t is remarkable that one man’s journey to build a new life in a new homeland would so deeply affect the lives
of tomorrow’s leaders. One hundred years ago, Maurice Amado, a descendant of Spanish Jews, emigrated
from Izmir, Turkey to New York, where he became a successful financier. He later moved to Los Angeles and in
established a foundation, which today carries on the philanthropic mission of supporting organizations
that perpetuate Sephardic heritage and culture. His family members, who direct the Maurice Amado
Foundation’s activities today, have recognized the College-Institute’s academic goals by awarding a four-year
grant for its Sephardic Studies Curriculum Project.
This award builds upon four years of groundbreaking work by HUC-JIR, which the Maurice Amado
Foundation has also supported, to determine how Sephardic Studies might be integrated into the core
curriculum of its graduate professional programs. The new multi-year initiative will expand student and
faculty knowledge of the Sephardic heritage and its culture, as well as help to develop the capacity of
HUC-JIR’s students to incorporate the Sephardic experience into their understanding of Judaism and
Through this project, the College-Institute is engaged in a historic initiative to identify the Sephardic canon
for teaching and learning for its students who will become leaders of Reform Judaism and the larger Jewish
community. This academic approach and institutional commitment are unique to HUC-JIR, as no other
Jewish seminary in America has committed to enriching itself and its student body through the integration
of Sephardic Studies into its curriculum.
The project is led by Dr. Lewis M. Barth, Dean of HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, and Dr. Mark
Kligman, Associate Professor of Jewish Musicology at HUC-JIR/New York, who
work closely with the trustees of the Maurice Amado Foundation and
Project leaders at each HUC-JIR campus. The Foundation’s support is
enabling the College-Institute to develop new classes and learning
modules in Sephardic Studies, create student internships,
promote faculty research, and foster the general professional
growth of faculty in this area. Through conferences and
symposia supported by the grant, the College-Institute
also will present the results of the Project to scholars and
Jewish educators on the regional and national level.
To help HUC-JIR achieve these goals, experts in
Sephardic Studies are serving as visiting professors
and scholars-in-residence at the College-Institute.
Currently, one of the most internationally respected
scholars of Sephardic Studies, Dr. Aron Rodrigue, a
specialist in Modern Sephardic History at Stanford
University, is serving in residence at HUC-JIR’s stateside
campuses and will participate in a faculty retreat in the
spring. Dr. Rodrigue and other visiting professors will advise
the Curriculum Project and help to embed Sephardic Studies
into the curriculum.
The generosity of the Maurice Amado Foundation is enabling the College-Institute
to teach the Sephardic heritage to its students as a part of the overall Jewish experience.
The investment by the Foundation and its trustees is helping HUC-JIR fulfill its commitment to transforming
today’s students into Jewish leaders whose vision for Jewish life is grounded in a broadened understanding
of the richness of our shared Jewish heritage.
Cultural Heritage and Consciousness:
Studies into the Curriculum
Dr. Mark Kligman, Associate
Professor of Jewish Musicology at
HUC-JIR/New York, amongst
cantorial students in his Jewish
Music Research class.