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May 23, 2013
Spotlight News In the Media Faculty Events Photo of the Week Judaica Gallery
HUC-JIR Graduation and Ordination Ceremonies 2013
  • New York Graduation and Ordination took place on Thursday, May 2 and Sunday, May 5, respectively. Arnold M. Eisen, Ph.D., Chancellor, The Jewish Theological Seminary, presented the New York Graduation address. Read Chancellor Eisen's address. Rabbi David M. Posner, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, presented the Ordination address. Read Rabbi Posner's address. Read more about New York Graduation and Ordination.
  • Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles Ordination and Graduation took place on Sunday, May 19 and Monday, May 20, respectively. Rabbi Donald M. Goor, Senior Rabbi, Temple Judea, Tarzana, California, presented the Ordination address and Mark Yudof, LL.B., President, University of California, presented the Graduation address. Photos and addresses will appear in the next issue of HUC-JIR News.
  • Cincinnati Ordination and Graduation will take place on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9, respectively. Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Senior Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism, will present the Ordination address and Dr. David Ilan, Director, Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology, will present the Graduation address.
HUC-JIR Partners with the Mayo Clinic for “The Meeting of Medicine and Spiritual Care” in Jerusalem
“The Meeting of Medicine and Spiritual Care” conference brought together professionals from our Blaustein Mezorim Spiritual Counseling Program and doctors and spiritual counselors from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota on Thursday, May 16 at our Jerusalem campus of HUC-JIR. The conference included participation from colleagues at major institutions including Hadassah Medical Center, Sha’are Zedek Hospital, and ALYN Hospital for Children. Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, stated, “We are very proud of this milestone in our efforts to develop our Mezorim program to the highest international standards and to reaching an ever-increasing number of clients. We would like to thank Dr. Patricia Simmons of the Mayo Clinic for organizing her extraordinary team of physicians and for sponsoring their trip to Israel. We are grateful to Betty and Arthur Roswell for allowing us to grow, reach out, and experiment.”
Muslims and Jews Inspiring Change Awarded "California’s Faith-Based Organization of the Year"
Muslims and Jews Inspiring Change (MAJIC), a high school leadership council convened by NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change and led by HUC-JIR alumna Rabbi Sarah Bassin, has just been named “California’s Faith-Based Organization of the Year” by California Governor Jerry Brown. This award honors an outstanding faith-based organization which actively engages volunteers in addressing community needs. Rabbi Bassin states, “When NewGround set out to create a teen leadership program last year in response to the call of our community leaders, we knew that the program had the potential to be a game-changer for interfaith relations.”
New Members Inducted into HUC-JIR Board of Governors
Three new members were inducted into the HUC-JIR Board of Governors at its meeting on May 7, 2013 in New York. We are honored to welcome:
  • Rabbi Richard A. Block, President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and Senior Rabbi of the Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood, Ohio
  • Andrea Milens, Chair of the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management Alumni Association, Vice Chair of HUC-JIR’s Alumni Council, and Vice President for the Jewish Council for Public Affairs
  • Barbara Shear, a prominent communal and civic leader of Pittsburgh and former member of HUC-JIR’s Central Region Board of Overseers
HUC-JIR Celebrates 35th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Roger E. Joseph Prize
The commemorative volume, The Roger E. Joseph Prize: 1978-2013, records the Joseph Prize’s many renowned recipients who have addressed nearly two generations of rabbis and cantors at HUC-JIR Ordination ceremonies in New York each year. It recounts the Joseph Prize recipients’ extraordinary efforts to eradicate racial and religious prejudice and discrimination, commemorate the Holocaust, honor the altruism of righteous rescuers, promote peace in the Middle East, combat genocide, support the victims of trauma, end hunger, and imbue the highest ethical values of human rights and social responsibility. Click here to view The Roger E. Joseph Prize: 1978-2013.
HUC-JIR Recruitment Update!
HUC-JIR’s Recruitment and Admissions staff will be on the road all summer – in Israel, at conferences, and at camps! 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.
HUC-JIR’s Involvement with Jews in the Los Angeles Mosaic at the Autry
Bruce A. Phillips, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish Communal Service; Steven F. Windmueller, Ph.D., Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service; and Karen Wilson, Ph.D., alumna of our Edgar F. Magnin School of Graduate Studies, are involved in the new exhibition at the Autry in Griffith Park, Jews in the Los Angeles Mosaic, on view from May 10, 2013 – January 5, 2014. The exhibition explores how a growing Jewish community settled, prospered, and helped shape the economy, politics, and culture of a city – and how the diversity and dynamism of Los Angeles have transformed the local Jewish community for the past 160 years.
Graduation of the Inaugural Cohort of the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education
The 16 members of the inaugural cohort of the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education at HUC-JIR received their Master of Arts degree in Religious Education at HUC-JIR/New York Graduation. Lesley Litman, Coordinator of the Executive M.A. Program, stated, “The members of the inaugural cohort of the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education are pioneers in every sense of the word. They were partners with HUC-JIR in creating a whole new hybrid model of learning that takes place both on campus and online. Not only will these individuals deeply enrich the field of Jewish education as graduates of HUC-JIR, they have been doing so with every course and learning experience all along in their capacity as full time Jewish educational leaders already in the field."
Professor David H. Aaron Appointed Director of Scholarly Publications at HUC-JIR
The Hebrew Union College Annual and the HUC Press have come to represent prestigious venues for the publication of significant monographs in all areas of Judaic Studies. Pursuant the retirement of Professors Edward Goldman and Michael Meyer, the faculty and administration reiterate their commitment to the continuation and expansion of the missions of these two mainstays in the intellectual life of the College-Institute. As of July 1, Professor David H. Aaron, Professor of Hebrew Bible & the History of Interpretation, will assume the role of Director of Scholarly Publications at HUC-JIR, with responsibility for overseeing the independent editorial boards for HUC-JIR’s publications and exploring new modalities of publication and distribution.
HUC-JIR/Jerusalem Celebrates Jerusalem Day in a New Way
At the initiative of Dr. Michal Muszkat-Barkan, Director of HUC-JIR/Jerusalem’s Department of Professional Development and Education, and Salim Yagur, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem Head of Maintenance, HUC-JIR faculty and staff members submitted photos of "My Jerusalem" - places, people, or experiences with special personal meaning to the photographer - for an exhibition in honor of Jerusalem Day.
Induction and Retention Initiative Builds Community among the Schools of Education Class of 2013
On May 8, 2013, the Induction and Retention Initiative of the Jim Joseph Foundation Education Initiative at HUC-JIR launched its second year with a cross-campus event on all stateside campuses. With nearly twenty participants, the alumni of 2013 were welcomed by Dr. Michael Zeldin, Senior National Director of the Schools of Education. Rena Fraade, Chair of the New York School of Education Alumni Association, and Lisa Langer, Incoming Chair of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education Alumni Association, led the Class of 2013 in text study.
A Night of Prayer at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
On April 11, 2013, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem rabbinical and cantorial students and the Hallel Choir prepared a festive maariv service, sponsored by the generous support of Rabbi Howard Berman and the Society for Classical Reform Judaism, under the artistic direction of Cantor Tamar Havilio and with assistance from Cantor Evan Cohen of Kehillat Har-El in Jerusalem.
Volume 81 of Hebrew Union College Annual Features Essays by HUC-JIR Faculty Members
HUC-JIR recently published the eighty-first volume of the Hebrew Union College Annual. Edited by Edward A. Goldman, Editor, and Richard S. Sarason, Associate Editor, the new volume includes essays from HUC-JIR’s Rabbi Stephen M. Passamaneck, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Rabbinic Literature; Dr. Jason Kalman, Associate Professor of Classical Hebrew Literature and Interpretation; and Yossi Leshem, Professor at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem.
SJNM Alumna Gosia Szymanska Weiss Awarded Knight Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland from President of Poland
HUC-JIR alumna Gosia Szymanska Weiss (SJNM ‘06), Assistant Director for International Relations at the American Jewish Committee, was recently honored by the President of Poland with the Knight Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, one of the country’s highest honors, in recognition of her outstanding services to the Polish American and American Jewish communities in building Polish-Jewish relations. The medal was presented by Ambassador Joanna Kozinska-Frybes, Consul General of Poland in Los Angeles.
Summer 2013 Issue of Reform Judaism
The Summer 2013 issue of Reform Judaism features articles by HUC-JIR faculty, alumni, and featured artists:
Become a Young Jewish Leader: The Miller High School Honors Program
Registration is now open for the Miller High School Honors Program! Join other 11th and 12th grade students from the greater New York area to learn with our students, faculty, and leaders of the Reform Movement. Expand your Jewish knowledge and awareness of contemporary issues and develop your capacity as young leaders for your congregation and Reform Judaism. This tuition-free program meets twice monthly, on Saturdays from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm, at our New York campus.
Jewish Men Pray: Words of Yearning, Praise, Petition, Gratitude and Wonder from Traditional and Contemporary Sources
Jewish Men Pray: Words of Yearning, Praise, Petition, Gratitude and Wonder from Traditional and Contemporary Sources, edited by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky and Stuart M. Matlins with the foreword by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, DHL, was recently published by Jewish Lights Publishing (Woodstock, VT). “We prepared this book to help men establish or cultivate a life of prayer, because we believe that prayer is a primary vehicle to access the Divine, to establish and maintain a relationship with that which is beyond the self, with all that is holy,” write Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky and Stuart M. Matlins. “And we are fearful that a life that is enriched by prayer—and the divine relationship that is presumed by it—may be slipping from the grasp of many.”
A Brand Plucked from the Fire: The Life of Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman
A Brand Plucked from the Fire: The Life of Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman, written by Richard Damashek and published by KTAV, tells the story of Rabbi Schaalman, one of five young rabbinical students rescued out of Nazi Germany in 1935 by Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. Narrowly escaping what might have been his death at the hands of the Nazis, he went on to become one of the most distinguished rabbis of his generation. Convinced that the Holocaust was the result of a failure of people to accept and tolerate others, he has devoted his life to promoting interfaith understanding and tolerance.
In the Media
Renewing the Covenant – Sh’ma
In a dialogue between Rabbi David Ellenson, President, and Dr. Eugene Borowitz, Sigmund L. Falk Distinguished Professor of Education and Jewish Religious Thought, Rabbi Ellenson writes, “Dr. Borowitz was and is my teacher, as he has been for hundreds of rabbis and thousands of others for more than 50 years. He has shaped how we conceptualize and think about Judaism and its meanings and applications in the modern world. Central to his thought has been the concept of covenant (brit). This interview gave me an opportunity to speak with my rabbi and to ask him to reflect on his lifetime’s work as well as on some issues confronting the Jewish community today.”
Updates from the Jim Joseph Foundation
HUC-JIR and Women of the Wall
  • Interview with Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson – The Marginalia Review: Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson is interviewed about Women of the Wall and the recent legal decision stipulating that women are not violating the law by wearing prayer shawls at the Wall.
  • Praying: A Mitzvah, Not a Crime – The Jewish Daily Forward: HUC-JIR Year-In-Israel student Jennifer Maggin writes, “Criminals. Troublemakers. Attention seekers. These are just a few of the names that Women of the Wall have been called. I’ve met these women. I’ve prayed with these women. And you know what? I call these women discrimination-fighting superheroes with the guts to stand up for the human right to pray.”
Israel and the Leadership Dilemmas of Jewish Peoplehood – JDov
Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D., Incoming National Director of Admissions and Recruitment and President’s Scholar, states, “The future of Jewish Peoplehood depends upon the three core questions I address which will determine our collective future: 1) Can Jewish women play an equal role in Jewish life and even in the public square in Israel? 2) Is non-orthodox Judaism legitimate in Israel? 3) Do Diaspora Jews matter? Do Israeli Jews matter to Diaspora Jews?”
Irreverent Prayer and God’s Answer – Jerusalem Post
Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D., Incoming National Director of Admissions and Recruitment and President’s Scholar, states, “What kind of prayer does God want to hear? This fundamental spiritual question occupied the biblical soul and was at the focus of much debate in the Talmud. In the Mishna (Brachot 5:1) the sages made a blanket statement about how one should approach the Amida – the central prayer of any service: One should pray only with seriousness of intent. But what does this mean? What if we aren’t focused? What if we are angry at God? Can we still pray?”
Conference for Ph.D. Students of American Jewish History – University of Michigan
The American Jewish Archives co-sponsored the first conference for Ph.D. students of American Jewish History from May 21-23, with the University of Michigan, and American Jewish Historical Society. Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, spoke with the students in Ann Arbor.
Shuls Must Remain Relevant – Canadian Jewish News
Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman, Ph.D., Barbara and Stephen Friedman Professor of Liturgy, Worship, and Ritual, believes synagogues that don’t change will become irrelevant. “Non-Orthodox synagogues have never been very religious,” wrote Rabbi Hoffman. Instead, they focus on gains that “[do] not require them to wrestle with God.” This must change, believes Rabbi Hoffman, the author of dozens of books and co-president of Synagogue 3000, an organization re-envisioning synagogues as “sacred and vital centres of Jewish life.”
Modern-Day Rabbi Must Be CEO, Teacher, and Spiritual Leader at Once – The Jewish Daily Forward
To prepare rabbinical students for the challenges ahead, seminaries are reassessing their curriculums to focus more on professional development and pastoral skills than ever before. “The most important thing is for rabbinical schools to offer both coursework and fieldwork opportunities to meet the needs of students who want to go on to all sorts of things,” explained Rabbi Dvora Weisberg, Director of the Rabbinical Program at our Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles.
His Father’s Murder Drives a Rabbi’s Pursuit of Gun Control – New York Times
In the months after his father’s murder in early 1999, Rabbi Joel Mosbacher received many messages of solace. There was one type, however, that tested every atom of clerical forbearance he possessed. “People said in this trying-to-be-helpful way, ‘This will make you a better rabbi,’ ” Rabbi Mosbacher, 43, recalled. “And nothing made me angrier. I didn’t want to be a better rabbi. I wanted my dad back.” As Joel Mosbacher raised his own family and advanced in his rabbinical career, he recognized that no prayer, no fast, no act of religious charity could give him what he wanted.
The Ten Commandments: What’s The Point? – HUC-JIR’s Blog of Continuing Alumni Education
Rabbi Oshrat Morag writes, “Often times, I see the Ten Commandments displayed on boards in synagogues, above the Parochet, on walls of praying spaces, in religious school classes – each commandment followed by an exclamation mark. For example: You shall not kill! You shall not steal! Even in places where the exclamation mark is not actually printed, it could be heard in the tone of the imperative form, as we are traditionally accustomed to read it. Could it be read differently?”
Rabbi Carole Balin, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish History, will present "Get the Uniongram Habit" at the WRJ Centennial Symposium on June 2, 2013 at Temple Israel of the City of New York. Learn more. Dr. Jonathan Krasner, Associate Professor of the American Jewish Experience, was awarded a Mandel Foundation grant to study the intersection of philanthropy and Jewish education. He will spend the 2013-14 academic year as a visiting scholar at the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University.
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 the African and Middle Eastern Reading Room of the Library of Congress on June 3, 2013. Rabbi Dalia Marx, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Liturgy and Midrash, will participate in the German Protestant Church rally (Kirchentag) in Hamburg and will lead three study sessions, among them a lecture with Professor Christl Meyer on Christian and Jewish views on the story in Luke 18:1-8. Learn more. On May 28-29, Rabbi Marx will participate in the fifth Israeli Conference for Contemporary Religions and Spirituality at Tel-Aviv University. Learn more. Rabbi Marx spoke on “From the Rhine Valley to Jezreel Valley: New Formulations of the Kaddish” during the conference "Jewish Prayer: New Perspectives" at Beer Sheva University from May 20-22, 2013. Learn more.
Rabbi Michael Chernick, Ph.D., Deutsch Family Professor of Jewish Jurisprudence and Social Justice, received an honorary doctorate from Gratz College in recognition of his educational and social action activities over the past 35 years of tenure at HUC-JIR. Rabbi Chernick addressed the graduating class. Rabbi Haim O. Rechnitzer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Jewish Thought, delivered a guest lecture at the conference of the Association of the Israeli Progressive Rabbis MARA"M, "The Thousand Faces of Integrity - The Code of Ethics for Rabbis" on April 24 in Israel.
Rabbi Michael Cook, Ph.D., Professor of Intertestamental and Early Christian Literatures, presented “'Mind the Gap': Bridging One Dozen Lacunae in Jewish Catholic Dialogue” at Boston College's Second Annual John Paul II Lecture in Christian-Jewish Relations on March 20, 2013. Watch the video and follow along with the handout. Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D., Incoming National Director of Admissions and Recruitment and President’s Scholar, spoke on “Why Does Israel Matter?” on May 10 at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple. Learn more.
Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, participated in the panel, “The True Value of Jewish Community” during the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco’s “Loaded: Jews & Money” on May 21 at 7:00 pm. Rabbi Richard S. Sarason, Ph.D., Professor of Rabbinic Literature and Thought and the Associate Editor of the Hebrew Union College Annual, participated in the session “The World of Piyyut,” speaking on “Petihta and Piyyut: Exploring the Connections” during the conference “Jewish Prayer: New Perspectives,” May 20-22, 2013 at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam, was appointed to the editorial board of the bi-lingual (Urdu-English) "Weekly Press of Pakistan," a Pakistani news outlet that is committed to improving ties between Muslims and Jews. On June 3, Rabbi Firestone will present “Martyrdom in the Binding of Isaac/Ishmael from Islamic perspectives,” for “'With God on Our Side' - Holy War and Sacred Struggle in Judaism, Christianity and Islam,” a joint conference in interreligious studies organized by the TAU Centre for Religious and Interreligious Studies (CRIS) in collaboration with the Cambridge University Project for Religion in the Humanities (CUPRiH) at Tel-Aviv University. He will speak on “Islamophobia and anti-Semitism: Roots & Remedy" on June 6 at Zentrum Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg in Berlin. Learn more. Rabbi Firestone’s article, "'Jihadism' as a new religious movement" was published by Cambridge University Press Olav Hammer and Mikael Rothstein (Eds.), The Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012, 263-285. Read more. His article, “A Brief History of War in the Hebrew Bible and the Jewish Interpretive Tradition,” was recently published in John Renard (ed.), Fighting Words: Religion, Violence, and the Interpretation of Sacred Texts. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, forthcoming, 2012, 29-54. Read more. Dr. Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Studies, will address the Regional Board of the ADL at its annual meeting in Los Angeles on June 11, 2013. Dr. Windmueller addressed two plenaries at the ADL’s Centennial Summit and Gala in Washington, DC: On April 28, he spoke on “The State of Anti-Semitism and Hate in America Today" and on April 29, he joined a panel conversation on "American Jews Connecting to Israel.” Learn more.

Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, will give a presentation at the WRJ Centennial Symposium on June 2, 2013 at Temple Israel of the City of New York. Learn more. The Symposium is presented in partnership with the American Jewish Archives.
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.
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.
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
---- Cantor Tamar Havilio, Cantorial Studies and Prayer Workshop at the Jerusalem campus of HUC-JIR and cantor with Women of the Wall, stood with her student, Allison Cohen, first-year rabbinical student and liaison between the Year-In-Israel students and the Women of the Wall, as Allison led the Women of the Wall in prayer on Rosh Chodesh Sivan (May 10, 2013) at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Cantor Havilio stated, "Many of our students joined arm in arm in prayer. We wore our tallitot, held up our siddurim, and prayed strong with our voices over all of the chaos around us. The Israeli police and soldiers created for us a wall of protection and we all felt their strength with the angels singing on high above this holy ground." Read more.

Click here for a larger image.
Judaica Gallery
---- These extraordinary Sabbath candlesticks and decorative pomegranates are hand blown by Benny Kedem, noted Israeli glass artist. The pomegranate is a symbol often spoken of in Jewish texts, and some scholars believe the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge may have been a pomegranate. Candlesticks: 9” tall, $400. Pomegranates: 4-5” tall, $80 each.

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

Click here for a larger image.

3101 Clifton Avenue
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Los Angeles
Jack H. Skirball Campus
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New York
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