H
EBREW
U
NION
C
OLLEGE
-
J
EWISH
I
NSTITUTE OF
R
ELIGION
2003-2004
Annual Report
|
Page 3
he College-Institute is grateful for its partnerships
with many Federations throughout the country,
including the Federations in Cincinnati and
Los Angeles, whose regular support significantly
advances HUC-JIR’s educational objectives.
Within the past year, HUC-JIR’s partnership with
UJA-Federation of New York has been particularly
fruitful, as this Federation’s Commissions have
proactively reached out to HUC-JIR to partner
on three innovative projects. “We are grateful
for these landmark grants, which will engender
transformative impact on the Reform Movement
and
klal yisrael
,”
says Rabbi Ellenson.
A $1.8 million grant has established the
Leadership Institute for Congregational School
Principals
,
a historic, transdenominational program
jointly sponsored by HUC-JIR and the Jewish
Theological Seminary. Initiated by a planning grant
from UJA-Federation of New York’s Commission on
Jewish Identity and Renewal (CoJIR), the Leadership
Institute addresses the need for professional growth
in Jewish educational leadership for Reform,
Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Orthodox
congregational and communal schools in New York,
Long Island, Westchester, and the greater metropolitan
area extending to New Jersey and Pennsylvania—an
area that serves nearly 35,000 students. Forty
congregational leaders will be
selected to participate in the
two-year program, taught by
faculty drawn from the
scholars and educators at
HUC-JIR and JTS. The mission
of the Leadership Institute is
to ensure that congregational
school principals master
critical competencies in the
core areas of leadership,
pedagogy, and Judaica, and
develop the attitudes and
skills for further professional
development.
The
Experiment in Congregational Education
(
ECE
),
an innovative project of the Rhea Hirsch
School of Education with over 10 years of pioneering
experience in synagogue transformation, guides
congregations to revitalize themselves by bringing
Jewish learning to every aspect of congregational life.
A grant of $1,050,000 from UJA-Federation of New
York for
ECE—Re-Imagine
supports a 24-month
project to engage synagogues of all denominations
in the New York area in a systemic process of re-
imagining their congregational education, focusing
specifically on the religious school through a
combination of Internet-based distance education
and management tools with print materials and
direct consultation. The goal is to develop and test
a scalable model to reach more congregations of
various sizes across denominations.
Community service
has long been a required part
of the Year-In-Israel Program curriculum for all first-
year rabbinical, cantorial, and education students.
Courses, special seminars, and field study programs
stress the concepts of
achdut
and
areivut
Jewish
solidarity and mutual responsibility, which are core
values for individuals preparing for positions of Jewish
leadership. The implementation of an integrative
core curriculum for the five-year rabbinical program
that takes a new look at how students learn and
develop their personal vision for Jewish life led to
the reshaping of the Jerusalem community service
activities after American models for service-learning
programs, which do not commonly exist in Israel. A
$50,000 grant from UJA-Federation of New York’s
Solelim Venture Philanthropy Group supports the
implementation of this innovative program. The grant
has enabled HUC-JIR to have a coordinator, Elaine
Matlow Tal-El, who through personal interviews with
students and intensive outreach to the wider community,
has been able to place 69 Year-In-Israel students in
a variety of social welfare agencies and non-profits
that serve poor, elderly, and immigrant Israelis from
all walks of life – ranging from organizing the Ethiopian
community and working with prisoners and parolees
to assisting a restaurant that feeds the homeless.
With travel funds, this program has been able to
broaden its geographical outreach, going as far south
as Kibbutz Lotan, where students work on ecological
projects. Students meet for Wednesday seminars on
topics including “Social Gaps in Israel” and “Problems
in Israel as a Welfare State,” as well as in small
groups facilitated by faculty to share their experiences
and discuss problems and issues that arise.
HUC-JIR’s mission of higher Jewish education,
leadership training, and community outreach is
meaningfully fulfilled through these three initiatives,
whose impact will be felt by communities far and
wide for years to come.
Year-In-Israel rabbinical students
(
from left) Katie Bauman, Rachel
Isaacson, and David Reiner celebrate
Hanukkah with Ethiopian families as
part of their community service.
T
Federation Grants
Further HUC-JIR’s Mission