MAZEL TOV TO THE GRADUATION AND RABBINIC ORDINATION CLASS OF 2003 AT HEBREW UNION COLLEGE – JEWISH INSTITUTE OF RELIGION IN LOS ANGELES

Monday, June 2, 2003

“I would like to offer a warm Mazal Tov to the graduation and rabbinic ordination class of 2003 and say how proud we are of all they have achieved. In particular I would like to thank them for their hard work and the contribution they have made to the Jewish community of Los Angeles”.

This was the message from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC – JIR) President Rabbi David Ellenson Ph.D shortly after he bestowed the title of rabbi on 13 students at a ceremony at Wilshire Boulevard Temple on 25th May, 2003.

This ceremony was the culmination of the graduation and ordination exercises for HUC – JIR’s Class of 2003. This year saw 13 students ordained as rabbis, while 23 students graduated from HUC – JIR on May 19th with degrees which will lead to either rabbinic ordination or careers serving the Jewish community as educators, lay leaders and communal service professionals.

Those being ordained as rabbis were Yossi Carron, a long term Los Angeles resident and former orchestra leader, Mari Chernow, a Los Angeles native who is to become Assistant Rabbi at Temple Chai in Phoenix and Jennifer Rae Clayman, originally from Chevy Chase in MD, who is to become assistant rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Westfield New Jersey. Karen Schram Citrin, from Belmont, MA who recently married Masters of Arts in Jewish Education graduate Micah Citrin, will become Assistant Rabbi at Temple Peninsula Beth El in San Mateo, CA, while Sharon Gladstone from Reston, VA, is looking forward to her new role as Coordinator of the Virtual Resource Center for Sexual Orientation Issues in the Jewish Community at HUC – JIR in Los Angeles.

Sarah Hronsky, from St. Louis, MO, who recently celebrated the birth of a child, will become Assistant Rabbi at Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village, Los Angeles, CA, later this year after taking some time off. Michael Lotker, a former alternative energy physicist from Thousand Oaks, CA, who will become the first ever full time rabbi at Temple Ner Ami in Camarillo, CA, will also celebrate the publication of his book What Every Christian Should Know About Judaism by the Paulist Press later this year.

Also being ordained were Yitzhak Joel Miller from Santa Cruz, CA who will become half-time rabbi at Congregation Emeth in Morgan Hill, CA and half-time assistant rabbi at Congregation Shir Hadash in Los Gatos, CA, Laurie Philips from Detroit, Michigan who will become Assistant Director of Education for the National Jewish Community Centers Association in New York and Amy Sapowith from Framingham, MA who is to become Assistant Rabbi at Temple Sinai in Rochester, NY.

Sarah Schechter from New York City, who already serves as a second lieutenant in the US Air Force Reserve will upon graduation will become their first ever female rabbi. Neal Schuster a Seattle, WA native will become Assistant Rabbi at Congregation B’nai Jehudah in Kansas City. While studying at HUC – JIR, Neal also served as Director of the Berit Mila Program of Reform Judaism. Suzanne Singer, a long term Los Angeles resident and former Emmy winning television producer, will serve as a rabbi at Temple Sinai in Oakland, CA.

The following students graduated from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion with Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters: Kim Sophia Ettlinger, from Perth Australia, Joel R. Fleekop, Amy Idit Jacques, Rony S. Keller, Brett A. Krichiver, Darah R. Lerner, from Albuquerque, NM, Bryna Faye Milkow and Gershon J.G. Zylberman, from Melbourne, Australia. All of the students are going on to continue in the rabbinic program. Kim Sophia Ettlinger will also study for a Master of Arts in Jewish Education (MAJE) concurrently, while Rony Keller will study for the MAJE and resume his rabbinic studies in 2004.

The following students graduated with Joint Masters of Arts in Jewish Communal Service and Jewish 
Education: Deborah Ann Bock, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who is continuing as a rabbinic student at HUC – JIR in Los Angeles and Andrea Robyn Fleekop, from Parsipanny, NJ, who is going on to become Director of the Tartak Learning Center at HUC – JIR in Los Angeles.

The following students graduated with Masters of Arts in Jewish Communal Service: Abigail Loreen Fleishman, Jennifer Ginsberg, who will go on to work on the staff of Beit T’Shuvah in Los Angeles, Ariel Hayim Grossman, Chaim Mordechai Lieberman, who is to work for the Bureau of Jewish Education in West Palm Beach, FL and Donna Sivan who will become program director of Temple Israel in Hollywood, CA. The following student graduated with a degree in Jewish Communal Service: Justina Nemoy Pepper.

The following students graduated with a degree in Jewish Arts Education: Micah Joseph Citrin, from Albuquerque, NM, who is continuing as a rabbinic student at HUC – JIR in Los Angeles, David Eshel, from Irvine, CA, who is continuing as a rabbinic student at HUC – JIR in Los Angeles, Dena Lerner Kahn from Chevy Chase, MD, who is going on to become Assistant Principal at Temple Ahavat Shalom Religious School in Northridge, CA and Adam Reid Schaffer, from Washington DC, who is continuing with his rabbinic studies at HUC – JIR in Los Angeles.

The following students graduated with a Master of Arts in Judaic Studies: Ellen Jaffe-Gill, Sabine Yael Meyer and Karen Sue Wilson. The following student graduated with a doctorate in Hebrew Studies: Esther Terry Blachman.


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