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emails from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

January 24, 2013
Spotlight News In the Media Faculty Events Photo of the Week Judaica Gallery
Announcing Our New Blog: Meet Our Students
We are delighted to introduce you to our wonderful students, who come to us from all walks of life, study on four campuses in more than ten academic programs, and share a passion for Jewish learning and community. Our students engage in many different aspects of Jewish and academic life during their time at HUC-JIR, and this is an opportunity for them to share the highlights (and challenges) of their experiences as a student, including reflections on the Year-in-Israel, Jewish life in three distinct communities, relationships with faculty and other students through coursework and campus life, spiritual practice and growth, and internships and student pulpits. It is also an opportunity for you to get a glimpse of the incredible opportunities that wait for you if you are thinking about pursuing a meaningful and fulfilling career as a Jewish leader.
Exciting Programs for Year-in-Israel Students
  • Every month, the Jerusalem Campus holds a special culture evening for the Year-in-Israel students, including meetings with writers and screenings of films. Recently, the invited guest was to be acclaimed author Eli Amir, who asked if he could bring his friend, former president, Yitzchak Navon. Learn more.
  • Year-in-Israel students dispersed in small groups across the country to 'report' on the elections, interviewing people and sharing their observations. All interviews were posted on YouTube before the results came in, and they were shared with HUC-JIR students across all three stateside campuses. Learn more.
  • Year-in-Israel students will lead a musical ‘Nusach America' Kabbalat Shabbat as part of the Oneg Shabbat Festival on Friday, January 25 at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. The greater pluralistic Jerusalem community is welcome to attend.
Launching the First Cohort of the Cantorial Certification Program
The Cantorial Certification Program at HUC-JIR launched its first cohort of students with a kallah held at the New York campus on January 6-10, 2013. The Cantorial Certification Program, operating under the auspices of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, provides soloists who have been in the field at least five years with the opportunity to gain cantorial credentials and become full members of the American Conference of Cantors. Cantor Ellen Dreskin, Coordinator of the Cantorial Certification Program, explained, "I am so impressed with this group of gifted and committed soloists, all of whom have devoted themselves to their own continued spiritual and academic growth in order that they might more fully serve their congregations and the Jewish people."
Rabbi David Ellenson Awarded Finalist in the National Jewish Book Awards
Rabbi David Ellenson, President, and Rabbi Daniel Gordis are finalists for the National Jewish Book Awards in category of Scholarship for their newest book, Pledges of Jewish Allegiance: Conversion, Law, and Policymaking in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Orthodox Responsa (Stanford University Press, 2012). The book begins as modernity presents the Jewish population of Europe with the complications of inclusion in non-Jewish society – increased intermarriage, more Gentiles wanting to convert to Judaism, questions of Jewish identity – and concludes with the contentious circumstances arising from massive Russian immigration to the State of Israel.
New York School of Education Hosts Yom Iyun on “Technology: Implications and Applications for Jewish Education”
On January 9, 2013, the New York School of Education (NYSOE) at HUC-JIR hosted a Yom Iyun on "Technology: Implications and Applications for Jewish Education." Presenters included Dr. David Bryfman, The Jewish Education Project; Erica Reifer, Education Technologist, New York University; Ira Wise, Education Director, Congregation B’nai Israel in Fairfield, CT; and Caren Levine, Etheoreal. Dr. Evie Rotstein, Director of the NYSOE, stated, "The day provided us with some great resources and offered some important ways to think about whether or not to use technology in a given situation. We were challenged to think about what tools to use and what goals technology serves in terms of building community."
Deborah Niederman, RJE, Installed as President of the National Association of Temple Educators
Deborah Niederman, RJE, was installed as President of the National Association of Temple Educators (NATE) on December 25, 2012 at NATE's Annual Conference in Pheonix, AZ. Deborah is an alumna of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles and currently serves HUC-JIR as the Coordinator of Alumni Engagement for the Schools of Education Alumni Associations and Coordinator, Induction and Retention Initiative, Jim Joseph Foundation-Education Initiative. Deborah's presidency will begin on July 1, 2013, following outgoing president Lisa Lieberman Barzilai, RJE, also an alumna of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education.
HUC-JIR Mourns the Death of Shirley Tartak, z''l
On January 8, 2013, HUC-JIR lost a dear friend, Shirley Tartak, who passed away at age 95 in Tiburon, CA. Shirley Tartak was known to generations of students at the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles and Jewish educators around the world through her generous support of the Tartak Learning Center. The entire College-Institute joins the Reform Movement in remembering Shirley Tartak, an energetic, gifted, and generous woman.
HUC-JIR at the Limmud Conference in London
Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, and Dr. David Ilan, Director, Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology, attended the Limmud Conference in England, where they led and participated in a week of study sessions. Rabbi Kelman participated in A Festival of Firsts!; Is Interfaith Dialogue Still Possible?; The Spiritual Questionnaire; and Jerusalem-Always the Trend Setter. Dr. Ilan participated in What’s New in the Archaeology of Israel; Temples, Treasures, and the Dominion of Death; How Ancient Israel Began; and ''Thou Shalt Make No Graven Image.''
VIDEO: The JPS Torah at Fifty: A Celebration of a Translation and a Translator
HUC-JIR and The Jewish Publication Society hosted “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 HUC-JIR/New York. Dr. Leonard Greenspoon, Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civilization and Professor of Classical & Near Eastern Studies and Theology, Creighton University, was 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.
VIDEO: Rabbi Ruth Langer Presents “Constructing Community: Expressions of Self and Other in Jewish Prayer”
Rabbi Ruth Langer, Ph.D., presented the 2012 Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture on "Constructing Community: Expressions of Self and Other in Jewish Prayer" on November 27 at the New York Campus of HUC-JIR. Dr. Langer serves as the Professor of Jewish Studies, Theology Department, and Associate Director, Center for Christian-Jewish Learning, Boston College. The Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture is sponsored by the Bamberger Family in memory of their father, Dr. Fritz Bamberger, z"l, who served as Assistant to the President and Professor of Jewish Intellectual History at HUC-JIR/New York.
Announcing the New JECELI Website
The Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute is pleased to announce the launch of its new website: JECELI is founded on the premise that Jewish early childhood programs can have a powerful impact on the future of the Jewish community at large. Upon completion of the program, participants will apply Jewish perspectives on learning, interpersonal interactions, and leadership, and use these perspectives to consistently inform their work.
Act Now: IRA Charitable Rollover Provision Extended - A Wonderful Way to Support HUC-JIR
The IRA Charitable Rollover Provision has been extended thanks to the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 signed on January 2. If you act now you can make a tax-free donation that will benefit your 2012 filing. Qualified distributions from traditional or Roth IRAs made after December 31, 2012 and before February 1, 2013 will be treated as if made on December 31, 2012 if you meet the requirements below:
  • You are over the age of 70 ½.
  • Your total IRA charitable gifts do not exceed $100,000.
  • You receive no economic benefit from the charity in exchange for the gift.
In the Media
As Jewish Power Ebbs, A New Form Of Influence? - The Jewish Week
Dr. Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Studies, writes, “Power is both illusive and real, but it is never stagnant. Possibly never before in American Jewish history could we find Jews as divided around political priorities and even party affiliation. While the majority of Jews remain liberal, there are growing pockets of Republican Party activists, Tea Party members, and political independents. These political 'divides' are present not only around Israel but also impact social and economic policies. The impact of such divisions within the community has led national agencies to shift their agendas in order to capture specific audiences, while jettisoning other issues in an effort to appease key supporters.” Read more from Dr. Windmueller: Sustaining 21st Century American Judaism: Examining New Options - eJewish Philanthropy
The New Jew-Speak, via Google - Tablet Magazine
What do these four words have in common? Klutz, schmooze, spiel, pastrami. Well, for one thing, they all are entries in a brand new dictionary, the Jewish English Lexicon. The Jewish English Lexicon is the brainchild of Dr. Sarah Bunin Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, and a prolific scholar of the varieties of Jewish English spoken in the United States. The Lexicon began as a class project five years ago but has since expanded to be a global work in progress, now available to everyone, and welcoming contributions from everyone.
Rethinking Jewish Life: ‘For the Sake of Heaven’? - The Jerusalem Post
Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D., Professor at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, writes, “The debate on the Women of the Wall is about the collective future of the Jewish democratic state and of the Jewish people. Are these debates for the 'sake of Heaven'? (Pirkei Avot 5:20) The debates raging in the press and throughout the Jewish world about whether or not Jewish women should have equal access the Western Wall as men do are not only about the Women of the Wall.”
We Are All Educators - Hillel
Heather Paul, a student in the Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults program and Jewish Life Associate/Director of Camp Kesem and Hillel at Stanford, writes, “Hillel professionals can learn to seek and employ the teachable moments in each experience, whether it’s an alternative break orientation, a barbecue, or a coffee date. We are all educators; we just have to recognize the opportunities to educate.” Applications are now being accepted for the third cohort of the program. Learn more.
The Covenant Foundation Announces New Grants - The Covenant Foundation
The Covenant Foundation recently announced new grants as part of its mission to support and advance excellence and impact in Jewish education. They generously awarded a grant for $35,000 to HUC-JIR for one year to create an educational guide and programming for an exhibition of Jewish Food for Thought - a series of animated shorts exploring Jewish wisdom through the eyes of video artist Hanan Harchol – and to support a traveling exhibition of his work.
Cincinnati Politicians with Opposing Views Participate in Lecture Series – The News Record
HUC-JIR/Cincinnati recently hosted a lecture aimed at increasing civility in local political discourse. The event – the second in a series – featured Cincinnati City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld and Cincinnati Tea Party President Mike Wilson. In an effort to gain a mutual respect for each other’s opposing political views, the two Cincinnati natives talked at length about their upbringings and the events that shaped their viewpoints.
Having It All: Rabbi Mom – HUC-JIR’s Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning
HUC-JIR alumna Rabbi Allison Berry was interviewed by The Having It All Project, which creates a space to talk about how we actually make life happen: the tips and strategies, the things we hope to accomplish, and the failures that sometimes happen along the way to finding whatever "all" means for each of us. Rabbi Berry describes what makes her life unique and shares her tips for coping with chaos.
Creating Community Leaders from Teen Leaders – Reform Judaism Blog
Samantha Pohl, an alumna of the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (SJNM), writes, “There have been no greater influences on my life than my temple youth group, NFTY-GER, Urban Mitzvah Corps, and NFTY in Israel. My participation in these programs as a teenager led me, as an adult, to become a Jewish professional and an active participant in the New York City Jewish community. While a student at HUC-JIR’s SJNM, I had the opportunity to explore how the top teen leaders of the Reform Movement connect—as volunteer leaders and in professional capacities— to Jewish life today, several years after their teen involvement.”
Dr. Sarah Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, will serve on a panel on contemporary issues in Orthodox Judaism at the Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies on January 24 in Oxford, England. On February 15-17, she will participate in the Limmud New York Conference. Dr. Michael J. Cook, Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies, was the Scholar-in-Residence together with the Keynoter at the Christian Clergy Institute at Temple Beth Israel in Longboat Key, FL, on January 18-20, 2013.
Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, will be the guest speaker at the dedication of the Foundation for Jewish Camp Vichness Conference Center on Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 6:00 pm at 253 W. 35th Street. Learn more. Rabbi Ellenson served as a panelist during the session “The Ethics of Encapsulating Jewish Ethics: A Panel Discussion of the Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality” during the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Society of Christian Ethics, The Society of Jewish Ethics, and The Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics in January in Chicago. Rabbi Ellenson wrote for the Symposium, Whither Halakhah, in “Identities: Journal of Jewish Culture and Identity,” 2012: No. 2. Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam, presented “Holy War in Judaism: The Rise and Fall of a Controversial Idea” at the University of Munich on January 24. On February 7, he will present “Antisemitism and Islamophobia: Roots and Remedy” at El-Hibri Charitable Foundation in Washington, DC. He will present on his book, Holy War in Judaism: The Rise and Fall of a Controversial Idea, on February 10 at the Washington Hebrew Congregation and on February 12 The Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center in Bridgewater, NJ.
Dr. Bruce A. Phillips, Professor of Sociology and Jewish Communal Studies, presented the paper "Not Quite White-Jewish Residential Patterns in Los Angeles, 1920-2000" at the Los Angeles Metro Studies Group meeting at the Huntington Library on December 7. He presented the paper, “Southern California Religion-What the Pew Religious Landscape Survey Can Tell Us,” at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at USC on December 4. Cantor Bruce Ruben, Ph.D., Director, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, performed Jason Robert Brown’s Twenty-Six Names, a tribute to the 26 lost in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, on December 13 at HUC-JIR/NY. Learn more.
Dr. Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Studies, had two review essays in the Winter/Sprint 2013 issue of Menorah Review: For the Enrichment of Jewish Thought. Learn more.
Recruitment Update: HUC-JIR is on the Road!
Our Recruitment and Admissions Staff will be on the road next week, visiting different communities and meeting with alumni and prospective students. 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!
How Technology is Changing our Jewish Practice – January 25-27 at the American Jewish Archives at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
Technology is advancing quicker than ever. What does this mean for Reform Judaism? How do we build community in this new age? Join us on January 25-27 at the American Jewish Archives at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati to look at how innovative technology is changing the way Reform Jews engage and practice Judaism. Explore the cutting edge of Jewish expression and consider both its benefits and its drawbacks. In partnership with NFTY Ohio Valley region. Learn more about and hear from participants of the Fall 2012 retreat.
Commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day – January 27 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
As a part of the Concerts on Clifton series and in honor of International Holocaust Day, internationally renowned pianist James Tocco will perform on January 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati. Tocco will be accompanied by Rebecca McMullan Culnan, violin, Chika Kinderman, violin, Yaël Senamaud, viola, and Daniel Culnan, cello.
Melaveh Malkah: An Evening of Prayer and Song to Honor the Legacy of Debbie Friedman, z’’l – February 2 at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
The Jerusalem Campus of HUC-JIR cordially invites you to Melaveh Malkah, an evening of prayer and song to honor the legacy of Debbie Friedman, z’’l, on February 2 at 7pm in the Murstein Synagogue at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. Debbie Friedman – singer, composer, faculty member at HUC-JIR, and devoted leader of Israel – transformed the way we pray and sing. We join the hundreds of synagogues, day-schools, communal institutions, and individuals touched by her music in mourning her untimely passing. Event will be conducted in Hebrew and English. For more information, contact: or 02 -6203333
Opening of Alexi Natchev’s Prints from The Elijah Door – February 3 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
Join us at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati for the opening of Alexi Natchev’s Hand-Colored Block Prints from The Elijah Door, an exhibition of original, hand-cut wood block prints as published in Linda Leopold Strauss’ children’s book, The Elijah Door. The event includes a book reading and signing with Strauss.
Fifth Annual Composers’ Showcase – February 4 at HUC-JIR/New York
On February 4 at 11:00 am, the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR presents the Fifth Annual Composers’ Showcase, featuring original works by students, faculty, and alumni and including congregational and Jewish concert pieces for the synagogue and the stage.
Rabbi David Ellenson on Jewish Tradition in an Untraditional Age – February 5 in New York
The fourth lecture in The Park Avenue Synagogue Lecture Series, “The Shifting Landscape of American Jewry,” will feature Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, HUC-JIR, and Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter, Ph.D. of Yeshiva University. They will speak on Jewish Tradition in an Untraditional Age on February 5 at 7:00 pm.
A Discussion of Tradition with Rabbi Michael Marmur – February 8 in San Mateo, CA
Tradition: Some revere it. Some despise it. As Reform Jews, are we its bearers or breakers? Join Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs, for a conversation at Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo, CA, on February 8 at 7:30 pm.
“Almighty? No Way! Loving the God You Actually Believe In” – February 8 in Los Angeles
HUC-JIR and Temple Israel of Hollywood present “Almighty? No Way! Loving the God You Actually Believe In” with Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, the 2013 Rabbi Max and Ruth Nussbaum Scholar, on February 8, 2013.
Ha Magidah: Folktales, Music and Magic! – February 10 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
Join us at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati on February 10 at 2:00 pm as Cantor Yvon F. Shore, Director of Liturgical Arts and Music at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, spins an afternoon of Yiddish and Sephardic yarns sure to delight the hearts of children 3 to 93.
Opening Reception of Jan Aronson: Illustrations for The Bronfman Haggadah – February 19 at HUC-JIR/New York
A revolutionary Haggadah for the 21st century, The Bronfman Haggadah is a provocative and stunningly visual reinterpretation of the Passover story. A collaboration between world-renowned philanthropist and Jewish leader Edgar M. Bronfman and acclaimed artist Jan Aronson, it tells of the Exodus, the Jews' dramatic journey from slavery to freedom, in a way that will captivate generations to come. The exhibition will open at the New York Campus of HUC-JIR on February 19 at 5:30 pm.
NFTY Convention 2013 – February 15-19 in Los Angeles
Reform Jewish teens from all of NFTY’s nineteen regions, URJ Camps, alumni of our Israel and Mitzvah Corps programs, and teens committed to Reform Jewish life from the United States and Canada will come together to laugh, learn, pray and sing. They will explore their Jewish identities and learn how to take action in areas that are meaningful to them. Participants will return home energized and ready to share their experiences with their Jewish networks, congregations, families, friends, and other Jewish teens.
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 January 29, 2013, Yifat Thareani will present "A Journey into a Forgotten Northern Kingdom of Israel at the End of the First Temple Period.”
Photographic Visions of the Diaspora at the Jack H. Skirball Campus of HUC-JIR in Los Angeles
HUC-JIR is pleased to present Photographic Visions of the Diaspora, on view through May 31, 2013 at its Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles. The exhibition is organized by Anne Hromadka, Guest Curator of the Art Collection and Exhibitions.
The Sexuality Spectrum at the HUC-JIR/New York Museum
The Sexuality Spectrum, on view through June 28, 2013 at the HUC-JIR 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.
Photo of the Week
---- Rabbi Richard Jacobs, President, URJ, met with fifth-year rabbinical students Sydney Henning, Greg Weisman, Sara Abrams, Matthew Dreffin, and Callie Souther at the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis Convention in Palm Springs, CA.

Click here for a larger image.
Judaica Gallery
---- Bring color to your Sabbath table with Israeli ceramic artist Gaia Smith's challah plate. Using an inlaid technique on colored porcelain, Smith's challah plate depicts the imagery of the Sabbath dinner table. $320, plus shipping and handling.

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

Click here for a larger image.

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New York
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