Gathering in Jerusalem Draws 200 Alumni from North America, Israel, and Around the World - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Gathering in Jerusalem Draws 200 Alumni from North America, Israel, and Around the World

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

HUC-JIR alumni gathering in Jerusalem. Photo credit: American Conference of Cantors

HUC-JIR alumni and students participated in "Prayer & Liturgy," a day of prayer, study, and discussion on July 5, 2014, at the Jerusalem campus of HUC-JIR.

The day began with festive tefillah at Blaustein Hall, overlooking the Jaffa Gate of the Old City, with a delegation of cantorial alumni from the American Conference of Cantors (ACC). During tefillah, honorary doctorates were presented to Rabbi Arik Ascherman, Lisabeth Dotan, and Roslyn Roucher by Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., President. Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D., Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost, delivered a sermon entitled "With Walls on Both Sides." Read Rabbi Marmur's sermon >

Later that afternoon at our alumni gathering, Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, welcomed alumni of all academic programs to the Jerusalem campus for study, song, and social encounter. Also in attendance were students in our Year-In-Israel program who are just beginning their Israel experience and Cantorial Certification students spending their summer at the HUC-JIR ulpan.   

Rabbi Panken taught the entire group and HUC-JIR faculty led workshops on "Prayer & Liturgy" for our alumni and students:

  • Rabbi Yehoyada Amir, Ph.D. – Leah Goldberg: The Praying Poet
  • Cantor Tamar Havilio – The Praying Body
  • Rabbi Naamah Kelman – Why and When 'Secular' Israelis Pray 
  • Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D. – Abraham Joshua Heschel on Prayer
  • Rabbi Dalia Marx, Ph.D. – Where is the Mother? Israeli Poetry in Search of Sarah in the Akedah
  • Cantor Eliyahu Schleifer, Ph.D. – Incorporating Sephardi Selihot into our High Holiday Services

Following the workshops, our community joined together for Seuda Sh'lishit and a concert with Effi Netzer, sponsored by the ACC, and concluded with havdallah. 

Rabbi Aaron Panken stated, "During our beautiful morning tefillot with well over a hundred cantors from the ACC, we joyously celebrated three deserving graduates living in Israel with honorary doctorates: Rabbi Arik Ascherman, Lisabeth Dotan, and Roslyn Roucher. The afternoon was filled with terrific opportunities to study with our faculty, and we were delighted to welcome close to two hundred of our alumni from around the world to participate on our stunning campus on a perfect Jerusalem summer day. A great time was had by all!"


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 leaders to serve 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.