HUC-JIR News Digest Masthead

Dear Friends,

Tzedek, tzedek, tirdof.
Deuteronomy 16:20

This past Shabbat’s Torah portion, Shoftim, features the words that prevail as an inspiring mantra for the Jewish struggle for civil and human rights: “Justice, justice shall you pursue.”

The emphatic repetition of the word justice is not arbitrary. It expresses the imperative that each of us be thoughtful and deliberate as agents of positive change in our society. The command is not just aspirational – it is a call to action to generate integrity, honesty, and decency, as individuals in our relationships with others, in our roles as citizens, and in our identities as Jews.

The notion of the pursuit of justice also denotes that this is a perpetual process. As well noted in Pirkei Avot, while we may never fully complete the task, we are nonetheless commanded to keep trying. But we can approach this somewhat differently than the familiar teaching: even when we fall short of achieving our ideals we must continue to try, never giving up. For even if the complete fulfillment of our goal may exceed our grasp, we must persist in pursuing the ethical ideals of righteousness.

At HUC, our community is guided by these words in all that we do. This ethical commandment drives us to work together, to learn together, to teach others, to impart and act upon the values of our Jewish tradition as a force for goodness in our world.

As we mark the beginning of a new academic year during this month of Elul, a period of personal and spiritual reflection preparing us for the High Holy Days, let us take stock of what needs to be repaired in ourselves and how we can better align our hearts, minds, and actions to fulfill our highest values.

Thank you for being our partners on this sacred journey.

Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D.


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This Work Is Great: Inspiring Conversations with Alumni

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Online Together: Access Our Archive of 50+ Virtual Learning Opportunities

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Reopening Our Soup Kitchen for Physically Distanced Outdoor Service

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Help Us Meet Today's Challenges and Forge Tomorrow's Leaders

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Announcing the College Commons Book Club: Monthly Conversations about Jewish and American Values

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“At the Intersection of Religious and Academic Values” with President Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D.

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“Racial Justice & Religion” with
Pastor John Cager

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“Young Adults Against Gun Violence” with Kathryn Fleisher

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Steven J. Fishman Inducted to
Board of Governors

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Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman Inducted to Board of Governors

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John Kampen

John Kampen Elected to
Board of Governors

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Robert Millstone

Robert Millstone Elected to
Board of Governors

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Julie Adler Raskind

Julia Adler Raskind Elected to
Board of Governors

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Meeting of the Board of Governors

The Dedication of Our Board Advances Our Sacred Mission

Meet Our Governors

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Rabbi Michael Cook, Ph.D.

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Dr. Nili S. Fox

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Info still needed

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, Ph.D.

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Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph, Ph.D.

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Dr. S. David Sperling

Rabbi S. David Sperling, Ph.D.

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Dr. Madelyn Katz

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Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff

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Meet the Faculty

Our Students Are Guided by Judaism's Best Minds

Meet Our Faculty

Faculty Promotions and Appointments:

  • Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller named the Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Ritual and Professor of Cantorial Arts
  • Dr. Sivan Zakai promoted to Sara S. Lee Associate Professor of Jewish Education in Los Angeles
  • Dr. Daniel Fisher appointed Assistant Professor of Bible in Cincinnati

Newly Created Administrative Positions:

  • Rabbi Dvora Weisberg, Ph.D., Rabbi Aaron D. Panken Professor of Rabbinics and Rabbinical Program Director on the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, appointed HUC-JIR Rabbinical School Director
  • Rabbi Lisa D. Grant, Ph.D., Rabbinical Program Director in New York, named the Eleanor Sinsheimer Distinguished Service Professor in Jewish Education and appointed Coordinator of Seminary Special Projects and Director of the First Year Program
  • Rabbi Andrew Goodman appointed Director of Student Support in the Office of the Provost, along with his role as Dean of Students at HUC/New York
  • Dr. Lesley Litman appointed Online Instructional Support Coordinator, along with her role as Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education (EMA) Director
  • Dr. Kathy Schwartz appointed part-time Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education (EMA) Associate Director

Stateside Administrative Appointments and Changes:

  • Amy Goldberg appointed Chief Financial Officer
  • Rabbi Jan Katzew, Ph.D., appointed EMA Senior Educator, along with his roles as Director of Service Learning for the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Fellows Project and Blended Track Associate Professor of Education and Jewish Thought in Cincinnati
  • Rabbi Jonathan Hecht, Ph.D., Dean of the Cincinnati campus, appointed to an additional role as Interim Rabbinical Program Director in Cincinnati
  • Dr. Evie Rotstein appointed Senior Education Advisor in the School of Education, along with her roles as teacher and advisor to New York education students
  • Michael Gropper appointed Assistant Dean of the Skirball Campus in Los Angeles
  • Rabbi Rachel Gross-Prinz appointed Assistant Director of Recruitment and Admissions for the East

Year-In-Israel Staffing Changes:

  • Dr. David Mendelsson stepped down as the Director of the Year-In-Israel program to resume a primary teaching role as Senior Lecturer in Israel Studies and Modern Jewish History. We will begin a search for a Year-In-Israel Director after the High Holidays as we seek to identify the right person to shape the HUC Israel experience and the initial formation of generations of Reform rabbis, cantors, and educators.
  • Nancy Lewitt ended her 15-year service as Head of Student Life on HUC-JIR's Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem and is pursuing new interests.
  • Cantor Tamar Havilio left as Head of Cantorial Studies and Jerusalem Campus Senior Cantor at HUC-JIR's Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem to serve as the Cantor at Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka, MN.

Learn more about these Year-In-Israel changes.

Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music New Faculty Titles:


Hebrew Infusion

Sarah Benor Publishes Results of New Research: "Hebrew Infusion: Language and Community at American Jewish Summer Camps"

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“American Jewish Thought Since 1934: Writings on Identity, Engagement & Belief” Edited by Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D., and Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D

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Rabbi Dvora Weisberg, Ph.D., Publishes "Massekhet Menahot: Text, Translation, and Commentary"

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HUC Press Announces the Release of Benjamin Fisher's "Amsterdam's People of the Book"

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HUC Press Announces the Release of "Eliezer Eilburg: The Ten Questions and Memoir of a Renaissance Jewish Skeptic" by Joseph Davis

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Now at the Threshold

HUC Press Announces the Release of "Now at the Threshold: The Late Poems of Tuvia Ruebner"

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