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May 05, 2011
Spotlight On
News at HUC-JIR
HUC-JIR in the News
Faculty News
Events
Photo of the Week
New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery
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HUC-JIR News is a weekly e-newsletter produced by HUC-JIR's National Public Affairs Office.
Spotlight On
Survey Confirms the Depth of the Political Divide among Jewish Voters

In a study conducted by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D., Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service at HUC-JIR's Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, involving some 2300 Jewish voters, the findings confirm a deep liberal-conservative split which models the current political landscape of the country. In this particular study one finds a distinctive Jewish conservative voice emerging on Israel-related matters and an array of domestic social issues. The data also suggests that among highly engaged Jews, those who are active within Jewish religious and communal life, there is a sharp divide on political attitudes and policies. The intensity of this political and social disconnect could also be seen in the additional comments offered by many participants to this survey. In the statements that accompanied a number of specific questions and at the conclusion to the study, participants offered a broad range of personal and policy reflections as well as portrayed the anger and concern existing within the Jewish community about the political well-being of the country and the status of the State of Israel. This political survey was intended to provide a snapshot of a significant number of Jewish voters (2300 individuals participated). The results reveal some interesting insights into the depth and intensity of Jewish political engagement, but by the nature of this study it does not permit one to make any defining conclusions. Click here to view the complete survey findings and analysis. Click here to read about Dr. Windmueller's study in eJewishPhilanthropy.

News at HUC-JIR
HUC-JIR/Cincinnati Graduation and Ordination Ceremonies

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati will hold Graduation Ceremonies on Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm and Ordination Ceremonies on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 9 am. Graduation Ceremonies will take place at Isaac M. Wise Temple (8329 Ridge Road, Cincinnati) and Ordination Ceremonies will take place at Plum Street Temple (720 Plum Street, Cincinnati). Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., will present honorary degrees and awards to leading academic, communal, and civic leaders; award earned degrees to HUC-JIR's graduates; and ordain the Rabbinical Class of 2011. Dr. Marc Saperstein, Principal, Leo Baeck College, will present the Graduation address. Dr. Edward Goldman, Bettan Chair Emeritus in Midrash and Homiletics, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, will present the Ordination address.

HUC Press Publishes Benny Kraut's "The Greening of American Orthodox Judaism: Yavneh in the 1960s"

HUC Press is pleased to announce the publication of Benny Kraut's "The Greening of American Orthodox Judaism: Yavneh in the 1960s," the history of the Yavneh religious students collegiate organization that flourished in the 1960s. This fascinating historical study tells a story within a story. Benny Kraut's primary aim was to reconstruct the history of a relatively unknown and short-lived Jewish collegiate organization, Yavneh: The National Jewish Religious Students Association, particularly during its heyday in the sixties. But his historical narrative of Yavneh-its surprising appearance in 1960, its mission and organizational efflorescence, its stunning educational innovations, its problematic engagement with inter-Jewish pluralism, and its lamentable but understandable demise in 1980-81-is framed within the context of an evolving American Orthodox Judaism that during these precise decades began to undergo both a remarkable religious revival and a deep-seated religious polarization. The history of Yavneh thus exposes both trends in bold relief. On the one hand, in so many intellectual, religious, and cultural ways, Yavneh and its members and supporters contributed significantly to the (modern) Orthodox revitalization. On the other hand, the organization and its students experienced the gamut of internal Orthodox divisions over religious ideology, educational priorities, and openness to non-Orthodox movements and secular culture. Kraut's book includes a detailed and wonderful foreword by Dr. Jonathan Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University. The book is available from HUC Press's distributor, Wayne State University Press. Click here to purchase the book.

HUC-JIR Announces Appointment of Kristi Garroway as Visiting Assistant Professor of Bible

HUC-JIR is pleased to announce that Dr. Kristi Garroway will be joining the faculty at HUC-JIR's Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles as Visiting Assistant Professor of Bible, as of July 1, 2011. Dr. Garroway received her Ph.D. from HUC-JIR/Cincinnati in 2009, on the topic "The Not-Yet-Adult: The Construction of "Child" in the Ancient Near East: Towards an Understanding of the Legal and Social Status of Children in Biblical Israel and Surrounding Cultures." Dr. Garroway's scholarship and teaching interests include Biblical Israel and ancient Near Eastern cultures, archeological and anthropological theory, and gender and minority studies. Dr. Garroway will be teaching for the School of Rabbinical Studies and the Jerome H. Louchheim School of Judaic Studies. Dr. Josh Holo, Dean and Associate Professor of Jewish History at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles Jack H. Skirball Campus, said, "Dr. Garroway brings a unique set of skills and interests to our Bible curriculum in HUC-JIR/Los Angeles's School of Rabbinical Studies and Louchheim School. She knows the programs well, having already successfully taught in both, and her approach to Bible incorporates the fullness of our contemporary grasp of Biblical civilization-not only literary and religious but also archeological. Her scholarship on the status of children in the Bible represents the best of the Reform Judaism's combination of critical analysis and committed engagement with our heritage, modeling that richness for our students."

HUC-JIR in the News
Future Rabbis, Conflicted About Israel - The Jewish Week

The fact that a number of American rabbinical students from the liberal denominations come back from their year of study in Israel feeling conflicted about the Jewish state is worrisome, but not surprising. There are no statistics available on how many students feel this way or their level of discontent, but anecdotal evidence suggests that many are feeling some degree of alienation, consistent with widespread polls and reports about their peers throughout the American Jewish community. Officials of the seminaries acknowledge that, as Rabbi David Ellenson, President of the Reform movement's Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, told us this week, many students return feeling "both attached to and critical of Israel." He describes the process as "a kind of engaged confusion, born of an honest attempt to grapple with the complexities of their relationship with Israel, the land and the people." It is easy, and less than helpful, for an older generation of Jews to berate these future spiritual leaders of American Jewry for taking part, for example, in anti-government demonstrations or boycotting products made in the Jewish communities of the West Bank. Instead, the goal should be to help bridge the generational divide by understanding each other and acknowledging different worldviews that come into play, underscoring the need for Modern Israel education at home and in our schools.

For Zion's Sake, I Will Not Keep Silent: A Rabbinical Student Perspective on Zionism and a Love for Israel - Rabbis for Human Rights

Miriam Farber, a rabbinical student at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, writes, "I have a confession. It may be shocking for some, completely expected for others. I am a Zionist, a lover of Israel. I have lived here, in Jerusalem, for two years. To my deep sadness, I will be flying to New York in less than three weeks - and this time, there's no already-purchased, return ticket back to Israel. I spend plenty of my student loan money in Israel, I eagerly discuss Israel with my classmates, teachers, and friends, and I celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut joyfully. I also have spent this year participating in Encounter's Advanced Leadership Seminar, learning about Palestinian civic society, and facilitating trips of Diaspora Jewish leaders to visit Bethlehem and hear Palestinian narratives. I have visited friends in the West Bank, and eaten countless meals of delicious hummus and falafel. I do not hesitate to share the stories I've heard over the past two years with my friends in Jerusalem and in North America. In fact, I see this as part of how I express my love for Israel. Unlike some, I do not see the two paragraphs above as at all contradictory. In Rabbi Daniel Gordis' recent articles on his website and in the Jerusalem Post, he paints a black and white, one-dimensional picture of the anti-Zionist rabbinical student."

Warm Food, Warm Meals At HUC-JIR - The Jewish Week

Students at HUC-JIR began serving meals, on an ad hoc basis, to needy people in Greenwich Village in the early 1980s, making the Monday night soup kitchen a formal institution in 1988. Every week-no matter the weather, no matter what holiday occurs that day, no matter the state of the economy-a few dozen volunteers from the Reform seminary, and a cadre of other volunteers, welcome and serve more than 100 guests. "People are greeted personally" and seated in a HUC-JIR conference room, at tables decorated with flowers and tablecloths, says Rabbi Renni Altman, Director of the Rabbinical Program at HUC-JIR/New York. On Monday, May 2, 2011, a group of eighth- and ninth-grade students came from the Central Synagogue Religious School to volunteer at the Soup Kitchen. Before they helped serve dinner, they stood in line and took part in a discussion about the value of tzedakah. This week, Daniel Bar-Nahum, a fourth-year rabbinical student at HUC-JIR/New York, served as a student chef. Also available each Monday night is a clothes closet with various items distributed to those in need. "We try to make it real upbeat," Rabbi Altman says. "A place of dignity." Click here for further information on the HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen.

D'var Torah: Emor: Days of Awe and Remembrance - RJ.org

Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, writes, "These days are somber days in the State of Israel. This Shabbat is now known in Israel in our Progressive (Reform) Congregations as Shabbat Tekumah, the Shabbat of . . . it's not so easy to translate. The root this word is kuf-vav-mem, which means, to "stand up"; but in this form it really means, to "stand up for one's self," to "reestablish one's self." Perhaps the best translation would be: the "birth of a nation!" This is the Shabbat between Israel's Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust and Resistance (Yom HaShoah V'HaG'vurah, and Israel's Memorial and Independence Days (Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzma-ut). These are the newest "holy" days in our Jewish calendar, coming in a ten-day cycle reminiscent of the Ten Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim). In fact, the late Rabbi Benjamin Hollander (beloved teacher of Torah at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem), was the first to explain to me that these days are indeed, the contemporary Days of Awe. We begin a few days after Passover with the Memorial Day for the Holocaust and Resistance. The setting of this date was a fascinating negotiation."

What's in a Name? Choosing 'Rabba' Over 'Rav,' and Why - The Jewish Daily Forward

Among other pioneering women clergy, reactions to Kaya Stern-Kaufman's decision to call herself 'rabba,' the Hebrew feminized version of 'rabbi,' rather than 'rabbi,' produced mixed responses. Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson, Director of the Women's Rabbinic Network, said, "For me, I felt completely comfortable inhabiting and using the title 'rabbi.' In fact, it was extremely important to me that my title be the same as that of my male colleagues, and now, 27 years after my ordination, I wear the title proudly."

Faculty News
HUC-JIR is proud of our accomplished faculty:

Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Jewish Studies, will participate in an international symposium, "Legal Scholar - Preacher - Spiritual Adviser: Changing Roles of Rabbis, Pastors, and Priests" in Regensburg, Germany on September 19-22, 2011. Click here for further information. Rabbi Firestone will be presenting a keynote presentation at an upcoming conference at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, one of the world's foremost centers for Islamic Studies, on May 18-19, 2011. The conference title is "The Root Causes of Terrorism: A Religious Studies Perspective." Click here for further information. He will be teaching for one week at the Levisson Instituut in Amsterdam to help train their cohort of Reform rabbis. Click here for further information. Rabbi Firestone will present at "Religion & Peace: Peace in Monotheistic Traditions," a conference at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem hosted jointly by the Van Leer Institute and Bar Ilan University. His presentation, "We belong to a Religion of Peace, but You belong to a Religion of War," will argue that religions do not really strive for peace.
  
Dr. Lisa Grant, Associate Professor of Jewish Education, is co-editor of the International Handbook in Jewish Education. She will teach a seminar on practitioner research, "Igniting the Sparks: How Practitioner Inquiry Can Help Answer Hot Questions in Jewish Education" at the Leo Baeck College in London on May 18, 2011. The following day, she will be part of both the opening keynote and closing plenary of a day-long conference on research in Jewish education, sponsored by the UJIA. Dr. Grant will speak at Finchley Reform Temple in London on Shabbat, May 14, where HUC-JIR alumna Zoe Jacobs currently serves as cantor. Dr. Grant will be part of a plenary session highlighting the groundbreaking International Handbook of Jewish Education at the Network for Research in Jewish Education, which will take place at York University in Toronto from June 12-14. Click here for further information.
  
Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, Ph.D., Barbara and Stephen Friedman Professor of Liturgy, Worship, and Ritual, will participate in an international symposium, "Legal Scholar - Preacher - Spiritual Adviser: Changing Roles of Rabbis, Pastors, and Priests" in Regensburg, Germany on September 19-22, 2011. Click here for further information.

Events
HUC-JIR/New York Graduation and Ordination/Investiture Ceremonies: May 5 and 8 at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York will hold Graduation Ceremonies on Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 4 pm and Investiture & Ordination Ceremonies on Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 9 am. The convocations will take place at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York (10 East 66th Street entrance for Graduation; Fifth Avenue at 65th Street entrance for Ordination/Investiture). Rabbi Ellenson will present honorary degrees and awards to leading academic, communal, and civic leaders; award earned degrees to HUC-JIR's graduates; ordain the Rabbinical Class of 2011; and invest the Cantorial Class of 2011. Rabbi Arthur Green, Ph.D., Irving Brudnick Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Religion and Rector of the Rabbinical School at Hebrew College, will present the Graduation address. Rabbi Rachel Cowan, Executive Director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, will present the Ordination address.

"Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story:" May 10 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

On Tuesday, May 10, 2011, the American Jewish Archives at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati will host the premiere of the film, "Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story." The story is brought to life through Dustin Hoffman's narration, and interviews with dozens of passionate and articulate fans, writers, executives. Fans including Ron Howard and Larry King connect the stories of baseball to their own lives, and to the turbulent history of the last century. Their stories are inter-cut with dramatic and never-before-seen film clips and photos of great Jewish players, unforgettable games, and the broad sweep of American history.

"Siona Benjamin: Esther Megillah" Opening Reception: May 11 at HUC-JIR/New York

On Wednesday, May 11, 2011, from 5:30-7:30 pm, the HUC-JIR Museum at the New York campus will host the opening reception of "Siona Benjamin: Esther Megillah." Originally from Bombay, painter Siona Benjamin was raised Jewish in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim area of India. Now living in the US, Benjamin creates work that combines the imagery of her past with the role she plays in America today. Her work is inspired by both Indian miniature paintings and Jewish and Christian illuminated manuscripts. The Esther Megillah is the basis for the Jewish celebration of the festival of Purim. The exhibition is on view through June 30, 2011. Photo ID and RSVP required: Allison Glazer at aglazer@huc.edu or 212-824-2293. Free and open to the public.

Concerts on Clifton Spring Concert: May 15 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

Paul Ben-Haim's Three Songs without Words for Viola and Piano, W. A. Mozart-The Piano Quartet in E flat Major KV 493, and Gabriel Faure's The Piano Quartet in C Minor Op. 15 will be performed. Reception with musicians to follow. Free and open to the public. RSVP to outreach@hucinci.org.

HUC-JIR Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles Graduation and Ordination Ceremonies: May 15 and 16 in Los Angeles

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles will hold Ordination Ceremonies on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 10 am at Wilshire Boulevard Temple (3663 Wilshire Boulevard) and Graduation Ceremonies on Monday, May 16, 2011, at 3 pm on campus (3077 University Avenue). Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, HUC-JIR, will present honorary degrees to leading academic, communal, and civic leaders; award earned degrees to HUC-JIR's graduates; and ordain the Rabbinical Class of 2011. Rabbi Ellenson will speak at Ordination and C.L. Max Nikias, Ph.D., President, University of Southern California, will speak at Graduation.

Rabbi David Ellenson Presents "The Contribution of the Jewish Seminary to American Life and Scholarship:" May 22 at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

Join the HUC-JIR/Cincinnati campus for a special 100th anniversary celebration on Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 4:00 pm. Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, HUC-JIR, will present "The Contribution of the Jewish Seminary to American Life and Scholarship." Reception to follow. Free and open to the public.

American Jewish Archives to Host "Travels in American Jewish History:" June 1-5 in Savannah

The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati will host 'Travels in American Jewish History - A Journey of Jewish Identity & Discovery to Historic Savannah, Georgia" from June 1-5, 2011. This unique program will offer participants the opportunity to travel to Savannah to examine its particular Jewish heritage while studying with the foremost scholars of American Jewish history.

Photo of the Week

HUC-JIR students challenged faculty and staff to a soccer game on May 3, 2011 at Kraft Stadium near Gan Sacher in Jerusalem. About 13 students participated in the game, and a great crowd came out to support the players. Michael Harvey, a first-year rabbinical student at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem who scored a goal during the game, explained, "It was really a great time for the students and the staff, lots of friendly trash talking and competition!" The students lost to the faculty and staff, 7 to 5.

Please click here for a larger image.

New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery

California-based ceramic artist Susan Duham Felix creates one-of-a-kind works that employ the forms and themes of ancient Judaic ceremonial objects in ways that are relevant to contemporary life. Her Shabbat Candle Holder, marked by the processes of pit-firing and smoke-firing in earthy, desert-like colors, includes both Hebrew and English text, stating "Arise, shine, for your light has dawned."

$500, plus shipping and handling. To purchase, please contact: 212-824-2218, museumnyc@huc.edu.

Please click here for a larger image.

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