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IJSO and Kalsman Institute Co-Sponsor 'Teaching Inclusive Jewish Sexual Ethics' Lunch-and-Learn at HUC-JIR/LA

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

(Dr. Joel L. Kushner, Director, Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation; Jay Golden, IJSO Program Associate; Rabbi Deborah Schuldenfrei, HUC-JIR/LA '06; Rabbi Julie Pelc, Assistant Director, Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health; Rabbi Bill Cutter, Emeritus Professor and Founding Director, Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health; and Michele Prince, MAJCS '02, Director, Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health) 


Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the congregational arm of Reform Judaism, has addressed the urgent need for the Reform Movement to look closely at the way in which sex education is taught from the perspective of Jewish ethics. "Our kids desperately need our direction in this area but too often we do not provide it," he says, "The issue is the ethics of relationship and sexuality." 

On April 29, 2008, HUC-JIR/LA students participated in Teaching Inclusive Jewish Sexual Ethics, a lunch-and-learn program co-sponsored by HUC-JIR's Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation (IJSO) and the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health

Rabbi Deborah Schuldenfrei, an HUC-JIR rabbinical, communal service, and education alumna, taught the program based on her rabbinic thesis, which dealt with teaching teenagers ethical decision-making. The IJSO updated a values document, created by the Central Conference of American Rabbis Committee on Jewish Sexual Values, to be explicitly inclusive of and welcoming to the LGBT community. 

Rabbi Julie Pelc, Assistant Director for the Kalsman Institute, reports that Kalsman and IJSO staff will work with the HUC-JIR Pastoral Education Taskforce to integrateTeaching Inclusive Jewish Sexual Ethics into HUC-JIR curricula.

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, museums, 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.