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emails from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

April 18, 2013
Spotlight News In the Media Faculty Events Photo of the Week Judaica Gallery
HUC-JIR Announces 2013 Graduation and Ordination Ceremonies in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and New York
HUC-JIR will bestow 138 degrees at Graduation and Ordination Ceremonies in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and New York on the Class of 2013's cadre of new Jewish professional leaders for the Reform Movement. Distinguished communal and civic leaders and alumni will be awarded with honorary degrees and prizes in recognition of their service to Reform congregations and North American Jewry, and in honor of their humanitarian work. Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, stated, “The Class of 2013 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, cantors, educators, nonprofit management professionals, scholars, and pastoral care-givers throughout North America and around the world, they will be a source of inspiration and guidance.”
Jewish Wisdom & Wellness: A Week of Learning
Jewish Wisdom & Wellness: A Week of Learning is an interdisciplinary community-wide series of events, lectures, and experiential classes hosted across the streams of Jewish life by community organizations and synagogues throughout Los Angeles and Southern California from April 21-27. The week opens and concludes with special events hosted by the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health at HUC-JIR and Cedars-Sinai. Programs will mine Jewish tradition focusing on improving health, well-being, and healing in the Jewish community. It will be a festival of engaged discussion, wisdom from our sages, and physical practice that draws on Judaism’s rich and distinctively multifaceted influences in religion, spirituality, culture, and peoplehood. Conference videos are now available online on the topics of Wisdom, Prayer, Healing, and Community. Also available online is Debbie Friedman Stories. To watch more videos, click here. Learn more in the Jewish Journal’s “Weeklong Event Explores Judaism and Wellness.”
Recruitment Update!
  • Registration is still open for our upcoming Open Houses in Cincinnati (April 22) and Jerusalem (April 25). 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!
VIDEO: The Wises, Einhorn, and Beyond: Reclaiming and Renewing Our Reform Jewish Heritage for the 21st Century
HUC-JIR/Cincinnati and the Society for Classical Reform Judaism presented “The Wises, Einhorn, and Beyond: Reclaiming and Renewing Our Reform Jewish Heritage for the 21st Century” from March 21-23, 2013. All sessions are now available online:
VIDEO: HUC-JIR/New York Commemorates Founders’ Day with a Celebration of 'JIR at 90'
The New York campus of HUC-JIR commemorated Founders’ Day with a celebration of JIR at 90, the ninetieth anniversary of the founding of the Jewish Institute of Religion, on March 18, 2013. The event began with a student-led service with the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Choir. Following the service, the New York campus hosted a panel discussion on "JIR: History and Legacy," focusing on the founding and history of the Jewish Institute of Religion with an eye towards how it informs the present moment in American Jewish life. Click here for presentations by panelists Dr. Jonathan Sarna, Dr. Mark A. Raider, and Rabbi Shirley Idelson, moderated by Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, HUC-JIR.
In the Media
Updates from the Jim Joseph Foundation
  • Education Initiative and Our Day of Learning: The initial evaluation of the Jim Joseph Foundation-funded Education Initiative, which consists of three major grants of $15 million each to support graduate programs of education at HUC-JIR, The Jewish Theological Seminary, and Yeshiva University, provides convincing evidence that these grants are mostly achieving and, in some cases, exceeding intended outcomes. There is as well clear indication that each of the institutions is enhancing the capacities of its graduate schools of education in ways that are sustainable.
  • Advancing Jewish Early Childhood Education through Coordination and Collaboration: The Jewish Early Childhood Leadership Institute (JECELI), a joint program of HUC-JIR and The Jewish Theological Seminary, is a 15 month in-service professional learning program for new Directors of Early Childhood Education Centers or educators working towards a leadership position in a Jewish Early Childhood Education institution. JECELI seeks to deepen the Jewish learning of the educators and is designed to prepare Jewish educators to work with families to help develop strong connections to their Jewish communities and to nurture their children’s Jewish growth.
Question What Is, Imagine What Can Be - Temple Judea of Coral Gables, FL
Beth Zarefsky Young, an alumna of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education, writes, "I was once asked how to describe a leader. The answer I gave was that I envisioned a leader as a person who had one foot firmly planted in reality and the other reaching out towards new possibilities. I was asked this question during my interview for graduate school 14 years ago when I applied to the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR – and I still like the description."
‘Running Rabbi’ Recounts Chaos at Boston Marathon, Vows to Run in Next Year’s Race - JTA
“It was a beautiful day. I was so excited to run and having such a good run. The crowd was unbelievable. The whole experience was amazing. It was almost magical." That’s how the Boston Marathon began for Rabbi Benjamin David of Adath Emanu-El in Mount Laurel, NJ. It’s not how it ended. David, 36, had completed the marathon and was back at his hotel when the twin explosions went off Monday afternoon near the finish line. David was running with Rabbi Scott Weiner of Temple Israel of New Rochelle in suburban New York's Westchester County. The two rabbinical school friends are co-founders of the national organization The Running Rabbis, which encourages clergy – Jewish and not – and their congregants to run. They always run for a charity and their race in the Boston Marathon raised money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Yiddish, Ladino, and Jewish English: Do American Jews Speak a Jewish Language? - JDOV
Dr. Sarah Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, recently presented the talk, “Yiddish, Ladino, and Jewish English: Do American Jews Speak a Jewish Language?” With the exceptions of Yiddish and Ladino, Jews have tended to pick up the local language after a migration and distinguished themselves through the use of Hebrew words and other unique features, yielding languages like Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-French, and Judeo-Malayalam. American Jews have continued this tradition, using hundreds of Hebrew and Yiddish words and other features that distinguish them from their non-Jewish neighbors and from other Jews. In contrast to some critics’ view of American Jews as the first Diaspora community without a Jewish language, this talk makes the case for “Jewish English,” one of several 21st-century Jewish languages.
Crucial Moment in the History of Western Civilization – HUC-JIR Libraries
Rabbi Joshua Garroway, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Early Christianity and Second Commonwealth and Rabbi Michael Matuson Professorship for an Emerging Scholar, recently published Paul’s Gentile-Jews: Neither Jew nor Gentile, but Both (Palgrave MacMillan, 2012). When asked about his interest in Christian texts and the inter-Testamental period of history, he stated, “When considering the field in which I would pursue a doctorate, I was given good advice by my mentors: choose a field whose questions keep you up at night. The mystery of the historical Jesus, the puzzles in Paul’s epistles, the relationship of ancient Judaism to emerging Christianity–these questions fascinate me.”
Rethinking Jewish Life: How Do We Measure Our Days? – The Jerusalem Post
Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D., Incoming National Director of Admissions and Recruitment and President’s Scholar, writes, “Does the State of Israel change how we should see ourselves as a people? Does it affect how we observe Jewish tradition? These should be the two most pressing questions of these weeks between Passover and Shavuot. Passover celebrates the opportunities of redemption and Shavuot the responsibilities of Torah. But how do we understand the journey from freedom to redemption in our time? Jewish tradition focuses on the preparatory power of counting the days – Counting the Omer – between these two climactic moments.”
A Maundy Thursday Seder – Reform Judaism
Dr. Madelyn Mishkin Katz, Associate Dean, HUC-JIR’s Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, writes, “My parents raised my brothers and me to have a strong identity as Reform Jews. We were clear about our Jewish ancestry. We fully embraced our connection to and responsibility toward synagogue life. We appreciated all the rituals we celebrated as a Jewish family. At the same time, though, they taught us to not be afraid of ‘the other’ – those of different races, ethnic backgrounds and, especially, different religions. In fact, our respect and appreciation for the ‘the other’ helped to strengthen our identity as Jews.”
Some Reflections on the State of the Jewish Federation System – eJewish Philanthropy
Dr. Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Studies, writes, “Federations represent one of the most unique institutions within the North American Jewish landscape. In many ways its evolution and structure reflect the alignment of core Jewish values of tzedakah with the American public policy commitment to social welfare. This blending together of the nonprofit framework with historic Jewish principles of communal responsibility has enabled federations to construct this extraordinary service system.”
Her Jewish Roots Grow in Prison Soil – Lilith Magazine
Rabbi Laurie Rice (HUC-JIR/New York ’01), Co-Senior Rabbi of Congregation Micah in Nashville, TN, writes, “I wasn’t expecting the email from Chaplain Scott when it arrived in my inbox one Tuesday morning in November of 2011. ‘Dear Rabbi Rice, Would you be willing to correspond with a Jewish inmate seeking spiritual guidance and counsel?’ Rabbi Rice shares her conversation with Linda Whitaker, the only Jewish inmate at the State Women’s Prison in Memphis, who was 52 when she was convicted and charged with the first degree murder of her husband.
Volunteers Deliver Passover Meals –
With the help and dedication of 120 volunteers, Jewish Family Service delivered 420 Passover meals to Cincinnati Jewish families in need March 17, marking the 15th annual Dr. Samuel S. Rockwern Passover Delivery of Jewish Family Service. The Jewish Family Service Food Pantry, which feeds an average of 130 people each month, will be expanding into the Jewish Family Service Barbash Family Vital Support Center this summer on the Cincinnati campus of HUC-JIR. The Center will not only house an expanded food pantry, but will have case management, supportive counseling, emergency financial assistance, health promotion classes, and therapeutic socialization. The food pantry will continue making deliveries to those who are homebound.
Rabbi Samuel Gordon Named to U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council - JTA
President Obama appointed Rabbi Samuel Gordon (HUC-JIR/Cincinnati ’80) to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. Rabbi Gordon is a member of the President’s Advisory Council at HUC-JIR. He is the founding rabbi of Congregation Sukkat Shalom in Wilmette, IL; Vice President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis; and a senior rabbinic fellow of the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.
My Rabbi Against Gun Violence – Huffington Post
HUC-JIR/New York rabbinical student Joshua Stanton writes, “As his rabbinical intern, I have the unique fortune of meeting with Rabbi Joel Mosbacher every Monday. During our hour together, he patiently answers all kinds of questions that bubble up in my mind. How do I balance the personal and professional? What does it mean for my prayer life when I feel like expressing anger rather than joy? How can I best support our team of lay community organizers? For months this school year, Rabbi Mosbacher would answer the questions I gave voice to. But there was one that lingered in my mind: Why was he so passionate about social justice issues and gun violence prevention in particular?”
Experiencing a Teen Study Weekend – NFTY Blog
Randy Burke, a member of NFTY-SW, writes, “In short, my Study Weekend was incredible. The focal point of the event was Jewish identity: what it is, how you create it, and what it means to you. The best part of the weekend was the Saturday morning Shabbat service. I was so connected to the Shabbos prayers, it seemed as if I was a student there. I could see myself learning, studying, and praying alongside a community with the same aspiration to go into the rabbinate. Going into the weekend I wanted to be a rabbi, but coming out I had the mentality that I will be a rabbi.” Teen Study Weekends, a joint venture of the American Jewish Archives at HUC-JIR, NFTY, and the RAC, bring teens together on our Cincinnati campus to focus on a weekend-long theme that allows participants to explore their Jewish identity while engaging with some of the Reform Movements most dedicated scholars and teachers.
Having “The” Conversation – HUC-JIR’s Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning
Rabbi Richard F Address, D.Min., writes, “The longevity revolution has sparked many a new reality. One of them is the growing need for families to set up a time to engage aging parents (and themselves) in a conversation about wishes at the end for life. The advances in medical technology, coupled with the expanded life expectancy of baby boomers and their parents, have made these conversations ever more necessary. Congregations can be an excellent source of strength and support for families having to make these decisions. Having the congregation initiate these conversations can also provide a sense of meaning to congregations who might otherwise be bereft of adequate knowledge in these areas.”
Dr. Sarah Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, will speak on “Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism” at Beth Jacob Congregation and the University of Minnesota, both in Minneapolis, MN, on May 8. Dr. Michal Muszkat-Barkan, Director, Department of Education and Professional Development, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, published “Pluralism and Peoplehood: Jewish Education Between Protection and Exposure” in Peoplehood in the Age of Pluralism: How Do We Embrace Pluralism While keeping Us Whole?
Dr. Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy, distinguishes three broad groups of American Jews and how they connect to Israel in the Washington Jewish Week’s “J Street Cuts through Campus.” Rabbi Haim O. Rechnitzer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Jewish Thought, will give a talk on “The Anarchic Elements of Jewish Orthodoxy: Leo Strauss’ Political Theology and the Jewish State” on April 23 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, will speak on denominations during the panel, “Jewish Megatrends: A Conversation on the American Jewish Future,” on April 29 at 7:00 pm at the JCC in Manhattan (334 Amsterdam Ave at 76th St). Learn more. 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. On April 16, Rabbi Ellenson presented the Martin J. Hertz Lecture in Jewish Law and Culture: How Concepts of Jewish Peoplehood Inform Legal Rulings at the Lincoln Center Campus of Fordham University School of Law, and Burton Lehman, Esq., Member, Board of Governors, HUC-JIR, provided the response. Learn more. Rabbi Ellenson served as a panelist during the discussion, “Re-forming Reform Judaism for the 21st Century,” with Rabbi Steven A. Fox and Rabbi Rick Jacobs, moderated by Rabbi Richard Block, at The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood on April 14. Learn more. Cantor Bruce Ruben, Ph.D., Director, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, gave the D’var Torah and taught a lunch and learn session on Max Lilienthal: The Making of the American Rabbinate on April 13 at Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell, NJ. On April 26, Cantor Ruben will give the D’var Torah and sing in the Friday evening service with Cantor Azi Schwartz and the choir of Park Avenue Synagogue in New York, NY.
Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam, will present “The Perplexity of Prejudice: Culturally Embedded Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Germany and Europe” at the University of Heidelberg on April 18. On April 24, Rabbi Firestone will speak on “Best Practices in Jewish-Muslim Relations” in Doha, Qatar. Rabbi Firestone will serve as the Scholar-in-Residence at Westchester Reform Temple from May 2-3. Dr. Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Studies, will present “From the Tabernacle to the Constitution: How We Make Leadership Jewish in our American Story” on May 5 at Peninsula Temple Sholom. Learn more.
Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, published “The Pluralism of Pluralism in Israel: A Brief History” in Peoplehood in the Age of Pluralism: How Do We Embrace Pluralism While keeping Us Whole? Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, discussed He Was One of Us! American Jewry's Relationship with Abraham Lincoln, at Temple Emanu-El in Sarasota on March 30. Learn more. On April 14, Dr. Zola opened the 2013 Women of Reform Judaism Atlantic District’s Sisterhood Area Day centennial event at Rodef Shalom Congregation. His lecture, “Women of Reform Judaism: Profiles in Courage,” highlighted women who displayed bravery and daring in the early days of the Reform Movement. Learn more.
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.
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.
Israel, Iran and the Middle East: The Challenge Ahead – June 13 in New York
Join us for a breakfast briefing with Ambassador Dennis Ross on “Israel, Iran and the Middle East: The Challenge Ahead” on June 13. Ambassador Dennis Ross is Counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He has played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and dealing directly with the parties in negotiations in both the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations. Proceeds from this benefit event will support student needs and innovative programs at HUC-JIR. For further information, please call 212-824-2285.
Photographic Visions of the Diaspora at the Jack H. Skirball Campus of HUC-JIR in Los Angeles
Photographic Visions of the Diaspora, on view through May 31, 2013 at the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, features the work of the late Sy Edelstein, who spent years photographing Jewish shopkeepers from New York to Los Angeles. His work in the 1980s and 1990s captures a once vibrant but rapidly fading world of small businesses that, as Edelstein said, “are a part of our lives, and whose presence we take for granted.” The exhibition is organized by Anne Hromadka, Guest Curator of the Art Collection and Exhibitions.
Photo of the Week
---- HUC-JIR’s Year-In-Israel class met with Member of Knesset Rabbi Dov Lipman of the Yesh Atid party at the Knesset on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. The visit was part of the weekly Richard J. Scheuer Israel Seminar. Rabbi Lipman spoke of his party's commitment to bring the haredim into the work force, enlist larger numbers of them into the army, and rewrite a contract between religious and secular in the country. It was the perfect visit after students had experienced the rhythm of the national holidays, which culminated in Independence Day celebrations.

Click here for a larger image.
Judaica Gallery
---- This exceptional Sabbath candle holder is hand blown by Benny Kedem, noted Israeli glass artist. The motif of pomegranate is mentioned in the Bible as one of the seven species emblematic of Israel’s agricultural fertility. 10” tall x 7”. $400, plus shipping and handling.

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

Click here for a larger image.

3101 Clifton Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45220

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Jerusalem 94101, Israel

Los Angeles
Jack H. Skirball Campus
3077 University Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90007

New York
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New York, NY 10012


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