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From our family to yours, best wishes for a joyous Pesach.
Click here for a Passover greeting from
Rabbi David Ellenson, President, and Irwin Engelman, Chairman, Board of Governors.
March 21, 2013
Spotlight News In the Media Faculty Events Photo of the Week Judaica Gallery
Photo of the Week
Evaluation Team from Middle States Commission on Higher Education at HUC-JIR
An evaluation team from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education spent four days at our New York campus as part of our transition to the first-ever unified accreditation for our four campuses. The team was chaired by Deborah Waxman, Vice President for Governance, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and included Ellen Boylan, Director of Institutional Research and Assessment, Marywood University; Marc Brettler, Golding Professor of Biblical Studies and former Chair of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University; Janet Smith Dickerson, former Vice President for Campus Life, Princeton University; Barbara H. Geller, Chair, Department of Religion and Professor of Religion, Wellesley College; Michael B. Greenbaum, Vice Chancellor Emeritus and Senior Advisor to the Chancellor, Jewish Theological Seminary of America; and Richard J. Novak, Associate Vice President, Continuous Education & Distance Learning, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.  The team conducted several meetings involving students, faculty, Governors, and administration on all of our campuses and considered many aspects of HUC-JIR’s work. Their visit was the culmination of an extensive process of institutional review leading to the presentation of HUC-JIR’s Self-Study Report. READ MORE.
President’s Report: A Lexicon of HUC-JIR
Rabbi David Ellenson states, “Rabbi Stephen S. Wise decided to establish the Jewish Institute of Religion (JIR) almost a century ago. After meeting with seven prospective students at the end of August 1922, he wrote to his friend Martin Meyer, ‘I almost tremble at the immensity of the task before us.’ Ninety years later, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion continues to affirm the mantle we have inherited from Rabbi Wise. Our mission – the formation of religious, educational, communal, and intellectual leadership for the Jewish people and the Reform Movement – is no less critical or challenging today than it was when Rabbi Wise called JIR into being.” Learn more in the current issue of the President’s Report.

Recruitment Update!
  • Registration is now open for our Open Houses this April on all campuses.  We invite you to explore the possibilities for an extraordinary life at HUC-JIR.  Meet our students; study with our exceptional faculty; experience Reform Judaism through music, prayer, social action, and scholarship; and discover career paths that can transform your life and bring meaning to others. Free registration and generous travel subsidies. Learn more and register now.
  • HUC-JIR is on the Road: Our Recruitment and Admissions Staff will be on the road, meeting with alumni and prospective students at Columbia/Barnard Hillel on April 19. 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, let us know!
VIDEOS: Celebrate Passover through Study and Innovative Traditions
  • Passover Text Study with Rabbi David Ellenson: Rabbi Ellenson discusses a text on "Matzah: Its Requirements in Jewish Law and Ideological Implications" from Chapter 26 in "Mayyim Hayyim," a collection of responsa by Rabbi Chaim David HaLevi, Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Yaffo.
  • Innovative Passover Traditions: Students and faculty offer innovative educational and experiential strategies for your Passover seder.
Dr. David Mendelsson Appointed Director of the Year-In-Israel Program at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. David Mendelsson to Director of the Year-In-Israel Program. Dr. Mendelsson is currently serving as Acting Director of the Year-In-Israel Program.  Rabbi Kelman noted, “Dave Mendelsson is a consummate educator, beloved teacher, and scholar of Modern Jewish History. These gifts have been evident in his new role, as he seeks academic excellence and forging a culture of learning and growth for each of our students in their first year of studies. He is internationally recognized as one of finest and most serious practitioners of ‘Israel Engagement Education.’ This is a vital pillar of the program, particularly at a time when sensitivity, depth, and balance are necessary. He is able to provide that voice in our Richard J. Scheuer Israel Seminar and in the History of Zionism classes that he teaches.”

Rabbi Dalia Marx’s New Book: “Tractates Tamid, Middot and Qinnim: A Feminist Commentary”
Rabbi Dr. Dalia Marx, Associate Professor of Liturgy and Midrash, provides a general introduction and feminist commentary on the last three tractates of the order of Qodashim. Each tractate deals with different aspects of the Second Temple as perceived by the rabbis and each sheds its own light on gender issues. The commentary on Tamid, a tractate dealing with the priestly service in the Temple, discusses the priests as a "gender unto themselves” and considers women as potential participants in the lay-service of the Temple and perhaps even as part of the sacred service. Middot concerns itself with the design of the Temple, and the commentary explores sacred space from a gendered perspective. Finally, Marx turns to Qinnim, a tractate dealing with bird offerings, typically brought by women. The commentary shows how the tractate employs images of women to develop its discourse. This volume opens a unique window onto the rabbis' perspectives on the Temple and gender related matters.
Rabbi David Ellenson Meets With President Obama in Advance of Presidential Visit to Israel
Rabbi David Ellenson and other national Jewish leaders met with President Obama on March 7, 2013, at the White House to discuss the President's upcoming trip to Israel.  “It was an honor to meet with the President about his upcoming trip to Israel and the Middle East.  As Jews and as Americans, we take pride in our President's visit to the spiritual homeland of the Jewish people worldwide. We expressed our hopes for peace and security for Israel and stability in the region and thanked the President for his commitment to the abiding and vital links between the United States and Israel."
A Window into "Sociology of Education" - Rhea Hirsch School of Education Students Make Contributions to the Field
Dr. Tali Zelkowicz, Assistant Professor of Education and Professor Sara S. Lee Chair for an Emerging Scholar in Jewish Education, writes, “True agents of change use their passion, but are then able to go beyond. This is why my students begin by clarifying their passionate ‘soap boxes’ in the Sociology of Jewish Education course I teach for graduate students in Jewish education at the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles. That assignment is a one-page 'Cyber Soapbox,' in which students write with abandon and express, unfettered by facts or multiple perspectives, their deepest, truest feelings about any one contested arena in Jewish education.”  Read samples from this year from Bess Wohlner, Lara Regev, and Rochelle Tulik.
HUC-JIR/New York Hosts Spring Yom Iyyun: “Engaging New York”
On Tuesday, March 5, the New York campus of HUC-JIR hosted a Spring Yom Iyyun, “Engaging New York.” Y'mei Iyyun, unique to the New York campus, provide students with the opportunity to take a break from classes for special programming or the opportunity to catch up on their own studies.  This year, leaders of the Student Association suggested that they spend their Yom Iyyun off campus in some activity in New York City.  Rabbi Renni Altman, Associate Dean, HUC-JIR/NY, led a community service project at West End Temple-Sinai Congregation in Neponset, Queens. In addition, twenty five students participated in a walking tour of Jewish Harlem with Dr. Jeffrey Gurock, Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University. They were joined by Rabbi Shirley Idelson, Dean, HUC-JIR/NY, and Rabbi Carole Balin, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish History. 
In the Media
The Changing Character of the American Rabbinate: Some Reflections – eJewish Philanthropy
Dr. Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Studies, writes, “During the first two hundred years of the American Jewish venture, this nation was without an indigenous rabbinic presence. With the arrival of such figures as Rabbis Isaac Leeser and Isaac Mayer Wise, American Jewry would ultimately move to create its own distinctive rabbinic voice, with the founding of seminaries and the ordination of generations of rabbinic leadership.  The roles performed by American rabbis have been evolving for decades, and in the process of redefining their place within this society, the rabbinate is also reshaping the image and status of American Jewry. But such transitions have occurred in stages.”
The 21st-Century B’nai Mitzvah – The Jewish Journal
When Isa Aron, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish Education, considers b’nai mitzvah today, she gets the impression that parents – and sometimes synagogues – care more about their son or daughter performing flawlessly when on the bimah than they do about their forming lasting connections to Judaism. “The moment itself is wonderful because the kid is up there performing and all that, but Jewish value of the moment is not really in there,” said Aron, co-director of the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution, an initiative launched in partnership by HUC-JIR and the URJ to radically change the ritual.
Obama, Affirm the Jewish People's 3,200 Year Old Connection to the Land of Israel - Haaretz
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President, URJ, writes, “As head of American Jewry’s largest religious stream, I - and the 1.5 million members of our synagogues throughout North America - eagerly await U.S. President Obama’s impending trip to Eretz Yisrael.  This will be a challenging trip with complex political, economic, and strategic issues that the President will need to address.  But woven through all of them are four themes of particular interest to my membership: The Jewish people’s historic ties to the Land of Israel, religious freedom for all Jews, a renewal of the peace process, and an effective response to Iran’s nuclear military ambitions.”
So Long, Academic Dead Zones – Scientific American
Jody Passanisi and Shara Peters, alumni of DeLeT at HUC-JIR, write, “When we were in school, there were certain moments that were considered to be learning dead zones. The number one learning dead zone: absences. Whether you were sick or just taking a day off, when you were absent, you were absent from the classroom.  Our connectedness to learning was dependent on our ability — and our teachers’ ability — to be physically present in the classroom. While clearly, being at school is the goal, not being at school does not have to be the academic dead zone it once was. Technology can be used as a tool of connectedness that will fill these academic dead zones so that no learning time is lost, whether one is able to be present in the classroom or not.”
Conference on Reform Judaism Heritage: The Wises, Einhorn and Beyond - American Israelite
This spring, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati and the Society for Classical Reform Judaism will celebrate the fourth year of a partnership that has enabled a new generation of rabbinical students to encounter the distinctive principles and traditions of the Reform Jewish heritage. In addition to the ongoing scholarship opportunities, liturgical resources, and annual seminars sponsored by the Society, this milestone will be marked by a special conference on the theme “reclaiming and renewing our heritage” with a variety of programs exploring the legacies of leading pioneers of the Movement. National lay and rabbinical leaders will join students and faculty, as well as others in regional Jewish communities, to explore the history, values and vision of the American liberal Jewish tradition in three days of seminars, March 21-23, on the Cincinnati campus. Examining the foundations of Reform Judaism will point the way for building for the 21st century, say conference planners. The work of three spiritual forbearers – Isaac Mayer Wise, Stephen S. Wise and David Einhorn – will play a significant part in this year’s conference. Each of these prominent rabbinical leaders played an instrumental role in the shaping of the Reform Movement in the United States.
HUC-JIR Pays Tribute to Rabbi Lelyveld – Cleveland Jewish News
The New York campus of HUC-JIR commemorated what would have been Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld’s 100th birthday last month.  The longtime leader of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood, who died April 15, 1996, would have been 100 on Feb. 6.  Lelyveld, an internationally known figure, was senior rabbi from 1958 to 1986 and then senior rabbi emeritus.  Rabbi Norman Cohen, Professor of Midrash, offered remarks during morning services. “It was a wonderful tribute to his accomplishments and for what he did to improve the Jewish quality of life,” said his widow Teela.

The Sexuality Spectrum – Is It Good for the Jews? – Times of Israel
In a rather courageous move, the HUC-JIR Museum in New York has mounted an exhibition examining attitudes towards sexuality within Judaism, The Sexuality Spectrum.  Social activism was at the germination of the exhibit. Frustration and a sense of powerlessness propelled curator, Laura Kruger, to mount the current exhibition at HUC-JIR. Kruger spent a year seeking out artwork that would address presumptions about gender, and chose works that provoke thought and challenge traditional Judaism. Avoiding the highly explicit or art that would be offensive to any of the streams of Judaism, she hoped to enable the open-minded and curious to view the exhibit and add to a more expansive conversation within Judaism. 
This Year, Not in Jerusalem – HUC-JIR Blog: Meet Our Students
Year-In-Israel student Nicole Berne writes, “After spending every year ending my family’s Passover seders in Los Angeles by saying ‘Next year in Jerusalem!,’ this year I finally have the opportunity to be in Israel, and I’m hoping to leave to spend Passover in Belarus, in the communities of Vitebsk and Mogilev, as well as Minsk. My fellow classmates and I will be spending this Passover participating in the FSU Pesach Project, through the World Union for Progressive Judaism. It is a project which HUC-JIR students have been participating in for 10 years. Together, cohorts of rabbinical, cantorial, and education students have traveled to congregations in the former Soviet Union. They’ve led seders, participated in concerts, taught songs, and ran education programs for communities that for years were denied the Jewish expression that we in the United States expect as a basic human right.”

Rabbi Carole Balin, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish History, discusses the rite of passage in the Jewish Week’s Bima Revolution. Rabbi Joshua Garroway, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of New Testament and Second Commonwealth Judaism, is consulting on the new television series on the Bible. Learn more.
Dr. Sarah Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, had her book, Becoming Frum, reviewed in the Yiddish Daily Forward. Read more. Dr. Benor’s work on Orthodox culture and linguistics is highlighted in the blog, “The Book of Doctrines and Opinions” Dr. Leah Hochman, Assistant Professor of Jewish Thought, explored the ways Jews and Judaism have and have not been represented on television shows and movies from the mid-1950s to present date, on March 19 at Congregation Or Ami.
Rabbi Michael J. Cook, Ph.D., Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies, delivered "'Mind the Gap': Bridging One Dozen Lacunae in Jewish Catholic Dialogue," as Boston College's Second Annual John Paul II Lecture in Christian-Jewish Relations on March 20, 2013. Rabbi Haim Rechnitzer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Thought, gave a lecture on “Poetry, Zionism, and the Theological Abyss of the Third Aliyah” on March 4 at the American Jewish Archives at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati. On March 10, the Jerusalem campus hosted an evening in honor of the publication of Dr. Rechnitzer’s book, Prophecy and the Perfect Political Order - The Political Theology of Leo Strauss.
Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, will present the Martin J. Hertz Lecture in Jewish Law and Culture: How Concepts of Jewish Peoplehood Inform Legal Rulings on April 16 at Fordham University. Rabbi Ellenson will participate in a conversation on “The True Value of the Jewish Community” at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco on May 21. Learn more. Cantor Bruce Ruben, Ph.D., Director, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, spoke on his book, Max Lilienthal: The Making of the American Rabbinate, at the Center for Jewish History on March 13. Learn more.
Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Professor of Bible, delivered the key note presentation on "Feminist Biblical Interpretation in Interfaith Contexts: Challenges and Opportunities" as part of the distinguished 2013 Phyllis Trible Lecture Series held at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, on March 6-7, 2013. Learn more. Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D., Incoming National Director of Admissions and Recruitment and President’s Scholar, participated in the panel discussion, Shaping the Soul of the State of Israel, during the Central Conference of American Rabbis Convention. Learn more.
Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam, will present “Holy War in Judaism” on April 4 at the University of Richmond. On April 18, Dr. Firestone will present “The Perplexity of Prejudice: Culturally Embedded Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Germany and Europe” at the University of Heidelberg. Dr. Firestone was recently interviewed in News.AZ’s “Azerbaijani People Have Had a Unique History.” Rabbi Andrea Weiss, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Bible, served as the Scholar-in-Residence at Temple Isaiah in Stony Brook, NY from March 15-17.
Alexi Natchev’s Printmaking Demonstration – March 31 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
Alexi Natchev’s hand-colored block prints, as published in Linda Leopold Strauss’ children’s book The Elijah Door, are on view now at the Skirball Museum at the Cincinnati campus.  On March 31, Natchev will give a process demonstration of his hand-colored, wood block relief printmaking at 2:00 pm at the Skirball Museum. 
Jan Aronson: Illustrations for The Bronfman Haggadah at the HUC-JIR/New York Museum
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 is on view through May 30, 2013.
Of, By, and About the Women: The Ladies of Broadway – April 7 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
When we think of the women of Broadway, of course, the names of Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Carol Channing, or Mary Martin immediately come to mind. Maybe we think of Dolly or Mame or Mama Rose or Adelaide – the iconic women’s roles in our classical Broadway musicals. But what about Dorothy Fields, Mary Rodgers, Lynn Flaherty, Lucy Simon, and Marcia Norman? These are among the elite collection of women composers and lyricists who wrote Broadway musicals.  Written and hosted by Rabbi Ken Kanter and performed by the women and men of HUC-JIR’s Cincinnati campus, this concert on April 7 at 4:00 pm at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati will honor the women composers, lyricists, and iconic performers of Broadway.
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.
Israel @ 65 - April 21 in Cincinnati
Learn about and celebrate Israeli culture and experience the timeline that links HUC-JIR/Cincinnati with Israel while you indulge yourself with authentic Israeli foods, wines, and cheese tastings and shop for handcrafted artwork.
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 the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles. The exhibition is organized by Anne Hromadka, Guest Curator of the Art Collection and Exhibitions.
Judaica Gallery
Barbara Krohn, internationally renowned ceramicist, has created unique trompe l’oeil matzah plates for the celebration of Passover. They are hand-washable, and come in round and square. $180, 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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