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Monday, June 14, 2010

Dr. Joel L. Kushner, Director of the Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation at HUC-JIR and a member of the steering committee of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable, was one of two spokespeople from Roundtable at a press conference on May 13 in Puerto Rico, where an elected official recanted a previous vote against same-sex marriage and spoke out for the first time in support of marriage equality.  The National Religious Leadership Roundtable met from May 12-14 outside of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to build skills to function at the intersections of issues related to race, orientation, economics, religion, gender identity, age, ability, etc., so that differences become opportunities to build bridges rather than become obstacles.  These leaders also held a historic meeting with five progressive congregations in Puerto Rico who are opening their doors to LGBT                                         people in the face of significant discrimination and hatred.                                              

Dr. David Weisberg, Professor of Bible and Semitic Languages at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, offered a fascinating exploration of Jewish heritage and Biblical texts at Temple Sinai in Washington, DC on March 22.  His talk focused on the textual evolution of the Bible, tracing its path from the papyrus and parchment of the Dead Sea Scrolls to the more modern codices forming the basis of our text used today.  He enhanced his presentation through the use of an intriguing slideshow that featured the restored jar containing manuscripts of the Book of Esther, and by sharing a unique cuneiform tablet replica and translation of an ancient contract written in Hebrew.  Click here to read the article in Temple Sinai’s newsletter.

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.