Rabbi Julie Pelc Named Director of Berit Mila Program of Reform Judaism

Friday, August 1, 2008

Rabbi Norman Cohen, Provost of HUC-JIR, has announced that the administration of the Berit Mila Program of Reform Judaism, a joint project of the CCAR, HUC-JIR, and the URJ, and of NOAM (the National Organization of American Mohalim), is moving to the HUC-JIR/LA campus. Rabbi Julie Pelc will be the new Director of the Berit Mila Program and NOAM. 
Rabbi Pelc succeeds Rabbi Donielle Aaron, who has led these programs for the past six years, first in Los Angeles and for the past four years from Chicago. During her tenure as Director, Rabbi Aaron made very significant contributions to the development of the Berit Mila Program and NOAM, including the training of 59 new mohalim since 2002, mostly in areas of need including Wyoming, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Washington. Also, international students from Poland and Argentina were certified. The total number of mohalim certified by the Berit Mila Board now stands at over 300. 

Rabbi Aaron created new materials on berit mila for mohalim, community, and rabbis, including a booklet on Circumcision Resources; collected the Reform Responsa on issues related to circumcision; oversaw the updating of the Berit Mila website; published articles on interfaithfamily.com; and has been interviewed and quoted in numerous publications, including the Boston Globe and Chicago Tribune on the topic of circumcision. She organized NOAM's 20th anniversary conference, and arranged for Dr. Edgar Schoen, international circumcision expert, to be a regular consultant with the Berit Mila Program. Rabbi Aaron will remain a consultant of transition to these programs in the coming months. 

Rabbi Pelc is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, received master's degrees from the University of Judaism and from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and was ordained as a rabbi by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles in 2006. As a graduate student, she was the recipient of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. 

Rabbi Pelc has been published in numerous magazines and periodicals including Spirituality and Health, Lilith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, CleverMag, Jewish Magazine, The Epoch Times, and The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle. She is co-editor of the anthology Joining the Sisterhood: Young Jewish Women Write Their Lives, published by the State University of New York Press in 2003. She currently is the Assistant Director of the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health at HUC-JIR/LA, and also teaches undergraduate courses in the Literature and Communications Department at the American Jewish University.

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