Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
2005-2006
Annual Report
| Page 19
T
he College-Institute’s faculty is dedicated to sup-
porting, nurturing, and training the educational
and spiritual growth of its student body, the next
generation of Reform Jewish leaders. The faculty is
comprised of experts in Bible, ancient Near Eastern
languages, Hellenistic studies, Rabbinics, Jewish reli-
gious thought, philosophy, Jewish law, modern Jewish
history, Judaic studies, musicology, education, com-
munal service and pastoral counseling. This year
HUC-JIR welcomes two new scholars as full-time
ranked faculty: Rabbi David Levine, Ph.D., and Dr.
Beatrice J.W. Lawrence, who have joined our commu-
nity of esteemed mentors and distinguished educators.
As the Inaugural David and Roslyn Sonabend
Associate Professor of Talmud and Halakhah,
Dr. David Levine
brings his expertise in the study
of Jewish Law and research to the Year-In-Israel
and Israel Rabbinical programs at HUC-JIR in
Jerusalem. The Sonabend Professorship for an
Emerging Scholar was established by Sheila Lambert,
a member of the Board of Governors, and her
husband, Bill Lambert, in honor of Sheila’s, and her
sister, Erica Frederick’s, parents, David and Roslyn
Sonabend, as an expression of four generations of
their family’s love and commitment to Israel.
Levine has been with the College-Institute since
2000,
teaching contemporary Jewish Studies. He
recalls that he was “attracted to HUC-JIR as an
institution of Jewish learning, that the people who
make their way to the Jerusalem school – faculty,
students, administrators, co-workers – are sincere,
devoted, highly-intelligent, and deeply invested in
Torah u’Mitzvot
intensive learning and seeking its
application, personally and communally.” He stresses
that the “inclusiveness of the Jewish experience and
the multi-faceted nature of religious expression on
campus are unique and stimulating.”
Levine has lectured in Jewish History and Talmud at
the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem,
as Visiting Assistant Professor of Talmud and
Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and
Instructor of Talmud at the Rothberg School for
Overseas Students and in the Talmud Department at
The Hebrew University. He has published numerous
scholarly articles on responsa, Talmudic tradition,
and literature, and written on rituals, miracles, magic,
rabbis and holy men in Talmudic antiquity. He has
worked on curriculum development in Rabbinic
Literature for the TALI Education Fund, educational
programming at Bet Morasha in Jerusalem, and con-
tinues his work with students at The Hebrew
University School for Overseas Students. Currently,
he is working with Shlomo Fox on a book entitled
Values at War - The Land of Israel as a Moral Challenge
.
A scholar in Hebrew Bible and Jewish Hermeneutics,
Beatrice J.W. Lawrence
joins HUC-JIR in Los
Angeles as the newly appointed Instructor of Bible.
When discussing the opportunity to teach at HUC-
JIR, Lawrence emphasizes how it is regarded as an
institution in which “synthesis of the intellectual and
the spiritual is highly valued.” She recalls that she
was “drawn to this field of study not only because
it inspired me intellectually, but because I also found
it to be spiritually fulfilling, and I appreciate learning
and teaching in an environment in which one is not
expected to live a bifurcated life.”
Lawrence praises her students’ motivation and values the
intensity and commitment that they apply to their
studies. Her Bible courses focus on learning how to
cultivate the skills needed for genuinely “hearing” the
Torah. She puts special emphasis on developing the
critical tools of analysis, and examining the text and
context of the Torah. She engages students to approach
this understanding through historical criticism, modern
literary analysis, and traditional Jewish perspectives.
In her Bible 507 course, where students study the
Book
of Job
,
she examines the place of Job in modern
Jewish thought, especially in post-Holocaust theology.
A distinguished scholar of Bible, Lawrence has taught
at Emory University, the Candler School of Theology,
and the Melton Adult Mini-School, and has also
served as lay cantor for Congregation Bet Haverim
in Atlanta, Georgia. Her published articles on
Ketuvim
,
Megillot
,
Purification,
Qiddushin
,
and
Sotah
will soon
appear in the publication
The New Interpreter’s
Dictionary of the Bible
.
Lawrence is completing her
Ph.D. dissertation at Emory University, which explores
Jethro and Jewish Identity: Identity-Negotiation in
Jewish Biblical Interpretation.”
Emerging Scholars Enrich Teaching
Rabbi David Levine,
Ph.D.
,
Inaugural David
and Roslyn Sonabend
Associate Professor of
Talmud and Halakhah,
HUC-JIR, Jerusalem
Beatrice J.W. Lawrence,
Instructor of Bible, HUC-
JIR/Los Angeles