HUC-JIR News Digest Masthead

Dear Friends,

At our Passover seders in the past, the recitation of the ten plagues has often offered a rather light-hearted opportunity to engage the youngest at the table to use their finger puppets to reenact these ancient afflictions of so long ago – often resulting in little plastic frogs flying across the table with glee.

But this Passover, the plagues of antiquity have taken on a whole new resonance. The pandemic afflicting our families, our communities, and our world is of biblical proportion. The tenth, and harshest, plague hits particularly hard right now – it is when God passes through the land of Egypt to strike down the firstborn of every household and “passes over” the Israelites’ homes because they are marked with the blood of a lamb, the Passover offering they have sacrificed.

As we endure the enforced separation of family and friends and fear for the safety of our loved ones, we all pray for that kind of miracle – that this modern day plague will “pass over” us.

We no longer practice the ritual sacrifice that ended with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. That ritual was transformed into the seder ritual we celebrate today, in which we recount the Haggadah’s saga of overcoming oppression and express our hopes for redemption.

Through great sacrifice and hard work at HUC, those hopes have inspired concrete action to meet our present needs so that we may sustain the continuity and vitality of our institution during these turbulent times:

  • Our faculty has mobilized and learned to teach, mentor, and guide our students, without interruption, through online technology.
  • Our students are stepping up to meet the demands of online academic studies and to complete their programs. They have innovated with creativity to lead their student pulpits and student internships by leading livestream services, teaching Zoom classes, and providing spiritual, educational, and communal leadership in communities large and small throughout North America and Israel.
  • We are ramping up our institutional support and learning resources for our alumni – included below in this newsletter – which can be shared with their communities and organizations.
  • We are disseminating the thought leadership of our faculty and guest scholars through online lectures and podcasts to our supporters and friends who are seeking sustenance from Jewish texts and traditions.
  • Our steadfast staff, working remotely, continues to maintain our core functions, with an emergency leave policy that, thanks to our supporters, provides reassuring financial security for the next few months.

All of these concrete actions are possible only because of the abiding generosity of our supporters. And as we look into a challenging future, this ongoing support is more essential than ever.

Beyond the blessed and heroic triage by frontline medical personnel today, HUC’s sacred mission remains crucial and everlasting:

  • Because HUC builds the present day and future Jewish leaders who provide comfort, reassurance, and continuity at times of unimaginable crisis.
  • Because HUC ensures the never-ending dynamic engagement and education of the next generations of our children and grandchildren.
  • Because HUC represents the promise of the Jewish future.

This Passover, as we celebrate our salvation in antiquity and pray for our deliverance today, let us remember that redemption lies in remembrance of our past and in action demonstrating our fervent belief in the future.

Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D.

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HUC-JIR COVID-19 Updates

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Online Learning Opportunities

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Admissions Deadlines Extended

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COVID-19 Resources from Our Faculty and Staff

Table set for Passover seder

Sarah Bunin Benor, Ph.D.:
How to Host a Socially Distanced,
International Passover Seder

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Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph, Ph.D.:
We Have to Build Trust in a
Virtual World

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 Digital learning in a zoom room

Lesley Litman, Ed.D., Miriam Heller Stern, Ph.D., and Rabbi Laura Novak Winer, Ed.D.: Resource Guide to Teaching in Relationship Online

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Steven Windmueller, Ph.D.:
In This Moment: Some Reflections
on Who We Are and Are Becoming

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Betsy S. Stone, Ph.D.:
Coping with COVID

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Micol Zimmerman Burkeman, MAJE: Contact Before Content

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Rabbi Nancy Wiener, D.Min.:
Taking Care of Ourselves and Each Other Amid Crisis

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Access the Latest Resources and Information on Social Media

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Online Learning Opportunities

 Learning with Sarah Bunin Benor, Ph.D.

“Passover Around the World”
with Sarah Bunin Benor, Ph.D.

Watch the Recording

 Learning with Alyssa Gray, Ph.D.

Tzedaqah (Charity): Who and What Is It For?” with Alyssa Gray, Ph.D.

Watch the Recording

 Vimeo screenshot

“Shaping Our Values in Relation
to Crisis: Jews and Plagues”
with Joshua Holo, Ph.D.

Watch the Recording

David Ilan, Ph.D., teaching on Zoom

“Moon Gods and Shiny Jewelry”
with David Ilan, Ph.D.

Watch the Recording

Graphic of Four Children from Rabbi Dalia Marx's Zoom presentation

“The Four Children: Biblically,
Rabbinically, & Graphically”
with Rabbi Dalia Marx, Ph.D.

Watch the Recording

 Learning with Betsy S. Stone, Ph.D.

“The Psychological Aspects of
Being in Your Retirement Years”
with Betsy S. Stone, Ph.D.

Watch the Recording

Learning with Rabbi Gary P. Zola, Ph.D.

“History in Your Own Backyard”
with Rabbi Gary P. Zola, Ph.D.

Watch the Recording

Skirball Museum in Cincinnati

3D Virtual Tours of HUC-JIR’s Skirball Museum

Watch the Tour

Headshots of Dean Phillip Bell and Michael Hogue

“Religion, Vulnerability, and
Resilience” with Dean Phillip Bell
and Michael Hogue

Listen to the Podcast

Headshot of Amanda Berman

“The Zioness Movement”
with Amanda Berman

Listen to the Podcast