Page not displaying properly?
View it in your web browser

You're receiving this email because you signed up to receive
emails from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

July 25, 2013
Spotlight News In the Media Faculty Events Photo of the Week Judaica Gallery
Year-In-Israel Orientation at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
The Year-In-Israel Program brings our rabbinical, cantorial, and full-time education students to our Jerusalem campus for their first year of study at HUC-JIR. Surrounded by biblical and contemporary Israel, students begin their academic journey immersed in Hebrew language and text studies, as they get to know the land, culture, and people of Israel. Orientation for the Year-In-Israel program was held from July 8-13, 2013. Students had the opportunity to get to know their fellow students and future colleagues, meet and study with their faculty, tour various communities in Jerusalem, and attend student-led services in the Murstein Synagogue.
DeLeT Holds Tekkes Siyyum Culminating Ceremony and Rav Siach
DeLeT, a program of the HUC-JIR Rhea Hirsch School of Education at the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, is dedicated to fostering teaching excellence in Jewish day schools in North America. On July 18, DeLeT held the Rav Siach "Negotiating Dilemmas of Teaching." On July 19, DeLeT held the Tekkes Siyyum, Culminating Ceremony of the eleventh cohort of DeLeT Fellows, where the Certificate in Jewish Day School Teaching was awarded to 12 Fellows.
HUC-JIR Recruitment on the Road!
HUC-JIR’s Recruitment and Admissions staff is 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!
Become a High School or College Jewish Leader at HUC-JIR
  • The Miller High School Honors Program – New York: Join 11th and 12th graders 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 a young leader for your congregation and Reform Judaism.
  • High School and College Leadership Programs – Cincinnati: Join a select group of students from Jewish communities throughout the US as we explore topics relating to the American Jewish Experience. Take part in an incredible weekend of learning, skills building, and leadership development.
Inaugural Cohort of Cantorial Certification Program Completes First Year of Study
Kol hakavod to cantorial soloists Sarene Appelbaum, Sheera Ben David, Rachel Gottleib Kalmowitz, Neil Michaels, Rachel Reef-Simpson, and Lori Shapiro, all of whom are now in their second of four years in the new Cantorial Certification Program at HUC-JIR. The Cantorial Certification Program is designed for cantorial soloists who are unable to attend the full-time Ordination program but would like to earn their cantorial credentials through this part-time, distance learning program.
Murstein Synagogue Announces 5774/2013-2014 Schedule
The Murstein Synagogue acts as a place of pilgrimage for the International Reform Movement as well the home synagogue for the Year-In-Israel program and the Israeli Rabbinical Program. Visitors from abroad and Israelis from the Jerusalem community are invited to join HUC-JIR's students, faculty, and friends at Shabbat morning and holiday services.
Rabbi Nancy Wiener Serves on Faculty of the Fellowship at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics
Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, D.Min., Clinical Director of the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling, served as the Jewish faculty member on a study trip to Germany and Poland with a group of interfaith seminary students. Throughout the trip, Rabbi Wiener and the other faculty members helped students reflect on their experiences, consider the ethical decisions their predecessors made during the Nazi era, and discuss the ethical challenges of our day and the role clergy and religious communities and institutions can play.
Launch of the Jewish Survey Question Bank
The Berman Jewish Policy Archive and North American Jewish Data Bank launched the Jewish Survey Question Bank (JSBQ), a compilation of more than 15,000 Jewish social research survey questions and response options, covering studies on Jewish population, public opinion, program evaluations, and much more. Dr. Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy at HUC-JIR and Director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at NYU Wagner, is featured in the introductory video about the JSBQ.
Rhea Hirsch School of Education Alumni Association Welcomes Chair Lisa Langer, RJE
The Rhea Hirsch School of Education (RHSOE) Alumni Association is thrilled to announce that Lisa Langer, RJE, has begun her term as the Chair of the Alumni Association. Langer is a 1994 graduate of the RHSOE and the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management. Lisa serves as a clinical faculty member for the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education at HUC-JIR, and the Associate Director of the B'nai Mitzvah Revolution, a joint project of HUC-JIR and the Union for Reform Judaism.
Reform Judaism Magazine's LGBT Photo Album on Facebook
Do you have a great photo depicting LGBT Jewish life? We invite you to send your picture with a caption of no more than 150 words to for inclusion in the Union for Reform Judaism’s upcoming Facebook album in support of love, equality, and Reform Jewish values. The album will go live in conjunction with the release of the new issue of Reform Judaism magazine. Please spread the word!
HUC-JIR Featured in Fall 2013 Issue of Reform Judaism Magazine
The new Fall 2013 issue of Reform Judaism features the perspectives of HUC-JIR faculty and alumni:
In the Media
The Newly Ordained – JTA
Congratulations to the 41 newly ordained rabbis and cantors of the Class of 2013 who are serving congregations and communities throughout the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. Our newest alumni are prepared to provide exceptional spiritual, educational, and professional leadership as they implement their creativity and vision to sustain and transform Jewish life in the 21st century. From the synagogue to the college Hillel, from innovation in Jewish education to university teaching, and from the Reform Movement to hospice chaplaincy and the planning of a new community mikveh for klal yisrael, these men and women have the knowledge and commitment to ensure a vital Jewish future.
HUC-JIR Receives $4.1 Million Grant from the Mandel Foundation - JTA
As part of a $4.1 million grant from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, HUC-JIR established the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost Chair, held by Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D., and will go toward continued funding for HUC-JIR’s Mandel Initiative for Visionary Leadership. Rabbi David Ellenson, President, said the Mandel Initiative “deepens our rabbinical students’ capacity for leadership and empowers them to develop their own visions based on increasingly informed and thoughtfully held values and commitments.”
Los Angeles Rabbis Respond to Supreme Court Rulings – The Jewish Journal
HUC-JIR alumni Rabbi Ken Chasen (HUC-JIR/Cincinnati), Rabbi Lisa Edwards (HUC-JIR/New York), Rabbi Denise L. Eger (HUC-JIR/New York 1988), Rabbi Laura Geller (HUC-JIR/New York), Rabbi Jocee Hudson (HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles), Rabbi Heather Miller (HUC-JIR/New York), Rabbi Zachary R. Shapiro (HUC-JIR/Cincinnati), and Rabbi John Rosove (HUC-JIR/New York) were invited by the Jewish Journal to contribute their thoughts and reactions to the Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage.
Year-In-Israel Students Respond to their First Trip to the Kotel
  • Eggs and Hatred Won’t Kill Prayer at Kotel - The Jewish Daily Forward: First-year rabbinical student Jenn Maggin writes, “Heading over to the Kotel for Rosh Hodesh with Women of the Wall, we knew we were striving for social justice — that we would chant our prayers and pray with all of our heart. That day, we would work toward liberating the Kotel once and for all. I felt like I was floating on a hammock of happiness while being surrounded by my HUC-JIR classmates who share the same dream of becoming Reform rabbis, cantors, and educators, and improving the world through Judaism. As we begin our new journey toward becoming Jewish leaders, we think about the long journey Women of the Wall has taken, and how far we have come toward freedom of prayer.”
  • God’s Guestbook: My First Visit to the Kotel – HUC-JIR’s Student Blog Meet Our Students,: First-year rabbinical student Laura Seide writes, “The Kotel is kind of like God’s guestbook. The pale smooth stones practically beg to be painted with the colors of life and hopes and dreams. I know that when I choose to leave a prayer or a wish behind, wedged into a crack, that wish will long outlive me, the ink, and the paper. At the Kotel, I felt, more than anywhere else, my capacity to make a difference and my own impact on history. As long as I live my life in a way that honors my prayer, then I will always have left a piece of myself, my own glorious, unique, wonderful self, in the stones that will always stand in the Jerusalem sun.”
Hebrew Union College Press to Publish Volume of Poetry by Tuvia Ruebner, Translated by Rachel Tzvia Back - Haaretz
Octogenarian poet Tuvia Ruebner lives on Kibbutz Merhavia; English-language poet Rachel Tzvia Back, a translator and professor at Oranim College in Kiryat Tivon, lives in the Galilee. For the last two years, Back has been working with Ruebner on a volume of his poetry in translation, forthcoming from Hebrew Union College Press as a bilingual edition in 2014.
Israel and Possibilities of Jewish Loyalty Today – The Jerusalem Post
Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D., National Director of Admissions and Recruitment and President’s Scholar, writes, “Who passes the tests of Jewish loyalty today? In this unprecedented era of fluidity and multiplicity of identity, the answer to this question is far from clear and hardly singular. What should define Jewish loyalty in our context and who decides? From biblical times to the present, definitions of Jewish identity and loyalty have shifted dramatically. While the family-oriented definitions of loyalty prevailed in early biblical narratives, national definitions of membership begin to emerge in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy.”
God Bless South America: Meet the First Rabbi in Argentina's Parliament – Haaretz
Rabbi Sergio Bergman, the first rabbi in Argentina's parliament, was ordained at our Jerusalem campus of HUC-JIR in 1993, and returned to Argentina to serve as rabbi of Libertad Synagogue, the first synagogue founded in Buenos Aires. “I have unforgettable memories from my time as a rabbinical student at HUC-JIR, where I was ordained as a rabbi and earned a degree in rabbinical literature.”
Jewish Survey Question Bank: A Much-Needed Resource for Jewish Professionals – eJewish Philanthropy
Dr. Sarah Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, writes, “When I wrote my first survey several years ago, one about Jewish language and identity, I felt lost. I did not know how to word questions about Jewish education, denomination, and observance. I drafted some questions and turned to experienced survey writers for help. It took a lot of pre-testing and tweaking before I finally found clear, concise wordings and the most inclusive and appropriate sets of responses. If I had only waited until 2013, my experience would have been completely different. I would have had access to the Jewish Survey Question Bank of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive, a treasure trove of questions from Jewish surveys of various types.”
Struggling To Preserve an Iranian Jewish Language Before It Goes Extinct – Tablet Magazine
Dr. Sarah Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, writes, “With approximately one of the world’s 7,000 languages going extinct every 14 days, linguists around the world are trying to document them before they go. Scholars in Brazil, the United States, and Israel are working specifically on Jewish languages; New York alone is home to at least seven endangered Jewish languages, ranging from Juhuri, once spoken by Jews from the Caucasus Mountains, to a different Persian-Jewish dialect from Isfahan. Because speakers are getting older, the Endangered Language Alliance in New York has launched a project dedicated to recording and transcribing these languages while they are still being spoken.”
The Power and the Mandate in Egypt – Jewish Journal
Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam, writes, “Mohamed Morsi is now out, and it is virtually impossible for him to pull off a personal comeback in the near future. His downfall is a result of his and the Muslim Brotherhood’s unsophisticated view of democracy in conjunction with their naïve assumption that they had real power. This combination proved to be a fatal mistake. They mistakenly assumed that once Morsi was elected by a majority of voters (not the majority of the people), he was given both the mandate and the power to rule. The truth of any democracy is that neither of these assumptions is automatically true.”
Revolution and Evolution of the American Cantor – The Jewish Daily Forward
American Jewish life is awash in change, much of it far-reaching and monumental. Looking to the recent past for explanations, a website created by HUC-JIR’s Dr. Mark Kligman, Professor of Jewish Musicology, and Mark Slobin, Professor of Music and American Studies at Wesleyan University, comes into play. The website, which recently made its debut, contains much of the “raw data” on which the two scholars based their groundbreaking 1984–86 inquiry into the American cantorate.
A Halachic Perspective on Medical Marijuana – The Jerusalem Post
Rabbi Mark E. Washofsky, Ph.D., Solomon B. Freehof Professor of Jewish Law and Practice, writes, “Does Jewish law (Halacha) permit the use of medical marijuana? Yes. At the very least, a strong argument can be made that it does. Whether governments should permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes is another question. The answer to that question depends upon a complex of factors to which Halacha doesn’t speak with precision. But should any community decide to legalize marijuana as a treatment for pain under appropriate medical supervision, that decision would find strong support from the sources of Jewish law.”
Gay Marriage: The Journey to a Promised Land of Inclusion – Huffington Post
HUC-JIR/New York alumna Rabbi Laura Geller writes, “We are at the very end of the Book of Numbers. The Promised Land is just over there; we can even see it. Moses isn't going to take us in, but he wants to remind us of all the steps on the journey. In fact, he has kept a journal, writing down all the starting points of our journey. When the Supreme Court declared that part of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, and allowed a lower court ruling to stand that struck down Proposition 8, we came a little closer to seeing a promised land. It is a good moment to look back on the journey, and the role that Reform Judaism played along the way.”
And You Will Be A Blessing... – Jewish Journal
HUC-JIR/New York alumna Rabbi Laura Geller writes, “The stages of a life are measured differently now than in the days of Pirke Avot. For my parents, the stages were childhood, adolescence, midlife (when the task was the building of career and family), and then old age. Now there is a new stage between midlife and old age. At Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, through our project ‘Leaning in to Wisdom: The Next Stage Initiative for Boomers,’ we have brought baby boomers and those slightly beyond together to talk about this new stage of their lives. The bottom-line question for me and for so many others: How does one make meaning and purpose out of the time we have left?”
Week One: Thoughts from a New Rabbi – CCAR’s RavBlog
HUC-JIR/Cincinnati Class of 2013 alumnus Rabbi Phillip J. Schwartz writes, “Being a seasoned rabbi of nearly five weeks and an experienced member of a clergy team for five days, I can honestly say that I have learned a great deal in such a short period of time. I’ve learned that my passion for Judaism and commitment to the rabbinate allows me to embrace what it takes to be a rabbi, but it doesn’t make me a rabbi. What makes me a rabbi are those moments of connection with others, those endless hours of planning, processing, and programming, and those difficult times in which you must say ‘no’ so that you can honor the importance of self-care.”
Ask the Rabbis: Gun Control – Moment Magazine
In Moment Magazine's July/August issue, eight rabbis of different denominations answer the question “Should Jews be for or against the right to bear arms?” HUC-JIR/Cincinnati alumna Rabbi Laura Novak Winer writes, “It is evident in Jewish texts that our ancestors advocated for the right to bear arms. They lived in fear of some different dangers from the ones we fear today: wild animals, persecution, and thievery. The right did not go unchecked. The Talmud sets limits on when one can carry weapons (not on Shabbat) and who can own weapons (not the child, the coward, the unstable person, or one who does not understand how to use them). A person does have the right to protect oneself and one’s property, but even that right is limited. The Talmud gives us parameters and sets social standards of accountability for such cases. Jews do have the right to bear arms. Jews also have the obligation to protect life and assure public safety.”
What the Liberty Bell Can Teach Us about America and the Fourth of July – Fox News
Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Professor of Bible at HUC-JIR, and Dr. Jacob L. Wright, Professor of Hebrew Bible at Emory University, write, “The Liberty Bell is the icon of American independence and freedom. Rung during the first readings of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, it was abolitionists in the 1830s who gave it the name ‘Liberty Bell.’ Yet even though this bell now hangs mute, its likeness on stamps, coins, and countless trademarks ensures that the message engraved on its crown still resounds: ‘Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.’ Many may be surprised to learn that these stirring words are a quotation from the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible book of Leviticus.“
Tisha B’Av: An Annual Pause to Stop Baseless Hatred – Avodat Hakodesh
Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay recently wrote for Avodat HaKodesh: A Journal of Sacred Service-Learning, HUC-JIR’s forum for exploring the theory and practice of sacred service-learning. Rabbi Ruskay writes, “Is there such a thing as sinat hinam, baseless hatred? Usually when we hate something or someone, we believe we are justified–we have cause. I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone who hated someone or something and could declare that it was a baseless hatred. So how do we understand our communal narrative that the Temples were destroyed because of sinat hinam?”
Dr. Sarah Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, had her book, Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism (Rutgers University Press) reviewed in the Jewish Review of Books. Read more. Rabbi Ruth Sohn, Director of the Leona Aronoff Rabbinic Mentoring Program and Rabbi of the Lainer Beit Midrash at HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles, had her new book, Crossing Cairo: A Jewish Woman's Encounter with Egypt, discussed in Jüdische Allgemeine’s Eine Jüdin am Nil (A Jewish Woman on the Nile). Read more.
Dr. Michael Meyer, Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Jewish History, delivered a keynote address at a conference on "The Development of the Conservative Movement" in Oxford from July 22-25. Dr. Meyer will deliver a paper on "Image and Self-Image of the Modern Rabbi" and participate in a panel on "To Whom Does the Legacy of German Jewry Belong?" at the World Congress of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem from July 28-August 1. Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, served as the scholar-in-residence for the national conference of the American Conference of Cantors (ACC) in Minneapolis on July 1-3. Learn more. Dr. Zola will speak to The American Jewish Press Association at its annual convention in Seattle, July 25-27.
Cantor Bruce Ruben, Director, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, has his book, Max Lilienthal: The Making of the American Rabbinate (Wayne State University Press) reviewed in The Jewish Post & Opinion Book Review. Read more.
Book Launch for Feminist Commentary of Babylonian Talmud – July 31 in at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
Join us at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem’s Abramov Library on July 31 to celebrate Rabbi Dr. Dalia Marx’s new book, Feminist Commentary of Babylonian Talmud: Tractates, Tamid, Midot, Kinim. Professor Tal Ilan, Freie Universitaet, Berlin, and Professor Yishai Rosenzvi, Tel Aviv University, will serve as guest speakers.
An Eternal People: The Jewish Experience at the Skirball Museum at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
The ongoing exhibition, An Eternal People: The Jewish Experience, presents over 300 artifacts – artwork, textiles, decorative arts, jewelry, memorabilia and Near Eastern Antiquities – reliving and reflecting significant periods of the Jewish experience.
Photo of the Week
---- Year-In-Israel students (pictured) joined HUC-JIR alumni for an alumni Shabbat program on “Pluralism and Community” on July 6, 2013 at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D., Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost, and Dr. Michal Muszkat-Barkan, Director of the Department of Education and Professional Development and Director of the M.A. Program in Pluralistic Jewish Education, led “My Pluralism, Your Pluralism: The Uses and Abuses of a Concept.” Following, workshops were led jointly by Israeli and North American alumni. The program concluded with Seuda Sh’lishit and Havdallah.

Click here for a larger image.
Judaica Gallery
---- Create your own Yad with the elements included in this uniquely conceived packed kit. Designed by Gail Rosenbloom Kaplan, each set includes a silver pointer, a central supportive rod, diverse beads of glass, and a gold plated brass and/or silver closing cap for the top. The finished length of this easily assembled Yad measures 8" and includes an optional chain. Colors include blue, multi, amber, red.

$45.00, 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


To unsubscribe from this mailing list, please email