Jerusalem Ordination and Academic Convocation 2014 - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Jerusalem Ordination and Academic Convocation 2014

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem; Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., President; and Rabbi Marc Rosenstein, Ph.D., Director, Israel Rabbinical Program, with the 2014 Israel Rabbinical Program Ordinees

HUC-JIR/Jerusalem Ordination and Academic Convocation took place on November 13, 2014 at Blaustein Hall at Merkaz Shimshon Beit Shmuel.  

Four new rabbis for Israel's Reform Movement were ordained (pictured above):

  • Ian Chesir-Teran
  • Galit Cohen-Kedem
  • Meirav Tova Kallush
  • Noa Sattath

Five students received the M.A. in Pluralistic Jewish Education:

  • Naama Cohen Goldenberg
  • Lior Gutman-Ido
  • Rachel Lion-Feinerman
  • Romina Reisin
  • Noah Stroomer


Ten students graduated from the Blaustein Center for Spiritual Counseling (Sugiyot Chayim) Program:

  • Nili Arbel
  • Itamar Ashey
  • Micky Avigur
  • Lydia Feinmesser
  • Amir Gur
  • Yael Lewis
  • Avigail Moshe
  • Karin Raveh
  • Jacob Tor
  • Itzhak Vilner

Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, welcomed guests to Ordination and Academic Convocation:

ירושלים שלנו הנפיצה והאהובה, נמצאת ממש מולנו אנחנו מביטים מהחלון בכל התקוות וכל הכאב..בעבר ובהווה.

אבל אני עומדת כאן ורואה גם את העתיד. אני רואה את תלמידנו...אלו שמסיימים את התכנית בחינוך יהודי פלורליסטי ובתכנית סוגיות חיים....תלמדנו העוסקים בחינוך בהקשבה לריבוי קולות , בחינוך לדו-קיום, לריפוי החברה באמונה אין סופית בצלם אלוהים שטמון בכל אדם.

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Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., President, HUC-JIR, presented the Ordination and Academic Convocation address:

בוגרינו האהובים,

רבנים, מחנכים, מדריכים,

בכול שביל שבו אתם הולכים מהיום והלאה,

אנחנו המלוים אתכם,

מצפים הרבה מכם,

ומבקשים הרבה מכם.

תמשיכו לחיות כמו שקראנו בתהילים:

הולך תמים – הזהרו בענייניכם ובדבריכם.

ופועל צדק – תרדוף אחרי צדק,

רוץ מהר לבנות עולם של צדק,

ואל תפסיקו לתקן את העולם עד שהוא מושלם.

ודבר שלום בלבבו – תקחו את האמת שחי בתוך לבבכם,

ותנסה להביא אותו לכול איש ואישה שאתה נפגש כול יום ויום.

ואנחנו, משפחותיכם וחבריכם, ומוריכם,

תמיד נלך אתכם.

מזל טוב וכול הכבוד!

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Dr. Deborah Weissman was presented with the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters:

"I believe that the greatest challenge we face as Jews today isn’t the challenge of feminism or of Jewish pluralism or the environment, although these area all important religious challenges. The greatest challenge that we face, in my opinion, is to work out a way of living with the Other, in general, and with Arabs and Palestinians in particular. Who could have dreamt that this summer so many of us would become racists, both in Israel and abroad?" 

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U.S. Ambassador Daniel B. Shapiro was presented with the Presidential Medallion:

"It is with great humility that I accept this Presidential Medallion today.  I am greatly honored to receive this award from an institution for which I have the greatest respect.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart. For me, this place, this institution, even this building, is ground zero for my personal experience in Israel."



Ordination Class of 2014

Ian Chesir-Teran began his rabbinical training at the Conservative Movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and is proud to now be ordained as a Reform rabbi at the Jerusalem campus of HUC-JIR.  Ian has led classes at various synagogues and educational settings in the United States and Israel on topics including personal theology, gender and sexuality, Talmud, and Jewish rituals. Most recently, he led a beit midrash summer program near Haifa for South American teens visiting Israel. He has interned at the Leo Baeck Education Center in Haifa, and at 'Kehilat Har El' in Jerusalem, is a board member of 'Makom Ge'eh b'Emek', Jezreel Valley's community center serving the LGBT community, and 'Shmaya', a ritual and educational mikveh on Kibbutz Hannaton. Chesir-Teran earned a Bachelor’s degree in French Civilization in 1992 from Georgetown University.  He earned a juris doctor degree in 1995 from the Georgetown University Law Center and continues to work as an attorney, providing legal outsourcing and consulting services to clients addressing legal issues and disputes in the United States. Chesir-Teran made aliyah from South Orange, New Jersey in 2010. He is a member of Kibbutz Hannaton in the Jezreel Valley, where he lives with his husband Daniel and their three children, Eliezer, Yonah, and Tamar. In his spare time, Ian enjoys crocheting kippot and playing saxophone.

Galit Cohen-Kedem was born in New York and educated in Tel Aviv, having made aliya with her family at age 6. She served in the IDF in the Education Corps teaching soldiers who made aliya from the former Soviet Union. She completed her service with honors from the Chief Education officer. Cohen-Kedem holds a B.A. in Hebrew Language and Literature from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Master's from Bar-Ilan University's Gender Studies Program, graduating from both with honors. Galit has also studied at a number of pluralist batei midrash: Hamelitz's School for Training Educators for the Israeli Experience, the Reform Movement's beit midrash at 'Beit Shmuel', the Shalom Hartman Institute, and 'Tehuda' – Beit Midrash for Jewish Leadership 'Kolot', the midrasha at 'Oranim', and the 'Avi Chai Foundation'. In October 2010, she founded the 'Kodesh Ve'Chol Congregation in Holon, which she continues to lead, and in 2012, along with a nucleus of young families, she founded 'Gan Tarbut Ivrit'– a municipal kindergarten in Holon in conjunction with the Reform Movement and the 'Tali' Foundation. Cohen-Kedem is committed to shaping life in the light of Torat Chaim, Living Torah and is always seeking new paths in which study leads to action in the urban, educational, and social spheres in Holon.

Meirav Tova Kallush was born in Massuot Yitzhak, an Orthodox kibbutz, where she spent most of her childhood, alternating between Pittsburgh, PA. Meirav has a B.A. in Jewish Philosophy and Contemporary Judaism and an M.A. focusing on Judaism as a culture. Since her discharge from the IDF, Kallush worked in the field of Jewish informal education, organizing and leading teen tours in Israel via the Israel Experience LTD, directing the 'Amitim' program sending Israelis and Americas for a year of shlichut to Jewish communities in Russia and Ukraine, leading the training of young shlichim and assisting in the educational process during their shlichut. She was the Jewish Agency shlicha to the Reform Movement in the UK, was part of the teaching team in the 'Nativ' program (an IDF conversion program for soldiers), and wrote programs for various organization such as 'Melitz' and the World Zionist Organization. Kallush is married to Ehud, with whom she moved to Japan for his three years of studies there, and was an active member of the Tokyo Jewish community. Today Kallush is the Director of Israel Programming for the Golda Och Academy in West Orange, NJ. 

Noa Sattath was born in Jerusalem and is committed to remaining in the city and dedicated to making it a better place. She holds a B.A. in History and International Relations from the Hebrew University and an M.A. in Jewish Studies from Graetz College. Sattath was the chair and then executive director of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, the center of the LGBT community in Jerusalem, where she was instrumental in establishing Kabbalat Shabbat programs at the Open House, as well as in setting up a clinic for the LGBT community, and the gay pride parade in Jerusalem. Sattath went on to direct MEET, an educational leadership program for outstanding teens, sponsored by MIT, using computer technology as a means to build a bridge between Israeli and Palestinian youth.  Today, Sattath is the director of the Reform Center for Religion and State (Israel Religious Action Center), the social justice arm of the Reform Movement in Israel. Sattath is a member of Congregation Kol Haneshama. She is married to Neta and is the mother of Avinoam, Reut, and Zohar.

The Doctor of Humane Letter, honoris causa, was presented to Dr. Deborah Weissman:

A prize-winning Jewish educator, Dr. Deborah Weissman has had extensive experience in both formal and informal Jewish education, both with Israelis and with Diaspora youth and adults. For nine years, she was the director of a teacher training institute for Israeli high school teachers, the Kerem Institute. Prior to that, Weissman worked for 12 years at the Hebrew University, primarily in the Melton Centre for Jewish Education and the School for Overseas Students.  Other affiliations in the past have included HUC-JIR in Jerusalem, Pardes Institute, the Hartman Institute, Machon Schechter, the Institute for Training Jewish Youth Leaders from Abroad, and the education branch of the Israel Defense Forces. In the 1970s, Weissman was one of the founders of the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education. In all of these frameworks, Debbie educated towards values of pluralism and openness.  For many years, she has developed a specialization in teaching about Judaism to Christians.

Outside of the professional realm, Weissman was one of the founders and is still an active member of Kehillat Yedidya in Bak’a, a modern Orthodox synagogue that has excellent neighborly relations with its Reform and Conservative neighbors and hosts multi-faith groups from throughout the world. Yedidya in general and Weissman in particular have been pioneers of Orthodox feminism. Her other major interest is inter-religious dialogue, both locally and internationally. She is currently Deputy Co-Chair of the Inter-Religious Coordinating Council in Israel, as well as Immediate Past President of the International Council of Christians and Jews (the first Jewish woman to be elected to that post in the Council's more than sixty-year history.) In recognition of her service through two terms of the ICCJ Presidency, the organization awarded her the Interfaith Gold Medallion, “Peace through Dialogue,” in 2014.

The Presidential Medallion was presented to U.S. Ambassador Daniel B. Shapiro:

Ambassador Daniel B. Shapiro arrived in Israel on July 21, 2011.  Before arriving in Tel Aviv, Ambassador Shapiro was Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa on the National Security Staff at the White House, where he advised President Obama and other senior U.S. officials on all aspects of U.S. policy in the region.  Prior to serving in the White House, he was Senior Policy Adviser for the Obama for America presidential campaign.  He advised the campaign on Middle East policy and led then-Senator Obama's visit to Israel in July 2008.

Ambassador Shapiro spent much of his career working in senior positions in the U.S. Congress, with a focus on Middle East policy.  He began his career in government as a Professional Staff Member on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East, under Chairman Lee Hamilton of Indiana.  He later served as a Legislative Assistant and senior foreign policy adviser to Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, and as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Senator Bill Nelson of Florida.  Ambassador Shapiro contributed to numerous Congressional efforts to support negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, to increase U.S. security assistance to Israel, and to strengthen sanctions and other measures against Syria, Iran, Hizballah, and Hamas. 

From 1999 to 2001, Ambassador Shapiro was Director for Legislative Affairs at the National Security Council, serving as Congressional liaison for National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, He previously worked for the U.S. State Department at the U.S. Embassy in the United Arab Emirates.

Ambassador Shapiro was born in Champaign, IL.  He received a Master's Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University with a focus on modern Middle Eastern history.  He graduated summa cum laude from Brandeis University, with high honors in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and an additional concentration in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.  He also studied at Hebrew University.  He is married to Julie Fisher of Duluth, Minnesota. They have three daughters, Liat, Merav, and Shira. He speaks Hebrew and some Arabic.

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.