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Best wishes for a joyful Hanukkah!
Click here to read a message from Rabbi David Ellenson and Irwin Engelman
and hear from our Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Choir.
December 13, 2012
Spotlight News In the Media Faculty Events Photo of the Week Judaica Gallery
HUC-JIR/New York Celebrates “JIR at 90” with the Be Wise Entrepreneurial Grants Competition
In celebration of the ninetieth anniversary of the founding of the Jewish Institute of Religion in 1922 by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and the Free Synagogue, the New York campus of HUC-JIR kicked off a year of events honoring our past, giving gratitude what our community has become today, and committing ourselves to continue the spirit of JIR in the future. We look with hope to our students, who represent the future religious leadership of Reform and liberal Judaism. We urge them to be Wise – thinking imaginatively in relation to the needs of our contemporary Jewish community, and daring to make real their own vision for liberal Judaism of the twenty-first century. Students were challenged to design a project that would promote entrepreneurialism and bring a spirit of innovation and creativity to campus by exploring and experimenting with community-building and outreach techniques. The seed grantee winners are Nancy Bach and Rachel Van Thyn, Rayna Dushman and Sarah Krevsky, Lauren Furman and Adena Kemper, Sara Luria, Adam Lutz and Ben Ross, and Jonah Zinn.
The Dedication of the Richard J. Scheuer Israel Seminar
It is with tremendous excitement and gratitude that we announce the naming of our weekly Israel Seminar for our Year-In-Israel Program for Richard J. Scheuer, former Chairman of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors, Chair of its Israel Committee, and, in partnership with President Alfred Gottschalk, the chief architect of the HUC-JIR/Jerusalem campus, working closely with architect Moshe Safdie throughout its design and construction. The weekly day-long Richard J. Scheuer Israel Seminar constitutes the centerpiece of the HUC-JIR Year-In-Israel Program for entering students as they embark on the educational journey that will lead to their careers as rabbis, cantors, and educators among the Jewish people. The Seminar investigates the multiple voices in Israeli society and the complex search for solidarity and mutual responsibility among Jews living in both Israel and the Diaspora by exploring the changing nature of Israeli society from its pre-state emphasis on the molding of the new Jew to the contemporary reality of competing ideational-cultural voices.
HUC-JIR Faculty Members Presenting at AJS Conference
HUC-JIR faculty members are presenting at the 44th Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies on December 16-18, 2012, in Chicago, IL. Presenters include: Rabbi Yehoyada Amir, Ph.D., Dr. Sarah Benor, Dr. Michael Chernick, Dr. Steven M. Cohen, Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Dr. Jason Kalman, Dr. Lynn Kaye, Dr. Mark Kligman, Dr. Jonathan Krasner, Dr. Michael A. Meyer, Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., Dr. Bruce A. Phillips, and Dr. Wendy Zierler.
Announcing the First Cohort of the Cantorial Certification Program
The new Cantorial Certification Program has accepted six cantorial soloists into their first cohort, which will begin in January 2013. As they embark on a four year professional journey which will include study at HUC-JIR both in New York and in Jerusalem, CPE credit, and a rigorous academic agenda, these accomplished soloists will continue to serve their home congregations. If your congregation is currently served by a soloist, please consider supporting them in their efforts to become a full clergy partner.
HUC-JIR Recruitment at NATE
We are pleased to be represented at the upcoming National Association for Temple Educators (NATE) Conference on December 23-26 in Phoenix, AZ. Students and faculty of our Schools of Education will be present, as well as Jessica Ingram, Assistant Director of the Department of Admissions and Recruitment. If you know someone who has expressed interest in learning more about one of HUC-JIR’s programs, or if you know someone who you think would make a great student, please let us know.
First-year Rabbinical Student Awarded Young Composers Award
Michael Summa, a first-year rabbinical student, won the 2013 Guild of Temple Musicians' Young Composer's Award for his settings of “Psalm 95 and 96 for Kabbalat Shabbat.” Asked why he chose to create new works for these two Psalms, Summa responded, “Though we tend to think of God as a divine parent, God is also our divine spouse. The Psalms of Kabbalat Shabbat represent, to me, the development of this relationship…or, more precisely, that this relationship is always in a state of development, be it during the course of a week (hence the number of Psalms) or the course of our lives.” The Guild of Temple Musicians is an affiliate of the American Conference of Cantors.
Reform Movement Youth Engagement
HUC-JIR and the Union for Reform Judaism are partnering in engaging youth:
In the Media
Training Experiential Jewish Educators for an Evolving and Advancing Field - The Jim Joseph Foundation
With a growing recognition that the most effective educational experiences are centered around a dynamic Jewish educator, the Jim Joseph Foundation embraces the importance of investing in new program models to engage young Jews and the creation of new training programs to prepare and enhance the skills of Jewish educators. By pursuing both of these strategies simultaneously, more Jewish educators will be effectively trained for this new kind of work and, ultimately, more young Jews will connect and become engaged Jewishly through the interactions with these educators. Today, as the field continues to change and grow, educational institutions are developing new training opportunities for both aspiring and seasoned Jewish educators, and rethinking current training programs to address the new skills needed for this kind of work.
Reflections of a First Year Rabbinic Student - Union for Reform Judaism
Eric L. Abbott, a first-year rabbinical student at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem, writes, “Living in Israel is obviously different from living in America, but the differences are more subtle than I had predicted before first coming here. The biggest difference I find is that Israel exists within the rhythm of Jewish time. In Jerusalem, I am surrounded everywhere by people who are into being Jewish. They might be secular but still support the state. They might be Haredi, walking around in their black coats and hats. Or they might be Reform and taking on new, personal meanings of the mitzvot while staying connected to modernity - like those of us at HUC-JIR.”
Jews and the Tea Party Movement - Sh’ma
Steven Windmueller, Ph.D., Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service, writes, “Are Jews involved in the Tea Party Movement in any significant way? There is anecdotal and some preliminary statistical evidence, based on a 2010 Pew Research Center study, that while American Jews by and large remain liberal, there is a small subset of Jews that, while not necessarily identifying with the Tea Party, express strong support for Tea Party ideas - specifically, their thoughts on economic and social issues. Among the economic elements, the size and performance of government and with reference to the social indicators, same-sex marriage, abortion, and gun ownership.”
Perspective: Principled Rabbis, but a Flawed Statement - New Jersey Jewish News
Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff, Vice President for Special Projects, writes, “I have long admired the rabbis and leaders of Manhattan’s B’nai Jeshurun synagogue for their courageous stances and their progressive values. No wonder that The New York Times earlier this month reserved front page space two days in a row to report on a controversial e-mail that BJ’s rabbis sent to their membership. The statement applauded the decision of the United Nations General Assembly to elevate the status of the Palestinian Authority to that of nonmember observer state. I said to myself, ‘Good for them for standing up for what they believe,’ and I also said, ‘I wish they had done it differently.’”
Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit Has Complex Provenance - Cleveland Jewish News
The monumental “Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times” exhibition features the scrolls and 600-plus artifacts from ancient Israel. It enables Midwesterners to learn about HUC-JIR’s role in protecting, processing, and disseminating knowledge about one of the 20th century’s greatest archaeological finds. “Especially coming to the Midwest, it’s a tremendous accomplishment,” said Dr. Nili Fox, Professor of Bible at HUC-JIR’s Cincinnati campus.
Along the ‘Sexuality Spectrum’ - The Jewish Week
Many of the paintings, photographs, and mixed media works in “The Sexuality Spectrum,” at the HUC-JIR Museum in New York depict the struggles of men and women, gay and straight. This is art that reflects on and shouts out about religious attitudes toward sexuality and gender, discrimination, health and family issues, and societal roles. The link between art and ethics is strong here. Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, HUC-JIR, writes that the exhibition is fully consonant with efforts of the College-Institute and the Reform Movement to “secure the basic human rights that are the legitimate birthright of every individual.”
Hope at Hanukkah: A Modern Tale - HUC-JIR’s Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning
Rabbi Joel Soffin, Founder, Jewish Helping Hands, writes, “It was Hannukah of 2005, four months after Hurricane Katrina changed everything. A group of us were in New Orleans helping to restore the homes of four Jewish families that had been flooded with nearly eight feet of water. After five days of putting up sheetrock, spackling, and taping, we were standing with Anne and Stan Levy outside their home. Anne Levy is a survivor of the Holocaust, miraculously being smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto in January, 1943 and passing for Christian once on the outside. Eventually, some fifty years ago, she had come to this house in New Orleans and has lived there ever since. ‘Now we have to start all over,’ she had said with tears in her eyes.”
Dr. Sarah Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, will present "Do American Jews Speak a Jewish Language?" on December 13 at Stephen S. Wise Temple. On December 28, Dr. Benor will present "Chutzpah to Chidush: A Century of Yiddish-Influenced English in America" at Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center in Houston, TX. On January 4, Dr. Benor will present "When Harry and Sally Became Chaim-Dov and Sara-Bracha: Personal Names Among Orthodox Jews in America, 1940-2011" at the American Name Society. Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Rabbinic and Second Temple Literature, presented in the Society of Biblical Literature Session of the Sabbath in Text and Tradition Group, which he also chairs, on “The Sabbath in This World and the Next.” Rabbi Panken will present on Music and Liturgical Hermeneutics at the North American Academy of Liturgy in Albuquerque in January.
Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, participated in a symposium entitled "A Discussion: Whither Halakha?," organized by Dr. Avinoam Rosenak of Hebrew University. The proceedings of the symposium, which also featured Ruth Gavison, Rabbi Haim Amsalem, and David Weiss Halivni, have been published in Zehuyut: A Journal of Jewish Culture and Identity (Hebrew) Volume 2, published by the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. Learn more. Rabbi Ellenson led a conversation with Rabbi Ethan Tucker on “Halakhah, Conversion, and the Future of Jewish Identity” on December 4, 2012 at Mechon Hadar in New York. Listen to the conversation here. Dr. Ruchama Weiss, Director of the Blaustein Center for Pastoral Care & Counseling and a member of the faculty at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, was invited to a meeting of Bible Studies with President Shimon Peres to discuss “From Ben-Yishai to Ben-Gurion: On Leadership and Leaders” on December 6, 2012.
Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Professor of Bible, presented "The Reconfiguration of Gender in the Postexilic Period" at the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting during the session "Exile (Forced Migration) in Biblical Literature Group." Dr. Eskenazi was a panelist in the session "Women in the Biblical World Section/Feminist Hermeneutic of the Hebrew Bible Section," celebrating the publication of the Twentieth Anniversary Edition of the Women's Bible Commentary. At the Society of Biblical Literature, Dr. Eskenazi was presented with a book created in her honor, “Making a Difference: Essays on Bible and Judaism in Honor of Tamara Cohn Eskenazi,” edited by David J.A. Clines, Kent H. Richards, and Jacob L. Wright and including articles by Dr. David Ellenson, Dr. Rachel Adler, Dr. William Cutter, and others. Margaret Moers Wenig, Instructor in Liturgy and Homiletics, attended the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Homiletics and participated in the opening service of worship, led a discussion following it, with the evening's preacher.
Cantor Tamar Havilio, Jerusalem Campus Cantor, shared her personal journey with the Salt Lake Tribune. Read “Convert-cantor’s journey takes her from Israel to Utah.” Dr. Michael Zeldin, Senior National Director of the Schools of Education and Professor of Jewish Education, will serve as the Scholar for the 2012 Conference of the National Association of Temple Educators on the topic, “"The Answer to 'How Can We?' is 'Yes We Can': Making Project-Based Learning Work in Jewish Education."
Dr. Jonathan Krasner, Associate Professor of the American Jewish Experience, will present “The Mainstreaming of Gays and Lesbians in Conservative and Reform Judaism” at the International Conference on New Understandings of Gender, Love, and the Jewish Family at The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute.
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.
“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.
Is Jewish Education Broken? – December 13 in New York
As enrollment drops in liberal Jewish schools, it is important to ask: is liberal Jewish education relevant to today’s students? Is it time for a more progressive model? Join Rabbi Tali Zelkowicz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Education and Professor Sara S. Lee Chair for an Emerging Scholar in Jewish Education, and Dr. Jonathan Krasner, Associate Professor of the American Jewish Experience, to discuss new visions, models, and curricula that prepare students for the complexities of Jewish life in the 21st century on December 13 at the 14th Street Y (344 East 14th Street, New York, NY).
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.
Lectures at the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
The Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology announces its annual lecture series, presented in Hebrew and designed to share the results of recent archaeological research to the general public in Israel. Coming up next: On December 25, Katia Cytryn-Silverman will present “New Excavations at Tiberias.”
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. To book a tour or order the catalogue, contact us at or 212-824-2298.
Photo of the Week
---- Year-in-Israel students held Shabbat Shacharit T'fillah in the Arava Desert during their four-day tiyul. Students hiked the desert landscape, celebrated Thanksgiving, learned about Lotan and Yahel, the Reform kibbutzim in the Arava, snorkeled at Coral Beach in Eilat, and had a relaxing Shabbat.

Click here for a larger image.
Judaica Gallery
---- This unique hand-blown blue menorah was crafted by Benny Kedem, owner of Kedem Glassblowing Studio in Ryshon Lezion, Israel, an experienced glassblower who has taught in the Glass Department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts in Jerusalem.

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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