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June 7, 2012



In the Media



Photo of the Week

Judaica Gallery


The Society for Classical Reform Judaism at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
The Society for Classical Reform Judaism at HUC-JIR JerusalemThe inaugural institute of the Society for Classical Reform Judaism at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem represented a major symbolic milestone, both for our endeavors and for the history of Reform Judaism both in America and Israel. Rabbi Berman, Executive Director of the Society for Classical Reform Judaism, states, “I cannot state strongly enough how historic the implications are for the Society’s vision. There is no question in my mind and heart that our principles of the centrality of the American Jewish experience as a core value of our understanding of Classical Reform Judaism is and must always remain a primary focus for us. However, this visit to the Jerusalem campus of HUC-JIR gave me a renewed personal sense of connection with the history and destiny that Israel represents for me as an American Jew. And even more important, the importance of nurturing and supporting the Classical Reform voice around the world, especially in Israel, whose influence on American Jewish life and the Reform Movement is so dominant, represents a unique opportunity and responsibility for the Society.”




HUC-JIR Graduation and Ordination Ceremonies in Cincinnati
HUC-JIR Cincinnati Ordination 2012HUC-JIR held Cincinnati Ordination Ceremonies on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at Plum Street Temple and Cincinnati Graduation Ceremonies on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at our Cincinnati 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 and scholars throughout North America and around the world, they will be a source of inspiration and guidance.” Cincinnati Ordination featured a celebration of the rabbinic ordination of women from 1972-2012, with special guest Rabbi Sally J. Priesand, the first woman rabbi in America, ordained by HUC-JIR in 1972. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, Incoming President, Union for Reform Judaism, presented the Ordination address. Dr. Jonathan Cohen, Dean, and Dr. Nili Fox, Director, School of Graduate Studies, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, were interviewed prior to the ceremonies on Fox 19.

Dr. Gary P. Zola Receives BRIDGES' Distinguished Service Citation
Dr. Gary Zola, Executive Director of the AJA at HUC-JIR Cincinnati, Receives BRIDGES Distinguished Service CitationDr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and Professor of the American Jewish Experience at HUC-JIR, received the BRIDGES for a Just Community’s Distinguished Service Citation during the organization’s 62nd Annual Awards Dinner on May 31, 2012 at Paul Brown Stadium. Dr. Zola was selected as an honoree because of his commitment and lifelong dedication to the values of community, justice, respect, inclusion, responsibility, collaboration and integrity. Rabbi David Ellenson, President, HUC-JIR, said that he is proud that BRIDGES selected his friend and colleague for its Distinguished Citizen Award. “No one could be more deserving,” he said. “Gary has been indefatigable in promoting inter-religious dialogue and tolerance among Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the greater Cincinnati community, and no one has been more devoted than he to the cause of racial justice and inclusion.”

Blaustein Center Tenth Anniversary Celebration
The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling Celebrated its tenth anniversary at HUC-JIR New York.The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling celebrated its tenth anniversary of programming on April 22 at the New York campus of HUC-JIR. The Blaustein Center is the first center dedicated to pastoral education at a North American Jewish seminary. During the celebration, Rabbi David Ellenson, President, presented the Refuat HaNefesh (healing of the soul) Award to The Lilian and Benjamin Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, and Dr. Diane E. Meier, Founding Director, for their superlative work, their long-term partnership with the Blaustein Center since its infancy (creating its first year-long pastoral internship), and their continued commitment to their shared goals.

HUC's Rescue of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Lauded in U.S. Congressional Record
On May 24, 2012, United States Senator Brown, of Ohio, lauded Hebrew Union College’s rescue of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. The Congressional Record reads, “Such values are also extremely evident in the work of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. Born in Poland in 1907 and deported by the Nazi’s in 1938, he was rescued and brought to the United States by Cincinnati’s Hebrew Union College. Both an activist and religious leader, Rabbi Heschel played a powerful role in forging the bonds of faith, social action, and civil rights. In 1965, Rabbi Heschel marched arm-in-arm with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Selma in support of the civil rights movement. Following this experience, he spoke the iconic words: ‘I felt my feet were praying.’”

The B’nai Mitzvah Revolution
The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling Celebrated its tenth anniversary at HUC-JIR New York.B'nai Mitzvah Revolution, a joint project of HUC-JIR and the URJ, is a coalition of Jewish professionals working in synagogue education, who share a common goal — deepening the experience of middle school children and their families as they prepare for and celebrate the rite of bar/bat mitzvah. Co-directed by Dr. Isa Aron, Professor of Jewish Education at HUC-JIR, and Rabbi Bradley Solmsen, Director of Youth Engagement at the URJ, B'nai Mitzvah Revolution seeks to empower synagogues to improve the quality of Jewish education in their communities, reduce the staggering rates of post-b'nai mitzvah dropout, and return depth and meaning to Jewish learning.

Realist Painter Max Ferguson’s "Painting My Father" Featured on NBC
Max Ferguson offers 30 years of realist snapshots that capture his father as he was, and as he wished him to be — all against a backdrop of a fading midcentury New York. Ferguson, whose exhibition, “Painting My Father,” is on view at the HUC-JIR Museum in New York, was interviewed on NBC Nightly News with Chuck Scarborough on June 5 about his work. Watch Ferguson’s interview here.



In the Media

For First Time, Israel to Recognize Reform and Conservative Rabbis - Haaretz
HUC-JIR Alumni Rabbi Miri Gold Recognized as Reform Rabbi in IsraelIn an unprecedented move, Israel has announced that it is prepared to recognize Reform and Conservative community leaders as rabbis and fund their salaries. Rabbi Miri Gold, an alumna of the Jerusalem campus of HUC-JIR, is the first recognized Reform rabbi in Israel. The Reform Movement said that "this declaration by the state constitutes a precedential and historical achievement of the non-Orthodox movements and the wide public they serve, who have until now suffered from financial discrimination by the religious services." The head of Israel's Reform Movement, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, said "the state's decision to support the activities of Reform rabbis in regional councils, while clearly acknowledging their roles as rabbis, is an important breakthrough in the efforts to advance freedom of religion in Israel. This is the first, but significant, step toward comparing the status of all streams of Judaism in Israel and we hope the state will indeed ensure the court's commitments are fully applied."

B'nai B'rith Archive Returns to View – The Jewish Daily Forward
American Jewish Archives at HUC-JIR Acquire B’nai B’rith ArchiveMillions of documents that together tell a huge part of the American Jewish story are about to find a new public home after almost a decade kept out of sight. The Jacob Rader Marcus Center for the American Jewish Archives at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati has acquired B’nai B’rith’s International’s extensive archive, a “treasure trove” of documents that dates back more than 150 years and covers lodges across North America and around the world. B’nai B’rith’s archives are “indispensable” to the story of American Jewry, said the AJA’s Executive Director, Dr. Gary P. Zola. “In its activities, one finds almost all of the major cultural, social, political and even religious activities of American Jewry.”

Breaking the 'Stained Glass' Ceiling: Women and Numbers 4:41-7:89 – The Huffington Post
HUC-JIR Jerusalem Dean Rabbi Naamah Kelman on Women and JudaismRabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, writes, “The feminist revolution of the past 40 years has propelled women into positions of Jewish leadership as never before. And yet, in the United States and in Israel, decades of women's gains have literally been assaulted this past year. In the U.S., conservative legislation and pre-election rhetoric have turned the 'gender gap' into a critical voting issue. In Israel, several despicable acts by ultra-Orthodox men made international news, including spitting on an 8-year-old girl because of her 'immodest' dress, removing women's faces from public billboards and forcing women to sit at the back of buses. We are, once again, fighting for our freedom, including advances made decades ago.”

Day Schools and the End of the Melting Pot – The Jewish Daily Forward
HUC-JIR Professor Dr. Jonathan Krasner on Day SchoolsDr. Jonathan Krasner, Associate Professor of the American Jewish Experience, writes, “It is a cop out, in my view, to shrug off ethnocentrism as an inevitable consequence of day schools. If we are serious about addressing the downside to day school education we will need to couple our commitment to day schools with a serious effort to find opportunities for our day school children to have meaningful social interactions with a more diverse population and to cultivate within them greater feelings of connection to the American body politic. This can take the form of community service projects, neighborhood sports teams and theatre troupes, scouting, or other non-school based recreational activities. Given our children’s extended school days and our own hectic schedules, this is a tall order. But if we don’t act we are witting accomplices in what Arthur M. Schlesinger called 'The Disuniting of America.'"

A Rabbinical Sister Act – The Times of Israel
Three Sisters Ordained from HUC-JIRIlana Mills’ ordination from HUC-JIR was an auspicious occasion for her and her family, but it also marked an historic moment for the Jewish people. As Mills received smicha, she joined her older sisters, Mari Chernow and Jordana Chernow-Reader, in the Reform rabbinate. The Chernow women are currently the only set of three sisters who are Reform rabbis, and are likely the only three sisters who have ever all been rabbis of any denomination. The Times of Israel recently interviewed all three women together on the phone for a conversation about what it means to them to be a groundbreaking rabbinic sister act.

The Unfolding of the Third American Jewish Revolution – eJewish Philanthropy
HUC-JIR Professor Steven Windmueller on the Third American Jewish RevolutionDr. Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service, writes, “Over the past several years, we have been witness to the unraveling of the global economy and more directly the American enterprise. This economic 'tsunami' has led to a fundamental reordering of the structural and financial well-being of many core institutions. In particular, this upheaval is having a profound impact on the American Jewish community.”

An Economic Game Plan for American Jewry – eJewish Philanthropy
Dr. Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service, writes, “At a time when this nation’s economy and long term business interests are being challenged by global competition as well as by an uncertain domestic environment, it would seem appropriate for the Jewish community to engage in a conversation about the economic future. A Jewish economic game plan ought to be the basis of a future national conversation, as Jews have a significant and long term stake in this nation’s financial welfare. The engagement of the Jewish community in focusing attention to and action on economic issues will serve the interests of the larger society as well. Attention to the economy has certain direct implications for Israel and its close business connections and security ties with the United States.”

Becoming Jewish in Jamaica – The Times of Israel
HUC-JIR alumnus serves congregation in JamaicaRabbi Dana Evans Kaplan, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem ’94, the first ordained rabbi in forty years to serve the Shaare Shalom Synagogue of Kingston, Jamaica, has attracted to his conversion classes candidates who include descendants of Jamaica’s once much larger and thriving population. “The embracing of Judaism by such a significant number of new people has dramatic implications for our congregation,” said Kaplan. “Like all synagogues, we want to preserve a distinctive Jewish ethnic identity as well as a Jewish religious one. If the congregation can work together to develop a coherent mission — to practice progressive Judaism in a warm and vibrant atmosphere — then we can build a nice-sized congregation that should prosper and grow.”

What's in a Relationship? – HUC-JIR’s Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning
Laura Novak Winer writes for the HUC-JIR Alumni Blog on how we build relationshipsRabbi Laura Novak Winer, RJE, writes, "’Relationships’ is a buzzword in the Jewish world right now. We are asking questions. How do we build relationships? What does a community founded on deep relationships look like? What role do relationships play in strengthening one’s connection to Judaism? There are a growing number of books that address the same question: What are we trying to accomplish, if anything, in our relationships? Whether it is our own relationships or those we are trying to help our youth and congregants build, we need to be sure we are clear on our answer to this question."




HUC-JIR is proud of our accomplished faculty:

Dr. Sarah Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, presented “Jews of Color: The Creative Use of Two Ethnolinguistic Repertiores” at the conference, “Racing Language, Languaging Race” at Stanford University; and she led a panel on immigrant groups among Los Angeles Jewish as the Los Angeles Jewish Federation, both in May, 2012.

Dr. David Ilan, Director, Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology, was published in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies (Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago) for his book review, Walled Up to Heaven: The Evolution of Middle Bronze Age Fortification Strategies in the Levant by Aaron Burke.
Click here for further information.


Dr. Michael J. Cook, Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies, will be Scholar-in-Residence and will keynote an Institute for Christian Clergy at Temple B'nai Israel in Easton, MD, from June 11-13, 2012.

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.


Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam, 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 Nancy H. Wiener, D.Min., Director, Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling, led a workshop, “Aging and Pluralism: Honoring Those Whose Families Don’t Conform to Long-Held ‘Ideals’ of Jewish Families,” at the ninth Jewish Spiritual Care Conference, "Spiritual Support in the Community," on May 2 in Jerusalem.

Dr. Kristine Garroway, Visiting Assistant Professor of Bible, was published in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies (Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago) for her article, “Gender or Ungendered? The Perception of Children in Ancient Israel.” Click here for further information.







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.

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.


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.

NFTY Songleading Institute for Teens – August 24-26 at URJ Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY
Join the NFTY Songleading Institute for Teens from August 24-26 at URJ Kutz Camp in Warnick, NY, for a weekend of training, skill development, and hands on learning that will equip teens to songlead in their temple, religious school, and youth group.


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.

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. “Commitment – Gathering Sparks,” on view through May 31, 2013 at HUC-JIR’s Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, features four of her works.



Photo of the Week

HUC-JIR Gathers at Hava Nashira in 2012

Hava Nashira, the Reform Movement’s annual songleading and music workshop, took place last weekend at URJ’s Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute. Our students, faculty, and alumni gathered for the opportunity to improve their skills as they learned from the finest Jewish music innovators and composers.

Click here for a larger image.



Judaica Gallery

Jim Cohen Kiddush cup at the HUC-JIR Museum in New York

Jim Cohen, an outstanding silversmith from New Mexico, has turned to natural forms for inspiration in his newest works. This handmade Kiddush cup in sterling silver is inspired by native Calla lilies. 3.5 x 2 x 2 in.

$900, plus shipping and handling.

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

Click here for a larger image.



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