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Blog #7: April Blog
I cannot believe the year is almost over, as is my time at HUC. I graduate with my master’s next month. Looking back on the last two years, I cannot believe how fast the time has flown. It seems like just yesterday my husband and I were moving to Cincinnati. Now, it is starting to feel like home. We are finally getting settled into our home, especially since we are expecting our first child in July. Luckily, we will be in Cincinnati for two more years, since my husband still has two years left until his rabbinic ordination.
When I came to HUC, I was certain that I wanted to be an applied Jewish bioethicist, but after having the chance to get a taste of the field I think I want something a little broader. I know I will always be able to use the skill-set that I have gained through working with Jewish texts, but I do not want to deal exclusively with Jewish bioethical issues.
We just had elections for the graduate student association, and the new board will be wonderful. I think that they will continue the good work that has been done by our current board, and the past years. The director of the graduate school, Nili Fox, has really tried to create a positive experience for all of the students.
The board of overseers was in Cincinnati this last weekend. They are always so positive to interact with, since they believe strongly in the HUC campus in Cincinnati. I love how supportive they are of the graduate school, since we can be easily forgotten by the overall college community because of our small numbers. I like that we are small, since we can be very close-knit and supportive. HUC’s graduate students are not competitive, but supportive and actively work together to get through the challenging course load.
As my time at HUC draws to a close, I would like to thank all of my professors and classmates who have become wonderful friends and mentors.
Posted by at 4:59 pm
Blog #6: March Blog
Since my program is integrated with classes at both the University of Cincinnati and Hebrew Union College, I have the joy of being on both semesters and quarters. March is the end of UC’s winter quarter. Students that take classes after 2012 will not have such a dilemma, since UC is switching to semesters.
I have absolutely loved my classes at UC. I took Law and Ethics in Public Health as well as Biostatistics. The professors were knowledgeable, easily accessible, and my classes were very small. I love seeing new faces, and I got to meet all different kinds of people in my UC classes. HUC is a very small community, so it is nice to see people that talk about things outside of religion. Since I want to be an applied bioethicist, knowledge of statistics is crucial. The biostatistics course taught me how to use software like SSPS and SAS as well as how to read and interpret publications in medical journals. Learning Aramaic is not enough. A Jewish bioethicist must also know how to read the language of science. Unfortunately, no professors at HUC could teach me this, so I was lucky to have UC Medical College down the street.
The spring weather in Cincinnati is always changing. One day it is sunny and 70 and the next there is snow on the ground. I cannot wait for some consistently nice days. I always feel like I can be a better student when the weather is nice because I will want to get all of my work finished to enjoy the nice weather.
Purim at HUC was a lot of fun this year. The 3rd year rabbinic class did a wonderful job putting on quite a schpeil. It was fun to come to the college all dressed up. Since I am 6 months pregnant, I decided to be a pregnant mobster’s wife.
I have also been busy in the community with cooking demos. I have led demos on variations in the Purim cookie, hamantashen/ Haman’s Ears, and a worldwide tour of Cholent.
Posted by at 4:55 pm
Blog #5: February Blog
I am in my final semester at HUC for my master’s degree. It has been a long journey these last 18 months. Learning many new variations of Hebrew and being exposed to various Judaic texts has been a wonderful experience. This semester I am taking much more of a bioethics course load than Jewish text courses.
I am taking Child Bereavement with Rabbi Sam Joseph at HUC, and Biostatistics and Law and Ethics in Public Health at the University of Cincinnati. The course on child bereavement teaches us about the different processes of grieving and is very useful from a bioethics perspective because often when we deal with cases, it is hard to differentiate between emotions of grief and family’s real desires for their family member.
HUC has a consortium agreement with most of the colleges and universities in the region, so that HUC students can take courses at other campuses. I love being in the courses at UC because I am able to get a secular skill-set to apply to my Jewish text background. I cannot imagine trying to be a bioethicist without courses like biostatisitcs, which I am able to take at UC.
The weather in Cincinnati this winter has been particularly harsh, and I am hoping by the next update, we will have some sunshine to write about. Luckily, comfort foods like skyline chili are readily available to make a cold day more tolerable.
The graduate student association has kept me busy as usual. We are in the midst of writing a petition to change the graduation date back to a Sunday. Since HUC is such a small place, student opinion matters a lot to the administration and they readily seek our input. Also, since the president and vice president of the GSA, sit on the Graduate Executive Committee, we get to add a lot of input into the decisions that the graduate school makes with regard to all spectrums of running the school from approving dissertation topics to accepting new students.
Posted by at 6:02 pm
Blog #4: January Blog
Cincinnati continues to be covered in snow. The last semester is finally finished. It seemed like I was never going to finish writing all of the papers that I was assigned, but somehow it all got done. After exam week, my family went to Turks and Caicos for some much needed fun and relaxation.
I even had enough time to bury my husband Brent in the sand.
A few days after returning back to Ohio, we left again, this time for New Orleans. I presented a paper at the Society of Jewish Ethics meeting. It was my first time presenting a paper, so I was pretty concerned, but it went really well. I am so thankful for the help of Dr. Jonathan Cohen. I would have never been able to do it without him. Also, my husband was a great help when it came to public speaking. After the last three years of watching him give sermons, I guess he has learned a few things about how to give a successful speech. HUC graduate school was very generous and gave me funding so I could attend the conference. At such a small school, the students are lucky to have such support from the administration.
I have already begun my classes at the University of Cincinnati. I am taking Biostatistics and Law and Ethics in Public Health at the School of Public Health. The faculty there is very welcoming of cross-campus students. I also enjoy being in the diverse setting of physicians, biostatisticians, epidemiologists, researchers, and health care consultants. It allows for interesting conversations and new perspectives outside of HUC.
Posted by at 5:29 pm
We begin classes at HUC next week. It will be my last semester before I graduate from HUC with my masters. I am still uncertain as to what I will take at HUC this Spring. A substantial amount of faculty are on sabbatical so there are not as many courses offered as usual. Luckily, this will change starting next year, when the school begins doing two years of planning at once. This should ensure that classes are offered consistently and that sabbaticals are spaced appropriately.
Blog #3: December Blog
This last month of classes just flew by. It seems like yesterday, it was still sunny and way too hot in Cincinnati. Now, the city is covered in snow. My dog Tobi loves the snow, but I am not such a fan, unless I can stay inside with a nice warm cup of hot chocolate.
The last month of school is always filled with endless amounts of paper writing and trying to juggle that with trying to continue preparing for class. This is always challenging, but luckily Thanksgiving gives us a few extra days to catch-up.
Chanukah on campus is always a lot of fun. Since it fell so close to Thanksgiving, it seemed like a never ending feast. The second year rabbinical students put on the campus wide Chanukah party this year, where I got to be one of the judges in the Latke versus Hamantashin debate. Dr. Richard Sarason debated against Dr. Jason Kalman. The debate was really entertaining. Dr. Sarason gave a five senses approach to the perfection of the latke, where as Dr. Kalman tried to defend the Hamantashin on the grounds of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Dr. Sarason won, but mainly because of its seasonal appropriateness.
We also had a Graduate Student Association Chanukah Party. We had over 15 people, including the director Dr. Nili Fox, come to my house for some latkes, brisket, and Chanukah/ Shabbat fun. The graduate students had a really fun time together with all the significant others and children, too. It is fun to see the graduate school growing, with all the recent arrivals, pregnant students and spouses. We are going to nearly double our numbers in the coming year. Happily, the Cincinnati campus just got a room for expecting and new mothers in the sisterhood dorm. This will be a great place to take a nap in between classes and to breast feed when the time comes.
With exams underway, the students at HUC are very busy and anxious to finish papers before December 23rd deadlines arrive.
I am also busy putting the final touches on my presentation for the Society of Jewish Ethics convention in New Orleans. I will present on Wrongful Birth Lawsuits on January 6th. I am thankful for Jonathan Cohen’s guidance through the process of writing my presentation.
Posted by at 3:35 pm
Blog #2: November
Since writing my last blog, things have been very busy on campus. The new Teller Lounge was opened to students. It is wonderful to have a place to eat lunch, study, and meet other students outside of the library and classroom building. The opening of the lounge occurred while the Board of Governors was on campus as well as President Ellenson.
We also had the chance to celebrate the 135th Anniversary of the HUC campus in Cincinnati. There were about 600 people at the event, and the entire student body was included in the celebration. Since I am the President of the Graduate Student Association, I helped introduce the guests of honor and had the chance to speak about HUC and the graduate school.
My courses have been keeping me busy. I really love my independent class with Dr. Rechnetzer. We meet for two hours every Tuesday to discuss various topics from the Talmud. We most recently discussed “Celebration” and looked at both the Talmudic discussion and that found in more modern Jewish thought. In Palestinian Talmud, we are reading Rosh Hashanah with Professor Ed Goldman who actually compiled the scholarly text as well as translated the text. He knows the topic so thoroughly.
The director of the Graduate school, Professor Nili Fox, hosted a welcome dinner for the new graduate students and their families. She also invited some faculty members. It was fun to interact outside of the classroom, and to meet new people. The new graduate students seem very nice and excited to be a part of the HUC community.
The HUC grad school is a community within itself. One of the new graduate student’s wives is on bed rest, due to her expecting twins in the coming month. The grad school association worked together and is providing the family dinner twice a week.
Posted by at 4:43 pm
With the addition of HUCinci.org and HUC Cincinnati’s new outreach program, the school has been bringing concerts to campus once a month on Sunday afternoons. This month they brought a band from the East Coast that performs Ladino music called the Guy Mendelow Project. My husband and I had a good time listening to the band. I never realized how sad the lyricsare in Ladino music.
Blog #1: First Blog
I am a graduate student at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, where I am studying Jewish bioethics. My path to Hebrew Union College was not very direct. I graduated from Smith College in 2006, with a degree in economics and Russian civilization. After graduation, I went on a Fulbright grant to South Korea where I studied Kyeok Too Ki (Korean mixed martial arts), Korean cooking, and I taught at an all boys middle school. Upon my return to the states, I worked at Goldman Sachs in New York, where I collateralized derivatives trades. While I was working there, I decided I wanted to pursue an interest in health policy. For this reason, I left Goldman and began working at the Advisory Board Company in Washington, DC. It was while I was at the Advisory Board, that I began to join the bioethics discussion that was occurring in Washington, DC. I would often leave a discussion wanting to know, what was the Jewish perspective? Once, I asked a well-respected bioethicist a question about the Jewish perspective on an issue and I was told to ask a rabbi.
It then occurred to me, where was there a program that trained Jewish bioethicists? With a simple Google search, I found the HUC Ethics Center. It seemed serendipitous, seeing that my husband was on the year in Israel Program, and was going to be going to the Cincinnati campus. After a visit to the campus and meeting with faculty, I decided to come for my MA.
Life in Cincinnati has been an adjustment for my husband and me. After several years of living in far off lands and big cities, Cincinnati required a bit of adjusting. Growing up in Dayton, Ohio only an hour from Cincinnati, neither of us had spent any lengthy time in Cincinnati. We have been thrilled to discover all the city has to offer. It is diverse and multi-cultural. There are lots of things to do; to be honest, more than a graduate student and a rabbinic student even have time to do. There is even a woman’s ice hockey team for me to play on in my free time. And the Indian food in Cincinnati is excellent!
The graduate school at HUC is a fun and diverse group of people from around the globe. It has been fun to interact and learn with so many fascinating people. We are a very close-knit group, especially after spending six weeks together in Israel. Dr. Nili Fox, the director of the Graduate School takes a group of graduate students to Israel every other year to learn about biblical archaeology and to participate on a dig. This year we dug at Tel El-Safi.
My classes this fall are very Talmud heavy. I am taking Babylonian Talmud, Palestinian Talmud, Ethics and Halakha, and a course called, “I Think Talmud.” I like them all very much.
Outside of class, I am the President of the Graduate Student Association (GSA). The GSA has monthly meetings for the entire graduate student body to get together and to discuss different issues as well as to plan events and to learn about research that fellow students are conducting.
As the fall leaves are beginning to turn here in Cincinnati, so too has this new year and new semester gotten under way.
Posted by at 11:15 am