Student Spotlight: Meet Fifth-Year Rabbinical/Education Student Julie Bressler - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Student Spotlight: Meet Fifth-Year Rabbinical/Education Student Julie Bressler

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Julie Bressler is a currently completeing her final year as a rabbinical student, and during her tenure she also received her M.A. in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education. As an intern with the National Office of Recruitment and Admissions, Julie serves as the Jack H. Skirball Campus Outreach Ambassodor, visiting Hillels and other Southern California based organizations. 

She writes:

I never predicted I would become a rabbi and a Jewish educator. While I grew up incredibly involved in my home synagogue, served on youth group board, and loved my summer at URJ Camp Newman, I did not necessarily see myself working as a Jewish professional in the future. Now I can look back and see that all of these experiences played a role in my eventual choice to pursue this path and helped to shape me into the person I am today. When I think back as to what pushed me to apply to HUC-JIR, many stories come to mind, though one experience stands out. As an engagement professional at Berkeley Hillel, I frequently met with students 1:1 to hear about their stories and think about how they could become more engaged in Hillel's programming. Over coffee, one of the most involved student leaders shared with me that she never felt Jewish enough. My mouth dropped, but I asked why to learn more. Even though she regularly attended programming and served as one of Hillel's social justice leaders, she shared that she did not feel confident in her Judaism. I shared with her that her Judaism emerges in her commitment to justice, her passion for community, and her welcoming presence in Hillel. We all find our connection to Judaism in different ways, but one way is not more "Jewish" than another. That moment sparked something in me -  I knew that I wanted to work with individuals of all ages to help them feel confident and committed to their Jewish life. I am grateful to HUC-JIR for providing me with ample opportunities to grow, question, and reflect upon my own Jewish journey and learn the practical, textual, and pastoral skills that will help me best serve my future communities as a rabbi and educator. 

Would you like to speak with Julie and other HUC-JIR students? Let us know! And learn more about our Joint Rabbinical/Education program here.

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.