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emails from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

October 18, 2012
Spotlight News In the Media Faculty Events Photo of the Week Judaica Gallery
HUC-JIR Chronicle 2012: Change is the Law of Life
Announcing the new issue of The Chronicle! Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, writes, “HUC-JIR is building upon the past even as we stand on the frontlines of those who anticipate and chart the changes that mark the Jewish people today. We do this by anchoring our students in traditional texts and developing the innovative academic and professional programs that address the emerging needs of our people. In this issue of The Chronicle, we report on our proactive approach to new trends within the Reform Movement and the Jewish and larger world. As our Tradition asserts, ‘Shinnui ha-ittim,’ changing times are unavoidable. We at the College-Institute and in the Reform Movement embrace its opportunities.”
We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism—Ashamnu and Al Chet
Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, Ph.D., Barbara and Stephen Friedman Professor of Liturgy, Worship, and Ritual, edited “We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism—Ashamnu and Al Chet,” published by Jewish Lights. Through a series of introductions and commentaries, almost forty contributors—men and women, scholars, rabbis, theologians and poets, representing all Jewish denominations—examine the history of confession in Judaism, its roots in the Bible, its evolution in rabbinic and modern thought, and the very nature of confession for men and women today. Featuring the traditional prayers—provided in the original Hebrew and a new and annotated translation—this third volume in the Prayers of Awe series explores the relevance of confession today in what is bound to be the most up-to-date, comprehensive and insightful reconsideration of sin and confession in Judaism. Rabbi Hoffman recently discussed “We Have Sinned” on NPR. Listen to the interview here.
Bridging the Gaps: Spiritual Care for Hospital, Bedside, Synagogue, and Community
HUC-JIR's Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health presents a Day of Learning in Los Angeles on November 13. Join the Kalsman Institute for a day of dialogue to build bridges and models of collaboration between congregational and community clergy, chaplains in hospitals and other healthcare settings, allied healthcare professionals, and the general community, to enhance spiritual care provided to individuals and families in need. Participate in a conversation to help close gaps in care, communication, and collaboration and to continue to build on existing partnerships across settings and streams of Jewish life.
End of Life Care: A Liberal Jewish Perspective
The Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling at HUC-JIR/New York and CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, present “End of Life Care: A Liberal Jewish Perspective” at the New York Campus on Sunday, November 18, from 1-5 pm. Study with HUC-JIR and CLAL for an in-depth opportunity for you and your caring committees to expand your knowledge and enhance the care and support you provide and learn from hospice and palliative care experts – physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, and HUC-JIR alumni. Sponsored by the Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling at HUC-JIR and Metropolitan Jewish Health System.
Culmination Exercises of the HUC-JIR School of Jewish Nonprofit Management
Ten students from HUC-JIR’s School of Jewish Nonprofit Management received Graduate Certificates in Jewish Nonprofit Management on August 7, 2012 in Los Angeles. They were honored during a ceremony at the Jack H. Skirball Campus that featured Larry S. Moses, Senior Philanthropic Advisor and President Emeritus of the Wexner Foundation, as the Culmination Speaker and Rabbi Louis Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence. Moses defined leadership as the ability to effect change and emphasized to the graduates that the community will need their leadership, new dreams, and visions to carry it forward. “To rebuild Jewish life, to breathe new life into tired institutions, and to have the courage to create entirely new and different institutions, your capacity to continually learn will be the most decisive factor.”
Sarah Bassin, Recent HUC-JIR Graduate, Wins Prestigious Fellowship
Rabbi Sarah Bassin, who was ordained at the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles in 2011, has been named one of eight winners of the Joshua Venture Group’s 2012-2014 Dual Investment Program. Bassin, Executive Director of NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change in Los Angeles, will receive $100,000 in funding to help realize her vision to transform the landscape of Jewish-Muslim relations. More than 150 aspiring social entrepreneurs applied for the prestigious fellowship from the New York-based organization, whose concept of a “dual investment” involves identifying young Jewish leaders and supporting their groundbreaking ideas.
The Sexuality Spectrum at the HUC-JIR/New York Museum
The Sexuality Spectrum, on view through June 28, 2013 at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum in New York, offers a groundbreaking exploration of sexual orientation through the creativity of over fifty international contemporary artists. This exhibition explores a broad range of subjects, including the evolving social and religious attitudes toward sexuality; issues of alienation, marginalization, and inclusion; the impact on the family, child-rearing, and life stages; violence and persecution; AIDS/HIV; and the influence of the LGBTQI community on the Jewish and larger world. The catalogue includes essays by Rabbi David Ellenson, President; Laura Kruger, Curator; Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, D.Min., Director, Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling; Joel L. Kushner, Psy.D., Director, The Institute for Judaism, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity; Rabbi Rachel Adler, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish Religious Thought and Feminist Studies; Nicole Lyn DeBlosi, Ph.D., fifth-year rabbinical student; Jonathan Krasner, Ph.D., Associate Professor of the American Jewish Experience; and Jay H. Geller, Chairman, Communications Committee, Board of Governors. To book a tour or order the catalogue, contact us at or 212-824-2298.
Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults Students Share Their Experiences
HUC-JIR’s Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults is a year-long program that offers individuals the chance to study topics critical to working with youth, teens, and young adults.
  • Barak Malkin, a member of the inaugural cohort of the Certificate Program and youth advisor at Temple Emanu-El, Edison, NJ, was asked to lead his congregation's "Spiritual Sharing" service on Yom Kippur. Read more.
  • Heather Paul, a member of the second cohort of the Certificate Program and Jewish Life Associate/Director of Camp Kesem at Hillel at Stanford, shares her experience as a Hillel professional taking part in the program. Read more.
In the Media
New Joint Graduate Program in Judaic Studies with the University of Cincinnati – UC News
Judaism and its rich cultural traditions spanning more than 3,000 years will be explored through a groundbreaking new program in the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Judaic Studies. This will usher in an era of strategic collaboration with HUC-JIR, expanding UC and HUC-JIR resources and providing students with a unique introduction to graduate learning and research in the vast field of Jewish Studies. “The HUC-JIR faculty and administration are enthusiastic about this new level of partnership between UC and HUC-JIR and are hopeful that the joint graduate program will increase the number of Judaic Studies students at both institutions,” said Rabbi Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D., Dean, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati.
First US Army Cantor Spreads Faith on Deployment – DVIDS
First Lt. David Frommer, 2011 alumnus of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR/New York, lit candles as he led a small group of service members and civilians in the chanting of the Torah. A chaplain of four years, Frommer has conducted several celebrations of Sukkot, but this was his first in the Middle East. The U.S. Army’s first-ever cantor, Frommer, a Third Army/ARCENT chaplain, explained that despite prior enlistment in the Israel Defense Forces and U.S. Army, his toughest battle may have been getting on a deployment. “With the reduction of troop levels in Afghanistan and the closure of combat operations in Iraq, units for the military were shrinking in the mission,” said Frommer. “The state of New York really got behind me so I owe them a big ‘thank you’ for even getting out here.”
What Happened to Bipartisan US Support for Israel? – The Jewish Week
Dr. Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy, debated with Yossi Klein Halevi in a “Point-Counter-Point” discussion on the potential loss of US political bipartisan support for Israel. Halevi begins, “This election increasingly looks like a watershed in American-Israeli relations. The two essential pillars of American support for Israel have been bipartisanship and the perception of a strong pro-Israel Jewish vote. Both are now open to question.”
Good to Great: A Jewish Ten-Point Institutional Assessment Evaluating Successful Jewish Organizational Models – eJewish Philanthropy
Dr. Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service, writes, “Using Jim Collins’ Good to Great principles, I had occasion to study four institutions within the American Jewish communal system, comparing their practices with Collins’ concepts related to the social sector. Employing his standards, I was able to evaluate ADL, AIPAC, Hadassah, and Jewish National Fund.”
Jerusalem in Crisis – The Jerusalem Post
Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, who teaches Modern Jewish Thought at the Jerusalem campus of HUC-JIR, talks about the inclusion of women and minorities in the capital. When asked, What is facing Israel at this season?, she responded, “I think there are several huge issues that are facing Israel at this season of heshbon nefesh (self-evaluation). I’m thinking about who we are and where we are and where we want to go as a nation. There are a lot of sources of hope and enormous anxiety."
Anger and Awe – Women of the Wall
Alli Cohen, a rabbinical student in the Year-in-Israel program at our Jerusalem campus, writes, “It is 1:15AM, and I just returned home from the Hadassah and WOW Women’s Night at the Kotel so filled with emotion. At the same time, both anger and passion encompass me, and all I can hope for is that one day things will be different. However, all I can be sure of is that I will continue fighting for what I believe in.”
Our Members, Our Communities: A ‘Sh’ma’ Roundtable – Sh’ma
In a Sh’ma Roundtable, rabbinical leaders and scholars of American Jewry speculate about the challenges and opportunities ahead for synagogues. They brought a thirst for honest, candid conversation as they pondered whether the synagogue is “beleaguered,” and how American Jewry can work together beyond institutional boundaries to embolden and rethink a pillar of communal and spiritual life. Members in the Roundtable included Isa Aron, Professor of Jewish Education and Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President, URJ.
The Key to Meaningful Jewish Education: Relationship-Building – Reform Judaism
Micah Ellenson, a rabbinical student at the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, writes, “Relationship-building between congregants and the institutions to which they belong is at the core of creating a meaningful Judaism in the 21st century. However, many barriers prevent connection between congregants and institutions. It is crucial to identify the obstacles that exist today in creating relationships of intimacy and meaning between congregant and congregation.”
For Young Jews, a Service Says, ‘Please, Do Text’ – New York Times
Rabbi Amy Morrison, 2008 alumna of the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles who now works at Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach, stated at her congregation’s Rosh Hashanah service, “For my generation, the generation that the service is for, prayer is not something you can find in your own life until someone helps you wrestle with it.” As a rabbi, she is committed “to making prayer as accessible as possible.” So, “I recommended texting.”
Eradicating Modern-Day Slavery – HUC-JIR’s Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning
Rabbi Rachael Bregman, 2010 alumna of the New York Campus, writes, “Justice is protecting the slaves in our world. Today, we both yearn and are commanded to turn the world, ourselves and wickedness around toward good. We are the ones who have committed these crimes, and we are also the ones who can protect their victims. The power is in our hands.”
Rabbi Carole B. Balin, Professor of Jewish History, will be the Scholar-in-Residence at Larchmont Temple in November in conjunction with the museum exhibition, "Bat Mitzvah Comes of Age," which she co-curated and which is a project of Moving Traditions and the National Museum of American Jewish History. Click here to learn more. Bruce A. Phillips, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish Communal Service, will lead the inaugural Jewish-Muslim Cultural Tour of Los Angeles on October 21, 2012. Dr. Phillips will be part of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture Interdisciplinary Research Group’s new working group on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics in southern California. Click here to learn more.
Dr. Sarah Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, will be the respondent at the annual Nemer Lecture of USC’s Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life on October 21. She will respond to Jane Eisner, Editor in Chief, Jewish Daily Forward, on the topic “Challenges and Choices in Jewish Media Today.” Click here to learn more. Cantor Bruce Ruben, Ph.D., Director, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, is receiving an Honorary Doctor of Music from The Jewish Theological Seminary at Convocation on October 29, 2012.
Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam, recently wrote "Is 'Jihadism' as a New Religious Movement?" in The Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements, edited by Olav Hammer and Mikael Rothstein and published by Cambridge University Press. It is an in-depth study of the new phenomenon of extremely violent international Islamic movements that are commonly referred to as "Jihadism." Click here to learn more. Dr. Wendy Zierler, Associate Professor Modern Jewish Literature and Feminist Studies, and Rabbi Carole B. Balin, Professor of Jewish History, have been awarded Women's Caucus Cashmere Subvention Prize for 2012 for their joint project "In My Entering Now: The Selected Writings of Hava Shapiro." Not only do these scholars make available for the first time texts by this extraordinary writer in both Hebrew and in English, they also tell her story.
Dr. Alyssa Gray, Associate Professor of Codes and Responsa Literature, gave a paper on October 14 entitled “The Amoraim of Bavel and Eretz Israel as Collectors and Distributors of Charity Funds” and spoke as part of a conference at the Center for Jewish History entitled “History of Jewish Giving: Jews and Charity.”    
Political Commentary in Song Comes to "Concerts on Clifton" – November 4 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
Our rabbinical and graduate students at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati will present a selection of these pieces as a part of the Cincinnati campus’ Concerts on Clifton series on Sunday, November 4, at 4:00 p.m. "No matter for whom you are voting, our show will be a fun break from all the political ads on Cincinnati TV," says Rabbi Ken Kanter, who wrote and directed the show. "FDR, Ike and JFK, Herbert Hoover and James Garfield, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, and every elected member of Congress have all been targets of great Broadway shows, and we sing them all!"
The JPS Torah at Fifty: A Celebration of a Translation and a Translator – December 13 at HUC-JIR/New York
HUC-JIR and The Jewish Publication Society invite you to “A Celebration of a Translation and a Translator,” celebrating the 50th anniversary of the “New JPS Translation” of the Torah, and marking the 20th yahrzeit of Dr. Harry M. Orlinsky, and the 90th anniversary of the Jewish Institute of Religion on December 13 at 6pm at HUC-JIR/New York. Dr. Leonard Greenspoon, Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civilization and Professor of Classical & Near Eastern Studies and Theology, Creighton University, will be the keynote speaker, with responses by Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, HUC-JIR; Dr. S. David Sperling, Professor of Bible, HUC-JIR; and Rabbi Barry L. Schwartz, Director, Jewish Publication Society. Click here to RSVP.
The 2012 Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture with Rabbi Ruth Langer, Ph.D. – November 27 at HUC-JIR/New York
Rabbi Ruth Langer, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish Studies, Theology Department, and Associate Director, Center for Christian-Jewish Learning, Boston College, will present the 2012 Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture, “Constructing Community: Expressions of Self and Other in Jewish Prayer” on Tuesday, November 27 at 6:00 pm. Click here to RSVP.
Fall Art Exhibitions at the Jack H. Skirball Campus of HUC-JIR in Los Angeles
HUC-JIR is pleased to present a pair of thought-provoking art exhibitions this fall at its Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles: “Deeply Rooted,” on view through December 14, 2012, and “Photographic Visions of the Diaspora,” on view through May 31, 2013. Both exhibitions are organized by Anne Hromadka, Guest Curator of the Art Collection and Exhibitions.
Moment Magazine–Karma Foundation Fiction Contest Awards – December 4 at HUC-JIR/New York
HUC-JIR and Moment Magazine are hosting an awards ceremony for the 2011 Moment Magazine-Karma Foundation Short Fiction Contest on December 4 at the New York Campus (One West Fourth Street). Moment Magazine. Contest judge Walter Mosley, author of the Easy Rawlins mysteries, including Devil in a Blue Dress, will read from his new work, as will award winners Joan Leegant, Wherever You Go, An Hour in Paradise; Ruchama King, Seven Blessings; Avital Chizhik; and finalists Stuart Rosh, Gone for Good: Tales of University Life After the Golden Age; and Wendy Zierler, And Rachel Stole the Idols: The Emergence of Modern Hebrew Women Writers.
“A Blessing to One Another” – On View at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
“A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People” will be on view from September 10 - December 31 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati. The exhibition is an interactive experience that allows visitors to follow in John Paul II’s footsteps from his childhood to his role as head of the world’s largest church. The exhibit is divided into four major sections, reflecting the four periods in the pope’s life.
Photo of the Week
---- HUC-JIR/New York students gathered on our roof for Sukkah decorating on September 27, 2012. Students decorated the Sukkah with packaged underwear, socks, and toiletries, which were later donated to the HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen.

Click here for a larger image.
Judaica Gallery
---- Known as the "Grapevine Bowl," this unique piece is from the workshop of renowned Judaic glass artist Steve Resnick. It features gently engraved grape leaves and vines, as well as the phrase "flowing with milk and honey" in Hebrew. This beautiful piece is available exclusively at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum. $590, 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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