special afternoon honoring the first-ordained North American Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative women Rabbis and Open Orthodox Rabba. At this historic event, Rabbi Sally J. Priesand (Reform 1972), Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (Reconstructionist 1974), Rabbi Amy Eilberg (Conservative 1985), and Rabba Sara Hurwitz (Orthodox 2009) will join together in a lively, inspiring, and educational forum. Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson will present the closing benediction.
Concerts on Clifton: The Music of Czechoslovakia – June 10 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
Experience the modern classical music of Czechoslovakia as performed by Sujean Kim, Yael Senamaud, Kris Frankenfeld, and Nathaniel Chaitkin and featuring pieces by Schulhoff, Smetana, and Martinu, on June 10 at 4:00 pm at the Scheuer Chapel at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati.
DeLeT Rav Siach and Tenth Anniversary Celebration – July 19 at HUC-JIR’s Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles
Join us in a colloquium on education and a celebration of DeLeT – Day School Leadership through Teaching – at DeLeT’s Rav Siach, “Negotiating Dilemmas of Teaching” and celebration of DeLeT’s tenth anniversary on Thursday, June 19 from 1:00-5:30 pm at our Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles. Contact with questions.
Mifgash Musicale: A Musical Happening for Synagogue Musicians – July 22-26 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
Join us at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati on July 22-26 for Mifgash Musicale, a summer institute for synagogue musicians of all types. A joint program of the URJ and HUC-JIR in conjunction with the ACC and the Guild of Temple Musicians, Mifgash Musicale is designed for people who want to engage in more in-depth study of a variety of subjects relevant to leading musical worship.
Hebrew Ulpan Opportunity – July-September in Jerusalem
We invite you to join us at the HUC-JIR/Jerusalem Campus for Hebrew Ulpan, offered on Mondays and Wednesdays from July 11 through September 5, 5:15-7:45 pm. For registration and to take the placement test, please email or call 026203333 or 0546940662.
Summer Learning Institute with the Union for Reform Judaism – August 8-12 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
The Summer Learning Institute brings together adult Jewish learners to experience in-depth study, spiritual renewal and personal growth. Deepen your knowledge and learn techniques in one of three areas of congregational life: engaging in serious Jewish study, welcoming interfaith couples and families into your community, and facilitating and supporting worship and life cycle rituals.
Jewish Wisdom and Wellness: A Week of Learning
"Jewish Wisdom and Wellness: A Week of Learning," held April 21 to 27, 2013, sponsored by the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health and Cedars-Sinai, will include a series of community-wide events, developed and hosted by organizations and synagogues throughout Southern California. We will mine the Jewish tradition to improve health and well-being in the Jewish community, and discover how the continuum of illness and wellness informs Jewish life.
Photo of the Week
This week, instead of highlighting one photograph, we present to you a montage from the 5772 Year-in-Israel program! Click here to watch the video. Many thanks to HUC-JIR student Jeremy Gimbel and Israbel Productions for this video.
Judaica Gallery
Create your own Yad with the elements included in this uniquely conceived packed kit. Designed by Gail Rosenbloom Kaplan, each set includes a silver pointer, a central supportive rod, diverse beads of glass, and a gold plated brass and/or silver closing cap for the top. The finished length of this easily assembled Yad measures 8" and includes an optional chain. Colors include blue, multi, amber, red.

$45.00, plus shipping and handling.

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

Click here for a larger image.

3101 Clifton Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45220

13 King David Street
Jerusalem 94101, Israel

Los Angeles
Jack H. Skirball Campus
3077 University Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90007

New York
Brookdale Center
One West Fourth Street
New York, NY 10012


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