Six Graduates of the Advanced M.A. Program in Pluralistic Jewish Education Receive Degrees

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Six graduates of the Advanced M.A. Program in Pluralistic Jewish Education at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem received their degrees at Academic Convocation on Wednesday, November 14, 2012.  This program is designed for Israeli educators seeking to implement pluralistic Jewish education in Israeli educational institutions and is organized in conjunction with a M.A. degree in Jewish Education from the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Lior Argaman has a B.S.W. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During her Master degree studies she worked as an informal educator and a gap-year program director for youth from the Diaspora. Today she is a shlicha (emissary) on behalf of the Jewish Agency for Israel to the Progressive Movement in Melbourne, Australia, and its Youth Movement Netzer.

Smadar Bielik is a first-grade teacher at the Yozma school in Modiin, founded by the Reform community in the city.She has a BA degree in education and art from Beit Berl, and is a graduate of the course in worship-leading at Beit Daniel in Tel Aviv, in cooperation with HUC-JIR. Active for many years in the Reform Movement in Israel, she has served for the past seven years as a leader of worship on the High Holy Days in various communities of the movement. Over the last seven years, Smadar has served as a prayer leader and as a shlichat tzibur for the High Holy Days in congregations of the Movement.

Michal Berman is the Director of the Jewish renewal project and a project coordinator at Jerusalem's International Cultural Center for Youth. Some of her projects are Jewish renewal programs, Partnership 2000 with JCC Manhattan, and enrichment study programs for retirees and young parents. Michal completed her BA in psychology and Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with honors.

Noga Brenner Samia was raised both in New York and Netanya. She earned a BSc. in industrial engineering and Management from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and an MBA at Washington University in St. Louis. She is currently Director of External Relations and Program Development at BINA – Center for Jewish Identity and Hebrew Culture and a teacher at the Secular Yeshiva in Tel Aviv. She is the founder of a community for Jewish renewal in Tel-Mond.

Ofer Lichtig isDirector of the Israel Office of the UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey and the Israel Office of the Jewish Federation of greater Kansas City. In the past, Ofer served as a shaliach (Israeli Emissary) in the US. He holds a BA in psychology and criminology from Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan. Ofer is a board member of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, and a member of Kamatz- the Reform congregation of Mevaseret Zion.

Eliraz Shifman-Berman is coordinator of the Department of Education and Professional Development at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem. She completed a BA in philosophy and communications at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with honors, and studied for an additional degree in practical engineering of cinema and television at Hadassah College.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to 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 American Jewish Archives, 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. www.huc.edu