Michele Prince, MSW, MAJCS, to Succeed Dr. William Cutter as Director of the Kalsman Institute of Judaism and Health at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Thursday, March 1, 2007

New Leadership Sustains Commitment to Excellence 

President David Ellenson has announced that Michele Prince, MSW, MAJCS, (HUC-JIR/Los Angeles 2002) will succeed Dr. William Cutter as Director of the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), as of July 1, 2007. Cutter and Prince have worked together for the past three years to advance the Kalsman Institute as a national center for training, collaboration, and dialogue on healthcare, healing, and spirituality at the intersection of Judaism and health, and as a catalyst for scholarship and innovative projects relating to Judaism and health. 

"The appointment of Michele Prince affirms that Dr. William Cutter's vision and the Kalsman Institute's outreach will continue to grow," said Rabbi Ellenson. "An exceptional student while in HUC-JIR's program in Jewish Communal Service and the founder of an important website on mourning practices and bereavement resources, Michele Prince brings expertise in healthcare advocacy and a commitment to the role that Judaism's values and traditions can play in the areas of pastoral education, counseling, and public health education that will strengthen our institution's mission." 

Established in 2000 through the generous support of Lee and Irving Kalsman, z"l, and the family of Mark and Peachy Levy, the Kalsman Institute unites spiritual leaders, educators, healthcare providers, and Jewish community members, to collaborate and build partnership networks in North America, Israel, and South America with agencies, institutions, and individuals devoted to illness, wellness, spirituality, and healing, from Jewish and ecumenical religious perspectives. 

Prince brings renewed vision to the Kalsman Institute, explaining, "We are increasing our role within pastoral education for HUC-JIR students and alumni - assessing the current courses and field placements in Los Angeles while increasing the number of internships and potential for reflective supervision. The Kalsman Institute will continue to promote awareness of issues related to health within the Jewish community through seminars, national conferences, and publications. In January 2008, we are piloting the Kalsman Institute's Physician Initiative, designed to address the spiritual needs of Jewish physicians seeking to improve their professional and personal connection to Judaism and Jewish learning, and helping to host a national bioethics conference in Atlanta, in the company of a coalition of all the major Jewish seminaries. We are now developing a national conference for May 2009 on Midrash, Health and Wholeness, in partnership with the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center." 

In his new part-time capacity as Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature, Dr. Cutter will continue to teach courses and guide special projects for the Kalsman Institute and HUC-JIR, expand his participation in programs of pastoral care within the Los Angeles community, and pursue his scholarship in literature and poetry. 

Dr. William Cutter 

Dr. William (Bill) Cutter, Director of the Kalsman Institute of Judaism and Health, Paul and Trudy Steinberg Professor Human Relations, and Professor of Education and Modern Hebrew Literature, has been on the faculty of HUC-JIR/Los Angeles since 1965. During that time, he has held positions in three separate departments: education, modern Hebrew literature, and pastoral supervision. He was the Founding Director of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education, which he conceptualized with Dr. Lewis M. Barth, and the first Director of the Louchheim School of Judaic Studies; both of these programs were inaugurated under the leadership of Dr. Alfred Gottschalk. With Nancy M. Berman he founded the MUSE education program of the Skirball Museum, and as early as 1977 created the vision for expanded activity of the museum within the Los Angeles community. 

In 2000, through the inspired gift of the family of Lee and Irving Kalsman and Peachy and Mark Levy, Dr. Cutter developed the Kalsman Institute for Judaism and Health, which has sponsored over 30 forums on health and healing in the Jewish community and helped develop pastoral training programs in Israel, and which supervises the pastoral education of students at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles. 

Dr. Cutter received the A.B. from Yale University (1959), was ordained by the College-Institute (1965), and received the Ph.D. from UCLA (1971). He serves on numerous advisory boards related to health and healing and on the Spiritual Care Committee of UCLA Medical Center. He has edited over 30 textbooks for Behrman House Books, and authored over 150 articles on literature, interpretation, and health and healing. Most recently he is the editor of Healing and the Jewish Imagination, Spiritual and Practical Perspectives on Judaism and Health. 

An active contributor to the major developments in American Jewish life and in the Reform Movement, Dr. Cutter serves as a board member of the Association for Jewish Studies and the Central Conference of the Association of Reform Zionists of America, and is a member of the editorial committee for the creation of the new Reform prayer book, Mishkan Tefillah. His civic activism extends to countless committees in the Los Angeles area, including responsibility for the security program in his residential neighborhood. 

Michele Prince, MSW, MAJCS 

Michele Prince received her M.S.W. from the USC School of Social Work and M.A. in Jewish Communal Service from HUC-JIR in 2002. Since 2004, she has been Associate Director of the Kalsman Institute and is also a member of the oncology social work staff at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, where she was named Norris Employee of the Year at the end of her first year of service. 

Since 2002, she has conducted over thirty workshops on such topics as "Putting Our Affairs in Order: A Discussion of Legal and Financial Matters from a Jewish Perspective," "A Behavioral Health Introduction for Rabbis," "The Basics of Hospice," "Communication Skills," and "Advanced Cancer and End of Life Care." She is a candidate for her LCSW license.

Prince came to the world of health and communal service after a fifteen-year career as an accomplished account manager in marketing, strategic planning and advertising in the non-profit and for-profit marketplaces. She is Founder of The Jewish Bereavement Project, at www.jewishbereavement.com, a website that has served thousands of people in Los Angeles since it was launched in 2002. 

For more information about the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health, please go to www.huc.edu/kalsman


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first 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 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