Pope John Paul II. has elevated Rabbi Walter Jacob (C' 55) of Pittsburgh, President of the Abraham Geiger College at the University of Potsdam, to the Knighthood of St. Gregory the Great.
The honour is given to a leading figure of American Reform Judaism on the occasion of Rabbi Jacob's 75th birthday and his golden ordination jubilee in 2005. Walter Jacob has been instrumental in the renaissance of Reform Judaism in Germany since 1990. Born in Augsburg (Germany) on March 13, 1930, Walter Jacob is a former President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and has also continually contributed to Jewish-Catholic dialogue over decades. In 1969, he accompanied John Joseph Cardinal Wright to Rome as member of his "Cardinal's family".
The Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great is one of the most distinguished papal honours. It is only very occasionally given to Non-Catholics (and Non-Christians for that matter). Currently, only 4 Jews alive carry this honour in the world. The investiture shall be held in Pittsburgh by the Most Reverend Donald W. Wuerl, Bishop of Pittsburgh during the birthday celebrations.
Dr. Marc Bregman (Professor of Rabbinic Literature, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem), published The Tanhuma-Yelammedenu Literature: Studies in the Evolution of the Versions [Hebrew], by Gorgias Press, 2003. Pages: x + 299 + double-sided photographic plate, 5 page English abstract + 3 page English translation of Cairo Geniza fragment (Cambridge University Library, T-S C1 46).
Dr. Haya Gavish (Lecturer on Hebrew Language, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem) published the book We Were Zionists, The Jewish Community of Zakho, Kurdistan: A Story and a Document by The Ben-Zvi Institute, Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Jerusalem ?2004.
Seymour (Sy) Gitin, (C '62) was awarded the Israel's Museum's Percia Schimmel Prize for distinguished contributions to the Archaeology of Eretz-Israel and the Lands of the Bible. The award, which is one of the highest honors given in the field of archaeology, was conferred at a public ceremony at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on December 22, 2004. Dr. Gitin is the Dorot Director and Professor of Archaeology at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem. He was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters for his work in the field of Biblical Archaeology from Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem, in March of 2003.
Dr. George M. Goodwin (School of Communal Service, '85), is the coeditor of "The Jews of Rhode Island," just published by Brandeis University Press as part of Professor Jonathan D. Sarna's series on American Jewish History, Culture and Life. Goodwin is the editor of "Rhode Island Jewish Historical Notes," now in its 51st year.
Dr. Alfred Gottschalk (Chancellor Emeritus of HUC-JIR) participated and spoke at the Dedication Ceremonies of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on August 23rd in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Gottschalk was recognized as a founder and founding board member of the Center, where he serves on the National Honorary Board. Dr. Gottschalk also accepted a new appointment to the Board of Governors of the Oxford Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.
Professor Reuven Firestone (Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam and Director of the Edgar F. Magnin School of Graduate Studies, HUC-JIR/LA) book Children of Abraham has been translated into Turkish and published with the assistance of the Jewish community in Turkeym the first work of its kind to offer a comprehensive introduction to Judaism with an emphasis on issues of particular concern to Muslims. The Children of Abraham books were developed with a generous grant from AJC's Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Institute for Interreligious Understanding. Professor Firestone will deliver the 2005 McMurrin Lecture, The Problem of 'Chosenness' in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, on February 3rd in association with the University of Utah. He will discuss the idea of 'chosenness' and the problems it creates for believers in the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Dr. Yossi Leshem (Adjunct Assistant Professor Of Bible, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem) published the article "And He Loved Him Greatly" (1 Samuel, 16, 21) in the quarterly journal Beit Mikra, of the Israel Society for Biblical Research.
Rabbi Michael Signer (C '70) the Abrams Professor of Jewish Thought and Culture at the University of Notre Dame, has been named the Man of Reconciliation 2005 by the Polish Council of Christians and Jews. The title is awarded each year to individuals from outside Poland who have made significant contributions to the Christian-Jewish dialogue in Poland. Signer's contributions to the Christian-Jewish dialogue in Poland include lecturing in Polish seminaries and Catholic theology faculties in 1995, and participation in a 1997 seminar in both Auschwitz and Krakow, Poland, on the future of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Dr. David Sperling's (Professor of Bible at HUC-JIR/New York) essay, "Monotheism and Ancient Israelite Religion," has appeared in Daniel Snell (ed), A Companion to the Ancient Near East (2005), published by Blackwell in its series Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World.