HUC-JIR/Jerusalem Celebrates Israel's 60th Anniversary

Monday, May 5, 2008

Israel's 60th anniversary was celebrated on the HUC-JIR/Jerusalem campus with two memorable events on May 5, 2008. 

Some 900 Israeli youths in pre-Army and Army programs took over the HUC-JIR-Beit Shmuel-Mercaz Shimshon campus on May 5 for a full day of presentations, study, reflection, and celebration of Israel's 60th anniversary in light of the challenge of "Tzedek and Tzedakah: Justice and Social Responsibility." 

This event was organized by Rabbi Nava Hefetz, Educational Director of Rabbis for Human Rights, who was ordained at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem in 2006 and brought a full range of rabbis, social activists, politicians, media professionals to participate in the programs. Many graduates of HUC-JIR's Israeli Rabbinical Program taught in the massive Beit Midrash in the afternoon. 

The day ended in the HUC-JIR courtyard, as Rabbi Levi Weiman Kelman, student rabbi Oded Mazor, and Associate Dean Rabbi Naamah Kelman conducted a special Yom Haatzmaut Seder, with Reform Mechinah kids playing guitar. The energetic expressions of love and peace and hope were memorable. 

On the same day, stateside students in the HUC-JIR Year-In-Israel Program mingled with Israeli Rabbinical and Education Program students in a day devoted to study and reflection. It began with a jointly led Tefillah (morning service), during which the 'Torah' reading was the reading in Hebrew of the Israeli Declaration of Independence by Israeli and stateside students. 

Study sessions explored a broad range of topics, including "State Symbols: Flag, Anthem, and More," "Classic Hebrew Children's Books," "The Newspapers and Radio 'Found the State' in 1948;" "Agnon and the Resurrection of the Hebrew Language," "Archaeology, Politics and Zionism," "60 Years of Israeli Music," and "Creating Meaningful Yom HaShoah and Yom HaAtma'ut Observances in Diaspora Synagogues."

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.