HUC-JIR alumni participated in "The Joy of Hebrew," a Shabbat alumni gathering of prayer, study, and discussion, on July 4, 2015 at the Jerusalem campus of HUC-JIR.
Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., President, began the day of learning with a conversation on "Why Hebrew Matters," which was followed by a tour de force lesson with Dr. Yossi Leshem on biblical grammar. The College-Institute bid farewell to two of the longest-serving teachers on campus: Dr. Yossi Leshem, who has taught Bible and Biblical Grammar at HUC-JIR for 35 years, and Sima Haruv, teacher of Biblical Grammar and Hebrew. Rabbi Panken offered a fitting and memorable tribute and participants were invited to share personal memories and tributes.
HUC-JIR faculty led workshops devoted to different aspects of the Hebrew language:
The alumni gathering concluded with Seuda Sh'lishit and a rousing Havdallah service led by nine first-year Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music cantorial students. The day of learning was attended by about 120 participants.
"Saturday’s program featured a wonderful gathering of alumni, students finishing their Year-In-Israel, and new students about to begin our program for 2015-16," remarked Rabbi Panken. "As we celebrated the retirement of our beloved professor, Dr. Yossi Leshem, we were treated to a shiur on biblical grammar in his inimitable style. Generations of Yossi’s students shared in the evening, and all of us were moved by his erudite talk, his emotional words, and the amazing teacher and mensch he has always been. It was an extraordinary celebration of what we do best at the College-Institute: bring together talented teachers to help our students and alumni learn and grow."