Ginny Ben-Ari, Director of Community Outreach, and Rabbi Paul (Shaul) R. Feinberg, Ph.D., Associate Dean, Announce Their Retirement from HUC-JIR/Jerusalem

Monday, October 1, 2007

Ginny Ben-Ari, Director of Community Outreach, and Rabbi Paul (Shaul) R. Feinberg, Ph.D., Associate Dean, have announced their retirement from HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. Their years of distinguished and devoted service to the College-Institute will be celebrated at a special service to take place at the campus's Murstein Synagogue on Saturday, October 27, 2007. 

Dr. Feinberg, who has been appointed to the position of Adjunct Associate Professor, will also be recognized at the Ordination Convocation, on Friday, November 2, 2007, when he will be awarded an honorary degree. 

"Ginny Ben-Ari and Shaul Feinberg have played a special role in the lives of countless students and graduates here at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem and are outstanding examples of humanity, compassion, and community," said Dr. Michael Marmur, Dean. "We invite colleagues and friends from around the world to share their tributes, memories, and expressions of gratitude to these beloved members of our College-Institute family." Messages can be sent to

Ginny Ben-Ari

Ginny Ben-Ari began her career with the Reform Movement as the Director of Youth Programs for the New York Federation of Reform Synagogues and the New York State Council of Reform Synagogues. From 1962 to 1968, she directed five NFTY regions, pre-teen youth work, and programs for college-age students and young adults. She arrived in Israel in 1968 to work with the NFTY Eisendrath International Exchange (EIE) half-year program for high school students, centered in Haifa and Tel Aviv. 

She moved to Jerusalem in 1969 to work at HUC-JIR's School of Biblical Archaeology, where she met her husband, Moshe, who assisted as conservator of HUC-JIR's Tel Gezer excavations while also associated with the Israel Museum. They married in New York in 1970, and she returned to Israel as a new immigrant on Purim 1971. Moshe trained her in pottery restoration and she worked with him on material from HUC-JIR's excavations at Tel Gazer, Lahav, Tel Dan, and Tel Aroer. At the same time, Dr. Ezra Spicehandler, then Dean, invited her to work onShabbatot in the synagogue to welcome guests from Israel and abroad. 

Ben-Ari has served as the Director of Community Outreach for the Jerusalem campus since 1982. Her many accomplishments and contributions to the vitality of HUC-JIR/Jerusalem have included arranging programs for NFTY and university outreach and recruitment, which have expanded to include HUC-JIR student summer interns; planning lectures and courses for the general community; and helping to establish HUC-JIR's synagogue as a "must" stop on Shabbat for congregational tours to Israel. 

"We hosted a memorable exhibition in 1985 of Ethiopian folk art and folklore in 1985, a year after the great airlift, that drew over 1,000 people to the campus," she recalls. "People stood on line to enter our 'Ethiopian Coffee House' to taste the home-made (in our kitchen) 'injara' and they lined the walls of the synagogue to hear a lecture on Ethiopian crafts and culture." 

Ben-Ari's ongoing contact with HUC-JIR alumni has fostered the annual alumni reception and study seminar as a permanent addition to the campus's summer calendar. 

Rabbi Paul (Shaul) R. Feinberg, Ph.D.

Born in 1943 and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, Rabbi Shaul Feinberg's home, family and temple influenced his aspirations to become a rabbi and educator. Following graduation from Rutgers University in1965, he began rabbinical studies at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, where he was ordained in 1971. During these years he served the deaf congregation in Chicago. 

The outbreak of the Six Day War in June 1967 signaled another formative moment in his life and deepened his love for Israel. A year later he was among a number of students who came to study at the HUC-JIR and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; there he met Tania Miliner from Montevideo, Uruguay. The couple soon married and determined to spend a second year of study in Israel. Aliyah, however, was to wait eleven more years while Feinberg served congregations Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham, Alabama, and Temple Sholom in Chicago, Illinois, and earned a Ph.D. at Loyola University in 1981. During these years, Feinberg also served as a Rabbinic Advisor to the Chicago Federation of Temple Youth and on the faculty of the Olin-Sang- Ruby Union Institute. 

The opportunity for Aliyah materialized in 1981, when Rabbi Feinberg was invited to join HUC-JIR's Jerusalem campus as Associate Dean. In 2000 he was appointed Assistant Adjunct Professor of Jewish Religious Education and Liturgy. At HUC-JIR he shared his insights and experiences from life and work in the Jewish communities of the Diaspora, and his love of learning and teaching classical and contemporary texts, with critical attention to the State of Israel. 

Rabbi Feinberg's initiatives have helped advance a stronger understanding of the place of Israel as part of world-wide Progressive Jewry. His own mission to serve Jewish communities wherever they are situated has heightened his passion forshlichut. He has led services and presented lectures at congregations, federations, Jewish professional associations, universities, and interfaith organizations throughout North America, Israel, China, the Former Soviet Union, and around the globe. In doing so, he has encouraged students and colleagues to become emissaries of Progressive Judaism. Furthermore, his dedication to the curriculum and the language of education in Israel and worldwide has infused his vision. 

Feinberg cites Albert Einstein's My Credo as his own: 'Man is here for the sake of others; each day do I realize how my outer and inner life is based on the lives of others, living and dead, and how much I must give on account of what I have received and am still receiving.' 

Feinberg is the chairperson of Milah – Jerusalem Institute for Higher Studies, and a board member of Keren-Maimon, Ziv Tzedaka Foundation. He has served as the chair of the Israel Chapter of the International Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies, and as a national board member of ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists of America). He was an Israel Foreign Ministry Emissary to the Former Soviet Union in 1989, was a founding board member of Rabbis for Human Rights, and chair and board member of the Hillel Foundation at Hebrew University. 

His professional memberships include the Israel Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Jewish Education Services of North America, the Israeli Council of Progressive Rabbis, and the Research Network in Jewish Education. 

Feinberg's writings have been published in leadning publications, including theCCAR Journal, Journal of Curriculum Theory, The Pedagogic Reporter, The Jewish Spectator, and the Journal of Reform Judaism. He has presented at numerous conferences around the world on the subject of curriculum studies, pedagogy, human rights, family education, and Jewish values. 

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 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.