President's Report 2009-2010

President's Report 2009-2010 Cover

View the PDF

ADA Version of President’s Report 2009-2010


President’s Report

2009-2010 at a Glance

Securing HUC-JIR’s Future

Creators of the Jewish Future
Profiles in New Academic Leadership
HUC-JIR in Print
Faculty Highlights

Learning to Lead
A Lens on Student Life
Student Voices
Serving Communities Around the Globe
Graduation/Ordination/Investiture Album

Partners for Our Future
The Reform Movement
The Jim Joseph Foundation
Jack and Audrey Skirball, z”l, and the Skirball Foundation
UJA-Federation of New York

Honor Roll of Donors

Summary Financial Figures

Boards, Councils, and Administration


KEY to abbreviations
C = 
Rabbinical Ordination, Cincinnati
J = Rabbinical Ordination, Jerusalem
L = Rabbinical Ordination, Los Angeles
N = Rabbinical Ordination, New York
SSM = Cantorial Investiture, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, New York
NYSOE = M.A. in Religious Education, New York School of Education
RHSOE = M.A. in Jewish Education, Rhea Hirsch School of Education, Los Angeles
SJCS = M.A. in Jewish Communal Service, School of Jewish Communal Service (now known as School of Jewish Nonprofit Management), Los Angeles
SJNM = M.A. in Jewish Nonprofit Management, School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, Los Angeles
Ph.D. = Doctorate, School of Graduate Studies, Cincinnati
D. Min. = Doctor of Ministry, Graduate Studies Program, New York
D. H. L. = Doctor of Hebrew Letters
D. Hu. L. = Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

The President’s Report is published by the National Office of Institutional Advancement

Jane F. Karlin, Ph.D., Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Jean B. Rosensaft, Assistant Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs; Editor
Allison Glazer, National Public Affairs Associate; Assistant Editor
Design: Tabak Design

Photography: Bill Aron, Los Angeles: pages 5, 11, 24, 54; Isaac Harari, Jerusalem: pages 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 25, 26, 36, 37, 39, 56, back cover; Richard Lobell, New York: pages 1, 6, 8, 24, 26, 27, 34, 35, 37, 39, 40, 41, 48, 50, 53, 59, 62; Janine Spang, Cincinnati: pages 4, 13, 14, 24, 25, 27, 30, 31, 37, 38, 40, 51, back cover; Marvin Steindler, Los Angeles: pages 9, 11, 14, 23, 27, 32, 33, 37, 38, 40, 45, 47, 64; Miles Wolf, Cincinnati: page 7.

Campus Images: Cover: Maty Grünberg, David’s Vision Gate, 1985, Jerusalem; page 1: Atrium, New York; page 7: Klau Library and The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Pavilion, Cincinnati; page 23: Los Angeles campus; page 41: Yaacov Agam, The Twelve Tribes of Israel (detail), 1981, New York

The College-Institute regrets any errors or omissions to these donor lists. Please be so kind as to bring them to our attention in order that we may correct our records and make note in a future publication. Please contact: Diane Bongard, HUC-JIR Gift Accounting Services, 3101 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45220-2488; (513) 221-1875, ext. 3343; fax (513) 221-1847;


President’s Report

Through the scholarship of our faculty, through the deeds of our students, through the vision and generosity of our benefactors longstanding and new, and through the commitment and and innovation of our administrative heads and campus deans, HUC-JIR is determined and confident that it can serve as a center for Jewish renaissance and renewal now and in the future.

One hundred years ago, the great Jewish philosopher of dialogue Martin Buber, in a famous essay entitled “Jewish Religiosity,” called upon Jews to engage in a revitalization of the Jewish spirit. He believed that Jews could once more recapture and display a sense of genuine “religiosity” that lay at the heart of Judaism. Inherent in this Judaism was the “human urge to establish a living communion with the unconditioned.” For Buber, such an urge could only authentically be realized by “deed.” Echoing Kierkegaard, he wrote that the Jewish religion requires “a leap of action.” As he phrased it, “Genuine religiosity has nothing in common with the fancies of romantic hearts, or with the self-pleasure of aestheticizing souls, or with the clever mental exercises of a practical intellectuality. Genuine religiosity is doing.”

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion remains more committed than ever to preparing leaders who will engage in the “ doing” that Buber maintained stands at the heart of Jewish religious affirmation and obligation. Our aim is to educate k’lei kodesh – genuine religious, educational, communal, and intellectual leaders – for the Reform Movement and the Jewish people in both the Diaspora and Israel as well as for the larger world. These women and men will hopefully articulate and embody, in the words of our Cincinnati Ordination speaker, Professor David Aaron, “a liberal, a progressive, an intellectually and spiritually vibrant Torah.” Their task, as President Leon Botstein of Bard College stated in his Graduation Address in New York, is to open up “membership to the Jewish community through recognition of the demographic diversity that is inevitably going to mark the Jewish community in this country [and throughout the world]. The innovation of the spiritual and the definition of the community rest with this [Reform] Movement” and with the graduates of the College-Institute.

As this issue of our President’s Report indicates, HUC-JIR seeks to fulfill these affirmations and aspirations through our many partnerships, our unparalleled archives and library system, our diverse programs, our variegated institutes, and through the scholarship and “doings” of our outstanding and creative faculty, students, and administrators. As these pages report, we are very proud to be shutafin, co-workers, with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis in this enterprise and appreciate the constant support given us by the Women of Reform Judaism. We are grateful that we are able to labor with great and innovative organizations such as the Jim Joseph Foundation and UJA-Federation of New York to answer the challenges confronting Jewish life today as we seek together to redefine the borders and revitalize the spirit of the Jewish people for the sake of our people and the larger world.

We remain aware that there are those who remonstrate about assimilation and decline in our Movement and among our people. However, the pages of this Report provide ample testimony that we can take great pride in our achievements and that we have every reason for confidence as we confront what is all too often decried as a discouraging future. For ours is a time, as our New York Ordination and Investiture Speaker Barry Shrage, President of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, put it, when the Jewish people possess the power “to move towards a renaissance of its own design.” Through the scholarship of our faculty, through the deeds of our students, through the vision and generosity of our benefac- tors longstanding and new, and through the commitment and innovation of our administrative heads and campus deans, HUC-JIR is determined and confident that it can serve as a center for Jewish renaissance and renewal now and in the future. This Report documents some of the many ways in which, to use the watchword of Buber, the “doings” of the College-Institute are achieving this renaissance and renewal.

No one is more aware than I am of the fiscal challenges of the past two years. At the same time, I remain equally aware of a great truth – no Jewish community in history has ever thrived without a great academy, a bet midrash gavohah, at its center. I thank all of you who are reading the pages of this Report and so many thousands of others for recognizing this truth as well. Your generosity and support have made it possible for us to weather the storm and to move forward assuredly as we prepare for the future. Our academy – the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion – remains strong and vibrant because of you. For that, I express hoda’ah, thanksgiving and gratitude, to you and pledge that HUC-JIR will remain the center of “doing” that Martin Buber spoke of a century ago when he challenged the Jews of his day to infuse Jewish life and spirit in novel ways. His listeners and stu- dents surely did so in a myriad of ways. We today can do no less. May you enjoy the pages of this Report, and may the “doings” they report inspire and fill you with dignity, resolve, and hope.

Rabbi David Ellenson, N ’77, Ph.D.
March 2011 Adar II 5771


2009-2010 at a Glance


The dedication of the renovated and expanded Klau Library and the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Library Pavilion and HUC-JIR’s 135th year in Cincinnati were celebrated by a gathering of 1300 leaders of the community at the Jewish Community Center.

HUC-JIR and Xavier University completed the first full-year of a joint program in Jewish Studies at Xavier, which has launched a minor in Jewish Studies and offers the largest and most comprehensive Jewish Studies curriculum in any American Catholic university or college.

The HUC-UC Ethics Center co-sponsored and hosted a public event with the Cincinnati Opera to mark its 90th anniversary and production of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger with the panel discussion on “Wagner: The Man and His Art.” The Center was represented at conferences, meetings, and symposia, including the Institution for Contemporary Halachah Meeting at the CCAR Convention.

The American Jewish Archives website was selected for inclusion by the U.S. Library of Congress in its new Single Sites Web Archive, which preserves and provides access to significant web-based information for future generations of researchers.


Israeli rabbinical students, educators, mental health professionals, and, for the first time, a Protestant Minister, began the second cohort of the Mezorim Pastoral Counseling Program.

Educators from throughout Israel comprised the second cohort of the M.A. Program in Pluralistic Jewish Education, a joint program with the Melton Centre at the Hebrew University.

Alumni from around the world convened for the Annual Alumni Shabbat Program at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem.

Israeli rabbinical students and Year-In-Israel rabbinical, cantorial, and education students joined together for a day of study and services in commemoration of Yom Hashoah and participated in Ride for Reform, a 5-day bike ride across Israel to support Progressive Judaism there.


The 40th anniversary of the School of Jewish Communal Service (now the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management) was honored by a special edition of the Journal of Jewish Communal Service, featuring over 20 articles by faculty and alumni discussing Jewish professional education, the values of the field, and the Jewish communal professional in the international context.

The Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health completed the second ASSAF: Judaism, Health, and Healing for Clinicians program, a retreat and online distance education program designed to help Jewish physicians, nurses, therapists, and other healthcare professionals integrate their clinical and spiritual lives.

The Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation’s Welcoming Synagogues Project, unique in the Jewish world, included a survey of every synagogue in the country and two national convenings, and selected synagogues across the country to begin work on a structured curriculum designed to create a Jewish LGBT welcoming synagogue movement.

The Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement, a partnership between HUC-JIR, the University of Southern California, and the Omar ibn Khattab Foundation, issued the first comprehensive report on the growing number of groups building relations between Islamic and Jewish communities in the U.S. since 2001.


A national symposium on “Moses and the Journey to Leadership: Visions for the 21st Century” honored Dr. Norman J. Cohen, N ’71, Ph.D. ’77, Professor of Midrash, on his retirement as Provost and featured live national dialogue of faculty across HUC-JIR’s campuses.

The faculty concluded a three-year process to create a new core curriculum for the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music that is responsive to the changing demands of the Reform cantorate in the field, with four progressive tracks: Liturgical Music, General Music, Judaica, and Professional Development, with the integration of Tefillah and Modes (traditional music of the liturgy) as the backbone of the curriculum.

The Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling’s successful model of integrated coursework, fieldwork, supervision, and mentor training provided support for the Blaustein Center in Jerusalem and its Mezorim healthcare chaplaincy program and enriched the Israel Rabbinical Program’s fieldwork mentorship. The Center provided consultation to the Los Angeles campus as it focused on enhancing fieldwork and mentor training programs, and provided guidance to the pastoral counseling programs at the Conservative and Reconstructionist seminaries.

The HUC-JIR Museum in New York presented year-long exhibitions on “Isaac Bashevis Singer and His Artists,” “Susan Silas: Helmbrechts Walk,” and “Mirta Kupferminc: Wanderings.”


Securing HUC-JIR’s Future

Rosalyn and Irwin Engelman with Israeli President Shimon Peres during the Board of Governors Israel Committee Mission to Israel

Irwin Engelman is a passionate advocate for HUC-JIR’s mission. The continuity of progressive and pluralistic Jewish values inspires Engelman’s commitment to place HUC-JIR “on a firm financial footing by increasing the size of our endowment while invigorating annual giving.” As the new Chairman of the Board of Governors, succeeding Barbara Friedman’s distinguished tenure, he is applying his broad expertise in finance and leading institutional change to the implementation of A New Way Forward, HUC-JIR’s five-year plan for financial sustainability.

Born to a Sephardic mother from the island of Rhodes and an Ashkenazic father born in Czernovitz, he became a bar mitvah at the Young Israel of the Bronx. He earned his B.B.A. at City College Downtown, then known as the ‘Harvard for the poor’ and today as City University of New York’s Baruch College. Morning classes as an accounting major were followed by work at Howard Clothes, a major New York clothing chain, until 9 p.m. each night. “Eighty percent of the students in my day were Jews and, to date, Baruch has graduated more Fortune 500 CEO’s than any other school in the country,” notes Engelman. “As a fellow Baruch trustee best expressed it, ‘It’s time we started paying our tuition’ and I have spent six of the past 10 years as President of the Baruch College Fund.”

He and his life’s partner, Rosalyn, met on a blind date and married in 1956. He earned his J.D. at Brooklyn Law School at night, while working as a C.P.A. and as the controller of an emerging technology opto-electronic company. “I then joined Xerox just when the corporate culture was beginning to relax its anti-Semitic attitudes,” he recalls. He held positions of increasing responsibility at Xerox Corporation (1966-1978), including Vice President of Finance and Administration of U.S. Copier/Duplicator Operations, Vice President and Regional General Manager, and Vice President and Manager of the Reprographics Business.

As Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Singer Company (1978-1981), he played a central role in its turn-around. Thereafter, he served as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and a member of the Board of Directors of General Foods Corporation (1981-1987); Executive Vice President of The Blackstone Group (1987-1988); President and Chief Operating Officer of CitiTrust Bancorporation (1988-1990); and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of GAF Corporation (1990-1992). At MacAndrews and Forbes Holdings (1992-2000), he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and as Vice Chairman and Chief Administrative Officer of Revlon. Until 2002, he served as Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President, and a Director of YouthStream Media Networks. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of eMagin Corporation and WellGen Corp.

A member of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors since 2005, Engelman has served as Chair of the Audit Committee, Chair of the Task Force Oversight Committee, and Chair of the Implementation Committee. He has served as an Officer of Temple Shaaray Tefila, member of the Finance Committee of the UJA of New York, President of the National Corporate Theater Fund, and Trustee of the University of Bridgeport and Long Wharf Theatre.

Engelman takes great pride in Rosalyn’s accomplishments as a human rights activist and prominent contemporary artist, who was awarded the Lorenzo di Medici “Il Magnifico” Gold Medal at the Biennale Internazionale dell’Arte Contemporanea di Firenze and recently exhibited at the Grand Palais in Paris. They are blessed with a closely-knit family: accomplished daughters – writer Madeleine Engelman Cohen, married to internet entrepreneur Scott Cohen, and public interest attorney Marianne Engelman-Lado, married to Dr. Fred A. Lado, Chief of Service, Neurology, Montefiore Hospital Group – and beloved grandchildren Natasha Cohen, and Elana and Nathan Engelman-Lado.

“The future of Judaism lies with the Reform Movement, which gains its vitality from the leadership that is produced by HUC-JIR in North America, Israel, and beyond,” asserts Engelman. “As we reach out to others to support our vision, we need to impress upon them that if they’re interested in the future of the Jewish people, they should be interested in HUC-JIR.”


Creators of the Jewish Future

“What we need more than anything else is not textbooks but textpeople. The modern teacher…is a link in the chain of a tradition… yet is also the creator of the future of our people.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel

“Educating men and women to be textpeople means striving for a combination of professional, academic, intellectual, and personal qualities. We want our graduates to have qualities of the prophet (vision and conscience), the activist (communication and organization), the priest (ritual and representation), the sage (learning and judgment), the counselor, the scholar – the list is long. In order to achieve these ambitious goals, we need to do more than simply require our students to meet their course requirements. We need to demand more of them and of ourselves. Beyond the written curriculum, our faculty and staff strive to provide our students with exposure to the kinds of textpeople they themselves are destined to become. Our faculty does indeed provide a model for this, combining the highest standards of academic research with engagement, experience, and empathy. Our business is textpeople, intermediaries between past and present, creators of the Jewish future.”
Rabbi Michael Marmur, J ’92, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs



Rabbi Michael Marmur, J ’92, Ph.D.
Vice President for Academic Affairs

A recognized expert on the thought of Abraham Joshua Heschel, Dr. Michael Marmur served as Dean of the Jerusalem campus for the past decade and is now the chief academic officer of the College-Institute. His mandate ranges from strengthening curriculum, supporting faculty teaching and scholar- ship, and refining student assessment, to facilitating alumni lifelong education and reinforcing HUC-JIR’s renowned research libraries, American Jewish Archives, and research centers. He is successfully integrating the three stateside campuses and the Year-In-Israel Program in Jerusalem for accreditation with a single accrediting agency and fostering academic partnerships with other institutions. A priority is utilization of technology for pedagogy and learning, as demonstrated in his teaching the first ever four-campus e-course, entitled “In Search of Heschel,” which incorporated live teaching and interactive discussions linking students across the time zones in Jerusalem, New York, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles, weekly video postings, online readings and writing assignments, and cross- campus learning partnerships.

Marmur: “If you want to participate in creating and articulating a Judaism for a challenging century, if you want to be conversant and at home in different worlds of discourse because one single perspective isn’t enough, and if you want to embrace a life which calls to high professional standards and personal integrity, spiritual search, and academic excellence, HUC-JIR is your place. And the only way to be true to our mission is to engage our students and then our graduates in a 60-year curriculum and a conversation that doesn’t end.


Rabbi Naamah Kelman, J ’92, M.A.
Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem

The descendant of 10 generations of rabbis and the first woman to be ordained a rabbi in the State of Israel (1992), Rabbi Naamah Kel- man has been a pioneer in the development of Progressive educational institutions in Israel, a catalyst for the Jerusalem campus’s groundbreaking Mezorim Pastoral Counseling Program, and a key partner in the M.A. in Pluralistic Jewish Education Program and rabbinical infusion and leadership development in the Former Soviet Union. As the new Dean, succeeding Dr. Michael Marmur, she oversees the Directors of these programs, and the Directors of the Israel Rabbinical Program, the Year-In-Israel Program for first-year stateside rabbinical, cantorial, and education students, and the campus’s renowned archaeology and library resources, and community outreach.

Kelman: “ We have a unique mission in Jerusalem: to be that bridge that brings Reform Jews to active engagement with and concern for the Jewish people in Israel; to inspire and shepherd Israeli Jews to become participants in the Jewish tradition; and to foster a Jerusalem that embraces the plurality of the Jewish experience, a place for coexistence and healing.”


Joshua Holo, Ph.D.
Dean, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

A scholar of the social and intellectual life of medieval Jewry in the Christian Mediterranean, Dr. Joshua Holo has spent the past five years stewarding the Louchheim School of Judaic Studies, HUC-JIR’s unique partnership with the University of Southern California (USC), which enables over 600 USC undergraduates to study with HUC-JIR faculty each year. As the new Dean, succeeding Dr. Steven 9 Windmueller, he seeks to strengthen the campus’s rabbinical, education, and Jewish nonprofit management programs and sustain its innovative research centers, including the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health, the Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation, and the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement in partnership witkh USC and the Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation. He also wants to advance the campus’s new role as the integrated West Coast Center for the Reform Movement, housing the regional offices of the Union for Reform Judaism and Central Conference of American Rabbis.

Holo: “I come from a faculty world view, in that I see the core of what we do here as the magic that happens in our classrooms and the connection that developms between our faculty and students. We pore over texts, study ideas, and come up with strategies that are going to shape the Jewish world for generations to come. I want to illustrate the Reform Movement and the harget progressive Jewish population in North America, many segments of which are unaffiliated, the vitality and diversity of the important work happening here.”


Nili S. Fox, Ph.D
Director, School of Graduate Studies, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

An expert in Israelite history and culture with a special focus on religion, literacy, and state-organization, Dr. Nili S. Fox is the founder of the Archaeology Center on the Cincinnati campus and the Graduate Summer-in-Israel Program, and Co-Director (with Dr. David Ilan) of the Tel Dan Excavations of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem.

She has provided transformative encounters with the Holy Land and modern Israel for her interfaith graduate students, many of whom are specializing in Biblical studies in early or late antiquity. Succeeding Dr. Samuel Greengus as the Director of the School of Graduate Studies, she seeks to build on a reciprocal relationship with the University of Cincinnati and the developing partnership with Xavier University, where HUC-JIR faculty teach undergraduate Jewish Studies courses and graduate students have teaching assistantship opportunities.

Fox: “We are blessed by HUC-JIR’s extraordinary primary research resources: the Klau Library – second only to the Jewish National Library at Hebrew University – for our full range of studies from antiquity to modernity, as well as the American Jewish Archives and its encyclopedic documentation of the Jewish experience in the Western Hemisphere and the Holocaust-era. With the largest Jewish Studies faculty of any institution outside of Israel, and the new possibilities offered by e-learning technology, I would liketo integrate faculty across the four campuses in planning, teaching courses, mentoring, and guiding graduate studies.”


Richard Siegel, M.A.
Director, School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

A distinguished Jewish communal professional, editor, and cultural entrepreneur, Richard Siegel has crafted a strategic plan to revision the School of Jewish Communal Service, which was founded in 1968 and originally conceived as a graduate program preparing social work-oriented professionals to lead the social service agencies that once dominated the Jewish communal enterprise. Now as its Director, he is rebranding it as the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (SJNM) to manifest the new realities of American Jewish life, which have grown to encompass a broad array of organizations, including social justice, community relations, Israel advocacy, culture, the arts, education, youth services, camping, and outreach, among others. It is the only graduate program of its kind that is embedded within a Jewish institution of higher learning and enjoys a special partnership with its neighbor, the University of Southern California, where students can pursue five dual Master’s degrees.

Siegel: “Our new name catches up with our forward-looking curriculum developed over the past decade, where students integrate a solid grounding in Jewish studies, a deep understanding of North American and world Jewish communal dynamics, and leadership skills in fundraising, board relations, strategic planning, organizational development, communication, and new media. The SJNM’s programs are guided by the values of excellence in educational and professional standards, community-building, integrated education, pluralism, change and innovation, lay-professional partnership, and the vocation of Jewish professional leadership as a “calling” to serve the Jewish people and advance the Jewish experience.”


Leah Hochman, Ph.D.
Director, Jerome H. Louchheim School of Judaic Studies, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

A scholar in the areas of religion and literature, medieval and modern Jewish thought, modern and contemporary Judaism, ethics and identity, German-Jewish studies, American Judaism, and food and religion, Dr. Leah Hochman succeeds Dr. Joshua Holo as Director of HUC-JIR’s Louchheim School. She is applying her considerable undergraduate teaching and programming skills to this program, which serves as the undergraduate Jewish Studies department for the University of Southern California. Her annual “Germany Up Close” program (see HUC-JIR students at the Hochshule fuer Juedische Studien in Heidelberg in photo above) includes a cross-campus elective history e-course and two-week visit throughout Germany to study the historical roots of Reform Judaism, the communal structures of today’s renascent German Jewish communities, and the legacy of the Holocaust. As an advocate for new technology, she challenges her students to interact with Internet, social media tools, and new information sources related to American Jewish history and American Judaism, and is committed to broadening her rabbinical students’ perspectives as future Jewish leaders.

Hochman: “My goals are to elevate the profile of Jewish studies taught by HUC-JIR faculty at USC, raise the profile of USC throughout HUC-JIR, and develop student and faculty cohorts at USC that are interested in Jewish studies. Our online presence and outreach efforts have fostered new and stronger ties with USC centers, institutes, and departments.”


Dvora Weisberg, Ph.D.
Director of Rabbinical Studies, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

As a Talmud student who once was often the only woman in the room, taught by men, and studying a text that was written by men for men, Dr. Dvora Weisberg’s mission has been to bring a feminist lens and take ownership of the Talmud as a woman, Reform Jew, and scholar. Furthermore, her lifelong aspiration to be ordained a rabbi will be realized at HUC-JIR in May 2011. Other faculty members who have simultaneously studied in the rabbinical school, her diverse experiences as the new Director of Rabbinical Studies, as well as her roles as both teacher and student, are enabling her to strengthen this program and better support students in their professional, intellectual, and spiritual journeys. Weisberg works closely with the other stateside Rabbinical School Directors — Rabbi Ken Kanter in Cincinnati and Rabbi Renni Altman in New York — and with Year-In-Israel Director Rabbi Josh Zweiback in Jerusalem and Dr. Michael Marmur, Vice President for Academic Affairs, to coordinate the stateside rabbinical curriculum to ensure that each student acquires the designated core competencies (Rabbinic Literature, Bible, History, Religious Thought, and Hebrew Language and Literature).

Weisberg: “None of us are Biblical Jews. The Judaism with which most of our students and congregants are engaged – lighting Shabbat candles, reciting Kaddish, bar mitzvah, reading the Haftarah on Shabbat, Hanukkah, the Passover seder – are the creations of rabbinic Judaism. For our students to be able to authentically shape Judaism for the next generation of Jews, they need to understand rabbinic Judaism and have the skills to unlock Talmud so that they can teach it. They must be empowered and empower others to embrace this significant text of our tradition and not cede it to others.”


Rabbi Josh Zweiback, N ’98, RHSOE ’9
Director, Year-In-Israel Program, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem

As a dynamic congregational rabbi, master educator, songleader/musician, and social activist, Rabbi Josh Zweiback is now turning his transformative and revitalizing leadership to the Year- In-Israel Program for all first-year stateside rabbinical, cantorial, and education students on our Jerusalem campus, including sev- eral European students from the Leo Baeck College in London, England, and the Abraham Geiger Kolleg in Potsdam, Germany. New initiatives include the intensification of the worship program to strengthen mastery and deepen spirituality, fostering ties between the stateside and Israeli rabbinical and education stu- dents, and focusing on the themes of Jewish peoplehood and the students’ connection to Israel to nurture their love for the home- land of the Jewish people. All students participate in the Truma (contribution) program by volunteering through community service projects assisting victims of terrorism, new immigrants, disadvantaged youth, and the elderly, or by raising money, or spreading awareness.

Zweiback: “Our program here is unique in that it is the one time and place where all of our students are together. When we discuss the text saying ‘Out of Zion comes Torah,’ they can directly experience it by strolling off our campus and ascending Mount Zion a few minutes later. As they master the language and culture of modern Israel, they are able to study Jewish text and history in the context of where they were written and took place.  Our students tell us that they chose to study at HUC-JIR in order to make a difference in the Jewish world and to help bring peace to all humanity, and it begins here in Jerusalem.”


Rabbi Marc Rosenstein, N ’75, Ph.D.
Director, Israel Rabbinical Program, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem

A successful social entrepreneur and institution builder in the Galilee who is deeply committed to a Jewish, Zionist, and democratic Israel, Rabbi Marc Rosenstein has taken on the responsibility of guiding the Israel Rabbinical Program, which trains rabbinical leadership for the synagogues, institutions, and communities of Israel’s Progressive Movement. He points to the diversity of his students’ religious, cultural, and ideo- logical backgrounds, the growing number of women students, and the fact that his students are at least ten years older than HUC-JIR’s stateside students. He notes that the biggest challenges are placement for those ordained, due to the lim- ited number of full-time Reform pulpits in Israel, and tuition aid for mid-career students with families to support who come into the program seeking to change society.

Rosenstein: “Defining exactly what an Israeli Reform rabbi is in 21st century Israel is not quite the same as the American model. Our synagogues, and our students are not applying to established synagogue pulpits. We need people who are going to start things from stratch, create new institutions that we haven’t imagined yet. Our Israel Rabbinical Program should be a think tank that leads the way in defining the new Judaism that Israel needs.”



The following distinguished members of the faculty were awarded tenure in recognition of their research and scholarship, teaching and mentorship, and service to the College-Institute and the Reform Movement.

Dr. Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D., L.L.B.
Associate Professor of Talmud and Halachic Literature, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

An emerging major figure in the academic study of Jewish Law, Dr. Jonathan Cohen’s interests include history of law, law and religion, and, in particular, the evolution of Jewish law in Christian Europe. His areas of expertise encompass Jewish law and modernity, medieval responsa, human rights and religion, and halachah and ethics. He holds the Rabbi Michael Matuson Professorship for Emerging Scholars and is the editor of Studies in Jewish Commercial Law (The Jewish Law Association, 2009). As Director of the Hebrew Union College-University of Cincinnati Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems since 2001, he has extended HUC-JIR’s academic renown through major national symposia on a broad range of issues, including poverty, welfare, and religion; gender stereotypes; censorship and the visual arts; emergency care in time of war; the role of the media at times of war; education, discipline, and equal access; capital punishment; end of life treatment and care; ethical decisions in housing; and family violence.


Rabbi David Levine, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Talmud and Halachah, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem

An exemplary teacher and scholar, Dr. David Levine holds the David and Roslyn Sonabend Professorship for an Emerging Scholar. He views Talmudic rabbis and their religion as one expression among several in Jewish culture during the first centuries CE. This view challenges historical interpretation to assess the rabbis, their religion, and norms as part of a more varied context and to trace the emergence and development of this later-to-be-influential strand of Judaism in a more complex setting. He also suggests that Talmudic historiography should carefully attempt to reclaim Talmudic biography as a necessary ‘building block’ in early rabbinic studies. This aspect of modern Talmudic scholarship has come under attack and has been flagged as naïve and critically irresponsible during the past thirty years. He asserts that it is necessary to put forward a model that will seriously take into account this critique of the past generation of scholarship while substantiating some of the still-prevalent biographical assumptions in scholarly discourse.


Rabbi Tali E. Zelkowicz, Ph.D., RHSOE ’00, L ’02
Professor Sara S. Lee Chair for an Emerging Scholar in Jewish Education, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

“Identity is not a static object – it is a moving target,” says Dr. Tali E. Zelkowicz, Asssistant Professor of Jewish Education at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles. “It should be thought of as a verb rather than a noun. There is no ‘ideal’ Jewish identity. It’s much messier and much more unpredictable.”

Newly appointed as the inaugural Professor Sara S. Lee Chair for an Emerging Scholar in Jewish Education, Zelkowicz is a sociologist of Jewish education who both researches and teaches on identity formation, the subject of her doctoral dissertation. Focusing on the role of conflict and dissonance in Jewish identity formation among liberal Jews in America, she finds the “pressure points” in Jewish education, and embraces them as opportunities. She teaches her rabbinical, education, and Jewish nonprofit management students that facing conflict need not be “a fight or flight response, but rather finding a way to stay at the table even while sustaining discomfort and learning from diverse viewpoints to effect productive and creative change.”

In today’s pluralistic, increasingly post-denominational world, Zelkowicz cautions her students that “hesitation to interrogate dominant narratives in the field hinders the very strategies the organized Jewish world seems to seek in order to survive and thrive. When it comes to Jewish identity formation, we need to ask: What is considered real, to whom, and why? Where are the boundaries? And on whose authority are they set, and why? A realistic approach honors the ever-shifting dynamics of what are mostly unconscious power struggles over authoritative, authentic constructions of Jewish identities. We need to find the language and the tools to navigate Jewish identity formation, not with fear but with zest.”

Established in loving tribute by alumni of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education, HUC-JIR leadership, and generous donors to Jewish education, the Professor Sara S. Lee Chair for an Emerging Scholar in Jewish Education acknowledges Professor Lee’s lifetime of achievement as an internationally renowned Jewish educator who has advanced the Rhea Hirsch School of Education as the premier school of Jewish education in North America.


Dr. Jason Kalman
Dr. Alfred Gottschalk – John and Marianne Slade Chair for an Emerging Scholar in Jewish Intellectual History, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati

“The book of Job, with its blatant depiction of a capricious God, contradicts so many of Judaism’s teachings that it has troubled readers for millenia,” recounts Dr. Jason Kalman, who has been fascinated by this text since his teenage day school years. His scholarship has explored the 2,000 year history of the Jewish interpretation of the Book of Job, from the Second Temple period through the Holocaust, after which “the notion that innocent victims should be blamed for what befell them suddenly became intolerable. Post-Shoah interpreters maintain Job’s integrity, at the expense of God’s,” he explains.

As Associate Professor of Classical Hebrew Texts and Interpretation holding the Gottschalk-Slade Chair, Kalman specializes in the history of Jewish biblical exegesis, and his specific research interests include rabbinic anti-Christian polemic, medieval intellectual history as reflected in biblical commentary, and biblical interpretation after the Holocaust. When teaching his rabbinical and graduate students, he hopes not only that “they internalize the material, learn the study skills and how to apply them, but that their encounter with the material will shape them and encourage growth in them.”

Kalman adds, “The interpreters were always aware on a certain level that the text, while speaking the truth, was antiquated, and they were trying to bring it into their ‘modern’ period, whatever that ‘modern’ period happened to be.” The intersection of text and context, he asserts, “helps students understand their place in a larger dialogue, strengthens their awareness that meaning is constructed, and that, to some extent, authenticity comes from participating in the conversation.” Noting the growing importance of pedagogy in graduate studies and recognizing the applied aspects of his students’ learning, he adds, “If our students are going to make the text relevant, as scholars or as rabbis, they also have to be aware of the context in which they are speaking – not only from the pulpit or in the classroom, but the period of time in which they’re speaking, and what came before.”

The Dr. Alfred Gottschalk-John and Marianne Slade Chair was established by John and Marianne Slade in honor of their friend, Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, former HUC-JIR President (1971-1996), Chancellor (1996-2000), and Chancellor Emeritus (2000-2009).


Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, N ’90, D. Min. ’94
Dr. Paul M. and Trudy Steinberg Distinguished Professorship in Human Relations and Counseling, HUC-JIR/New York

“As a rabbinical student at HUC-JIR in the late 1980s, I could not have imagined the ways in which I and the world would change,” says Dr. Nancy Wiener. “My dreams reflected the realities I’d been told were awaiting me: There were no congregational rabbis who had been hired ‘out.’ There was no one who was ‘out’ on this faculty. There were no full-time tenure track women. The CCAR had not voted on membership for ‘out’ gay and lesbian rabbis.” Today, as the newly appointed Steinberg Distinguished Professor in Human Relations and Counseling, she has seen her dreams come true.

Tracing her passion for pastoral care to her own struggle with illness during her years as a student at HUC-JIR, Wiener has transformed rabbinical, cantorial, and education studies through her pioneering development of the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling in New York. As its Clinical Director, she has created a comprehensive program integrating coursework, fieldwork, supervision, and mentoring that ensures that students “have the essential grounding in interpersonal dynamics, group dynamics, and family systems.” Her innovations serve as a model for HUC-JIR’s Blaustein Center in Jerusalem and the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health in Los Angeles.

Her decades-long commitment to interfaith dialogue and her awareness of the challenges presented by intermarriage inform her teaching under the auspices of the Blaustein Center. She explains, “It is essential for our students to be able to translate their beliefs into a language that is shared by other faith groups.” Her supervision and facilitation of the fieldwork program focus on her students’ personal and spiritual development as leaders and stress the pastoral aspects of their rabbinical work. As a member of the Worship Working Group, she teaches a course that nurtures students’ spiritual growth and creativity in liturgy and worship. Furthermore, her interests extend “to fighting and working for social change, for equality and justice.” She tells her students, “Dream, see the gap between dream, reality, and possibility – and start building the bridge!”

The Dr. Paul M. and Trudy Steinberg Distinguished Professorship in Human Relations and Counseling was inaugurated in 2004 through a generous gift from the Irma L. and Abram S. Croll Charitable Trust. Dr. Wiener succeeds the inaugural recipient, Rabbi William Cutter, Ph.D., who served for many years as Professor of Education and Modern Hebrew Literature and Director of the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles.


HUC-JIR in Print

November 2009 – December 2010

Nachman Krochmal, Today’s Guide for the Perplexed
Edited by Yehoyada Amir, J ’04, Carmel Publishing House, 2010
The magnum opus of Rabbi Nachman Krochmal (1785-1840), the leading figure of the Galician Haskalah (Jewish enlightenment), this text is acknowledged to be a cornerstone for modern Jewish scholarship, philosophy, and theology. This new edition contains an up-to-date comprehensive introduction, a philosophic-linguistic lexicon for Krochmal’s book, and a list of his references to classic Jewish literature, foremost the Bible.

Sacred Strategies: Transforming Synagogues from Functional to Visionary
Isa Aron, Steven M. Cohen, Lawrence A. Hoffman, N ’69, Ph.D. ’73 and Ari Y. Kelman, The Alban Institute, 2010
Over a period of two years, researchers Aron, Cohen, Hoffman, and Kelman studied eight congregations that had gone from commonplace to extraordinary. Through interviews with 175 synagogue leaders and a selection of congregants (ranging from intensely committed to largely inactive), they discovered the six shared traits that exemplified these successful congregations’ central aspects of synagogue life. This book has been awarded the 2010 National Jewish Book Award in the category of Education and Jewish Identity.

Midrash & Medicine: Healing Body and Soul in the Jewish Interpretive Tradition
Edited by Rabbi William Cutter, C ’65, Ph.D., Jewish Lights Publishing, 2010
Experts from across the spectrum of Jewish life present a variety of approaches to midrash – an interpretive practice that emphasizes interpersonal engagement, critical analysis, and creativity – and how it can function as a resource for healing by providing purpose, meaning, and hope during illness, inspiration for living with loss and change, outlets for questioning within the continuity of the Jewish tradition, and opportunity to plumb the deeper significance of illness.

Mishneh Todah: Studies in Deuteronomy and Its Cultural Environment in Honor of Jeffrey H. Tigay
Edited by Nili Sacher Fox, David A. Glatt-Gilad, and Michael J. Williams, Eisenbrauns, 2009
This festschrift’s articles by students and colleagues cover the primary topics of the honoree’s interest: deuteronomic studies, ancient Israelite religion, and ancient Israel’s literary tradition in its ancient Near Eastern context.

Who by Fire, Who by Water: Un’taneh Tokef
Edited by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman N ’69, Ph.D. ’73, 
Jewish Lights Publishing, 2010
The first volume in a series exploring High Holy Day liturgy examines this powerful prayer from the perspectives of ancient Rabbis and modern theologians, as well as halachic, Talmudic, linguistic, biblical, mystical, feminist, community, and personal perspectives.

Byzantine Jewry in the Mediterranean Economy
Joshua Holo, Cambridge University Press, 2009
Using primary sources, Holo uncovers the day-to-day workings of the Byzantine-Jewish economy in the middle Byzantine period. Built on a web of exchange systems both exclusive to the Jewish community and integrated in society at large, this economy forces a revision of Jewish history in the region. Paradoxically, the two distinct economic orientations, inward and outward, simultaneously advanced both the integration of the Jews into the larger Byzantine economy and their segregation as a self-contained economic body.

Canada’s Big Biblical Bargain: How McGill University Bought the Dead Sea Scrolls
Jason Kalman and Jaqueline S. du Toi, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010
Relying heavily on McGill’s archival sources, this book uses the story of this purchase (and its eventual reversal) as a window on the acquisition, study, and preservation of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1950s and 1960s and explores the role that state treasures, especially antiquities, play in national identity formation.

Jacob of Sarug’s Homilyon the Judgment of Solomon
Jacob of Sarug’s Homilies on Elijah
Jacob of Sarug’s Homilies on Elisha
Stephen Kaufman, 
Gorgias Press, 2008, 2009, 2010
Recognized as a saint by both Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian Christians alike, Jacob of Sarug (d. 521) produced many narrative poems that have rarely been translated into English. Of his reported 760 metrical homilies, only about half survive. The Syriac text is fully vocalized, and the translation is annotated with a commentary and biblical references.

When I Sleep and When I Wake: On Prayers between Dawn and Dusk
Dalia Marx, C/J ’02, Yediot Sfarim, 2010
Marx’s approach to examining the Morning Blessings and the bedtime Sh’ma can be compared to looking at a diamond. Just as all its facets cannot be captured in a single view and must be rotated and held in different kinds of light to capture all its angles, the quest to understand these prayers in their entirety requires a patient and systematic examination of their multiple dimensions.

Galilee Diary: Reflections on Daily Life in Israel
Marc Rosenstein, N ’75, URJ Press, 2010
At the time of the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000, it became clear that Israel was too often seen through the shallow lens of political debate, news reports, or the tour bus. This volume is the product of ten years and over 500 entries 17 of online essays for the URJ website, begun initially as a resource for Reform educators, that go beyond the preoccupations of the mainstream media and reflect the small stories, challenges, satisfactions, frustrations, and beauty encountered by ordinary citizens living in the Jewish State.

Yannai on Genesis: An Invitation to Piyyut
Laura S. Lieber, Hebrew Union College Press, 2010
An ancient poet whose works were lost to the world for almost a millennium, Yannai emerged from the mists of legend with the discovery of the treasures in the Cairo Genizah at the end of the 19th century. Lieber examines Yannai’s poetic language and structures, considers broader questions of his exegetical, cultural, and societal importance, and explores motifs in his worldview — mysticism, holiness, God, the Covenant of the Land, Jewish-Christian relations, and the roles and importance of women in his piyyutim. She also translates, annotates, and analyzes Yannai’s complex piyyutim embellishing the Book of Genesis.

The Making of a Reform Jewish Cantor: Musical Authority, Cultural Investment
Judah M. Cohen, Indiana University Press, 2009
In an unprecedented look into the meaning of attaining musical authority among American Reform Jews at the turn of the 21st century, Cohen follows cantorial students at HUC-JIR’s School of Sacred Music over the course of their training as they prepare to become modern Jewish musical leaders. How do aspiring cantors adapt traditional musical forms to the practices of contemporary American congregations? What is the cantor’s role in American Jewish religious life today?

Jewish Theology in Our Time: The New Generation Explores the Foundations & Future of Jewish Belief
Edited by Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, Ph.D.; Foreword by Rabbi David J. Wolpe; Preface by Rabbi Carole B. Balin, N ’91, Ph.D., Jewish Lights Publishing, 2010
How can a new generation of theological voices inspire the Jewish community? HUC-JIR faculty and alumni are contributors to this pioneering volume that sets the next stage of Jewish theological thought, bringing together a cross section of interesting new voices from all movements in Judaism to inspire and stimulate discussion.

New Essays in American Jewish History
Edited by Pamela S. Nadell, Jonathan D. Sarna, and Lance J. Sussman, C ’80, Ph.D. ’87, American Jewish Archives, 2010
Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) and the 10th anniversary of Dr. Gary P. Zola as its Director, this volume includes 22 new articles representing the best in modern American and Jewish scholarship.

Hebrew Union College Annual, Volume 78
Edward A. Goldman, C ’69, Ph.D. ’74, Editor
Richard S. Sarason, C ’74, Associate Editor
Dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, z”l, C ’57, and Richard J. Scheuer, z”l
Articles by leading international scholars illuminate the cutting-edge in contemporary Jewish studies in this journal that is HUC-JIR’s primary face to the academic world.

American Jewish Archives Journal
Volume 61, No. 2 (2009) 
honors Dr. Naomi W. Cohen, Professor Emeritus, Hunter College and Graduate Center of the City University of New York, with articles highlighting her important contributions to the field of American Jewish history.
Volume 62, No. 1 (2010) presents articles on three very different historical figures: Mordecai Manuel Noah, Mordecai Kaplan, and Erwin Schepses, the late uncle of the author Rudolf B. Schmerl.

CCAR Journal: Reform Jewish Quarterly, Fall 2009
The proceedings of the symposium honoring Dr. Eugene B. Borowitz, C ’48, Ph.D. ’52, dean of Reform Jewish theology, on the occasion of his 85th birthday, include presentations by Dr. Borowitz, Rabbi David Ellenson, Rabbi Shirley Idelson, Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Simon Cooper, and Rabbi Jonathan Crane.



Dr. David H. Aaron, C ’83, Professor of Bible, was awarded Y the Krister Stendhal Medal in Biblical Studies by the Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana.

Dr. Rachel R. Adler, Professor of Jewish Religious Thought and Feminist Studies, presented “Love, Loyalty, and Loathing in Biblical Marriages” at the University of California San Diego.

Dr. Yehoyada Amir, J ’04, Associate Professor of Jewish Thought, published “New Paths towards Christianity in the Thought of Nachman Krochmal and Elijah Benamozegh” in Görge Hasselhof (ed.), Die Entdeckung des Christentums in der Wissenschaft des Judentums (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010).

Dr. Michael Chernick, Deutsch Professor of Jewish Jurisprudence and Social Justice, presented “The Expansion and Contraction of the Prohibited Sabbath Labors” at the Consultation of the Sabbath in Text, Tradition, and Theology at the Society of Biblical Literature.

Dr. Jonathan Cohen, Associate Professor of Talmud and Halachic Literature and Director, HUC-UC Ethics Center, published “Jewish Bioethics: Between Interpretation and Criticism” in Rabbi William Cutter, Ph.D. (ed.), Midrash and Medicine (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2010).

Dr. Martin A. Cohen, C ’57, Ph.D. ’60, Professor of Jewish History, was named a member of the Honorary Council of the American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece.

Dr. Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy, received the 2010 Marshall Sklare Award, presented by the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry, in recognition of his body of scholarly research and publications related to public policy.

Dr. Michael J. Cook, N ’70, Ph.D. ’75Bronstein Professor of Judaeo-Christian Studies, published “Jews and ‘Gospel Dynamics’: Why Advice by Ancient Sages Is No Longer Sage Advice” in The Fourth R 22 #2 (Westar, Fall 2009).

Dr. William Cutter, C ’65, Steinberg Professor Emeritus of Human Relations, published (with Eric Berk) “Opening and Closing with Qohelet (Ecclesiastes): The Late Work of Yehuda Amichai” in Hebrew Studies, Volume 51, 2010.

Dr. Susan L. Einbinder, N ’83, Professor of Hebrew Literature, was a Fellow at the Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars at the New York Public Library.

Dr. Isa E. Aron, Professor of Jewish Education, published “Supplementary Schooling and the Law of Unanticipated Consequences: A Review Essay of Stuart Schoenfeld’s ‘Folk Judaism, Elite Judaism and the Role of Bar Mitzvah in the Development of the Synagogue and Jewish School in America’” in Journal of Jewish Education, Volume 76, Number 4 (2010).

Dr. Carole B. Balin, N ’91, Professor of Jewish History, published the preface to Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove (ed.), Jewish Theology in Our Time: A New Generation Explores the Foundations and Future of Jewish Belief (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2010)

Dr. Sarah Bunin Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, published “Ethnolinguistic Repertoire: Shifting the Analytic Focus in Language and Ethnicity” in Journal of Sociolinguistics 14/2.

Dr. Eugene B. Borowitz, C ’48, Ph.D. ’52, Distinguished University Professor; Sigmund Falk Distinguished Professor of Education and Jewish Religious Thought, published “Intra-Aggadic Control of Theological Freedom: A Speculation” in S Steven T. Katz and Steven Bayme (eds.), Continuity and Change, A Festschrift in Honor of Irving (Yitz) Greenberg’s 75th Birthday.

Dr. Michael Chernick, Deutsch Professor of Jewish Jurisprudence and Social Justice, presented “The Expansion and Contraction of the Prohibited Sabbath Labors” at the Consultation of the Sabbath in Text, Tradition, and Theology at the Society of Biblical Literature.

Dr. Jonathan Cohen, Associate Professor of Talmud and Halachic Literature and Director, HUC-UC Ethics Center, published “Jewish Bioethics: Between Interpretation and Criticism” in Rabbi William Cutter, Ph.D. (ed.), Midrash and Medicine (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2010).

Dr. Martin A. Cohen, C ’57, Ph.D. ’60, Professor of Jewish History, was named a member of the Honorary Council of the American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece.

Dr. Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy, received the 2010 Marshall Sklare Award, presented by the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry, in recognition of his body of scholarly research and publications related to public policy.

Dr. Michael J. Cook, N ’70, Ph.D. ’75, Bronstein Professor of Judaeo-Christian Studies, published “Jews and ‘Gospel Dynamics’: Why Advice by Ancient Sages Is No Longer Sage Advice” in The Fourth R 22 #2 (Westar, Fall 2009).

Dr. William Cutter, C ’65, Steinberg Professor Emeritus of Human Relations, published (with Eric Berk) “Opening and Closing with Qohelet (Ecclesiastes): The Late Work of Yehuda Amichai” in Hebrew Studies, Volume 51, 2010.

Dr. Susan L. Einbinder, N ’83, Professor of Hebrew Literature, was a Fellow at the Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars at the New York Public Library.

Dr. David Ellenson, N ’77, President and Grancell Professor of Jewish Religious Thought, published “German Orthodox Rabbinical Writings on the Jewish Textual Education of Women: The Views of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch and Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer” in Marion Kaplan and Deborah Dash Moore (eds.), Gender and Jewish History (Indiana University Press, 2010).

Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Professor of Bible, was selected as an Honorary Member of the Society of Old Testament Study, one of 20 honorary members from outside of the United Kingdom who are recognized as outstanding scholars.

Dr. Reuven Firestone, N ’82, Professor of Medieval Jewish Studies, presented scholarly papers on topics covering conversion, divine authority and mass violence, religious conflict and financial crisis, and religious rights and cultural diversity, at conferences in Jordan, Scotland, Qatar, Macedonia, Romania, and Singapore.

Dr. Nili S. Fox, Professor of Bible and Director, School of Graduate Studies, presented “Biblical Sanctification of Dress: Why Wear Tassels on Garments (Num. 15:38-40; Deut. 22:12)” at the Society of Biblical Literature.

Dr. Joshua Garroway, C ’03, Assistant Professor of Early Christianity and Second Commonwealth, published “The Invasion of a Mustard Seed: A Reading of Mark 5.1-20” in Journal for the Study of the New Testament 32.1 (2009).

Dr. Sharon Gillerman, Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director, Magnin School of Graduate Studies, received the 2010 American Historical Association-Pacific Coast Branch Book Award for her book, Germans into Jews: Remaking the Jewish Social Body in Weimar Germany.

Dr. David Gilner, Ph.D. ’89, Director of Libraries, participated in a National Endowment for the Humanities Religious Studies Fellowship review panel.

Dr. Edward A. Goldman, C ’69, Ph.D. ’74, Bettan Professor Emeritus in Midrash and Homiletics, presented “The Exodus of the Rabbis” at the Society of Biblical Literature.

Dr. Lisa D. Grant, Associate Professor of Jewish Education, published “Mamie Gamoran: Modeling an American Life,” in Carol K. Ingall (ed.), The Women Who Reconstructed American Jewish Education, 1910-1965. (Brandeis University Press, 2010).

Dr. Alyssa Gray, Associate Professor of Codes and Responsa Literature, presented “Certainty and Skepticism: Approaches to Redemptive Almsgiving in Rabbinic Literature of Late Antiquity” at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Dr. Samuel Greengus, Morgenstern Professor of Bible and Near Eastern Literature, was interviewed by CET Cincinnati’s “Voices” oral history project of individuals who have made a significant impact in the Greater Cincinnati region.

Dr. Leah Hochman, Assistant Professor of Jewish Thought and Director, Louchheim School of Judaic Studies, presented a paper on “Are You There God? It’s Me, Moses: Maimonides’ Divine, Mendelssohn’s Perfect” at “The Modern Invention of the Medieval” conference at SUNY, Buffalo.

Dr. Lawrence A. Hoffman, N ’69, Ph.D. ’73, Friedman Professor of Liturgy, Worship, and Ritual, participated in a conference on “Prayer: An Answer to the 21st Century” at Princeton University, marking the 60th anniversary of Fellowship in Prayer, one of America’s first interfaith groups established in opposition to the atom bomb.

Dr. Joshua Holo, Dean, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles and Associate Professor of Jewish History, published a review of Marina Rustow, Heresy and the Politics of Community, in AJS Review 34/2 (2010).

Rabbi Shirley Idelson, N ’91, Dean, HUC-JIR/New York and Director, Graduate Studies, completed her coursework and orals in the History Ph.D. program at the CUNY Graduate Center, and earned the M.Phil. degree.

Dr. David Ilan, Director, Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology, published “Biblical Archaeology as Social Action: Two Case Studies” in T.E. Levy (ed.), Historical Biblical Archaeology and the Future: The New Pragmatism (Equinox, 2010).

Dr. Samuel K. Joseph, C ’76, Professor of Jewish Education and Leadership Development, is the National Co-Chair of the URJ Joint Goals Task Force rewriting the Goals of Lifelong Learning for the Reform Movement, which will be introduced at the URJ Biennial in 2011.

Dr. Jason Kalman, Gottschalk-Slade Chair in Jewish Intellectual History, published “If Jeremiah Wrote It, It Must Be OK: On the Attribution of Lamentations to Jeremiah in Early Rabbinic Texts” in Acta Theologica 29:2 (2009).

Dr. Adam Kamesar, Professor of Judaeo-Hellenistic Literature, published (with Christhard Hoffmann) “Wilamowitz and Heinemann II: Three Letters from the 1920s” in Illinois Classical Studies 31-32 (2006-2007 [published 2009]).

Dr. Kenneth Kanter, C ’80, Director, Rabbinical School, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, published articles on George Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim, and the history of American Popular Music in Jack R. Fischel and Susan M. Ortman (eds.), Encyclopedia of Jewish American Popular Culture (Greenwood, 2009).

Professor Jo Kay, Director, New York School of Education, continued to serve as Chair of the URJ’s Teen Engagement Task Force and helped write the “Planning Guide for Teen Engagement” available online to URJ congregations.

Rabbi Naamah Kelman, J ’92, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, was featured in a profile in The Jerusalem Post upon becoming Dean of the Jerusalem campus.

Lori Klein, Assistant Director, School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, received the Bobbi Award for Professional Mentorship from the Jewish Communal Professionals of Southern California.

Dr. Mark Kligman, Professor of Jewish Musicology, was recognized by the 2009 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award for his book Maqãm and Liturgy: Ritual, Music, and Aesthetics of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn.

Dr. Sharon Koren, Assistant Professor of Jewish History, published “Immaculate Sarah” in Viator: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Dr. Jonathan Krasner, Assistant Professor of the American Jewish Experience, published (with Joellyn Zollman) “‘Are you there God?’: Judaism and Jewishness in Judy Blume’s Adolescent Fiction” in Shofar 29,1 (2010).

Dr. Joel Kushner, Director, Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation (IJSO), completed three years of research and best practices investigation and launched the IJSO’s yearlong, national and transdenominational congregational pilot to help congregations become more welcoming to LGBT Jews, their families, and loved ones.

Dr. Adriane LeveenSenior Lecturer in Hebrew Bible and Lead Judaica Specialist in the Jim Joseph Initiatives, published “Inside Out: Jethro, the Midianites and a Biblical Construction of the Outsider” in Journal for the Study of the Old Testament (June 2010).

Dr. David Levine, A ssociate Professor of Talmud and Halachah, published “Rabbis, Preachers, and Aggadists: an Aspect of Jewish Culture in Third and Fourth Century Palestine” in Z. Weiss, O. Irshai, J. Magness & S. Schwartz (eds.), ‘Follow the Wise’ Festschrift for Lee I.A. Levine, Jewish Theological Seminary & Hebrew University (Eisenbrauns, 2010).

Rabbi Richard Levi, C ’64, was honored with the dedication of a new Aron Kodesh (Torah Ark) in the Mercaz worship place on the occastion of his transition from Director of Rabbinical Studies to Rabbi of the Synagogue and Director of Spiritual Growth at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles.

Dr. Michael Marmur, J ’92, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Assistant Professor of Jewish Theology, published “Abraham Joshua Heschel, Teenage Halakhist” in Krajewski & Lipscyz (eds.), Abraham Joshua Heschel: Philosophy, Theology, U and Interreligious Dialogue (Harrassowitz), 2009.

Dr. Dalia Marx, C/J ’02, Assistant Professor of Liturgy and L Midrash, presented “Tractate Qinnim: Margins and Horizons” at the Frei Universitat Berlin conference on “A Woman in the Temple Court? Women in Seder Qodashim and in the Temple.”

Dr. Michael Meyer, Ph.D. ’64, Ochs Professor of Jewish History, was honored for his service to the Center for Holocaust Y and Humanity Education in Cincinnati on the occasion of its 10th anniversary.

Dr. Michal Muszkat-Barkan, Director, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem’s Department of Professional Development and Education, was appointed to the Israel Government Ministry of Educa- H tion’s Commission on Jewish Culture and Tradition in the Israeli State Schools.

Dr. Aaron Panken, N ’91, Assistant Professor of Rabbinic I and Second Temple Literature, participated with scholars from Christianity and Islam in the Caux Round Table Scholars’ G Retreat on Core Themes of Abrahamic Social Thought in Caux, Switzerland.

Dr. Bruce Phillips, Professor of Jewish Communal Service, issued his study documenting significant differences in income based on gender among Jewish communal service professionals.

Michele Prince, SJNM ’02, Director, Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health, published (with Jeff Levin) “Judaism and I Health: Reflections on an Emerging Scholarly Field” in Journal of Religion and Health (May 2010).

Dr. Haim Rechnitzer, J ’03, Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Thought, published “Hobbes, Maimonides, Healthcare Reform, and Tzelem Elohim: The Political Theology of Universal H Health Care” in CCAR Journal (Winter 2010)

Dr. Marc Rosenstein, N ’75Director, Israel Rabbinical T Program, posted his weekly “Galilee Diary,” for educators and teachers in Reform congregations.

Dr. Bruce Ruben, Director, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, presented “Cantorial Professionalization in America: Models and Pedagogical Issues” at an academic conference at the Abraham Geiger Kolleg in Potsdam, Germany.

Dr. Adam Rubin, Assistant Professor of Jewish History, published “‘Turning Goyim into Jews’: Aliyah and the Politics of Cultural Anxiety, 1932-1945” in The Jewish Quarterly Review, Volume 101, Number 1.

Dr. Richard Sarason, C ’74, Professor of Rabbinical Literature and Thought, was appointed Vice-Chair, representing HUC-JIR, of the Joint Commission on Worship, Music, and Religious Living.

Cantor Benjie Schiller, SSM ’87, Professor of Cantorial Arts, published “Yihiyu L’ratson,” “Lamdeinu,” and “You Are My Song” (commissioned by the 2009 graduating rabbinical and cantorial class as a gift to the HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen) with Transcontinental Press.

Dr. S. David Sperling, Professor of Bible, served as Visiting Bronfman Professor in the Religion Department at The College of William and Mary.

Dr. Mark Washofsky, C ’80, Ph.D. ’87, Freehof Professor of Jewish Law and Practice, published “Torture, Terrorism, and the Halakhah” in Walter Jacob (ed.), War and Terrorism in Jewish Law (Rodef Shalom Press, 2010).

Dr. David Weisberg, C ’77, Professor of Bible and Semitic Languages, introduced students to Egyptian and Mesopotamian antiquities that are contemporary with Biblical Israel during a visit to the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Dr. Dvora Weisberg, Director, Rabbinical School, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles and Professor of Bible and Semitic Languages published “Woman and Torah Study in Aggadah” in Frederick Greenspahn (ed.), Women and Judaism: New Insights and Scholarship (NYU Press, 2009).

Dr. Yaffa Weisman, Adjunct Professor of Jewish Studies and Director, Frances-Henry Library, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, curated exhibitions on “Banned Books: Banned Books and Censorship in Jewish History;” “Sacred Spaces – Holy Places: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Places of Worship in the Land of Israel;” and “Counting Time: Jewish Chronology and Jewish Methods of CountingTime.”

Dr. Andrea Weiss, N ’93, Assistant Professor of Bible, presented “From ‘Mixed Metaphors’ to ‘Adjacent Analogies’: An Analysis of the Poetry of Hosea” at a conference at the University of Maryland.

Dr. Steven Windmueller, Gottschalk Chair in Jewish Communal Service, served as Scholar-in-Residence for the Houston Jewish Federation.

Dr. Michael Zeldin, RHSOE ’77, Professor of Jewish Education and Director, Rhea Hirsch School of Education, was honored by PARDeS (Progressive Association for Reform Day Schools) for his 25 years of contributions to the growth of Reform day school education.

Dr. Wendy Zierler, Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Literature and Feminist Studies, published “On Account of the Cushit Woman that Moses Took: Race and Gender in Modern Hebrew Poems about Numbers 12” in Nashim 17 (Spring 2010).

Dr. Gary P. Zola, C ’82, Ph.D. ’91, Director, American Jewish Archives and Professor of the American Jewish Experience, presented “Abraham Lincoln and American Jewry” and moderated a panel discussion on the contributions of Jews during the Civil War at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington D.C.


In Memoriam

The HUC-JIR community remembers the outstanding contributions of members of the administration and faculty, whose legacies of scholarship, teaching, mentorship, and leadership endure as a blessing, and esteemed members of the Board of Governors who served HUC-JIR with devotion.

Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, C ’57, Former President (1971-1996); Chancellor (1996-2000); Chancellor Emeritus; Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Bible and Jewish Thought; and John and Marianne Slade Professor Emeritus of Jewish Intellectual History

Debbie Friedman, Instructor in Music

Dr. Ellis Rivkin, Ochs Professor Emeritus of Jewish History

Rabbi Frederick C. Schwartz, C ’55, D.H.L. ’60, former member of the Board of Governors Dr. Matitiahu Tsevat, C ’53, Professor Emeritus of Bible

Lester Ziffren, Governor Emeritus


Learning to Lead

“HUC-JIR is a complex institution, born out of the wissenschaft tradition, the yeshiva heritage where we ‘learn to teach,’ and professional concerns to impart skills and ‘learn to do.’ Between our classical Jewish studies, engagement with modernity, and concern for continuity, our greatest challenge has been to bring all of this together into a vibrant future. The goal has always been to strive for academic excellence and cherish the qualities of humaneness and integrity within an environment grounded by reason, faith, and trust. The future of Reform Jewry and Jewish life in America, Israel, and worldwide depends on the leadership HUC-JIR prepares today. The pressing issues of Jewish literacy and communal participation are central to the maintenance of Jewish consciousness. The universal teachings of Judaism possess great relevance – our traditions of ethics and social justice can inspire tikkun olam, the mending of our world.”

Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, z”l, C ’57,
Chancellor Emeritus


A Lens on Student Life

HUC-JIR students headed out to serve over 350 internships and student pulpits across North America, in congregations, schools, Jewish agencies and organizations, and the institutions of the Reform Movement throughout the year.

“Open House: A 24-Hour Taste of HUC-JIR” brought prospective students to all campuses for study with faculty, interaction with current students, and exploration of career opportunities.

HUC-JIR awarded 168 earned degrees and 12 certificates at Graduation/ Ordination/Investiture to the Class of 2010.

Jewish Nonprofit Management capstone projects were made accessible to researchers around the world.

Students across the campuses organized events and projects to raise funds for Haiti Relief after the devastating earthquake.

Students dedicated a new organic garden and participated in a coalition of organizations to feed the needy in Los Angeles.

E-classroom technology enabled students across the campuses to study together in a Bible course team-taught by Dr. Andrea Weiss and Dr. Carole Balin in New York and Dr. Mark Washofsky in Cincinnati; a course on the Qu’ran with Dr. Reuven Firestone in Los Angeles; and Dr. Michael Marmur’s course “In Search of Heschel.”

The Schusterman Rabbinical Fellows Program, Tisch Rabbinical Fellows Program, and Mandel Fellows Program continued to offer specialized leadership tracks for selected students to test new ways in which to cultivate the next generation of rabbis as change agents. The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Leadership Fellows Program was established to provide selected SSM students with tuition and stipends to participate in intensified leadership training along with the Tisch Rabbinical Fellows.

Students developed pastoral care skills through coursework, workshops, and mentored hospital and healthcare internships through Cincinnati’s CPE program, Los Angeles’s Kalsman Institutesponsored chaplaincy programs, and New York’s Blaustein Institute on Pastoral Counseling fieldwork opportunities.

Students presented scholarly papers at international academic conferences in Israel, France, and North America; released albums with original compositions; received honors and awards for theses and interfaith projects; and performed at Jewish music concerts from New York to Minsk.

Pluralistic and interfaith relations were strengthened through interaction with students from other Jewish and Christian seminaries to share interdenominational worship, text study, and theological ideas.

Students participated in a Day of Solidarity with Women of the Wall, organized by the Women’s Rabbinic Network and Women’s Tefillah Network.



“Serving as a rabbinical intern on a college campus, beyond leading text study and Shabbat services each week, has presented me with a unique opportunity to foster a sense of adult Judaism during some of the most formative years of a young person’s life. With a focus on exciting Jewish programming and interfaith outreach, bringing in world-renowned speakers, and even teaching a college/Master’s level Jewish studies course, this has been one of the most fulfilling learning experiences I have had.”
Schusterman Fellow rabbinical student Aaron Miller, C ’11

“I spent the past two years serving as the monthly student rabbi of a small congregation with tremendous energy and vibrancy. My wife and I shared memorable D experiences with our community, including studying together, b’nai mitzvot, baby namings, and conversions. As a student, they taught me how to listen to a congregation and how to strive to help them achieve their goals.”
Mandel Fellow rabbinical/education student Greg Weisman, RHSOE ’11, L ’13

“This summer I worked as a chaplain at Beth Israel Medical Center. This extraordinary experience taught me the importance of being a non-judgmental presence, an active listener, and a spiritual guide. I discovered that pastoral care was about facilitating a holy moment, because God was present within the intense patient-chaplain connection. I realized that when I helped patients express their stories of hope, suffering, and longing, some healing was possible.”
Rabbinical student Mara Young, NYSOE ’09, N ’11

“Students in HUC-JIR’s Miller High School Program explore what being Jewish means in preparation for heading off to college. In a safe and welcoming environment, we address challenging questions: How can they support Israel on campus? How can they find meaningful prayer experiences in diverse environments? Howcan they affirm Reform Judaism among various denominations in a college setting? I love watching these teenagers form confident and enthusiastic Jewish identities.”
Tisch Fellow rabbinical student Lisa Kingston, NYSOE ’09, N ’13

“As a Christian student of the Jewish experience in America, pursuing my graduate studies at HUC-JIR presents distinct advantages by enabling me to interact, both professionally and socially, with Jewish students who are actively pursuing entrance into the rabbinate and to enjoy discussions of faith that might not occur in other contexts. HUC-JIR’s welcoming environment affords its non-Jewish constituents opportunities to observe and participate in aspects of the Jewish faith, including the daily prayer services and holiday observations. I have been enriched by my experience at HUC-JIR, and remain thankful for the opportunity to pursue my graduate studies at this unique institution.”
Ph.D. student Matthew Semler, School of Graduate Studies, ’13

“The Schusterman Summer Internship gave me a chance to work closely with a rabbi in the Jewish community and learn from her professional experience. This was an invaluable opportunity to benefit from mentorship and lessons that are best learned outside of the classroom and in the field.”
Rabbinical student Courtney L. M. Berman, C ’14

“The year in Israel was incredibly rewarding academically. In the classroom we got a taste of Tanakh, liturgy, Hebrew, and Rabbinics from brilliant Israeli professors. Most memorable, however, were the Israel Seminar days during which we traced Israel’s various narratives through its landscape and people. We learned how to look at sites as texts themselves, describing events of the past and current realities more vividly than we could ever get from a book.”
Education student Sara Lauing, RHSOE ’12

“The Mandel Fellowship focuses our cohort of rabbinical/education students on how to build innovative congregations by helping us recognize the traits within exceptional institutions that make them innovative. During our three-week seminar at the Mandel Leadership Institute in Jerusalem we developed our personal stance on Jewish Peoplehood and explored how our obligation to further it would have an impact wherever we would work in the future. I can’t imagine my future rabbinate without having had this experience.”
Mandel Fellow rabbinical/education student Philip Bazeley, NYSOE ‘10, N ’12

“The spirituality retreat gave me permission to stop and take an intentionally rejuvenating break during the hectic semester. While the retreat was only one step in a long and ultimately never-ending process toward spiritual self-awareness, it reminded me what rabbinical leadership is all about — taking care of my soul so that I can guide others to take care of their own.”
Rabbinical/education student Aron Klein, RHSOE ’11, L ’13 27

“My work with teens in a suburban congregation has helped me foster their connection to the Jewish community, encouraged their participation in mitzvot, and enriched their study of Jewish text, all within the context of the synagogue in order to prepare them to be active participants in their adult lives.”
Education student Alyson Bazely, NYSOE ’12

“The Israel Seminar for Jewish nonprofit management students exposed us to a wide range of historical and contemporary narratives that reflected on the growth and development of Israel, its government, its diverse population, and its prominent role in the global landscape. We met with Israeli scholars, political figures, university students, and nonprofit leaders and fundraisers who helped us understand Israel’s 3rd sector. As future Jewish communal leaders, we will always be cognizant of our community’s local and global Jewish identity and remain active in its everlong connection to Israel.”
Jewish Nonprofit Management student Matthew Lipton-Schwartz, SJNM ‘12

“I have learned so much from my classmates and the outstanding faculty in the Doctor of Ministry Program. The diversity in our class spans age, gender, faith, origin, and family — each student brings maturity and intellect, as well as experience to our rich discussions, expertly guided by the faculty.”
Doctor of Ministry student Rabbi/Cantor Vicki Axe, SSM ’83



HUC-JIR’s students come from all over the world and, upon completion of their studies, some return to their countries of origin, including: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Iran, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and Uruguay.

“The student-run HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen, which has welcomed the homeless and fed the hungry in our area for the past 22 years, is the expression of our commitment to social justice. Our Reform ideals become reality as we teach Jewish children volunteers about their role in addressing society’s problems, collaborate with other community organizations, and, most importantly of all, treat with honor every guest who walks through our doors.”
Rabbinical/education student Daniel Kirzane, NYSOE ‘12, N ’14

“I harvested over 500 pounds of tomatoes this past summer at Kayam Farm Kollel in Maryland as a leader of a summer-long program engaged in building an intergenerational, pluralistic Jewish community. Through working the land, learning Jewish agricultural law, and sharing Torah values and a commitment to a more sustainable world, this experience enriched my own appreciation for Jewish ethical practices, taking care of God’s creation, and Jewish peoplehood in all its diversity.”
Mandel Fellow rabbinical/education student Jessy Gross, RHSOE ‘10, L ’12

“Volunteering at the Mevasseret Absorption Center was my most challenging and rewarding activity during my first year of study in Israel. Our classroom discussions about the challenges, obstacles, and successes of Ethiopian immigrants in Israel came alive through my work with an Ethiopian family. By teaching them English and helping them with household chores, I aspired to make their adjustment to Israel a bit easier.”
Rabbinical student Ethan Prosnit, N ‘14

“Inspired by the legacy of Abraham Joshua Heschel, who walked hand in hand with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in support of racial equality, approximately fifty students, staff, and faculty walked with signs of support, prayer shawls, and shofarot from our campus on West Fourth Street to 51 Park Place, where a Muslim community center is set to be constructed. As we sang prayers for peace and brotherhood on our way downtown, our feet did most of the praying.”
Schusterman Fellow rabbinical student Joshua Stanton, N ‘13

“Our community-wide benefit to help Cincinnati’s needy reflects our ideals as future rabbis and community leaders who are committed to social and economic justice, as well as pluralism, by reaching out to those of all faiths and backgrounds. Our working together in order to learn, work, and live together is made all the more meaningful when we appreciate how our diverse cultural heritages reflect a common purpose to help those less fortunate.”
Rabbinical student Ariel Plost, C ‘11

“I have applied the knowledge gained from both the Jewish Nonprofit Management and Rabbinical programs in my work at the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (CMJE), a joint project of HUC-JIR, the University of Southern California, and the Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation and the only Muslim-Jewish think tank in the U.S. that benefits from the equal investment of both faith communities. I conducted the first comprehensive survey of Muslim-Jewish groups in the United States and developed content for CMJE’s Muslim-Jewish sacred text study program, which we are expanding and transforming into a replicable online resource for Muslim-Jewish groups to use throughout the world.”
Rabbinical/Jewish Nonprofit Management student Sara Bassin, L ’11, SJNM ‘11

“Attending the Catholic-Jewish Emerging Leaders Conference in Castel Gandalfo, Italy, taught me that the primary goal of interfaith dialogue is to forge relationships and foster an inherent level of trust and good will. That feeling of mutual respect enables communities to come together in difficult times and respond to crises with a sense of shared responsibility. As the world grows ever more interconnected, Jewish leaders need to be able to communicate with those who see through a different theological and religious lens.”
Cantorial student Jamie Marx, SSM ‘11

“I am inspired by the example of Rabbi Alexander Goode, a Reform rabbi and lieutenant in the U.S. Army who was one of the four chaplains who gave their lives to save others during the sinking of the USAT Dorchester during World War II. My aspiration is to support our men and women in uniform, and I look forward to deploying to Afghanistan as a military chaplain with the 27th Infantry Brigade in January 2012, following my investiture.”
Cantorial student David Frommer, SSM ‘11

“I joined the Reform Movement in Israel because of its egalitarian theology. In Israel, where the religious establishments are Orthodox, freedom of religious opinions cannot be taken for granted. I plan to bring the fruits of my doctoral studies back home with me, and expose Israeli society to egalitarian and Reform theology.”
School of Graduate Studies student Rabbi Oshrat Morag, J ’08

“While participating in the American Jewish World Service rabbinical students’ delegation to Senegal, Africa, I contributed to service projects in a small community and studied both traditional Jewish texts regarding social justice responsibilities as well as the complexities and realpolitik of current issues. This opportunity to both physically and figuratively ‘get my hands dirty’ in the work of social justice and to share the experiences with future rabbis from seminaries across the Jewish spectrum gave me the chance to experience the positive tension between universalism and Jewish particularism, to debate where my responsibilities lie as a Jew, and to remember that all of us, together, form Klal Yisrael.”
Schusterman Fellow rabbinical student David Spinrad, C ‘13

European rabbinical and cantorial students from HUC-JIR’s sister Progressive seminaries — the Leo Baeck College in London, England, and the Abraham Geiger Kolleg in Potsdam, Germany — study side-by-side with HUC-JIR’s first-year rabbinical, cantorial, and education students in the Year-In-Israel Program.


Cincinnati Graduation/Ordination

Dr. David Aaron, C ‘83, Professor of Bible, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati
Cincinnati Ordination Address, June 5, 2010

There is nothing potentially more powerful than story; it is what moves history. People live, and often tragically die, because of story. Through story we teach empathy, what is right and wrong; what we believe must be. Through story others learn to be evil and tolerate greed. We are, as human beings, the amalgam of our narratives. The rabbi must place Judaism’s priorities into forceful contemporary narratives. It will not happen without you. If you do not do it, others will fill the void. Be the interpreter, the narrator. Make that your rabbinate’s central task, lest the role be usurped by forces at odds with a liberal, a progressive, an intellectually and spiritually vibrant Torah.


Dr. Samuel Greengus, Director of the School of Graduate Studies, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati,
Cincinnati Graduation Address, June 6, 2010

The classical Jewish curriculum, while based upon the original sources, recognizes that there is also the need for interpretation. This process of reading and interpretation is ongoing and eternal. For how else does an ancient text come alive for us today? We must always remain mindful of the difference between the original text and interpretations derived from it. HUC-JIR is committed to preserving an honest record; and appreciates the rich and multifaceted traditions emerging out of the many places in which Jews have lived over the centuries. HUC-JIR teaches Reform Judaism; but the institution maintains a fundamental respect for all voices in Jewish thought and practice.

  1. New York School of Education graduates and faculty.
  2. The rabbinical class of 2010.
  3. The cantorial class of 2010.
  4. Graduation at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York.
  5. Graduates of the Doctor of Ministry Program and faculty.
  6. Rabbi Ellenson ordaining Matthew Soffer.
  7. Faculty signing a cantorial investiture certificate.
  8. Rabbi David Posner, C ’73, of 35 Congregation Emanu-El, Irwin Engelman, Chairman, Board of Governors, and Rabbi Ellenson leading the procession at Ordination


Los Angeles Graduation/Ordination

Dr. Steven F. Windmueller, Dean and Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Chair in Jewish Communal
Service, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, Los Angeles Ordination Address, May 16, 2010

The place of spirituality, the complexities of making religious choices, the opportunities to test new ideas in a changing and competitive marketplace; these themes, and others, were reflected in your sermons, papers, and theses over the course of your tenure at the College-Institute. This struggle with complexity will define 21st-century leadership: welcome to your time in history. Understanding these new core realities may help you embrace this challenging period in which you will begin your rabbinate. Our task here was not alone to inspire and teach you but to critically engage you in the complexity of the Jewish story, both its past chapters and emerging outcomes.


Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Abner & Roslyn Goldstine Dean’s Chair, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University, and recipient of the Doctor of Hebrew Letters from HUC-JIR,
Los Angeles Graduation Address, May 17, 2010

You stand on the brink of a lifetime of service to Am Yisrael, to all humanity, and to all creation. Ours, like every age, is a time of great uncertainty of opportunity, of staggering selfishness, or inspiring devotion; of bold and ruthless partisanship, and of boundary breaking conversations. I bless you, and all of us, that we step into the breach with courage, with vision, with hope, affirming that what we choose will create new possibilities; that what we do will sustain lives and create an ancient and ever new civilization. That what we affirm will define us no less than how we engage.

  1. Rhea Hirsch School of Education graduates and faculty.
  2. The rabbinical class of 2010.
  3. Graduates of the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management.
  4. Graduation procession on campus.
  5. Ordination service at Wilshire Boulevard Temple.
  6. Rabbi Ellenson blessing the newly ordained rabbis.


New York Graduation/Ordination/Investiture

Dr. Leon Botstein, President and Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities, Bard College; Music Director, American Symphony Orchestra, and recipient of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from HUC-JIR, New York Graduation Address, April 29, 2010

I happen to believe that the future of Judaism in the United States rests with the Reform Movement. And the reason I think so, is that insofar as people do require a spiritual community and a spiritual guide in their lives, the modernization of theological thought is a necessity. It is only the Reform Movement that actually has come to live with the possibilities of opening up membership to the Jewish community through recognition of the demographic diversity that is inevitably going to mark the Jewish community in this country. The innovation of the spiritual and the definition of the community rest with this Movement.


Barry Shrage, President, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Boston, MA New York Investiture and Ordination Address, May 2, 2010

I have worked in the Jewish community for over forty years and I think there has never been a better moment or a time of greater promise for American Jewry or for the Reform Movement, which both captures the American Zeitgeist, a culture of radical choice, and can also transform it into something greater, a culture of meaning and purpose. On the surface, this is a time of assimilation and decline. But beneath the surface, it is a time of renaissance and renewal. For a moment, a brief moment perhaps, the American Jewish community has the power to define itself and to move toward a renaissance of its own design.

  1. New York School of Education graduates and faculty.
  2. The rabbinical class of 2010.
  3. The cantorial class of 2010.
  4. Graduation at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York.
  5. Graduates of the Doctor of Ministry Program and faculty.
  6. Rabbi Ellenson ordaining Matthew Soffer.
  7. Faculty signing a cantorial investiture certificate.
  8. Rabbi David Posner, C ’73, of 35 Congregation Emanu-El, Irwin Engelman, Chairman, Board of Governors, and Rabbi Ellenson leading the procession at Ordination


Jerusalem Graduation/Ordination

Dr. Tsvia Walden, Director of Institute for Initiatives, Language, and Computers, and Senior Lecturer at Beit Berl College and Ben-Gurion University, Jerusalem Ordination and Academic Convocation Address, October 29, 2010

The idea of establishing a Hebrew university in Jerusalem was born in 1913 at the Zionist Congress. The university opened its gates seven years later, on April 1, 1925, at a festive ceremony attended by leaders, philosophers, and the generally high and mighty – leaders of the Jewish world and the Zionist Movement, heads of the country’s organized Jewish community, and scientists from the world over. Who wasn’t there? Eliezer Ben-Yehuda wasn’t there. He wasn’t there because he opposed the Hebrew locution universita. A high academy for science and scholarship, he thought, should be called a mikhlala. He lost this struggle…. Since the privilege of receiving a degree has come my way at this institution – an institution that offers a rabbinical ordination program and another for the training of cantors, among its diverse programs here in Jerusalem – I would like to present it with a gift on behalf of the Hebrew language: a new Hebrew name, Kolelya, which in a variant spelling, Kol-el-Ya, a voice raised to God, lends itself to the cantorial program.

  1. The rabbinical class of 2010.
  2. Singing Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, at the conclusion of the convocation.
  3. Dr. David Harman, Chair, Israel Board of Overseers, with Rabbi Meir Azari, J ‘92, and Rabbi Ellenson.
  4. The graduates of the M.A. in Pluralistic Jewish Education Program.
  5. Dr. Ruhama Weiss presenting the certificate for the Sugyot Chaim/Life Texts-Talmudic Bibliotherapy Program to Inbal Briskin-Pery, one of 11 graduates of this program offered by the Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling.
  6. Dr. Javier Simonovich receiving the honorary degree of Doctor of Jewish Communal Service in recognition for his contributions in training generations of Israeli communal workers and advancing Progressive Judaism.



New York Graduation, April 29, 2010: The 2010 Dr. Bernard Heller Prize was awarded to Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United States (at left), by Ruth O. Freedlander, Co-Trustee of the Dr. Bernard Heller Foundation. The presentation took place at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York.

Ambassador Shalev: “The prize granted to me today symbolizes the bond between the American Jewish community and Israel. This prize also demonstrates the strong ties between the United States and the State of Israel. And no one could have affirmed these bonds better or more forcefully than President Obama who most recently wrote the following words, and I quote: ‘As for our relations with Israel, let me be very clear: we have a special relationship with Israel and that will not change. Our countries are bound together by shared values, deep and interwoven connections, and mutual interests.’”

Los Angeles Graduation June 6, 2010: Barry and Debra Cohn, San Francisco communal leaders and supporters of Jewish education, Jewish communal life, and the State of Israel, received the Sherut L’Am Award.

Jerusalem Ordination, October 29, 2010: Nurit Eldar was recognized for her outstanding leadership of the Tali Schools and the enrichment of Jewish education in Israel with the presentation of the President’s Medallion.

Cincinnati Graduation May 17, 2010: The President’s Medallion was presented to Major General Sidney Shachnow, Holocaust survivor, author, and former Commanding General, United States Army Special Forces Command, at Issac M. Wise Temple.

New York Investiture and Ordination, May 2, 2010: The 2010 Roger E. Joseph Prize was presented to Dean G. Lorich, M.D. by the daughters of Roger E. Joseph – Roxanne Leopold, Ellen Joseph, and Linda Karshan – at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York. Dr. Lorich serves as the Associate Director of Orthopaedic Trauma Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery, the Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College; and leader of the Hospital for Special Surgery mission of orthopaedic trauma surgeons, nurses, and anesthesiologists to Haiti after the devastating earthquake.

Dr. Lorich: “Each one of us is going to be confronted at some time in our lives with the opportunity to help unfortunate souls in some way. It is all too easy to leave that responsibility to someone else as being too difficult or overwhelming or inconvenient. Everyone is here today because they believe in society’s greater good.”


Honorary Doctors of Humane Letters

HUC-JIR recognized the achievements of distinguished scholars and communal and civic leaders with the presentation of honorary degrees.

Cincinnati Graduation May 17, 2010:
Bishop E. Lynn Brown, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Cincinnati, Ohio, was honored for his community activism and development of exemplary model urban ministries.
Judy Chicago, artist, author, feminist, and educator, was recognized for her commitment to the power of art as a vehicle for intellectual transformation and social change.

Cincinnati Graduation May 17, 2010:
Dr. Mildred S. Dresselhaus, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was honored for her pioneering research and gifted teaching and mentorship.

Los Angeles Graduation June 6, 2010:
Professor John R. Miles, Distinguished Professor of English and Religious Studies, School of Humanities, University of California, Irvine, was recognized for his literary originality, grounded in theological scholarship, that has been a catalyst in both religious and academic circles.

Day of Learning for California communal leaders, HUC-JIR/LA March 14, 2010:
Congressman Henry A. Waxman, 
then Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, was celebrated for his belief that “Jewish values of human rights, social justice and equal opportunities are synonymous with American values” and for his central role in advancing legislative priorities in the areas of health and the environment.
Congressman Waxman: “I have no doubt that what drew me to politics were the esteem I felt for public service and my commitment to Jewish values like the concept in the Haggadah of helping all people be able to realize their full potential. While I do not believe that the role of government is to guarantee the equality of results, I sincerely believe that government does have a profound role in giving all people an equal opportunity to succeed. Some of what I consider to be my own greatest legislative accomplishments revolve around this principle. And I am very proud to have built a strong record of progressive legislation in the environment, health care, and consumer protection. We have to seize the opportunity to put our country back on the right track, to do some good, and to help improve our society. Our Jewish values teach us to embrace these opportunities every day and to look for opportunities to engage in tzedakah and Tikkun Olam.”

Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture, December 1, 2009, HUC-JIR/NY:
Dr. Jacob Neusner, 
Distinguished Service Professor of the History and Theology of Judaism and Senior Fellow, Institute of Advanced Theology, Bard College, was celebrated for his dedication to the study of religion as a system, which has made him a singular voice in the investigation of the problem of difference in religion, religion and society, religion and material culture, religion and economics, religion and altruism, and religion and tolerance.
Dr. Neusner: “If we had no Reform Judaism today we should have to invent it. I maintain that Reform Judaism persuasively answers the particular questions that American Jews find urgent. It prides itself on its relevance to the contemporary social order, to the issues that engage the Jews to whom it speaks. Specifically, Reform Judaism began and now thrives in America among Jews who want to be Jewish and also to make their lives in the American mainstream. It has found a way to do so, and because it answers an urgent question facing us, reforming Judaism is as necessary now as it was a century and a half ago – how to be Jewish and also a citizen in a modern democratic republic.
The way we create worlds of meaning and truth is by exercising our power of rational thought and our autonomy of judgment, our capacity to think for ourselves and our non-negotiable capacity to be free. These represent what the reformation of Judaism brings about in the setting of this ancient and enduring tradition and explain why, if there were no Reform Judaism and no reformist Judaisms, we should have to create them today.”

New York Graduation, April 29, 2010:
Barbara Friedman, Past Chair, HUC-JIR Board of Governors, was honored for her years of devoted service and commitment to the College-Institute as the first woman in its history to lead its Board and the moving force behind its strategic plan to sustain academic excellence and achieve financial sustainability as one, integrated institution.

New York Graduation, April 29, 2010:
Dr. David Ruderman, N ’71, 
Meyerhoff Professor of Modern Jewish History and Darivoff Director of the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, was recognized for his expertise in medieval and early modern Jewish history, which has influenced the international academy, the rabbinate, and the Jewish community in America.

Jerusalem Ordination, October 29, 2010:
Dr. Eliyahu Schleifer, Director Emeritus of Cantorial Studies at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, was recognized for more than three decades of dedicated teaching, mentorship, musical composition, spiritual leadership, and scholarship in musicology.


Honoring Our Alumni

HUC-JIR honored distinguished alumni who have provided 25 years of devoted service as rabbis, cantors, educators, Jewish communal professionals, and scholars at Graduation Ceremonies during HUC-JIR’s 135th academic year.

  1. Doctors of Divinity, honoris causa, New York – April 29, 2010
  2. Doctors of Jewish Religious Education, honoris causa, New York – April 29, 2010
  3. HUC-JIR Graduate Studies Alumni Recipients of the Founders’ Medallion, Cincinnati – June 6, 2010.
  4. Doctors of Divinity, honoris causa, Los Angeles, May 17, 2010
  5. Doctors of Jewish Communal Service, honoris causa, Los Angeles – May 17, 2010
  6. Doctors of Jewish Religious Education, honoris causa, Los Angeles – May 17, 2010
  7. Doctors of Divinity, honoris causa, Cincinnati – June, 6, 2010
  8. Doctors of Music, honoris causa, New York – April 29, 2010


Partners for Our Future

“It is the Jewish-sponsored institutions that will produce the next generation of rabbis and Jewish educators – not merely the knowledgeable people turned out by the secu- lar academy’s Jewish studies curricula. Students in the Jewish-sponsored academies gain knowledge through the concrete experience of learning in the model of their teachers, who are often rabbis themselves. Academic pro- fessors do not – and cannot be expected to – embody a personal model of piety for their students.”

Professor Jacob Neusner, D.Hu.L. ’09


The Reform Movement: Partners in the Jewish Future

From the inception of American Reform Judaism, its founder, Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, understood that a vital partnership of institutions was indispensable in ensuring a flourishing, progressive, and enlightened American Judaism in sync with modern life. Wise’s conviction that an institution of higher Jewish learning would guarantee Jewish survival in America led him, together with representatives of 28 congregations, to establish the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (today known as the Union for Reform Judaism – URJ) in 1873 for the purpose of establishing a “Hebrew Theological Institute.” In 1875 Hebrew Union College was launched as the first permanent Jewish institution of higher learning in the New World, and in 1889 Rabbi Wise es- tablished the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) to sustain HUC-JIR’s graduates.

This 19th-century blueprint has succeeded in propelling Reform Judaism into the largest growing Jewish denomination in 21st-century North America. The Reform Movement contin- ues to be sustained and advanced by the powerful, ongoing partnerships that exist among its core institutions, with each providing its own vision, leadership, and initiative to address the shared challenges of contemporary American Jewish life.

The URJ, CCAR, and HUC-JIR have launched a Think Tank comprised of representatives of each of these three core institutions to address the conflicting sociological, technologi- cal, and financial forces that will shape Reform Judaism’s future. During an 18-month period leading up to the URJ Biennial Convention in 2011, public forums with leading thinkers, which are broadcast on the URJ website, and interactive blogs are designed to engage the participation of the entire Movement.

This past year, HUC-JIR’s campuses have begun to serve for the first time as central ad- dresses that have physically integrated the institutions of Reform Judaism. The Western Center for Reform Judaism, dedicated in March 2010 on the Los Angeles campus, houses the administrative facilities for the URJ and the CCAR’s Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis. HUC-JIR’s Jerusalem campus, shared with Beit Shmuel-Mercaz Shimshon of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, is now the home to all the arms of the Israeli Progressive Movement with the dedication in January 2010 of the Rabbi Amy and Gary Perlin Israel Religious Action Center, now joining the headquarters of the North American Federation of Temple Youth and Netzer Olami. Looking ahead, the URJ, CCAR, and HUC- JIR are working to further strengthen the inseparable bonds that unite them.



Michael Roth, Chair, URJ, Western District, about to affix the mezuzah at the dedication of the Western Center for Reform Judaism, which brings together the arms of the Reform Movement – HUC-JIR, the URJ, and the CCAR – under one roof on HUC-JIR’s Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles.

“The Union came into being to create a Reform seminary that would educate our rabbis — and later cantors, educators, and communal workers — in the principles of liberal Judaism,” says Rabbi Eric Yoffie, N ’74, President, Union for Reform Judaism. “Since 1873, supporting HUC-JIR and providing a network of synagogues to receive its graduates have been among the Union’s most important tasks. The Union and the College-Institute nurture one another because they need one another, and together we convey the collective nature of the Reform enterprise.”

The generous support of the URJ’s 900 Reform congregations and their congregants is indispensable to both HUC-JIR and the URJ. One-third of HUC-JIR’s annual operating budget is supported by the MUM (Maintenance of Union Membership) dues, contributed to the URJ by individual members of Reform synagogues, which are divided between the URJ and HUC-JIR. These dues provide the necessary resources to sustain HUC-JIR’s preeminent faculty, programs, research centers, and outreach to communities throughout North America, Israel, and around the world. Without the URJ and the support of Reform congregants, HUC-JIR would be unable to prepare the next generation of professional leaders for the 1.5 million Reform Jews in North America today.

HUC-JIR’s students serve over 350 pulpits and internships in the URJ’s congregations, schools, organizations, and institutions each year, including small congregations that would otherwise lack professional leadership. Students also serve Reform Movement summer camps and Israel programs for teenagers, and NFTY youth groups in congregations. They support the needs of Reform Jews through their work in chaplaincies in hospitals and homes for the aged, Hillel and Jewish student centers on college campuses, and Federations and other Jewish communal and social service agencies. HUC-JIR’s nearly 4,000 active alumni serve in key professional leadership positions in the URJ and its 900 congregations.

HUC-JIR’s faculty teach thousands of Reform Jewish leaders and congregants each year as scholars-in-residence at the URJ’s Biennial and Regional Conventions, kallot, and other life-long learning programs. They serve on URJ Task Forces and contribute their scholarship and research through educational resources posted on the URJ website, books published by URJ Press, and articles features in Reform Judaism magazine.

Reform congregants are welcomed onto HUC-JIR’s campuses for a rich array of educational and cultural programs and are invited to access the resources of HUC-JIR’s internationally renowned Klau Library, American Jewish Archives, campus museums, and research centers advancing Judaism and health, inclusivity, ethics, and pastoral care.

Under the URJ umbrella, Jews are able to connect with communities, governments, and leaders to make a meaningful impact on spiritual, ethical, and social justice issues. The URJ also provides spiritual direction for Reform Jews and those interested in Reform Judaism, and unites them with a shared sense of vision and values. The URJ and HUC-JIR are linked in mission and purpose as together we strive to strengthen and support Reform congregations, Reform Jews, and k’lal Yisrael.
Peter Weidhorn, URJ Chairman



“The Central Conference of American Rabbis and HUC-JIR are inexorably linked by history, mission, and, most importantly, the personal relationships that help provide an almost seamless transition from seminary life to professional life for our rabbis,” explains Rabbi Steven A. Fox, C ’80, CCAR Chief Executive. “Following ordination, the CCAR serves our rabbis with multiple opportunities for a lifetime of Torah study, professional education, and spiritual and emotional support.”

Led by distinguished HUC-JIR rabbinical alumni, the CCAR represents more than 2,000 Reform rabbis (including 582 women rabbis) serving communities across the U.S. and Canada. The CCAR works closely with HUC-JIR in transitioning graduates of the Rabbinical Program into their first professional placements. It continues to guide alumni throughout their careers and sustains and enriches their lifelong learning through a broad array of continuing education programs. HUC-JIR faculty members serve as instructors in these programs and annual CCAR conferences, while also publishing their scholarship in the CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly.

The CCAR and HUC-JIR enjoy a partnership in the development of strong rabbinic leadership for the Reform movement. Rabbis in the field help recruit the next generation of Jewish leaders to study at HUC-JIR. As partners along with the URJ in the Reform Leadership Council, HUC-JIR and the Conference benefit from this significant and symbiotic relationship.
Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, N ’79CCAR President



The Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ; formerly the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods) is the single largest cumulative organizational donor to HUC-JIR since 1913. Shelley Lindauer, WRJ Executive Director, notes, “WRJ’s mission of ensuring the future of Reform Judaism is most concretely manifested in the education of Reform rabbis, cantors, educators, and Jewish communal professionals at our Movement’s seminary.”

The WRJ provides annual scholarship aid to North American rabbinical, cantorial, and education students studying at the stateside campuses, scholarships for Israel Rabbinical Program students in Jerusalem, and cantorial prizes to students in the School of Sacred Music. In addition, it subsidizes HUC-JIR’s Pesach Project in the Former Soviet Union, which has enabled over 200 students to date to lead worship and multi-generational educational programs during Passover throughout Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

HUC-JIR’s close partnership with the WRJ in its educational programs, materials, and biennial convention, is evident in the WRJ’s groundbreaking publication of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary. Co-edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Professor of Bible, and Dr. Andrea Weiss, Assistant Professor of Bible, this volume includes scholarly essays, interpretations, and reflections by 40 members of the faculty, alumni, and students. With the support of Arthur and Elizabeth Blaustein Roswell, all second-year students have received a copy of this volume to date, and the WRJ will continue to make this essential commentary available to all HUC-JIR students on an ongoing basis. Students also benefit from the opportunity to work with the WRJ as part of their professional development fieldwork.

When the WRJ Board met in Cincinnati this past year, they explored the treasures of the American Jewish Archives to see where the WRJ archives are being preserved for future generations of researchers. “Since our inception in 1913, the women of our Movement have recognized the importance of well-educated and trained Jewish professionals,” says Lynn Magid Lazar, WRJ President. “I am exceedingly proud of our ongoing commitment to HUC-JIR and value our very special partnership.”

Lynn Magid Lazar, WRJ President, and Shelley Lindauer, WRJ Executive Director, with HUC-JIR faculty Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Dr. Andrea Weiss, co-editors of the WRJ’s The Torah: A Women’s Commentary.



The Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF) has awarded HUC-JIR a $15 million grant over six years as part of a continued concentrated effort to increase the number of future Jewish educators and to improve the quality of professional prepara- tion and Jewish education they receive. This grant is part of the $45 million in JJF grants that have been awarded to the three leading training institutions for Jewish educators: HUC- JIR, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Yeshiva University.

We care deeply about the future of Jewish life in this country,” noted JJF President Al Levitt. “With the help of these grants, we know these institutions can reach their full potential and produce teachers who continue to positively shape the lives of Jewish youth.”

The JJF grant enables HUC-JIR to develop a coordinated, multi-year initiative to attract and train the next generation of talented, high achieving Jewish educators prepared to provide compelling experiences of Jewish learning and living to youth, teens, and young adults. This grant supports:

  • full-tuition scholarships for students studying Jewish education full-time at HUC-JIR;
  • a new Executive M.A. program for working professionals, featuring summer institutes, short-term intensives, online learning, and one-on-one mentoring;
  • a new certificate program in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults;
  • new certificate programs in Jewish Early Childhood Education for synagogue professionals and for early childhood program directors and aspiring directors;
  • enhanced opportunities for rabbinical and cantorial students to spend an extra year at HUC-JIR earning Master’s degrees in Jewish education; and
  • expanded faculty and administrative infrastructure to successfully increase our offerings in Jewish education.

Dr. Michael Zeldin, Director of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, said, “The Jim Joseph Foundation makes it possible for us to extend the reach of our excellent programs in Jewish education so that many more well-prepared educators will be available to congregations, camps, and schools. We will also be able to provide serious preparation in Jewish education to many more rabbis and cantors who will touch the lives of children and their families.”


Jim Joseph Foundation Grants $5.2 Million to DeLeT – Day School Leadership through Teaching

The Jim Joseph Foundation has awarded a three-year, $5.2 million grant to the DeLeT teacher education program at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles and Brandeis University. The grant extends a donor relationship between the Foundation and DeLeT that began two years ago. According to an evaluation commissioned by the Foundation, DeLeT represents a “paradigm shift” in the preparation of Jewish day school teachers by integrating graduate coursework with a yearlong, immersive, mentored field experience in partner schools. As of 2010, the program will have prepared almost 140 Jewish day school teachers, working in 40 schools across the U.S. The State of California has authorized teaching credentials eligibility for teachers in HUC-JIR’s DeLet Program.

Jim Joseph Foundation Executive Director Charles (Chip) Marc Edelsberg, Ph. D., noted, “High quality, dedicated day school educators are critical to the Foundation’s effort to increase the number of young Jews committed to living vibrant Jewish lives.”


An Enduring Legacy: Jack H. Skirball, Audrey Skirball, and the Skirball Foundation

For over sixty years, the philanthropy of Jack H. Skirball, z”l, his life’s partner of 38 years, Audrey Skirball, z”l, and the Skirball Foundation have been inextricably bound up with the destiny of the College-Institute. Together, they represent the single largest individ- ual donor to HUC-JIR in its history, with support exceeding $50 million over the past six decades.

Born in Homestead, Pennsylvania, Jack Skirball (1896-1985) attended the University of Cincinnati and Western Reserve College in Cleveland and then studied for the rabbinate at Hebrew Union College. Following his ordination in 1921, he pursued graduate work in philosophy and sociology at the University of Chicago, and then served as an assistant rabbi at the Euclid Avenue Synagogue in Cleveland for two years and rabbi of the Washington Avenue Temple in Evansville, Indiana, for seven years.

In 1933, he took a leave of absence from the Evansville congregation to become the manager of Educational Films Corporation, a pioneer in the field of audiovisual education. He produced Birth of a Baby (1938), the first motion picture to show the actual birth of a child and a cinematic landmark that became instantly famous and prompted the opposition of religious groups. As President of Skirball Productions, he produced film classics such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Saboteur (1942) and Shadow of a Doubt (1943). Beginning in the 1950s, he began his successful career as a real estate developer. He created Vacation Village in San Diego, which became a model for family resorts across America.

Although Jack Skirball did not return to the rabbinate, he remained active in the Reform Movement, assisting the establishment of new congregations and serving as regional president for the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the URJ). He served as a Vice-Chairman and member of HUC-JIR’s Board of Governors for over 30 years as well as Chairman of the Board of Overseers of the Los Angeles campus, and was a moving force behind every significant endeavor of the College-Institute.

Audrey Skirball was born in Birmingham, Alabama, to banker Otto Marx and was raised in New York. Her grandfather, Henry Mosler, was a prominent 19th-century American artist whose works she extensively collected. A patron of art, culture, and higher education, she served as Vice-Chair of HUC-JIR’s Board of Governors and its Library, Museums, and Archives Committee.

Jack Skirball secured the California state charter for HUC- JIR’s Los Angeles campus in 1954, and spearheaded the development of this campus, which was expanded and relocated from the Hollywood Hills to be adjacent to the University of Southern California in 1971. The Skirballs created the Skirball Museum at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, Skirball Museum at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, and Skirball Center for Biblical Research and Museum at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. In 1983 they provided the initial funding and later located the site for the Skirball Cultural Center, whose vision was guided by Dr. Uri D. Herscher, its Founding President and Chief Executive Officer. It was named in memory of Jack Skirball and inaugurated in 1996.

HUC-JIR’s Los Angeles campus was named in memory of Jack H. Skirball on February 6, 2011, in recognition for his invaluable contributions from its inception and in tribute to his lifelong devotion to Jewish education and culture. Rabbi David Ellenson stated, “We are honored that Jack Skirball’s name will add to the prominence of the College-Institute in the Los Angeles community and the larger world. We are enormously grateful to Jack and Audrey Skirball, of blessed memory, and to the Skirball Foundation for their generosity as the single largest individual donor to HUC-JIR in its history. Their support, exceeding $50 million over the past six decades, is a living legacy that continues to sustain our institution and our sacred mission of preparing leaders for North American and world Jewry.”

Dr. Uri D. Herscher, Founding President and CEO of the Skirball Cultural Center noted, “Jack H. Skirball believed deeply in the values of the Jewish tradition. He was often heard to say that the Jewish tradition has so much to contribute to the ideals of peace, social justice, integrity, and moral con- cepts. He felt it was essential for Jews and the rest of the world to be aware of the deep roots of the Jewish story. By having an integral role in the devel- opment and growth of the College-Institute throughout the decades, he had an opportunity, in his own way, to have a share in the telling of that story, a grand story the world would continue to relish as his legacy.”


UJA-Federation of New York and HUC-JIR: Advancing Jewish Learning and Leadership

The generous support of UJA-Federation of New York has enabled HUC-JIR to develop and implement projects that are changing the landscape of Jewish educational leadership, congregational and community education programs, and social responsibility and pastoral counseling training for HUC-JIR’s students.

“The long-term collaboration between UJA-Federation of New York and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion has had an extraordinary impact on the Jewish community. Over the past ten years alone, UJA-Federation has invested $7.5 million to work with HUC-JIR on invigorating Jewish education. The highly successful Experiment in Congregational Education and the Leadership Institute for Congregational School Leaders is transforming synagogue life. Through projects focused on adult Jewish learning research and on supporting community service learning in Israel, we are connecting Jews to their identity and to each other. We look forward to our continuing work together, innovating Jewish education and inspiring Jewish leaders.”

John Ruskay, Executive Vice President & CEO, UJA-Federation of New York

Leadership Institute
Fully funded by UJA-Federation of New York with grants totaling nearly $6 million to date, the Leadership Institute is a joint project of HUC-JIR’s New York School of Education and the Davidson Graduate School of Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). It has provided advanced training in leadership, pedagogy, and Judaica to 77 educators in the greater New York area to date and has just launched its third cohort of 38 principals, assistant principals, and family educators. The two-and-a-half year program develops enhanced leadership capacity through graduate level learning, mentorship by leading educators in the field, assessment, and implementation of a funded action research project to enhance faculty learning in the their schools.

“Now in its third cycle, the program is adding key innovations that address the need for new visions and models for Jewish education supported by synagogue teams, including shared leadership between educators and lay leaders, clergy, and faculty to effect positive change within congregations,” explained Dr. Evie Rotstein, Leadership Institute Director. “Furthermore, a new collaboration within the Foundation for Jewish Camp will deepen participants’ understanding of Jewish overnight and experiential learning.”

The Experiment in Congregational Education (ECE)
The Experiment in Congregational Education continues to be the nation’s premier synagogue transformation project focused on Jewish learning, thanks to the support of UJA-Federation of New York. The project works with congregations and community organizations to help them fundamentally re-imagine congregational education and to foster innovation as an ongoing practice in congregational life. In New York, ECE is entering its second year of a close collaboration with the local communal agency, the Jewish Education Project, and the joint HUC-JIR and JTS Leadership Institute. This collaboration is working with close to 140 congregations across the greater New York area to develop new models and practices of 21st-century Jewish learning.

“Building on the work of the three cohorts of ECE’s RE-IMAGINE Project of New York, this project is building capability among less change ready congregations, and forging networks to share and disseminate the innovations of pioneering congregations,” stated Dr. Rob Weinberg, ECE Director. “It is deepening congregational staffs’ abilities to create powerful learning experiences that are life-centered, treat the learner as an active agent in his/her own learning, and achieve articulated learner outcomes.”

Community Service Learning/Pastoral Counseling Fieldwork
The generous support of UJA-Federation of New York’s Solelim Fund makes possible the curricular centerpiece of the Community Service Learning Program (CSLP) at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. First-year rabbinical, cantorial, and education students in the Year-In-Israel Program are required to fulfill 2-4 hours of community service weekly in order to gain a more profound understanding of Israeli society by contributing positive, ongoing impact on various community organizations covering a broad range of social issues. These meaningful activities include aiding families whose everday lives have been drastically altered as a result of terrorist attacks, providing English tutoring to underprivileged children, assisting Ethiopian immigrants’ adjustment to life in Israel, and visiting nursing home residents, many of whom have little or no family to visit them regularly.

In addition, the Solelim Fund supports the hands-on fieldwork conducted by Israel Rabbinical Program students in fulfillment of the pastoral counseling requirements of their curriculum. Since pastoral care is a nascent field in Israeli society, with very few paid internships available, this support helps fund student placements and contributes to the significant growth of the chaplaincy field in Israel.

J Learn Adult Learning Initiative Study
UJA-Federation of New York commissioned a five-year study of J Learn, the adult Jewish learning initiative on Long Island. Between 2004 and 2009, Dr. Lisa D. Grant, Associate Professor of Jewish Education, and Dr. Diane Tickton Schuster, Director, HUC-JIR’s Institute for Teaching Jewish Adults, tracked the growth and development of the J Learn Initiative through surveys, interviews, and focus groups with various constituents. “Our research revealed two core populations where Jewish learning may have the most significant impact: those actively committed to Jewish life but not yet engaged in learning and those moderately engaged and just beginning to become excited about Jewish learning,” said Dr. Grant. “Our findings further demonstrated that more substantive and relevant learning programs need to be developed for Jewish communal professionals, including rabbis and educators, for whom Jewish learning should be linked more explicitly to their other roles in the Jewish community and should enhance how they approach their leadership and management responsibilities.”