HUC-JIR Academy for Adult Interfaith Studies in Cincinnati Offers Spring Classes

Friday, February 1, 2002

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's Academy for Adult Interfaith Studies announces its spring term of classes. Five non-credit, continuing education courses in religious studies will be offered on the subjects of confronting evil, Hebrew-Biblical Texts and Christian Jewish Relations, Islam, Jewish customs of death, and the biblical origins of Jewish celebrations. Most courses meet once a week at the College-Institute beginning March 4, 2002. The cost of one course is $50. Participants wanting to enroll in more than one course will be charged $10 for each additional course. A limited number of scholarships are available based on need.

Confronting Evil presents four of Cincinnati's most prominent teachers of social justice in an open discussion of combating racial and religious intolerance in our community. Course instructors Sister Alice Gerdeman, coordinator, Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center; Dr. Amr Wafa; teacher, Adult Education Program, Cincinnati Islamic Institute; Reverend Clarence Wallace, pastor, Presbyterian Church; and Dr. Racelle Weiman, director, The Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education, will present lessons learned from history and strategies for confronting intolerance now and in the future.

The Academy continues its Introduction to Religion series with An Introduction to Islam taught by Karen Dabdoub, administrator and tour docent, Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati. This course will be guided by students' questions and will highlight Islamic beliefs, practices, and holy texts. In addition, the class will address the stereotypes and myths associated with Islam.

Dr. Michael J. Cook, Professor of Intertestamental and Early Christian Literatures at HUC-JIR will teach Hebrew Biblical Texts & Christian-Jewish Relations. Throughout the course a variety of biblical passages will be explored including: the Creation narratives, Noah and the flood, Isaac's birth and near-sacrifice, Aaron and the golden calf, the virgin birth and suffering servant passages in Isaiah, Jonah and the whale, and the visions of Daniel.

When a Jew Dies, an internet class adapted from a course taught to rabbinical students at HUC-JIR, will probe Jewish practices related to death and the mourning process including: the phases of death, between death and burial, preparation of the body, the Jewish funeral, the seven-day mourning period, the extended period of recitation of the memorial prayer, and the annual marking of the anniversary of death. The course will present explanations from a cultural perspective to assist students in understanding the meanings behind the various Jewish rituals and traditions related to death. Course instructor Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph, Professor of Jewish Education and Leadership Development at HUC-JIR will post lessons and responses to student questions to individual e-mail boxes on Mondays.

Students participating in Biblical Origins of Jewish Celebrations, an internet learning course, will examine the laws and modern observance practices of some of the significant Jewish festivals. Students will begin by examining the biblical sources that describe the holidays and will also explore practices that were added by the rabbis or borrowed from other cultures. The following festivals will be covered during the course: Sukkot, Passover, Shavuot, Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur. Lessons will be posted to student e-mail boxes on Mondays and a virtual dialog will take place throughout the week with course instructor Alan Cook, fourth year rabbinical student at HUC-JIR.

For the first time, the Academy for Adult Interfaith Studies of HUC-JIR is offering twelve-week courses in Modern and Biblical Hebrew as part of its spring 2002 semester. The beginner's class in Modern Hebrew, taught by third year rabbinical student Oren Hayon, is a participatory course that will introduce students to the basics of conversational Hebrew vocabulary and grammar. The Biblical Hebrew course, taught by Jeff Cooley, doctoral candidate at HUC-JIR, is designed to introduce its participants to the reading of biblical Hebrew prose. No previous knowledge of Hebrew is required for these courses. There is a $100 fee for either Hebrew course.

Men and women of different faiths and backgrounds with a shared desire to explore areas of religion in a spirit of free inquiry learn together in a relaxed, enjoyable environment at the Academy for Adult Interfaith Studies. The teachers are some of the most gifted scholars in the Greater Cincinnati community, including faculty from HUC-JIR, Xavier University, The Athenaeum of Ohio, Islamic Education Center, and the University of Cincinnati. To register, or for more information about Spring 2002 semester courses contact Marcia Cruse at (513) 221-1875, ext. 353. Also, visit the Academy for Adult Interfaith Studies on the HUC-JIR website.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu