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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dr. David Aaron, Professor of Hebrew Bible and History of Interpretation at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, was invited to be a 2010-2011 Institute Fellow with the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies.  The theme for the 2010-2011 Fellows is Jewish languages. Dr. Aaron's project is titled "Language, Holiness, and Identity: The Concept of l'shon haqodesh [the Holy Tongue] from the Late Biblical Era through the Closing of Talmudic Era Literatures."  He will trace the development of Jewish ethnic and religious identity during the late biblical and early rabbinic periods as they are manifested in the emergence of language consciousness and the development of Hebrew's status as a holy language.  Language consciousness and identity are shaped in response to assimilatory forces both in the Land of Israel and the Diaspora in antiquity.  As the Jews' "literature" became their ideological "homeland," Hebrew's ontological status in the world polity became an object for Jewish reflection.  This study will engage theories off ethnic identity, socio-linguistic theory, translation theory, and literary and cultural criticism, in an attempt to decipher the significance of diglossia, translation, and identity as they pertain to Judaism's ideology of its "holy language."


Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, was published in the Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, a refereed, academic journal published by Babeş-Bolyai University in Romania. Please click here to read his article: “Divine Authority and Mass Violence: Economies of Aggression in the Emergence of Religions” (JSRI Volume 9, no. 26 Summer 2010).  Rabbi Firestone gave a keynote address July 14 - July 16 at an international conference in Singapore convened by Professor Tarik Ramadan, called "Muslims in Multicultural Societies."  The conference was sponsored by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), in collaboration with the Faculty of Oriental Studies, Oxford University.  He was invited to give a talk in the opening session called "A Candid History of Multiculturalism in Muslim Civilization."  While there, Rabbi Firestone travelled to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where he led a seminar on July 21 at Gadjah Mada University, the largest university in Indonesia. He met with a doctoral student at GMU writing a dissertation on the relationship between Sufism and Kabbalah, and on whose Ph.D. dissertation committee he sits.  Please click here to read Rabbi Firestone’s article in the Jewish Journal, “Waking Up in Singapore.”


Professor Steven Windmueller was the guest speaker at "Changing Jewish Communal Policies and Attitudes" on Thursday, July 15, 2010 at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He discussed The Jewish Communities of the Western United States. Twenty-five percent of all American Jews live in the Western United States representing a distinctive and growing voice within Jewish life. Different types of Western Jewish communities have emerged, reflecting unique economic and social factors. Western Jews have taken on many of the attributes associated with their region. The pioneering and independent spirit of the region has fostered special Jewish communal and religious models. Experimentation has typified Jewish life in this part of the world. Distance from the "capital" of American Jewry, New York, has led to institutional conflicts that have further separated Western Jewry from the rest of the community.  Professor Windmueller's essay, “The Jewish Communities of the Western United States,” was recently published in the American Jewish Committee and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs new book, American Jewry’s Comfort Level: Present and Future, edited by Manfred Gerstenfeld and Steven Bayme.


Dr. Gary P. Zola, Professor of the American Jewish Experience at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati and Executive Director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, was invited to lecture on “The American Jewish Reform Movement and Its German Origins” at the Konrad Adenaur Stiftung in Berlin.  The conference was held on July 15, 2010, to commemorate the birth of the Reform Movement in Germany 200 years ago.

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.