NEW COORDINATOR OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION ISSUES IN CONGREGATION AND COMMUNITY INITIATIVE AND JEFF HERMAN VIRTUAL RESOURCE CENTER ANNOUNCED

Friday, August 1, 2003

It is a great pleasure to announce that Dr. Yaffa Weisman has been appointed as the new Coordinator of the Sexual Orientation Issues in Congregation and Community Initiative (SOICC) and the Jeff Herman Virtual Resource Center. Dr. Weisman is the Librarian of the Frances-Henry Library and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, in Los Angeles. She received her Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California in 1994, and her Master of Library and Information Science from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1999.

Dr. Weisman is a published writer and translator in Israel and in the USA, in the areas of history and criticism of modern drama, poetry, literature and liturgy. Her latest publication is the translation of Yehuda Amichai’s radio play “The Day Martin Buber Was Buried”, published in Shirim: A Jewish Poetry Journal in 2001.

Together with Dr. Adriane Leveen, she edited a volume of Stanley F. Chyet’s poetry, “The Lord Has a Taste for Clowning”, to be published by the Skirball Cultural Center in the fall of 2003. Dr. Weisman serves as a member of the Library & Archives Committee of The One Institute Gay & Lesbian since 2000, and is currently the curator of the Twice Blessed collection of Jewish GLBT materials at the Institute. She served as a commissioner of the Los Angeles Jewish Feminist Center between 1989-1997, and as a board member at Beth Chayim Chadashin between 1986-1987.

Dr. Weisman has shared her life with her spouse, Tina Hirt, since 1982. They had their wedding ceremony at the HUC-JIR chapel in Los Angeles in 1992.

The Sexual Orientation Issues in Congregations and Community Initiative (SOICC) is a program designed to increase the ability of HUC-JIR students to act as agents of change within the Jewish community. The program includes a series of training workshops for rabbinical, education, and Jewish communal service students and alumni at the College-Institute’s Los Angeles School. There are also scholarships and internships for students working with local institutions to combat homophobia, and better serve the needs of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Jews. Because of generous funding received from a New and Innovative Grant of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, the Galinson Family Foundation, the Shefa Fund, Agnes and Rabbi Erwin Herman, and numerous individual donors, HUC-JIR has already been able to plan and pilot the training seminar series, award scholarships and place students in internships working with the GLBT Jewish community. The Jeff Herman Virtual Resource Center, directed by Rabbi Sharon Gladstone, provides educational support to the SOICC programs.

HUC – JIR would like to thank Ms Marla Abraham, Associate Director of the School of Jewish Communal Service in Los Angeles, who has been co-coordinating the educational aspects of the program up until this point.


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