The impending Millennium presents a timely opportunity to explore Jewish approaches to the New Testament and to address the proselytization efforts by Jews-for-Jesus and other missionary cult groups targeting Jewish youth and intermarried Jews.
Dr. Michael J.Cook
Sol and Arlene Bronstein Professor of Judaeo-Christian Studies, HUC–JIR/Cincinnati
For Jewish readers, New Testament texts seem curiously at variance with Judaism, sometimes even anti-Jewish as well. This is curious because the figures primarily advanced as espousing it, Jesus and Paul, were themselves Jews!
Serious Jewish study of Jesus emerged during the 1800s in Europe. For centuries, Jewish life there had remained stagnant behind ghetto walls while society was undergoing remarkable change due to the discovery of the New World, the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, and the commercial and industrial revolutions. When, however, the ghetto walls were flung open, largely as a result of Napoleon’s conquest of Europe, Jews were forced to come to terms with Christianity and, in so doing, to put aside centuries of Jewish misconceptions about Jesus. In three respects especially, modern Jewish conclusions about Jesus came to contrast sharply with previous Jewish attitudes:
My experiences teaching New Testament to rabbinical students, rabbis, and well-read Jewish lay persons reveal still other common denominators among Jewish readers. Almost all manifest a detachment of sorts for this is not their Bible. Moreover, they read with a disproportionate focus, for they are preoccupied with those sections impinging upon Jews and Judaism. They also experience a sadness, since they are all too cognizant of how tragically the New Testament’s antiJewish tendencies played themselves out on the stage of later Jewish history.
Most intriguingly, however, “Jewish minds” appear to process New Testament traditions in five characteristic ways, “five Jewish perspectives.”
|Perspective #1||Pre-Pauline Phase||Pauline Phase||Post-Pauline Phase|
|Changes in Christianity’s self-perception vis-à-vis Judaism||Christianity perceives itself within Judaism||Christianity becomes aware of its own individuality and regretful that Jews have abstained from entering the church||Christianity’s regret is supplanted by intensifying hostility toward Jews|
|corresponding adjustments in portrayals of Jesus’ stance toward Jews and Judaism||Jesus portrayed as an exemplar of fidelity toward Judaism||Jesus portrayed as regretful of Jewish opaqueness||Jesus portrayed as hostile toward Jews and their leaders (especially Pharisees)|
Changes in Christianity’s self-perception vis-à-vis Judaism occasioned corresponding adjustments in portrayals of Jesus’ stance toward Jews and Judaism as presented in the Gospels.
Almost universally, Jewish readers spot inconsistencies in Jesus’ behavior toward fellow Jews. He urges turning the other cheek, yet sometimes, elsewhere, appears vindictive and vitriolic. How may we reconcile the Jesus who insists that “every one who is [even] angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment” (Matthew 5:22) with one who decries the Pharisees as “you serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” (23:33); or the Jesus who instructs listeners to “love your enemies ..., pray for those who persecute you” (5:44) with one castigating Jews “who ... believed in him”(!) as being “of your father the devil ..., a murderer from the beginning ..., a liar and the father of lies ...” (John 8:31,44f.)?
Inevitably, Jewish readers infer that conflicting images of Jesus should be viewed developmentally: changes in Christianity’s unfolding selfperception vis-à-vis Judaism occasioned corresponding adjustments in portrayals of Jesus’ stance toward Jews and Judaism. Thus,
What intimations of Jesus’ consonance with Judaism do Jewish readers ascribe to the first phase? Most often, the Great Commandment (Mark 12:28-34a), the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), parables of the Kingdom. Reflecting the second phase – regret – are echoes of Romans 9-11. The third period manifests hostility through words ascribed to Jesus (e.g., “woes” against the Pharisees [Matthew 23] and passages in John which seem abrasive [5:42,45-46; 6:53; 8:23f.,3738,44-47] or which seem to present Jesus outside the fold of the Jewish people [10:34; 13:33]); and through channels other than Jesus’ words (e.g., the Sanhedrin trial [Mark 14:53ff. and parallels] and the Barabbas episode [Mk 15:6ff. and parallels] with its infamous “blood curse” [Matthew 27:24-25], and editorial characterizations impugning the Jews’ motives and maligning their conduct). Objections to this approach are possible, yet the core assertion remains compelling: since the developing self-perception of some Christian elements vis-à-vis Judaism most likely did express itself in consecutive phases of (1) consonance, then (2) regret, ultimately supplanted by (3) hostility, some corresponding adjustments in Jesus’ image would inevitably have been forthcoming. Respecting phase #1, that Jesus’ immediate followers remained within the synagogue and continued to abide by Jewish practice argues that they identified Jesus himself as having been consonant with Jewish belief and practice. Respecting the end of the process (phase #3), the intensity of Gospel denunciations of Jews can still most plausibly be assigned to well after Jesus’ death – when Christianity’s attitude toward many Jews had become suffused with hostility.
Serious Jewish study of Jesus emerged during the 1800s in Europe... When the ghetto walls were flung open, largely as a result of Napoleon’s conquest of Europe, Jews were forced to come to terms with Christianity and, in so doing, to put aside centuries of Jewish misconceptions about Jesus.
This article is the abridged text of a lecture presented at "Spiritual Commentary: The Annual Interfaith Symposium for Clergy" at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, February 5, 1998. This program was made possible by the generosity of Frances and John L. Loeb through the Center for Community Service which they established at Temple Emanu-El. It featured distinguished HUC-JIR scholars who explored "Scriptural Commentary: A Jewish Understanding,” the first in a three-year series of annual examinations of how Judaism, Christianity, and Islam interpret not only their own sacred texts, but the scriptures of the other monotheistic faiths as well. (From left) Dr. Norman J. Cohen, Provost and Professor of Midrash, moderated the panel, featuring presentations by Dr. Eugene Mihaly, Professor Emeritus of Rabbinic Literature and Homiletics; Dr. Isacc Jerusalmi, Professor of Bible and Semitic Languages; and Dr. Michael J. Cook.
|Perspective #2||Paul’s theology ----->||influenced-------->||the evolution of the gospel portraits of Jesus|
|The historical Jesus and his teachings||Paul’s interpretation of the Christ||Jesus’ image and teachings as preserved, embellished, transformed through the filter of Paul’s interpretation||e.g., Jesus on LAW OF MOSES; on TURNING to the Gentiles; on SUPERSESSION of Jews by Gentiles||Incorporation and/or reaction to these ideas ---> though process of GOSPEL REDACTION|
The various ways in which Paul’s theology was understood influenced the Gospel portraits of Jesus.
Since Paul’s epistles are our earliest Christian writings, Paul’s thinking may have influenced directions of differing segments of Christianity. Such influence would have been exerted both by those adhering to Pauline views (whether or not interpreting Paul correctly) and those resistant to Paul but forced, nonetheless, to address his thinking (whether or not interpreting that thinking correctly). Emphasized is not what Paul genuinely said or intended but rather the determinative role those interpreting Paul – even in widely diverging fashions – played in how Jesus later became portrayed by Gospel traditions.
The conceptualization here is that the earliest images of the historical Jesus and his teachings were filtered through Paul’s interpretation of the meaning of the Christ (and thus as well through others’ interpretations of Paul’s interpretation), the consequence being that Jesus’ image and teachings were not simply preserved but also embellished – in some cases significantly transformed. Respecting subsequent Christian-Jewish relations, three themes of decisive importance were generated through this process, each bearing the impress either of what Paul himself preached, or of how others construed, or misconstrued, that preaching:
While some Gospel traditions depict Jesus himself espousing these motifs, many Jewish readers deny that Jesus ever actually broke with the Law, counseled a turning away from Jews and toward Gentiles instead, or sanctioned notions of Jews as superseded by Gentiles. Since these three themes contributed centrally to stereotyping of Jesus as an apostate by ancient and medieval Jewish tradition, as well as to supersessionist and triumphalist theology of some Christians past and present, suggestions that these motifs derive more from how Paul was interpreted (or misinterpreted) than from what Jesus personally espoused carry significant ramifications!
In the process of responding to challenges by Jewish opponents, emerging Christianity adjusted or added to Jesus-traditions teachings and nuances not authentic to Jesus’ ministry.
[Accordingly, teaching ascribed to Jesus–and impinging on Jews and Judaism–should not be viewed only as an undifferentiated mass.]
|EARLY CHRISTIAN BELIEF AND PRACTICE||CHALLENGES POSED BY JEWISH RESISTANCE||RESULTANT ADJUSTMENTS OF OR AND ADDITIONS TO JESUS TRADITIONS|
|Example I – Gentile-Christians ignore Jewish dietary laws||Jewish Challenge: How can you Christians profess to fulfill God’s covenant while violating the laws of kashrut?||Christian Response: “‘...Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him...?’ (Thus he declared all foods clean.)” [Mk. 7:18-19]|
|Example II – Christians argue the legitimacy of Jesus’ messianic credentials||Jewish Challenge: Elijah, the herald authenticating the true Messiah, has not yet come. [Mk. 9:11 – “...Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?”]||Christian Response: [Mt. 17:13 – “Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.] [Mk. 9:13 – “‘...I tell you that Elijah has come....’”] [+ Antipas (=Ahab)/ Herodias (=Jezebel) imagery, et|
|Example III – Christians claim Jesus was resurrected||Jewish Challenge #1: Jesus was not resurrected.
Jewish Challenge #2: Tomb empty because disciples stole the body.
Christian Response: The fashioning of the empty tomb narrative.
In the process of responding to challenges by Jewish opponents, emerging Christianity adjusted or added to Jesus-traditions teachings and nuances not authentic to Jesus’ ministry; accordingly, teachings ascribed to Jesus – and impinging on Jews and Judaism – should not be viewed only as an undifferentiated mass.
Between Jesus’ ministry (ca. 30 C.E.) and the completion of the Gospels (70-100), dilemmas arose for emerging churches, some stemming from challenges by (non-Christian) Jews to Jesus’ credentials and to the validity of Christian preaching about him. Despite the Gospels’ ostensible preoccupation with retelling details of Jesus’ ministry decades earlier, the Evangelists were also addressing these more recently surfacing concerns – issues so formidable that Christianity had to enlist Jesus’ authoritative image to solve them. Conceiving that their own immediate problems had already originated during Jesus’ day, and that solutions were therefore discoverable in his words and deeds, the Gospel writers often recast his actual teachings to render them germane for later circumstances.
Study of Mark, Matthew and Luke in parallel columns suggests that later writers intensified the anti-Judaism of their sources.
[Anti-Judaism may decrease as we regress toward Christian origins.]
Study of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke in parallel columns reveals that later writers intensified the antiJudaism of their sources. Therefore, one might plausibly argue that anti-Judaism decreases as we regress toward Christian origins.
Most New Testament scholarship holds that Matthew and Luke are not only literarily dependent upon Mark but have also altered his text, with some of their variations reflecting their intentional adjustments (not simply dependence on other sources). In particular, anti-Jewish nuances present in Matthew and Luke, yet absent from parallel material in Mark, likely reflect the later editors’ own inclinations, conditioned by tensions of Christian-Jewish discourse in their day.
“Jesus Before the Sanhedrin” (Mark 14:5556; Matthew 26:59-60) – Here, the Matthaean account significantly changes Mark’s rendition by adding (in 26:59) a single word: “false.” While in Mark the Jewish officials sought (what they apparently believed to be) true testimony against Jesus, in Matthew they set about finding false testimony from the start. In Mark’s understanding, therefore, the Jewish authorities, genuinely believing Jesus guilty, had only to seek out honest witnesses to confirm their belief. Yet Matthew implies that because Jewish authorities knew Jesus to be innocent they actually had to seek out specifically false witnesses to condemn him! Thus does Matthew’s adjustment of Mark heighten an already earlier anti-Jewish tendency of the Christian tradition.
“The Sentence of Death” (Mark 15:12-15; Matthew 27:22-26; Luke 23:21-25) – In Mark, the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, attempts to acquit Jesus (verse 14), and it is the Jewish mob who calls for Jesus’ crucifixion. Matthew’s incorporation of the so-called “blood curse” (verses 24-25), however, intensifies the Jews’ culpability even as it further downplays Pilate’s own involvement. Luke, by emphatically employing the third person, likewise heightens the Jews’ accountability – “they were urgent, demanding ... he ... be crucified”; “and their voices prevailed” (verse 23); “that their demand should be granted” (v. 24); “the man ... whom they asked for”; “delivered up to their will” (v. 25). Luke also has Pilate acquit Jesus three times (23:4,14,22) rather than merely once (cf. Mark 15:14; Matthew 27:23).
Just as Matthew and Luke revised their sources, Mark likewise edited his own received traditions, transforming into confrontation teachings of Jesus not originally uttered in contexts of controversy. Such observations are compatible with Perspective #1: that the further we recede into earliest Christianity – approaching the time frame of Jesus himself – the more plausibly may Gospel expressions of anti-Judaism be understood as stemming from the developing church rather than Jesus’ ministry.
The reason why passages in the Jewish Bible seem to predict the coming of Jesus is that Christian tradition came to model Jesus’ image in conformity with Jewish scriptural imagery.
A major reason why passages in the Jewish Bible seem to predict the coming of Jesus is that Christian tradition came to model Jesus’ image in conformity with Jewish scriptural imagery.
For centuries, missionaries have drummed home to Jews a steady staccato of “prooftexts” from Jewish Scripture, citations said to prove that Jesus alone fulfilled predictions of the Messiah’s coming: for example, the apparent correspondence of Jesus with Isaiah’s “Suffering Servant” (Isaiah 53); of Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem on a donkey with its presumed prediction by Zechariah (9:9); or of the scene and words of Jesus on the cross with imagery from Psalms (e.g., 22; 69:21). Such claims were likely stimulated by Paul’s insistence that “Christ died ... in accordance with the scriptures” and “was raised ... in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3f.), rendering it likely that early Christians would look to Jewish Scripture (still, their only Bible) to sustain their theological beliefs.
Reflective Jews have reasoned out a dynamic likely underpinning at least some of these ostensible correlations: namely, that developing Gospel tradition fashioned details of Jesus’ life to match predictions alleged to foretell him. Once eyewitnesses of Jesus’ ministry began to die off, the Jewish Bible potentially became of inestimable assistance! Because Christians believed not only that Jesus was the Christ but also that Scripture had predicted the Messiah’s coming, they could readily see the Bible as prophesying Jesus in particular. If sufficient details about Jesus’ ministry seemed unavailable, Scripture could be combed as a ready repository of missing clues to which the image of Jesus could then be confidently conformed – since Jesus’ ministry and Jewish Scripture were indeed presumed fully congruent one to the other.
Thus, uncanny similarity of the Gospels’ Jesus-image to Isaiah’s “Suffering Servant” could have arisen from the specific likening of Jesus to the “Suffering Servant” model. Details of the scene on the cross (e.g., Jesus’ being scornfully mocked by passers-by, and lots cast for his garments) could “fulfill” Psalm 22 if they were enlisted therefrom! Matthew, misrendering (the Hebrew) Zechariah’s prediction (9:9), had Jesus ride into Jerusalem on two animals simultaneously – a telltale indication of the lengths to which Gospel tradition could go in matching Jesus’ image to Jewish Scripture.
An apt analogy would be to arrows shot at a blank wall, with bulls’-eye painted around them only thereafter! Reality, of course, would differ from appearance: for rather than arrows hitting targets, targets would have been accommodated to arrows! In some instances, at least, “predictions” from Scripture would have served as “arrows” with Jesus’ Gospel image the “bull’s-eye” consciously – though in full faith and confidence – painted around each of them. At the least we may say that even regarding actual events in Jesus’ life Scripture influenced which ones would be remembered: thus, not only may narrators have created incidents “to give scriptural flavor” but from incidents that did occur narrators dramatized those capable of echoing the Scriptures. In either case, the Jewish Bible played some formative role in the development of Jesus narratives.
In summary: For Jewish readers, New Testament texts seem curiously at variance with Judaism, sometimes even anti-Jewish as well. This is curious because the figures primarily advanced as espousing it, Jesus and Paul, were themselves Jews!
The seeming anomaly of a Pharisaic-like teacher of parables espousing a new “Christian” theology, at least implicitly anti-Jewish, is most acceptably resolved for Jews by (1) reclaiming Jesus as a Jew and (2) ascribing the Gospels’ anti-Judaism instead to writers who redirected the image of the historical Jesus along anti-Jewish lines. In surmising possible reasons for such alteration, many Jewish readers are drawn to the hostility characterizing Christian-Jewish relations in the Evangelists’ own day. Jesus himself is thus spared responsibility for the Gospels’ antiJudaism (though that he had disputes with fellows Jews on particular issues is not thereby precluded). Later Christianity, in its issues with Jews – over challenges posed to the sufficiency of Jesus’ messianic credentials and to the validity of the Christian preachment – readily enlisted Jesus’ image for support, even though these were challenges concerning which he may have had neither any involvement nor antecedent awareness.
Many dictionaries of some part of Aramaic exist, but...it is as though we had a dictionary of Shakespeare, and one of Hemingway, without having a dictionary of English!
Attention all students, instructors, researchers, scholars, and linguists: An international team of scholars, with headquarters at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, is creating a comprehensive lexicon of ancient Aramaic, spanning the period from 1000 BCE through the Middle Ages. While one can find dictionaries of individual dialects or bodies of literature, a compilation of the entire language does not yet exist. The new lexicon will be a multi-volume comparative dictionary, available in book or electronic form. Each Aramaic word will be presented with a list of the dialects in which it can be found, a list of meanings for the word, and representative citations.
Aramaic, which is a Semitic language that was first used almost 3000 years ago in what is now Syria and Turkey, is still spoken today in certain communities in Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Iran, as well as by immigrant communities in Chicago and Israel. The Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians used Aramaic for administrative communication beginning in the 8th century BCE; it was the official language of the Babylonian and Persian Empires.
Numerous Jewish and Christian texts and literature were written in Aramaic, which is closely related to Hebrew, including portions of the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, portions of the Bible, targums (Aramaic translations and interpretations of Hebrew scriptures), Christian scriptures that were translated from Hebrew and Greek, and Christian writings in an Aramaic dialect called Syriac. Jews worshiped, studied, and conversed in Aramaic for centuries; the eastern wing of the Church has used Aramaic as its official language from the 3rd century through the present day. As a result of their common interest in the language, Jewish and Christian scholars are working together on this project.
Why hasn’t this type of project been done before? Dr. Jerome Lund, Senior Research Associate for the project, described Aramaic as a “vast language” since it includes many scripts, in addition to numerous dialects. In the past, funding had not been available for a project of this scope and duration. The lexicon is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (which funds about 80% of the budget)and private contributions, which include financial support as well as the donation of documents. For example, the Mandaean Research Centre in Northbridge, Australia, provided the lexicon project with an electronic copy of the Ginza Rba, the Mandaean’s main religious document. This donation saved the researchers at least one year of work in reading and encoding the obscure script.
Scholars are currently working on three projects that will be integrated into the lexicon: a dictionary of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic, being written by Professor Michael Sokoloff (Bar Ilan University); a dictionary of Samaritan Aramaic, being written by Professor Avraham Tal (Tel Aviv University); and a dictionary of Mandaean Aramaic. Current work also involves entering and lexically “tagging” texts electronically (noting where the individual words would belong in the dictionary), and preparing citations with translations. The next stage of work will include writing the dictionary entries. Lund is currently working on Syriac poetry and texts about Daniel in Syriac (the best attested dialect of Aramaic), as well as Jewish Palestinian Aramaic poetry.
For more information on this project, see http://cal1.cn.huc.edu/
Professor Stephen A. Kaufman (HUC-JIR/Cincinnati) and Professor Joseph A. Fitzmyer (Catholic University of America, emeritus) are the editors of The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon; Professor Michael Sokoloff (Bar Ilan University) is the associate editor; Dr. Jerome Lund (HUC-JIR/Cincinnati) is the Senior Research Associate.
Aramaic is one of the Semitic languages, an important group of languages known almost from the beginning of human history.
What is usually called “Hebrew” script is actually an Aramaic script.
As the imperial language of administration for the Babylonian and Persian empires, which ruled from India to Ethiopia during 700–320 B.C.E., Aramaic held a position similar to that occupied by English today.
Portions of Ezra and Daniel in the Bible, and some of the best known stories in biblical literature, including that of Belshazzar’s feast with the famous “handwriting on the wall,” are in Aramaic.
Aramaic replaced Hebrew as a dominant language for Jewish worship, scholarship, and everyday life for centuries in both the land of Israel and in the diaspo- ra, especially in Babylon.
Reading the Targum, the Aramaic translation and interpretation of Hebrew scriptures and Law, became prevalant in synagogues; the basic language of the vast compilations of rabbinic commentary and debate in the Israel and Babylonian Talmuds is in Aramaic.
The many Aramaic texts discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls provide the best evidence for Palestinian Aramaic of the sort used by Jesus and his disciples.
Although Jesus spoke Aramaic, the Gospels are in Greek, and only rarely quote actual Aramaic words. Reconstruction of the Aramaic background of the Gospels remains a fascinating, but inordinately difficult area of modern scholarly research.
A form of Christian Aramaic, known as Syriac, sur- passed in quantity all other Aramaic writings; Syriac became the language of the entire eastern wing of the church, from about the third century C.E. until well past the Muslim conquest.
Almost all of the Greek philosophical and scientific tradition was eventually translated into Syriac, and was thus channeled into the Islamic World and thence, into post-Dark Ages Europe.
Aramaic survives as a spoken language in small communities in Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Iran.
The year 2000-2001 marks a special moment in Jewish history – the 125th anniversary of Hebrew Union College! From its inaugural class of four young rabbinical students in 1875, HUC-JIR has grown and thrived as the professional development center for the Reform Movement and klal Yisrael by training men and women for service to world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educational and communal professionals, and scholars. Marking this year are an array of special programs coordinated by Rabbi Alan Fuchs and planning committees of Governors, Overseers, administration, faculty, and students. These events will take place throughout our four centers of learning and within Reform Movement congregations. You are cordially invited to join the celebration! Highlights include:
A video and curriculum guide, teaching Jewish youth how to recognize and respond to missionaries, created by HUC-JIR rabbinical students
(From Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz, The Jewish Response to Missionaries: Counter-Missionary Handbook, Los Angeles: Jews for Judaism, 1996.)
Missionary Impossible, an imaginative video and curriculum guide for teachers, educators, and rabbis to teach Jewish youth how to recognize and respond to “Jews-forJesus,” “Messianic Jews,” and other Christian proselytizers, has been produced by six rabbinic students at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati. The students created the video as a tool for teaching why Jewish college and high school youth and Jews in intermarried couples are primary targets of Christian missionaries. Featuring a wide-ranging cast, the film is shot in various campus, home, and youth group settings.
This video developed out of a Fall 1998 course on Christian Missionizing taught by Dr. Michael J. Cook, Sol and Arlene Bronstein Professor of Judaeo-Christian Studies. Rabbinical students David Burstein (C ‘01), Frank DeWoskin (C ‘00), Anthony Fratello (C ‘99), Scott Hausman-Weiss (C ‘99), Dan Moskovitz (C ‘00), and Joanna Tract (C ‘99) created the video. Rabbi Samuel Joseph, Professor of Jewish Education at the Cincinnati School, co-advised the video’s script and accompanying curricular guide.
“Missionary Impossible” is the name of the commando team of rabbinic student actors in the 45 minute video who teach Jewish youth how to recognize missionaries and, together with other actors, model how best to respond to proselytizers. Simulated dramas underscore the peer pressure and insecurities Jewish youths may face during encounters with cult recruiters.
The video presents four riveting yet engaging vignettes which pose genuine situations where Jewish youth may encounter missionaries, how they might respond, and then how they should respond. By utilizing actual Jewish college and high school students as well as rabbinic students rather than professional actors, the video works well with its intended audiences, according to Dr. Cook, “since the viewers can more naturally connect and identify with those in the film.” Despite the sober subject, the video manages to be highly entertaining, in places very humorous. Adult viewers say they have found themselves remarkably enlightened, particularly parents who can now better comprehend both the approaches of missionaries and how more effectively to alert their youngsters.
In addition to presenting lessons and exercises to accompany the video vignettes, the curriculum guide includes discussion questions, an exercise on the differences between Judaism and Christianity, an exercise on Freedom of Religion and its limitations, programming ideas for camps, and material on recognizing missionaries. In order to prepare viewers for missionary tactics, the curriculum guide also presents Jews-for-Jesus material and Biblical texts that are often corrupted or mistranslated to endorse messianic cults.
The emphasis is on the conceptual framework and practical strategies Jewish youth can realistically internalize to render themselves virtually immune from missionary encroachment. More so than other anti-missionary materials available, this production emphasizes conceptual understanding, and does so in ways that are easily assimilated.
The video and the curriculum guide conclude with positive, affirmative Jewish cultural and religious celebrations and texts, encouraging viewers to learn and experience more of their authentic Jewish heritage. “Realizing that they may not have all the Jewish answers can serve as an incentive for Jews of all ages to deepen and enrich knowledge of their faith,” Dr. Cook observes. “The video’s culminating message is that the Jewish vibrancy of our camps, of Israel, and of our observances and spirituality is a compelling reminder that nothing missionaries offer can match the substantive excitement of what the Jewish experience and legacy already afford us.”
The video and guide have been tested, and are recommended, for synagogue religious schools, adult education courses and retreats, UAHC camps and kallot, secular college and high school classes, and Jewish youth programming of all sorts.
Missionary Impossible (the video and curriculum guide) is available for $20 at: HUC-JIR College Store 3101 Clifton Avenue Cincinnati, OH, 45220-2488 phone (513) 221-1875, ext. 322.
Since Rabbi Sally J. Priesand’s ordination at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati in 1972 as the first woman ever to become a rabbi, HUC-JIR has ordained 324 women, including 4 Israeli women. In honor of her path-breaking role and the 25th anniversary of women in the rabbinate, the Rabbi Sally J. Priesand Visiting Professorship is being launched this Fall semester at HUC-JIR/NY. The inaugural Priesand Visiting Professor, a noted scholar with a primary focus on women’s studies, is Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky, Professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
The semester-long Professorship will rotate each year at HUC-JIR’s stateside schools. “Students at the College-Institute, who are the future leaders of our Movement, must be given the opportunity to hear the voices of women as well as men. They must embrace the experiences of all Jews in the spirit of equality, knowing that every human being is a piece of priceless mosaic in the design of God’s universe. And finally, we must move forward together to continue to re-form and refashion our Movement in this light. This Visiting Professorship of Jewish Women’s Studies will allow future generations to draw upon the breadth of women’s knowledge and experience,” remarked Priesand.
Dr. Frymer-Kensky’s fields of specialization include Women and Religion, Biblical Studies, Assyriology and Sumerology, and Jewish Studies. She is also the Director of Biblical Studies at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Frymer-Kensky is recognized as a world-class Bible scholar with “tremendous teaching credentials,” stated Rabbi Norman Cohen, Provost. He believes that the CollegeInstitute “couldn’t find a better person” for this position.
In addition to being available to mentor students on academic projects and feminist concerns, Frymer-Kensky enhances HUC-JIR/ NY’s academic offerings with the following
As the Priesand Visiting Professor, Frymer-Kensky serves as a role model to the HUC-JIR community based on her interest in women’s studies and concern about feminist issues, her renowned scholarship, and her commitment to Judaism and Jewish education.
The Women’s Rabbinic Network led the fundraising efforts for the Rabbi Sally J. Priesand Visiting Professorship of Jewish Women’s Studies. Rabbi Rosalind A. Fold and Rabbi Marcia A. Zimmerman, Co-Chairs of the Professorship Campaign, noted, “We look forward to new ways of incorporating Jewish women’s voices into the ongoing life of our people. We celebrate the work of all of the more than 300 women who have made history through their rabbinic ordination. This Visiting Professorship honors our friend and role model, Sally Priesand, and the women who have come after her.”
As of July 1999, 594 donors have contributed or pledged funds totaling close to $300,000 for the Professorship. For further information or to contribute to the Rabbi Sally J. Priesand Visiting Professorship in Jewish Women’s Studies, please contact Eve Starkman, Director of Development, Eastern Region, HUC-JIR, One West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012-1186, (212) 824-2285.
THE GROUNDBREAKING FOR THE EDWIN A. MALLOY EDUCATION BUILDING
In the first sobering years following the Holocaust, there was the realization that the preservation of the continuity of Jewish life and learning in the aftermath of World War II was the urgent responsibility of the Jews of America – now the largest and most influential community in the world.
It was the vision of Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus – esteemed scholar, rabbi and teacher – whose idea it was to document, collect, and preserve the history of Jews and Jewish communities in the Western Hemisphere. With a focus on the American Jewish experience, Dr. Marcus dreamed that the new center, the American Jewish Archives, would one day become one of the world’s largest repositories of materials documenting the history and experience of the North American Jewish community. And so it has.
Through the years, Dr. Marcus’ vision has been wholly embraced, cultivated, and sustained by legions of scholars, researchers, and lay leaders who keenly understood the profound impact this institution would have on the Jewish world – and on the world at large.
One such leader was Edwin A. Malloy – a devoted Vice Chair and long-time member of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors who passed away in 1998. His lifelong love of the College-Institute, of higher Jewish learning, books, and libraries will be memorialized in perpetuity upon the construction and establishment of the Edwin A. Malloy Education Building at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives. A $2 million gift from the Malloy Family’s Sun Hill Foundation will enable The Marcus Center to erect a peerless new academic and educational home.
So now, in 1999, as we stand on the threshold of a new century, Dr. Marcus’ vision will blossom anew – in ways perhaps he himself never imagined.
“Edwin was a great friend of Jacob Marcus and served on the board in New York for many, many years,” notes Susan Malloy, Edwin’s wife and an active member of the New York School’s Exhibitions Advisory Committee. “His involvement with the College-Institute’s Board of Governors was so important to him that we, his family, wanted to memorialize his name in some meaningful way. The new Education Building seems like the perfect way to do that.”
Ground was broken on Sunday, November 7, 1999, for both the Edwin A. Malloy Education Building and a new archival repository building (which will be funded by the Jacob Rader Marcus Endowed Trust). These two new structures will provide desperately needed space for the institution’s archival collections as well as for a new educational center, seminar room, and exhibition gallery. This will enhance The Marcus Center’s ability to welcome the hundreds of scholars and students who visit the American Jewish Archives annually; to hold The Marcus Center’s Fellowship Seminars and community lectures; to feature compelling exhibits; and to do the critical work of preservation and conservation.
“This wonderful gift from the Malloys and their family foundation, Sun Hill, constitutes a philanthropic landmark for the American Jewish Archives,” said Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center. “With the advent of the Edwin A. Malloy Education Building, our institution will be literally transformed. This building will enable us to bypass the hindrances of limited space and overcome the impediments of outmoded facilities.”
Edwin A. Malloy’s leadership and impact on the College-Institute will resonate for generations. A Reform Jew, Malloy looked to HUC-JIR to provide a foundation for his faith in Judaism and to satisfy his perennial thirst for Jewish knowledge and learning. He was unfailing in his support of the CollegeInstitute, and exhorted others tirelessly to this same ideal. As chairman of the Building Committee for the construction of the New York School, he carefully steered his hardworking committee through a maze of difficult decisions. The new building took shape under his quiet, but forceful, leadership in record-breaking time for a New York construction project. His service on the Board of Governors was characterized by the unselfish giving of his time, knowledge and experience.
“Edwin was a loyal and caring Jew. He worked hard to ensure the presentation of the past, the needs of the present, and the vision for our future.
Ever an optimist, he affirmed his very being as an American and as a Jew. As congregational leader and as an active Governor and Overseer of the College-Institute, he has bequeathed a unique and singular legacy of loyalty and devotion,” stated Rabbi Zimmerman, HUC-JIR President.
Edwin Malloy’s compassionate brand of service to the Jewish community was extended even beyond the College- Institute. He served as President of the Board of Trustees of Temple Emanu-El in New York City. He also rendered board service to Temple Israel in Westport, Connecticut.
Together with his wife Susan, and children Jennifer and Timon, Edwin cultivated his abiding love of art, theater, and music. The Malloys supported numerous arts organizations including the Whitney Museum of American Art in Stamford, Connecticut and the Tudor Foundation.
“I think my father would be pleased to have his name attached to the new building at the American Jewish Archives,” says Jennifer. “He was very interested in history and libraries and was involved for so long with The Marcus Center.”
According to son Timon, “Dad was a modest person. He wouldn’t have asked to name a building after himself but he would indeed be proud to be remembered in such a special way.”
Professionally, Edwin A. Malloy was Chairman of the Board and President of Fred R. French Investing Company. A member of the Real Estate Board of New York, Edwin received the prestigious “Man of the Year” award from the Realty Foundation of New York in 1975.
“I knew Edwin Malloy as both a good friend and respected colleague,” said Aaron Levine, Executor of the Jacob Rader Marcus estate and former financial officer of HUC-JIR. “His dedication to the College-Institute and to the American Jewish Archives was inspiring – and evident to me throughout his entire life and career.”
“The Edwin A. Malloy Education Building will be part of a world class home for what is probably the largest cataloged collection of source materials documenting the history of United States Jewry,” said Dr. Zola. “The Education Building and the new repository are rightful tributes to both Ed Malloy and to Dr. Marcus, whose friendship Edwin cherished and whose vision he unfailingly supported. The American Jewish Archives will now be properly fitted to fulfill its unique mission as we enter the 21st century.”
The Edwin A. Malloy Educational Building will serve as a perpetual memorial for a dedicated benefactor of the American Jewish Archives and a lifelong friend of its revered founder, Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus.
Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus, z”l
The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives recently hosted an innovative, first-of-its-kind conference, on the preservation and conservation of synagogue history, entitled Going Beyond Memory: A Conference on Synagogue Archiving. More than 50 participants – most representing Union of American Hebrew Congregations throughout the country – attended this inaugural colloquium held at the Cincinnati School on August 29-30.
“This innovative conference was designed to help synagogues discover how their documents, oral histories, and genealogies can truly bring American Jewish history to life in their own communities,” said Dr. Gary Zola, Executive Director of The Marcus Center. “It also gave attendees an opportunity to visit The Marcus Center – one of the nation’s largest repositories of documents relating to American Jewish history – as well as the College-Institute’s historic Cincinnati School.
The conference was chaired by Kevin Profitt, Chief Archivist at the AJA, and a small steering committee comprised of Saul Briebart of Kahal Kodosh Beth Elohim in Charleston, South Carolina; Gerry Cristol, of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas; Lois England of Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington, D.C.; Norman Grabstein of Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, California; and Frances Hess of Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York. This group began planning the event a year in advance, and most of the planners attended the colloquium as well. “All of the archival professionals at The Marcus Center have been energized by the success of this event,” Profitt noted. “And we are looking forward to hosting additional programs of this sort in the years ahead.”
Conference participants heard keynote addresses by Dr. Zola, Rabbi Lance J. Sussman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of American Jewish History at Binghamton University and Rabbi at Temple Concord in Binghamton, New York, and Karen Franklin, Immediate Past President of the International Society of Jewish Genealogists. In addition to Profitt, the conference’s archival faculty included AJA archivists Kathy Spray, Dorothy Smith, Melinda McMartin, and Dr. Frederic Krome, Managing Editor of The American Jewish Archives Journal.
Participants enjoyed numerous workshops on “Archives 101: Starting from Scratch;” “The Lone Arranger: Providing Public Services in a Small Repository;” “Globally Wired: Archives in the Information Age;” and “Genealogists and Archivists: Working Together to Create Synagogue and Family Histories.”
“The conference was very well organized,” said Phyllis Marcus of Congregation B’nai Israel in Monroe, Louisiana. “I am taking back some very valuable information that will help me enhance our already existing archive.”
“I have been our synagogue archivist for 20 years,” noted Annette Ratkin of The Temple in Nashville, Tennessee. “This conference was done superbly to all levels of ability. Everyone received great direction and a lot of inspiration!”
Many attendees, such as Leslie Berkey of Beth Israel Temple in Hamilton, Ohio, came to the conference to find out how to start a synagogue archive from the ground up. “I think we can get our archive going now,” she said. “All of our documents are currently in boxes, but I am eager to begin to organize them and display some of the history of our congregation which goes back a great many years.”
The Marcus Center is committed to assisting the Reform Movement’s congregations preserve their archival history. In response to the interest expressed by many of the participants in attending subsequent conferences on synagogue archiving at The Marcus Center, plans are already underway for the second Conference on Synagogue Archiving to be held in the Fall of 2001. Kevin Profitt’s definitive publication, Creating A Synagogue Archive, is available from The Marcus Center.
For more information on The Marcus Center’s programs and publications, please contact Lisa Frankel, Director of Programs at The Marcus Center (513-221-1875).
Jane West Walsh MAJE ’85
Jane West Walsh (MAJE ‘85) effuses enthusiasm for Jewish learning and the field of Jewish education. As the recently appointed Educational Research Fellow at The Jacob Rader Marcus Center for the American Jewish Archives at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, she is developing strategies and materials for teaching and learning about the American Jewish experience using archival documents. Continuing the legacy of Dr. Marcus, z”l, and working with Executive Director Dr. Gary Zola, archival staff, and educator colleagues around the world, her mission is to bring the historical riches of the American Jewish experience into the hands of Jewish educators, rabbis, and community leaders. She is an innovator – seeking new ways to engage teachers and learners in the study of Jewish tradition and culture.
It is hard to believe that West Walsh was not always so involved in Jewish communal life, Jewish learning, and the field of Jewish education. Initially pursuing a career in science communications in Denver where she lived primarily as a secular Jew, it was only during her late 20’s as an adult learner, that she started to look deeper at Jewish tradition, texts, and culture. She realized that there was “a great treasure to uncover.” Adult education classes and a wonderful experience teaching sixth grade at Temple Emanuel in Denver, under the supervision of Max Frankel, kindled a love for teaching and her desire to continue learning more about Judaism.
Whereas previously she had used her artistic and graphic talents to teach about science and ecology, she now decided to make her focus the heritage and values of Judaism. Her studies at the Rhea Hirsch School of Education (RHSOE) were “the most challenging and enriching experiences of my life to that point,” she noted. She credits the faculty, their excellent teaching, and their commitment to research and practice in the field. She also credits the Rhea Hirsch School’s core vision of creating a “collegial network of Jewish educators” for ongoing success in linking the ever expanding network of graduates. To strengthen this network, she is actively involved in the RHSOE Alumni Association, which supports ongoing professional development for alumni, and programs of the RHSOE and the College-Institute.
With West Walsh’s passionate commitment and achievements in Jewish education (she directed the religious education programs at Temple Israel in Omaha, Nebraska, and Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City, was involved in Jewish communal education work in Baltimore and Cleveland, taught at the Cleveland College of Jewish Studies and Baltimore Hebrew University, and was a participant in the Senior Educator’s Fellowship Program at the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at Hebrew University in Jerusalem), it comes as no surprise that a committee of the alumni of the RHSOE honored her as the first-ever RHSOE alumnus/a-in-residence. Launched during the Fall 1998 semester, this program was sponsored by the alumni association’s Lee-Rothberg Fund, created to honor RHSOE Director Professor Sara Lee for receiving the prestigious Rothberg Prize for significant achievement in the field of Jewish Education, at Hebrew University in 1997.
As Alumna-in-residence, West Walsh taught education classes, delivered a dvar torah and read Torah during student services, and prepared a Yom Iyyun (day of study for clinical faculty and students) based on Daniel Goleman’s research on emotional intelligence. A highlight of her residency was the program “A Conversation in Muslim and Jewish Education,” in which she and a Muslim educator colleague, Nadira Charaniya, facilitated an interreligious learning program. West Walsh and Charaniya based the program on a curriculum analysis they had done comparing Muslim and Jewish educational materials. By presenting aspects of their reflections on the uses of Hebrew and Arabic, values stories, use of historical leaders as role models, and responses to the challenges of teaching Jewish and Muslim traditions while living in a predominantly Christian and secular society, they introduced the Los Angeles School community to Ismaili Muslim education, tradition, introduced the Los Angeles School community to Ismaili Muslim education, tradition, and history, and fostered deeper reflection about Jewish education, within a context of interreligious learning. In fact, Jewish-Muslim interreligious learning is the theme of West Walsh’s doctoral research currently underway in the field of adult education. Working with Charaniya, she will be researching the learning processes that take place when Jews and Muslims engage in interreligious dialogue for a significant amount of time. They currently are seeking people who are willing to talk about their Jewish-Muslim interreligious dialogue experiences to participate in their research study.
While engaged in her own work with the Marcus Center and her doctoral studies, West Walsh remains committed to the practice of Jewish education and the practical concerns of recruiting new students for the RHSOE. More “top-notch” people — those starting out in their first career, and those on their next one, like West Walsh — need to be recruited. They will continue to bring needed leadership to our expanding Reform congregational religious education programs and the exciting new initiatives in our Movement-wide camps, adult kallot, and youth programs. Too many openings are left unfilled each year in communities across the country. West Walsh stated that currently there are not enough HUC-JIR graduates to fill available positions and that a “tremendous amount of work” still needs to be done by the leaders of our Movement to advocate that the best and the brightest Jewish minds consider entering the field. She noted, “It is the responsibility of all Reform Jews to work together in order to meet this challenge.”
West Walsh believes that professional opportunities for Reform Jewish educators have expanded, as the demand for innovative Jewish learning experiences has grown across the country in recent years. While both opportunity and need are still there, no longer is the professional Reform Jewish educator limited to working in an afternoon or weekend school or classroom setting. The spectrum has widened to include “informal” and non-formal education settings such as retreat programs, camps, and Israel trips; day school settings including
Jewish early childhood and family life programs; and communal agency settings serving local, regional, national, and international populations. Reform Jewish educators are having a large impact on Jewish family and adult education initiatives being implemented all over the Jewish world.
Wherever they work, Rhea Hirsch School of Education graduates become influential Jewish leaders. They have become full partners in forming, shaping, and carrying forward the current renaissance of Jewish learning and living. Thanks to the graduates of the RHSOE, like Jane West Walsh, the doors are wide open for our future Reform Jewish educators.
The Rhea Hirsch School of Education in Los Angeles, which offers programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Jewish Education, Master of Arts degree in Jewish Education, and Joint Masters degree in Jewish Education and Jewish Communal Service, will celebrate its 30th anniversary in the year 2000. To date, there are 208 RHSOE alumni serving the Reform Movement and world Jewry. HUC-JIR’s first honorary doctoral degrees for distinguished alumni, the Doctor of Sacred Education, are anticipated to be awarded at Graduation in the Spring of 2000.
Please help HUC-JIR recruit talented and motivated students for careers in Jewish Education. Please direct potential candidates to: Professor Sara Lee, Director, Rhea Hirsch School of Education, HUC-JIR, 3077 University Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90007-3796; (213) 749-3424; firstname.lastname@example.org
A groundbreaking project designed to strengthen Reform and liberal community day schools across North America
The Rhea Hirsch School of Education has taken a leading role in encouraging and supporting Reform Jewish day schools since 1985.
HUC–JIR is poised to continue its important role in helping Jewish day schools fulfill their potential as one of the most powerful ways to insure Jewish continuity. Asa result of a significant grant from the AVI CHAI Foundation, the Rhea Hirsch School of Education will continue Jewish Day Schools for the 21st Century, a groundbreaking project designed to enhance the effectiveness of Reform and liberal community day schools across North America.
The 1990s has been the decade of the “continuity crisis” in the American Jewish community, spurred by the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey and its intermarriage statistics. Researchers, policy makers, and professional and lay leaders in the Jewish community have spent much of the decade trying to identify ways to insure the Jewishness of the next generation of American Jews. In survey after survey, one factor repeatedly proves to have a dramatic impact on the levels of Jewish observance, participation in synagogues and other Jewish organizations, and other measures of Jewish identity: attending a Jewish day school as a child.
The Reform Movement was late in joining the move towards offering day school education as an option. While the first modern American day schools opened during World War II and the first Conservative day schools began in the 1950s, Reform Jews did not sponsor day schools until 1970, whenTempleBethAm in Miami and Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York opened full-day elementary schools. The Reform Movement did not formally endorse Jewish day schools until the 1985 UAHC Biennial in Los Angeles.
The Rhea Hirsch School of Education has taken a leading role in encouraging and supporting Reform Jewish day schools since 1985. The first meeting of representatives of Reform day schools in the wake of the UAHC’s approval of day schools was held on the Los Angeles campus of HUC-JIR in 1986. In the late 1980s, the Rhea Hirsch School conducted a Certificate Program in Day School Leadership to re-train congregational educators and day school teachers to serve as heads of day schools. More than a dozen graduates of this program went on to head day schools, and four new Reform day schools were created by this group of professionals.
More recently, the Rhea Hirsch School of Education, in partnership with PARDeS, the association of Reform day schools, sponsored Day Schools for the 21st Century (DS21). This pilot project was designed to help schools reaffirm their responsibility for building a vibrant future for the Jewish community while they provide high quality general and Jewish education to their students.
Temple Beth Am Day School in Miami was one of the participating schools in DS21. A broad group from the school community, including teachers, administrators, parents, and board members, identified the school’s core Jewish values, developed a broad consensus about the school’s mission, and initiated a series of programs to translate that vision into action. Parents are now asked to sign a Brit Ketana (a mini-covenant) when they enroll their children in the school. They promise to share responsibility with the school for the Jewish education of their children by attending adult Jewish learning programs and providing a Jewish home environment. The school also initiated a series of family education programs to support families in their quest to create a lively Jewish home for children.
In a trail blazing move, Beth Am Day School along with Jacobson Sinai Academy, a Reform day school sponsored by Temple Sinai for North Miami Beach, and another DS21 school, created a Jewish certification program for classroom teachers. As the schools move towards creating an enriched Jewish program for children and their parents, more is being asked of teachers. In order to help teachers fulfill these new expectations, the schools have taken responsibility for helping teachers learn more about Jewish tradition. With the cooperation of the local Central Agency for Jewish Education, Beth Am and Jacobson Sinai now require teachers who teach math, social studies and language arts to learn about Jewish holidays, history and prayer so that they can play a significant role in creating the Jewish environment of the school.
The Rashi School, the Boston area’s Reform Jewish day school, also participated in DS21, as did community day schools in Minneapolis and Marblehead, MA.
The new program which the Rhea Hirsch School of Education began this fall will build upon the success of DS21. Eight elementary Jewish day schools will be invited to join Jewish Day Schools for the 21st Century. These schools will be guided through a process of discerning their guiding Jewish values, developing community consensus around these values, and planning a series of programmatic initiatives to translate these values into programs for children and adults in the school community. As the schools go through this planning process, they will also learn the skills that will enable them to become Jewish learning communities and Jewish learning organizations: Jewish text study which enriches deliberations around the school’s values and programs, and reflection on current realities and future possibilities.
Jewish Day Schools for the 21st Century is directed by Dr. Michael Zeldin, Professor of Jewish Education at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles. Dr. Zeldin is a national authority on Reform day schools, and has expertise in the process of institutional change and curriculum development for Jewish schools. He is joined by Professor Sara S. Lee, Director of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education, who serves as Senior Advisor to the project. Professor Lee is a leading expert on organizational development and institutional transformation.
The AVI CHAI Foundation, established and endowed in 1984 by Zalman C. Bernstein, z”l, seeks to encourage the growing Jewish Day School movement in North America through grants assisting in marketing new high schools, interest-free loans for facility improvements, advanced training for educational leaders, start-up libraries for students transferring to Jewish high schools, special programs assisting new day school students to catch up with the Jewish knowledge of their peers, and testing innovative ways of reducing the costs of Jewish schooling.
“We are delighted that HUC-JIR will continue to build on the success of the DS21 project. Day schools are having a measurable impact on our children’s Jewish future, and DS21 will help strengthen the Jewish educational environment in many schools. We applaud those schools and the parents, educators, administrators, and lay leadership who are participating in this important program.”
- Henry Taub, AVI CHAI Foundation Trustee
Amusing Observations about Life At and After HUC-JIR
The qualifiers are always interesting. In a small city, I was introduced as the “the Jewish rabbi,” in larger ones as “the Reform rabbi,” to someone with a small child from a different city whose rabbi is female as “a male rabbi.” (Rabbi Michael L. Feshbach, Temple Beth Am)
I was heartbroken to learn of the loss of Jack Dauber. One of my favorite memories was teaching him how to hula hoop at the annual retreat. He promised me an “A” if I could teach him. Too bad it was pass/fail... (Frances Silverstein Fischer, MAJCS)
We asked the Class of 1989 to reflect upon their experiences at the College-Institute, advise current students, and update us on their lives over the past 10 years. Where are our alumni? What paths have they chosen? What were the highlights of their years at HUC-JIR? What have been their most significant accomplishments? How have they made a difference in their communities?
We received responses from our rabbinical, cantorial, education, communal service, and graduate studies alumni in California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Their lives encompass a wide range of professional venues, from congregations, Jewish organizations, foundations, hospitals, and churches, to universities/colleges (including HUC-JIR), Hillels, and libraries.
Our alumni felt prepared by their experiences as students at HUC-JIR. Interaction with the faculty – academically and personally – was especially highly regarded by alumni. They praised their internships and student pulpits, as well as peer interaction and the HUC-JIR community. They valued HUCJIR’s leadership and organizational development training, course work, and preparation for synagogue life. Their travel experiences, the choirs, and the library were also noted as highlights of their years at HUC-JIR.
Frances Silverstein Fischer (MAJCS) praised the School of Jewish Communal Service as “one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I cannot imagine how different my life would be without the friends, career opportunities, learning, and humor I gained....” Andrea Zoll-Stein (MAJCS/MSW) remarked, “The value HUC-JIR places on its students and graduates is unlike anything I’ve ever encountered.”
Although many graduates knew exactly what they wanted to do upon completion of their studies, others weren’t sure which path to choose. Either way, their goals have developed and changed over the past 10 years. Respondents agreed that they find their current positions to be both personally and professionally rewarding. Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch responded, “The wellbeing and perpetuation of the Jewish people is what motivated me to enter the rabbinate. In this aspect I feel I am playing a role.” Professor Paul Y. Tashiro remarked, “I am doing exactly what God called me to do.”
A vast majority of alumni, many of whom are interested in mentoring current students, offered advice. They emphasized that HUC-JIR students should make the most of their time at the College-Institute – taking advantage of resources, enrolling in classes that interest them, building close relationships with faculty, staff, and other students, and realizing the importance of character and nurturing spirituality. They encouraged students to study and absorb as much as possible, pursue career guidance early, be open to changing career goals, and to try something “off the beaten track.” They urged that students get a sense of what a work week in a desired position is really like and learn about the management/organization of places where they intern, define their goals, publish their theses, and find a good mentor upon graduation. Alumni also commented that the equality and partnership of rabbis and cantors should be reinforced at HUC-JIR so that it will continue to be nurtured in the field.
As part of their ongoing relationship with the College-Institute, many of the respondents expressed an interest in continuing education programs. They would like to see text study and courses in time management, organizational development, leadership development/staff management, professional development, music history, Jewish history, Talmud, education, and philosophy. They suggested that Internet guided study courses be offered.
Since alumni praised the inclusive community during their years at the College-Institute, it follows that they would like to see that perpetuated after they leave. Roslyn Roucher (MAJE) suggested text classes/kallot, where all alumni would study together, in addition to the campus days which are held each year; she also proposed a national retreat. Cantor Lisa Lipco Levine emphasized the importance of all alumni associations for all graduates of HUC-JIR programs. She recommended that the College-Institute invite all alumni back to visit every year. Cantor Betsy S. PetersEpstein suggested that alumni visit a campus to discuss their careers with students.
Another suggestion, which came from Rabbi Jonathan E. Kraus, encouraged more interaction between faculty and lay people – “the more faculty and lay people can interact, the more we develop a shared vision for the College-Institute and our congregations. It’s a relationship that’s beneficial in both directions. Faculty keep in touch with the Jewish world that their students are encountering and lay people come to understand the value of HUC-JIR.” Rabbi Peter B. Schaktman remarked, “I’m grateful that so many of my teachers remain in the community, and hope that I can continue to find ways to partake of their wisdom.” Technological and other advances at HUCJIR are fulfilling some of the alumni suggestions and enabling the College-Institute to be more helpful to alumni and their constituencies. The on-line cataloguing of HUC-JIR’s libraries, now in process, and the plans for distance education using the Internet will make it easier to participate in the academic life of the College-Institute. It will also facilitate continued contact with the faculty, in addition to the biennials and CCAR conferences, and it will offer more short-term courses announced well in advance for continuing education. The electronic publications on HUC-JIR’s website at www.huc.edu/faculty/pubs.html and Kesher newsletter already provide important sermons and guest lectures.
Our alumni expressed the ongoing struggle to achieve a balance between work and personal life. But in summing up their lives 10 years later, most echoed the sentiments of Rabbi Jonathan Kraus: “The frustration and disappointments can be enormous, but so can the rewards. The rabbinate still feels like the right work for me to be devoting my life to and a great privelege.”
We are grateful to the members of the Class of 1989 who participated in this survey. We would like to encourage the strengthening and continuity of alumni ties with HUC-JIR. Please be involved with our community: recruit potential students; mentor current students; continue your studies in an HUC-JIR program; and keep us updated on your lives and activities.
Mary Baron, MAJCS/MSW, 1994 and Michelle Krotinger Wolf, MAJCS/MPA, 1985
30 YEARS AT THE IRWIN DANIELS SCHOOL OF JEWISH COMMUNAL SERVICE
Jayne Stein heads a fifteen-person task force to investigate hate crimes in the greater Baltimore area. Jacob Green is a program director for Hillel. For the past eleven years Sarah Siegel has served as campaign director for the Cleveland Jewish Federation. Steven Cohen lived in Rwanda for eighteen months feeding starving children. Miriam Gold directs a chemical dependency rehabilitation program designed especially for Jewish teenagers. Rabbi Daniel Field was recently appointed director of an AIDS service agency. These people are prototypes of a group who go about the business of Tikkun Olam, of repairing the world, in different parts of our society and in different capacities. They represent the over five hundred Jewish professionals who have graduated from HUC-JIR’s Irwin Daniels School of Jewish Communal Service (SJCS) since its beginning 30 years ago.
The launching of the SJCS was rooted in the societal developments of the 1960s. According to Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, HUC-JIR Chancellor, the social programs and political changes of the 1960s created a “brain drain” in the American Jewish community. Jewish professionals left Jewish agencies to join the New Frontier and Great Society ranks. “There were a number of positions (in the Jewish community) that were simply not getting filled by qualified individuals,” Dr. Gottschalk commented.
In 1967 Jewish community federations raised over 179 million dollars for the Israel Emergency Fund of the United Jewish Appeal. These monies were in addition to the UJA’s regular 1967 campaign funds. According to the 1967 Jewish Yearbook, eight new Jewish community centers were completed at a cost of approximately 9.1 million dollars. The number of Jewish Community Centers would increase by fifteen in the late 1960s. Despite the tremendous growth within the Jewish community, all the Jewish sponsored agencies in America were staffed by fewer than 5,000 professional or semi-professional people who, for the most part, had little or no positive Jewish identity. There was concern that these individuals, while able to provide services, would be unable to provide positive Jewish role models for the next generation of Jews.
The first response to the growing dearth of Jewish communal professionals came through Dr. Gottschalk. Bert Gold, then Director of the Jewish Community Centers Association of Los Angeles, wrote a Feasibility Report to determine the viability of a school of Jewish communal service. With that report, HUC-JIR, under the leadership of Dr. Gottschalk, launched a trailblazing approach to the education of Jewish communal workers that would forever change the lives of its alumni, its faculty members, and the hundreds of Jewish and secular institutions where Jewish communal professionals work.
Gold proposed that HUC-JIR’s Los Angeles School create a Department of Jewish Communal Service and offer a “series of courses in Jewish studies on both the undergraduate and graduate levels to supplement the courses offered in undergraduate majors in social welfare and in graduate schools of social work.” He further proposed that the department award a master’s degree in Jewish Communal Service. Gold’s proposal received endorsement from the full HUC-JIR Board of Governors. The SJCS thus became an intrinsic part of the evolving mission of HUC-JIR’s Los Angeles School.
On July 1, 1968, Professor Gerald B. Bubis was appointed Director of the SJCS. He was given one year to realize the vision of Gold, Gottschalk, and the College-Institute. “I was given a great gift of time to think, to prepare, to construct, to theorize,” Professor Bubis said. “I went all over the country and read all there was to read about prior schools. I interviewed people in fourteen cities and seven Jewish camps. I asked professionals what they thought should be taught to other professionals.” As the SJCS became a reality, its first mission statement was adopted:
The School of Jewish Communal Service at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion was created to help meet the personnel needs of the American Jewish community agencies. It is dedicated to the enrichment of American Jewish life. The School seeks to awaken its students to their Jewish heritage and values, and to prepare them for service in the Jewish community. The School will concentrate on the values, knowledge, and skills most likely to develop a commitment to careers in Jewish community service. Eclectic in its approach and contemporary in its outlook, the School hopes to contribute to its students’ independence of thought and inquiry, to their creativity and open-mindedness, and to their desire to serve the American Jewish community and their fellow man.
During the spring of 1969, seventy-five people inquired about the new program. Twenty-four applied. Thirteen men and two women from eight states and one Canadian province were accepted. The first official semester of the Jewish Communal Service department began on HUC-JIR’s original site on Appian Way in the Hollywood Hills. Class size was clearly limited by available space. Bubis shared his office with the librarian, Harvey Horowitz. The rare book collection was housed in the walk-in refrigerator.
Howard Charish, executive director of the Philadelphia Jewish Federation, was a member of that inaugural class. “It was very exciting to be a part of that first year. I remember Fred Gottschalk telling us how important this new program was.”
A high-caliber faculty added to the enthusiasm of that first year. Judah Shapiro was past president of the National Conference of Jewish Communal Service and had worked with the Joint Distribution Committee to restore Jewish agencies in Europe after World War II. Isidore Sobeloff had been Executive Vice President of the Detroit Federation and Executive President of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation. Ellis Rivkin was a Professor of Jewish history at the Cincinnati School and author of Jewish Values and Beliefs. Boris Smolar had been editor at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
By its second year, the SJCS was already exhibiting the Jewish pluralism that continues today. Its four men and nine women identified as Lubavitch, Orthodox, Modern Orthodox, “Conservadox,” Reform, Reconstructionist, culturally Jewish, and “Just Jewish.” Such diversity under the aegis of a Reform institution continues to be just one of the many remarkable characteristics of the School of Jewish Communal Service.
Another remarkable characteristic is the ongoing ability to adapt changes in curriculum to accommodate the growing needs of the Jewish community. In 1971, for example, the SJCS formed a partnership with the University of Southern California School of Social Work. Students beginning their graduate training in social work could enroll in the SJCS’s master’s degree program concurrently to receive a double master’s degree. The Certificate in Jewish Communal Service remained as a stand-alone option.
Changes such as the MSW-MAJCS dual degree paved the way for an explosion of professional degree programs for Jewish communal professionals. This partnership with the University of Southern California significantly altered the conventional educational path for professionals interested in Jewish communal service.
Over the years, many changes have been made in the program. The original double master’s program of MAJCS and MSW has been expanded and there are now seven different programs offering dual degrees. The MAJCS is now available with Master of Arts in Jewish Education, Judaic Studies, Public Administration, Communications Management, Gerontology, and for rabbinic students. The single master’s in Jewish Communal Service is, of course, still available. Field placement in agencies and programs throughout Jewish Los Angeles is mandatory, with opportunities including placements at the American Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League, the Bureau of Jewish Education, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the Jewish Home for the Aged, among other organizations.
The most recent degree emphasis is Synagogue Management. This innovative program was developed in partnership with the National Association of Temple Administrators to fill the growing demands for this vitally complex profession.
All communal service students are expected to attend a three-week intensive seminar in Israel during their studies in the SJCS. Many students report that this Israel experience crystallized their professional and personal commitment to the Jewish State. “It really helped me to see the big picture of Jewish life and it became an important turning point in my professional development,” said Dan Rothblatt (’86), Director of Development at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles. “I think the Israel trip provides students with tremendous insights into the nuances of Israeli life and society.”
Deborah Messenger (’80), Development Director of American Friends of Technion, said that the Israel trip provided her with “... a finger on the pulse of Israel that was truly amazing. I came away with a real sense of Israel’s profound vitality.”
Exposure to excellent faculty is a factor cited by many students applying to HUC-JIR’s SJCS. “Studying with some of the best Jewish thinkers, both in Los Angeles and in Israel, was so great,” said a late 1970s graduate. “Although there have been times in my career when I would have left the Jewish community, that exposure helped me hearken back to the idealism and vision of the field.”
For many students, the informal educational opportunities have been invaluable. One alumnus said, “For me the school was not just classes. It was a way of life. Learning took place formally and informally. I felt we were enacting the Jewish community in microcosm.” These informal learning experiences include Shabbat dinners, evening lectures, camp weekends, co-curricular days, special holiday programs, biweekly synagogue services as well as a full agenda of working meetings and planning sessions for school events.
When alumni look back on these experiences, they often talk about a ‘new perspective’ gained after graduation. “I learned how to think critically,” said Marsha Rothpan (’94), Assistant Director of the Council of Jewish Life of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles. “Just learning the right questions to ask was very important.”
Over the years, students from Israel, France, Czechoslovakia, Argentina, Slovakia, and Sweden have attended the SJCS. These students instilled their North American classmates with a global sense of the Jewish community and helped provide new perspectives while learning about the American Jewish community. The SJCS is working with the Joint Distribution Committee in both Europe and Latin America to create opportunities for more foreign students to attend HUC-JIR’s communal service programs.
Throughout the years, students have exhibited a collective change in Jewish identification. Rita Lowenthal served as Director of Field Education from 1977 until 1992. She noted that “in the 1970s many students were essentially coming home to Judaism. After circuitous routes through various freedom movements of the 1960s, they had chosen to make a difference through Judaism.”
Bruce Phillips is a professor of Jewish Communal Service and has taught at HUC-JIR since 1980. He echoed the observation made by Rita Lowenthal. “There has been much more interest in Jewish studies over the past ten years. Before that, students came in search of professional skills and we mandated them to study Jewish subjects. It’s almost the other way around now.”
Change was the catalyst that helped create the SJCS. Change continues to be a force behind the School informing everything it does. Since this program began in 1968, a vibrant dynamic has been in play. Students graduate from the School and go into the Jewish community as Jewish professionals. These alumni effect changes in their various fields which in turn feed back to the School and shape the curriculum.
The most recent comprehensive study of alumni was The Chai Report: 18 Years of HUC-JIR School of Jewish Communal Service Alumni Speak. This study was conducted in 1988 by Deborah Burg-Schnirman, Ruth Dubin, Theodore Flaum, Holly Hollander, Esther LiDar, Jeanette Macht, Karen Michel, and Lisa Ney. One hundred and eighty alumni of the certificate, single, and double masters programs responded. A high percentage of the alumni remain in professions within the Jewish community. Many experienced several job changes at the beginning of their careers but the majority remained within the Jewish professional community. Alumni also identified several criteria for job selection. These criteria remained constant whether they were looking for their first or their tenth job: the opportunity for professional growth and advancement. A variety of responsibilities. Personal job satisfaction. The mission of the work. Several students from the class of 1999 are compiling an updated study on the status of graduates.
“The word got out rather quickly that the SJCS was a serious academic environment,” Dr. Gottschalk recalls. “The chance to study with Jerry, who had already established himself as a visionary in the field, as well as with the other faculty was really pretty incredible. Bert Gold agreed with Dr. Gottschalk saying, “The school really turned out the way we had hoped.”
One Jewish professional observed that the SJCS “... raised the bar on how Jewish professionals can and should work in the field. It was the first program to underscore the Jewish aspect of communal service while still retaining a loyalty to the social work milieu in which it had originated.”
“The School set standards for how knowledge of the field should be applied on a pragmatic basis,” Dr. Gottschalk recently observed. “It has served the Reform Movement in a very sophisticated way by having people in key leadership positions in Europe, Israel, and North America who have an appreciation, and a sense of kinship, because of their participation in the program.”
Richard Meyer (‘79), Executive Director of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, observes that, “Looking back almost twenty years since completing the double-masters program and entering Jewish communal service, I am amazed at how much of what I learned still is applicable in my daily practice. Perhaps the program’s most significant impact was that it imbued within me a very clear picture, both of what to expect in the field (lay/professional relations, identifying key community issues, formal and informal institutional politics, among others) and more importantly, how to act in a professional way to accomplish Jewish and organizational goals. To a large extent my grounding, comfort, and confidence is a direct result of that experience.”
A more recent graduate is Dana Sheanin (‘96), a Social Worker at AMETZ Adoption Project of the Jewish Childcare Association in New York City. “How did the School of Jewish Communal Service shape my ideas andpractice? Firstandforemost,theSchool provided me with unique opportunities to meet professional mentors who have continued to serve as teachers, role models, and friends, and who have helped me strategize in challenging professional situations over the past three years. I have often found myself considering what one of them might do with a given task, or how one of them might tackle a problem. As a student I felt very fortunate to have their guidance, but I feel more fortunate that these relationships have continued after school, and with my move to New York. The second area is in terms of my leadership skills. The School provided multiple opportunities to learn where my strengths and weaknesses were, and to challenge myself to overcome them whenever possible. Classes, such as the one taught by Jack Dauber, addressed leadership skills in a direct or concrete way, but the many occasions of interaction with classmates in the School of Communal Service, and across the lines of the Jewish education and rabbinic programs, offered ‘real life’ opportunities to grow as a leader.”
In his The Birth of a School Jerry Bubis wrote, “...we are but beginning a new educational enterprise. Its final form will ever elude us for it must be ever fresh and self renewing.”
In the dynamic interplay between the Jewish professional field and the SJCS, both will continue to influence each other. Changes already begun include a greater emphasis on the study of Jewish Texts, Hebrew, and school-wide services and programs. An increased emphasis on management skills is also emerging. Marla Eglash Abraham, Associate Director of the SJCS commented that students today, compared to her graduating class of 1985, are much more pragmatic. “Students understand that they need management and fund raising skills, particularly clinical social work students who didn’t always perceive the need.”
Dr. Bruce Phillips sees the role of the SJCS as pivotal to the success of the overall Los Angeles School. “This program was really the first formal connection to the USC campus,” he said. “It was the foundation for other relationships with the Jerome H. Louchheim School and the two new undergraduate minors that were created just recently, in early 1999: Judaic Studies and American Jewish Studies.”
Dr. Steven Windmueller, Director of the SJCS, believes a trend in the coming years is that of further integration of HUC-JIR’s Schools. He points to a decision by the HUC-JIR leadership to create a required survey course at all four HUC-JIR sites. At the Los Angeles School there is a growing awareness that the rabbinic students have much to learn in the way of leadership skills from both the Jewish Communal Service students and from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education students. Communal Service students are now part of the twice weekly worship service. An elective called Synagogue Practicum is offered to meet demands of students and needs within the Jewish community.
Dr. Windmueller described an “entrepreneurial spirit” taking hold at the School with workshops and programs being offered for other non-profit organizations, lay leaders of the Jewish community, and working professionals who seek to upgrade their skills. Three new advanced degree programs with USC are currently under discussion. The first new program is a joint Public Policy Ph.D. program with the School of Public Administration. Reflecting a need for, and an emphasis on, Jewish professionals skilled in public relations, an MA in Public Relations/MAJCS with the Annenberg School of Communications at USC is being offered and an MBA/MAJCS with the Marshall School of Business at USC will be offered in the academic year 2000.
Two alumni surveys revealed a fairly consistent vision of Jewish communal professionals as enablers, transformers and, in many cases, leaders of their agencies and communities. “It is very important that our students believe in their ability to transform their agencies and organizations,” Dr. Windmueller explained. “Especially at a time when the organized Jewish community needs new and innovative ideas to attract members and donors. We believe we have a lot to offer our students and the field.”
Dr. Windmueller credits a number of Los Angeles Jewish leaders, especially Irwin Daniels, a Los Angeles business and civic leader, for his 1990 commitment to help underwrite support for the SJCS. Over the years the School’s Advisory Board, which has been chaired by Robert Arkush, Martin Kozberg, Dorothy Goren, and is presently headed by Mike Nissenson, has served as a critical link between the community and the Daniels School. In addition to offering guidance to the School on policies and programs, advisory members have aided the School financially and have functioned as mentors to our students during their years of study.
Dr. Jack Mayer, a former director of the SJCS, recently observed that Jews have always been involved in Tikkun Olam. Opening a school for Jewish communal professionals did not create the notion of repairing the world. However, according to Dr. Mayer, it changed the Tikkun Olam concept by giving it a professional focus. Dr. Mayer adds that while HUC-JIR represents Reform Judaism in its Schools of Sacred Music, Education, and Rabbinic Studies, the School of Jewish Communal Service is pluralistic. Its students represent all branches of Judaism. He calls this the gift of the Reform Movement to the total Jewish community and yet another way in which the world can be repaired.
At HUC-JIR, future rabbis are schooled in Torah and service to the Jewish people. Despite the push–pull of political movements, the SJCS specifically seeks to inspire and direct its students by combining the principles of Torah with acts of human caring and social service. In doing so, the School seeks not only to challenge its graduates, but to push the world in the direction of Gimelut Hasadim, loving acts of kindness. And thus the world may be sustained.
It is the responsibility of the Jewish community to repair the world. We are not expected to complete the work, only to do our share. For thirty years, HUC-JIR’s SJCS in Los Angeles has been preparing others to do their share. As Rabbi Tarfon said: You are not required to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to abstain from it. [Pirke Avot 2:21]
SJCS Field Work Prizes
In honor of the 30th Anniversary of the Irwin Daniels School of Jewish Communal Service, two field work prizes were established: the Madeline and Eugene Goodwin Prize in Field Work Education, established by George Goodwin (‘85) and his siblings in honor of their parents, and the Field Family Prize in Field Work Education, established by Edward Field (‘89) and his family.
Rabbi David Komerofsky has been appointed Associate Dean of Students at the Cincinnati School. Ordained this past June at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, he served as religious school principal at Temple Shalom in Cincinnati for the last two years.
Rabbi Richard Levy has been appointed Director of the School of Rabbinic Studies for HUC-JIR/LA. For over two decades, Rabbi Levy has been Executive Director of the Los Angeles Hillel Council, recently completed a twoyear appointment as President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and has served as Adjunct Lecturer in Judaic Studies at the HUC–JIR’s Daniels School of Jewish Communal Service and the Rabbinic School in Los Angeles.
Dr. Steven F. Windmueller, Director of the Irwin Daniels School of Jewish Communal Service, has been appointed to the rank of Adjunct Associate Professor on the new blended track for administrators who also teach at the College-Institute. Dr. Windmueller is the first person at the Los Angeles School to receive an appointment on this new academic track.
The cherished granddaughter of Mary and Charles Tobias, Honorary Governor and Secretary of the Board of Governors, who will hold a place in our hearts.
The dear father of Stanley P. Gold, member of the Board of Governors and its former Chair, whose memory will be a blessing.
The beloved wife of HUC-JIR/Cincinnati faculty member Dr. Stephen Kaufman, who will be remembered fondly.
The beloved mother of Donald J. Stone, a member of the Board of Governors, who will be deeply missed.
Dr. Geoffrey Wigoder
Esteemed member of the Jerusalem Board of Overseers, editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia Judaica and The Encylcopedia of Judaism, and distinguished author, who will be remembered for his wisdom, humor, and humility.
The Dr. Paul M. and Trudy Steinberg Visiting Professorship
The College-Institute has been blessed to have Dr. Paul M. Steinberg as a part of its administration and faculty for over 40 years. Ordained at the Jewish Institute of Religion in 1949, he has served as a beloved mentor and teacher to generations of students. His distinguished career has seen service as Dean of the Rabbinical School, Dean of the School of Education, Dean of the School of Sacred Music, Dean of the New York School, Executive Dean of the Jerusalem School, Vice President of the College-Institute and, currently, the Eleanor Sinsheimer Distinguished Service Professor of Jewish Religious Education and Human Relations, and Special Assistant to the President.
To honor his commitment to the CollegeInstitute and to the Reform Movement, and that of his wife Trudy Steinberg, Dr. Steinberg was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa at a Special Academic Convocation in 1997. Trudy Steinberg was recognized as ”a dedicated unofficial ambassador of the College-Institute," for her aid in the creation and implementation of HUC-JIR programs in the United States and overseas. HUC-JIR lauds their commitment to Jewish spiritual, intellectual, and cultural education and continuity.
To further celebrate the Steinbergs’ devotion to HUC-JIR, the College-Institute created The Dr. Paul M. Steinberg and Trudy Steinberg Endowment Fund for the Teaching of Human Relations to establish a visiting professorship. Over 350 donors have already made contributions to the Fund, now totalling more than $600,000.
The visiting professorship will be in the field of Human Relations, which will include counseling and group dynamics. In addition to the rabbi’s significant mission as teacher, Dr. Steinberg views the rabbi as a skilled practitioner of human relations and sees counseling as a critical and integral component of the rabbi’s service. Dr. Steinberg notes that the newly established professorship will “enlarge upon the skills of the students who are preparing for service to our people.” In addition to teaching responsibilities at the New York School, the Visiting Professor will also give public lectures and participate in College-Institute sponsored conferences.
New York Young Leadership
Nearly 50 members of the HUC-JIR/NY Young Leadership Initiative, which seeks to acquaint younger Jewish professionals with the College-Institute, met for the first session of this year’s innovative program, “The God We Believe In (or don’t): Coming to Grips with Holiness in Liberal Judaism.”
This monthly program brings congregational leaders from the New York area to HUC-JIR/NY to study and engage in dialogue with some of the greatest teachers in Reform Judaism.
The first session met on October 19 with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner (C ’69) on the topic of The God of the Kabbalists – Ancient and Modern. Participants studied and discussed texts on spirituality, God, and Kabbalah. Teachers of future sessions are Professor Michael Meyer, Professor Tikva Frymer-Kensky, Rabbi Aaron Panken, Rabbi Jack Luxemburg, Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller, and Rabbi Andrea Weiss.
An Inclusive Community Initiative
A reception was held at Todd Schiffman’s home in Beverly Hills to kick off the fund-raising efforts for the Sexual Orientation Issues in Congregations and Community initiative. The afternoon raised more than $45,000 for scholarships, internships, and programming to provide students with the skills necessary to successfully work within an inclusive Jewish community, and to transform commonly-held negative stereotypes. Rabbinic, education, and communal service students will benefit from the initiative. The program is chaired by John Altschul and Dr. Les Zendle.
Empowering Outreach Training: The Gerecht Family Institute for Outreach at HUC-JIR
It all began at an HUC-JIR Associates Program in Rockville, MD, last April. Ash Gerecht approached Rabbi Aaron Panken, Dean of the New York School, with a simple question: “Does HUC-JIR have an Outreach Professor?” “No, but would you like to give us one?” quipped Rabbi Panken. “Maybe,” was the response, and the rest, as they say, was history. With the assistance of Dru Greenwood, National Director of Outreach at the UAHC, and after a few months of thoughtful cooperative planning, the Gerecht Family Institute for Outreach at HUC-JIR was born.
Through the generosity of Ash and Gloria Gerecht and the National Center to Encourage Judaism, this Institute will be endowed with a $1 million gift. This major gift will enable the College-Institute to develop comprehensive outreach education for students at all three stateside centers of learning and to create opportunities for advanced study for rabbis in the field. In an interview, the Gerechts remarked: “We are pleased that this new Institute will further the goals of outreach in the Reform Movement, and it is our hope that it will also encourage other sectors of Judaism to become more active in outreach as well."
In expressing deep gratitude to the Gerecht family for their foresight and their generous support of this vital initiative, Rabbi Panken noted: “Outreach to those on the margins of the Jewish community, to the intermarried, and to those who are interested in exploring Judaism, is a critical part of the role of the rabbi in our current American context. Training our graduates to face the real world they will see in congregations is imperative.”
Ash and Gloria Gerecht established a public foundation in 1980 which became a private family foundation, the National Center to Encourage Judaism (NCEJ), in 1995. NCEJ subsidizes the advertising of introductory Judaism courses by Jewish organizations in the secular press. These grants have been given to many Reform congregations in the past five years, with the cooperation of the UAHC Outreach Department.
Ash Gerecht is chair of CD Publications, a national subscription newsletter firm that he and his wife, Gloria Lantz Gerecht, founded in 1961 in Washington, DC. A Kansas City, MO, native, he is a graduate of Washington University, St. Louis and the University of Chicago. Gloria Gerecht grew up in Dallas and Houston, TX and is a graduate of the University of Chicago
Technology, Then and Now
In 1958, the HUC–JIR Bulletin (a predecessor of The Chronicle) proudly announced “Rabbinic Study Goes Electronical!” Reel-to-reel tape recording and slide projection were in the vanguard of teaching tools for students at that time.
Today, HUC–JIR has advanced to a new level of technology:
For more information or to donate to the Student Information Services Fund, please contact John Bruggeman, Director of Information Services, at (513) 221-1875, ext. 269 or email@example.com
A Living Tribute to Marjorie Spritzer
The Majorie Spritzer Scholarship Fund has been established in memory of the unforgettable Margie Spritzer, z”l, a beloved member of the HUC–JIR Board of Governors and New York Overseer. This fund provides a scholarship to a student at the CollegeInstitute who exhibits the same level of passion and commitment to Jewish education as Margie did.
Michael Spritzer, Margie's husband, said, "The family regards the awarding of this scholarship, and the perpetuation of Margie's memory, with great pride. It is our hope that this scholarship fund will grow, allowing more HUC-JIR students to carry out Margie's legacy and commitment to the College-Institute and the Reform Movement.
The first recipient of the Marjorie Spritzer Scholarship is Jason Rosenberg, a 4th year rabbinic student at HUC-JIR/NY. “Jason brings a quick mind, a great sense of humor, and a caring nature to everything he does, sharing Margie's unshakable commitment to study and to the future of Reform Judaism,” says Rabbi Aaron Panken, Dean of the New York School. “Supporting him is a terrific way to keep Margie’s vision in the years to come.”
Jason will join Rabbi Panken and Eve Starkman, Director of Development, Eastern Region, at Temple Judea in Coral Gables in November for an opportunity to meet Michael and Margie's family and other local donors to the fund. The fund drive was led by Governor/Overseer Debbie Silverman and her husband Russell.
The Robin and Elliott Broidy Scholarship Fund
Robin and Elliott Broidy have generously demonstrated their commitment to the training of professional Jewish educators and support of the expansion of the Rabbinical Program to include ordination at the Los Angeles School. They have established a permanent scholarship endowment known as The Robin and Elliott Broidy Scholarship Fund. The scholarship will benefit a student from the Los Angeles School’s Rhea Hirsch School of Education and School of Rabbinical Studies on an alternating basis annually.
Elliott Broidy is a founder and serves on the Board of Trustees of the California Israel Chamber of Commerce. He is also a Vice President on the Board of Trustees of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, and is active in numerous civic endeavors. He is a Presidential Associate of his alma mater, the University of Southern California. Robin Broidy serves as Chair of the Board of Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s Day School.
Elliott Broidy operates Broidy Capital Management, a private investment company in Los Angeles. Robin Broidy is a former Senior Vice President of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. They have two daughters and reside in Los Angeles.
The Frederick C. Schwartz Prize for Youth Service
In our generation, few alumni have demonstrated such an extraordinary commitment to our College-Institute as Rabbi Fred Schwartz. As a passionate advocate for the faculty, students, and staff, his support has extended well beyond the many dollars he has given and raised, and his impact will continue to be felt by the generations to come. He has been an unstinting supporter of our UAHC camping program and has served as a model for all in his dedication to the youth of the Reform Movement.
In recognition of Rabbi Schwartz's nearly half a century of commitment to the College-Institute and young people of the Reform Movement, the College-Institute, with the help of Fred's former assistants and associates and many other loyal friends, has established the Frederick C. Schwartz Prize for Youth Service. This annual prize will be presented to a third or fourth year student who has demonstrated, during his/her HUC-JIR career, a serious commitment to Torah and the teaching of Torah to the youth of our Movement, whether through camp, NFTY, Hillel, or other youth work.
If you would like to participate in this effort, please contact: Judy Geleerd, Director of Development, Chicago Regional Office, (847) 835-7256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women of Reform Judaism
The College-Institute is blessed to have the support of Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), one of the most generous donors to the College-Institute in its history. WRJ, which started as the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, has been supporting our rabbinic students since 1913. In 1924, the Sisterhoods donated $287,000 to build a dormitory at the Cincinnati School; during the past 21 years alone, the WRJ has donated $2.1 million to the College-Institute.
Through the WRJ’s YES (Youth, Education, and Special Projects) Fund, local Sisterhoods help fund North American rabbinical students at HUC-JIR, Israeli students at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, overseas rabbinical students (through substantial donations to the World Union for Progressive Judaism), and UAHC high school and college activities.
The WRJ donates $90,000 a year for scholarships to HUC-JIR’s North American rabbinical students, in addition to the funding they provide to our foreign students and students in Israel and the awards they designate for cantorial students, as well as the dorm at the Cincinnati School and the reading room at the New York School which they have funded. This amount, which has continued to increase over the years, demonstrates the organization’s commitment to the ongoing growth and expansion of rabbinical studies at HUC-JIR.
Currently, WRJ consists of almost 600 groups in Reform synagogues across the country which comprise approximately 100,000 members. Judith Silverman, WRJ President, stated that “our support of HUC-JIR rabbinical scholarships and cantorial students is one of the most important things that WRJ does.” She added that their goal is to continue to increase donations in the next few years so that WRJ can contribute $100,000 annually to the College-Institute.
Ellen Rosenberg, WRJ Director, emphasized that from the beginning the members of the Sisterhoods felt that “the support of rabbinical students was one of the most important things that they could do.” She continued by noting, “congregants to this day recognize their rabbis as the core of the congregation – as needed and appreciated leaders – thus emphasizing the need for our investment in rabbinical students.
Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman lauded the WRJ: "From the earliest days of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods until this very day with the Women of Reform Judaism, a very special bond has connected us with each other. The support provided the College-Institute through the Sisterhood dormitory, the YES fund, and other scholarship funds has enabled generations of students to complete their studies and serve the Jewish people and our ancient, yet ever new, covenant with God. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been touched by the men and women whose education was made possible by the wonderful and faithful Women of Reform Judaism. Without WRJ, we would be far less than we strive to be.”
Synagogue 102, a support group of the Los Angeles School, held a program entitled “Sacred Symbols: Form, Expression and a Sense of Place” at Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles on June 15. The program featured Marcia Reines Josephy, director/curator of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, and explored the role of art in the synagogue experience.
With the rise of new technologies, HUC-JIR's library syste, in preparing its collections and outreach for the 21st century. Cyberspace will now link our libraries with communities across the globe.
HUC-JIR will soon have an integrated online library system which will link the libraries of the Los Angeles, New York, and Cincinnati Schools. New York and Los Angeles librarians are currently converting 40,000 paper catalog records to a computerized format. These will be added to the existing computerized catalog, creating a database of over 200,000 bibliographic records.
The database, which should be available on the Internet in the late fall, will use Hebrew and English alphabets. HUC-JIR’s Klau Library will thus become available not only to our family of students, faculty, alumni, Governors, Overseers, and staff, but to a worldwide community of students, scholars, Reform Movement congregants, and the larger public seeking information on the history and culture of the Jewish People.
In addition, the library is embarking on the creation of a CD-ROM of Judaica and manuscript materials relating to the Jewish community of Kaifeng, China. This CD-ROM will include scholarly commentary and historical analysis of this unique community, which flourished in the Honan province of central China from 1127 through the late 17th century. The community originated with the arrival of Jews, from Persia or India, whose expertise in the production of printed cotton was extremely useful at a time when China, with its rapidly increasing population, was just introducing cotton in order to meet the acute silk shortage. (During the 18th and 19th centuries, the community declined due to its complete isolation from other centers of Jewish life).
HUC-JIR’s internationally renowned collection of rare Kaifeng items, including fiftynine manuscript volumes, will be digitized for this CD-ROM. It will feature HUC-JIR’s genealogical roster in Chinese and Hebrew of the Kaifeng community (1660-70) as well as a large collection of prayer books obtained by Christian missionaries from Kaifeng in 1850-51. HUC-JIR has entered into an agreement with the Bridwell Library, Southern Methodist University, to include Bridwell’s Kaifeng Torah scroll. In addition, other libraries are being invited to contribute unique Kaifeng manuscripts for this CD-ROM.
John L. Frankel, of Los Angeles, has donated four volumes of musical manuscript containing the regular Sabbath and holiday liturgy used at the Hauptsynagogue in Nürnberg. They had been the property of his father, Theodor Fraenkel, who served as Cantor there from 1901 until his untimely death in 1930.
Two volumes, “Hohe Festage” and “Sabbath,” had belonged to his predecessor, Cantor Moritz Rosenhaupt* (1841-1900). The other two volumes contain entries, both compositions and arrangements of the compositions of others, by Cantor Fraenkel.
These constitute a most unusual and certainly unique artifact of Jewish musical life in that community.
* The Klau Library, HUC-JIR/NY has Rosenhaupt’s three-volume work, “Schire Ohel Jaakov” in the Rare Book Room.