Hana Safrai, HUC-JIR Professor, Dies in Jerusalem

Friday, February 1, 2008

Professor Hana Safrai, a leader in the Orthodox Feminist Movement in Israel and a beloved teacher in the HUC-JIR Israel Rabbinic Program, has died in Jerusalem. Her funeral took place immediately following that of HUC-JIR Professor Rabbi Ben Hollander

Safrai was born in Jerusalem in 1946. After studies at the Hebrew University, she became the first principal of the Judith Lieberman Institute. Safrai completed a Doctorate at the University of Utrecht and continued to teach in the Netherlands following her research. 

A natural linguist, Safrai showed mastery of Hebrew, English, Armenian, Dutch, German, and Ancient Greek. She worked closely with Professor David Flusser, and was deeply involved in inter-religious dialogue. She was affiliated with the Hartman Institute, the Hebrew University, and, during her last years, with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem. She had been working on a monumental project   a new interpretation of the Mishna   along with her late father and her brother, both noted experts. 

A founder of the Kolech movement for Orthodox feminists, she was a pioneer amongst traditional Jewish women, and a renowned and beloved teacher. 

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. www.huc.edu