President's Report 2011-2012

President's Report 2011-2012 Cover

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ADA Version of President’s Report 2011-2012


A Lexicon of HUC-JIR

American Jewish Archives

Biblical Archaeology


Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music



Graduate Studies

HUC-JIR in Print


Jewish Nonprofit Management

Klau Libraries

Los Angeles


New York

Outreach to the Community

Pastoral Care

QR Code Project

Rabbinical Studies

Spirituality Initiatives


URJ Partnership



Xavier University


Ha Zak – Be strong!

Honor Roll of Donors


On the cover: Rabbi David Ellenson with joint rabbinical (‘14) and education (‘12) degree students Joshua Knobel,

Lisa Berney, and Adam Wright, and Jewish nonprofit management/MBA (‘13) student Sarah Craemer.


President’s Message

Our mission – the formation of religious, educational, communal, and intellectual leadership for the Jewish people and the Reform Movement – is no less critical or challenging today than it was when Rabbi Stephen S. Wise called the Jewish Institute of Religion into being.

Rabbi Stephen S. Wise decided to establish the Jewish Institute of Religion (JIR) almost a century ago. After meeting with seven prospective students at the end of August 1922, he wrote to his friend Martin Meyer, “I almost tremble at the immensity of the task before us.”

Ninety years later, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion continues to affirm the mantle we have inherited from Rabbi Wise. Our mission – the formation of religious, educational, communal, and intellectual leadership for the Jewish people and the Reform Movement – is no less critical or challenging today than it was when Rabbi Wise called JIR into being. Indeed, how could we not continue to “tremble at the immensity of the task before us?”

After all, ours is a different age than that of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise. The challenges our people confront in this age are complex and challenging in ways that are distinct from the trials that Rabbi Wise had to meet as he labored to provide leadership for the Jewish community and the Reform Movement. Ours is no longer an immigrant community striving to acculturate to North America. American Jews today feel completely at home in America. For young adult Jews, tales of anti-Semitism and the memory of the Holocaust embody a distant past that has virtually no impact on promoting their allegiance as Jews.

Indeed, as the re-election of Barack Obama as President indicates, while older forms of prejudice and discrimination have surely not disappeared, they just as surely do not possess the power and influence they once did in North America. American Jews have now been fully accepted in an unprecedented way into American life, and contemporary Jews of all stripes and ethnic backgrounds as well as sexual orientations are now full participants in the cultural, social, political, and economic sectors of American and Canadian society. Intermarriage is now a common occurrence among Jews and the ethnic homogeneity that marked the Jewish community during the time of Rabbi Wise is now simply an historical memory.

Such changes in the nature of North American Jewish life have been felt among all sectors of the Jewish community across denominational lines. They have propelled a core population of Jews to seek out Jewish community and religion with an indifference to denomination and institutional affiliation that was unknown only several decades ago. The ideal of the “Sovereign Self,” the term that Steven Cohen and Arnold Eisen have coined to describe the highly individualistic search for meaning and community that marks so many North American Jews, is the mark of our era.

In addition, the Jews are no longer a powerless or dispossessed people. The Jewish State that Stephen S. Wise strove so mightily to create is now a reality. We are possessed of sovereignty and political power. The reality of the State of Israel has meant that the Jewish people, in the felicitous phrase of the later Professor Emil Fackenheim, have “returned to history.”

We are forging leaders for both Israel and the Diaspora who will make Judaism relevant, compelling, joyous, meaningful, welcoming, comforting, and challenging to Jews worldwide who, as “sovereign selves,” have infinite options open before them.

These changed realities force us – lay and professional alike – to acknowledge, as Rabbi Wise did, “the immensity of the task before us” as we seek to create effective Jewish leadership for our time. Indeed, we, just as Rabbi Wise, may, at times, “tremble” as we face this task. Yet, as the pages of this publication will indicate, we are not paralyzed by the enormity of these challenges nor are we fainthearted in meeting them.

The College-Institute in both North America and Israel remains attuned to contemporary developments. Our school remains as robust as ever – if not more so – in meeting the demands of the hour. We are forging leaders for both Israel and the Diaspora who will make Judaism relevant, compelling, joyous, meaningful, welcoming, comforting, and challenging to Jews worldwide who, as “sovereign selves,” have infinite options open before them.

Our people today stand at a crossroads where trends of weakened Jewish commitment and attachment compete with pockets of intense Jewish revival and knowledge – and all this takes place across traditional denominational lines and institutional patterns. Our task is to strengthen those pockets of revival and knowledge even as we educate rabbis, cantors, educators, nonprofit management professionals, and intellectual thought leaders and scholars to recognize that such revival and knowledge must take place both within and beyond traditional Jewish denominational and institutional structures and affirmations.

The future of Judaism depends upon the ability of our institution to maintain and revitalize Jewish religious tradition in light of the conditions that confront our community today. I invite you to read and see – from A to Z – in the pages of this President’s Report some of the many ways in which HUC-JIR is accomplishing this demanding and complex but achievable and holy task. I am grateful to so many of you for the role you play in helping us fulfill this mission and pray that our efforts will be crowned with success as were so many of the struggles of Rabbi Wise when he established the Jewish Institute of Religion ninety years ago. May God watch over the worthy work of our hands and bestow blessing upon us.

Rabbi David Ellenson, N ’77, Ph.D.
March 2013 Adar 5773


American Jewish Archives

Since its inception in 1947, the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) has grown to more than 12,000 linear feet of documentation and is the world’s largest free-standing research facility dedicated solely to the study of the American Jewish experience.

The records of B’nai B’rith International, widely considered by scholars to be the most important Jewish membership organization in American Jewish history, were the year’s most significant acquisition. The 500 feet of records contain thousands of manuscripts, charters, medals, letters, memorabilia, and other artifacts that reflect the organization’s historical influence.

AJA Fellowships were awarded to fourteen scholars from the U.S., Israel, and Germany. They conducted research and presented public seminars on race and gender in the construction of American Jewish identity, Soviet Jewry, Jewish cultural restoration after World War II, the Jews of Barbados, Romanian immigration to the U.S. and Canada, and the representation of Jewish characters on the Antebellum Stage.

A $100,000 two-year grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission for a professional archivist for unprocessed collections and the implementation of new software and content management programs will support the AJA as a leader in digital resources.

The AJA preserves the records of all the arms of the Reform Movement, including the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the Women of Reform Judaism. It co-hosted with the URJ its fourth synagogue archives conference since 1999. Forty lay leaders were introduced to best practices to ensure the long-term care of their historic congregational records.

Rabbinical and graduate students conduct research side-by-side with scholars from around the world in the Barrows-Loebelson Reading Room at the American Jewish Archives.


Biblical Archaeology

The Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology community e xcavation in Lod continued for its fifth season. It was expanded this year to include twelve elementary schools, with 2,500 students and teachers participating.


Cincinnati: The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Invests in Innovative New Initiatives

The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati has established groundbreaking programs to connect HUC-JIR to the community with a transformative five-year, $5.225 million grant. This significant investment enables HUC-JIR to enhance its rabbinical student curriculum and to focus more of its resources on serving the Cincinnati Jewish community.

The grant supports the development of The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Fellows Program – an advanced leadership training curriculum that dispatches rabbinical students to help build capacity and serve community needs through paid internships at local Jewish institutions. Additional grant funding is creating a new Cincinnati-based National Office of Recruitment and Community Engagement to increase rabbinical student enrollment in Cincinnati and serve as a clearinghouse for the deployment of HUC-JIR’s resources to serve local Jewish needs. HUC-JIR is working with Jewish communal agencies to develop creative partnerships, programs, and events that are designed to bring the community to the campus and bring the campus into the community.

These new programs at HUC-JIR will provide Cincinnati’s Jewish community and its various institutions with an infusion of young Jewish leaders to work in the areas of basic needs, Jewish education and engagement, leadership development, and Israel connection as they pursue their rabbinical studies at the Cincinnati campus. Foundation support will also be used to leverage the expertise of more seasoned HUC-JIR faculty and administrators, many of whom are already serving as key resources in local Jewish day schools, congregations, and University of Cincinnati Hillel.

Rabbi Ellenson stated, “The College-Institute is enormously grateful to The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati for its visionary commitment to sustain Jewish leadership and learning by ensuring the vitality of our institution and the larger Cincinnati Jewish community. This grant will have an extraordinary impact on our Cincinnati campus, our entire institution, and on the next generations of Jewish leaders for the Reform Movement and the Jewish people throughout North America, Israel, and around the world.”

The transformation occurring at HUC-JIR’s Cincinnati campus coincides with a ten-year, $3.2 million grant from The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, in partnership with the Jewish Federation, Jewish Family Service (JFS), and local philanthropists Bernie and Pam Barbash, directed towards eradicating poverty in the Cincinnati Jewish community. The new Barbash Family Vital Support Center, to be housed on HUC-JIR’s campus in the renovated former gymnasium building, will provide a new anchor for Jewish social services and serve as an entry portal to safety net services for the most vulnerable members of the Jewish community.

“The Jewish Foundation’s core mission is to invest in high-impact initiatives that will strengthen the Cincinnati Jewish community,” said Michael R. Oestreicher, President of The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati. “Our investments in HUC-JIR and JFS were conceived to attract top rabbinical students from around the world and enhance the importance of the Cincinnati campus to our community, leverage the natural synergies between and among Jewish agencies, and bolster the Jewish community’s ability to address Jewish poverty.”

Rabbi Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D., Dean of HUC-JIR’s Cincinnati campus, added, “The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati’s support will strengthen our ability to recruit individuals with the intellect, spiritual depth, vision, and compassion required for leadership. It will renew our engagement with the larger Cincinnati community through programs accessing our renowned resources, including our world-class faculty, the Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, and the Skirball Museum. Furthermore, this grant will enhance our rabbinical students’ professional development by implementing a groundbreaking new program of advanced service learning through placements at JFS’s new Barbash Family Vital Support Center and throughout the Cincinnati community’s Jewish agencies, educational institutions, and organizations.”

Rabbi Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D., Cincinnati Dean, with Brian Jaffee, Executive Director of The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, and Larry Juran, Treasurer of Jewish Family Service, at the groundbreaking of the Jewish Family Service – Barbash Family Vital Services Center on the Cincinnati campus.

The 29th Annual Cincinnati Associates Tribute Dinner, “Celebrating Women of Spirit,” honored Cincinnati community leader and HUC-JIR Overseer Mona Kerstine; Kay Geiger, President of PNC Bank, Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky; Phyllis Shapiro Sewell, former Senior Vice President of Federated Department Stores and founding member and former President and Chair of the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati; and Joan Pines, Chair of HUC-JIR’s Central Region Board of Overseers and member of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors.

High school students from throughout North America participated in a leadership program on social justice organized by the American Jewish Archives and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Rabbi Kenneth Kanter, Associate Dean and Director of the Rabbinical Program, at the groundbreaking for the Jewish Family Service – Barbash Family Vital Support Center to be situated in the renovated gymnasium building on the Cincinnati campus.

Dr. Nili Fox, Director of the School of Graduate Studies, meeting with a student in the newly dedicated Joan and Phillip Pines Faculty Center.

Rabbinical students Leah Citrin ’15, Dana Benson ’15, and James Stoloff ’13 leading Havdalah with leaders of the Cincinnati community at the Cincinnati Associates Tribute Dinner.


Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music

The dedication of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music (DFSSM), which took place on December 7, 2011, featured a service, tribute, and participation by cantorial alumni and students. Rabbi Ellenson stated, “A beloved member of our faculty since 2007, Debbie Friedman, z”l, inspired our students through her creativity and musical talents, helped guide their spiritual and leadership development, and provided them with innovative strategies to transform congregations into communities of learning and meaning.”

Since its founding in 1948, when the destruction of the Holocaust threatened the continuity of Jewish musical heritage, our Cantorial Program and pluralistic faculty have exposed our students to the widest range of traditional nusach, musical styles, and professional skills.

Participating in the dedication were Cantor Julia Katz ‘12, Cantor Bruce Ruben, Ph.D., DFSSM Director, and Rabbi David Vaisberg ‘12.

Daniel and Bonnie Tisch, member of the Board of Governors, leaders of the Reform Movement, alumni, faculty, students, and friends joined Debbie Friedman’s aunt Ann Binder, mother Freda Friedman, and sister Cheryl Friedman at the dedication of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music.

In response to cantorial soloists’ need for greater knowledge and skills, as expressed by the American Conference of Cantors and others in the field, the DFSSM now offers a Cantorial Certification Program directed by Cantor Ellen Dreskin, DFSSM ‘86. Cantorial soloists with at least five years of professional experience who are unable to attend the full-time Cantorial Program can advance their education and training while continuing to live and work in their communities. The program features cohort-based learning, kallot, online classes, individual coaching, independent study, and a summer ulpan at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. In addition, Clinical Pastoral Education in their own communities is required to fulfill the flexible four-year program leading to Post-Baccalaureate Certification and admission to the American Conference of Cantors.


Education: The Jim Joseph Foundation – Education Initiative

With the support of a 5-year $14,992,000 grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF), HUC-JIR has embarked on an unprecedented set of initiatives to dramatically increase the number of highly-qualified Jewish educators prepared to provide compelling experiences of Jewish learning and living to youth, teens, and young adults. The JJF- Education Initiative’s impact on HUC-JIR’s Rhea Hirsch School of Education and New York School of Education this year included:

  • Tuition scholarships, to support a growing number of students seeking careers as leaders in Jewish education, were provided to 30 students in 2011-2012 and 34 students beginning in Fall 2012 in the M.A.J.E., M.A.R.E., Joint Master’s in Jewish Nonprofit Management and M.A.J.E. or M.A.R.E. programs, and Rabbinical-Education program for rabbinical students.
  • The Executive Master’s Program in Jewish Education, for Jewish educators with a minimum of five years of leadership experience seeking to earn the M.A. degree while continuing to live and work in their home communities, launche d its first two cohorts, totaling 32 Jewish educators having an impact on congregational schools throughout North America.
  • The Certificate Program in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults, designed to expand the knowledge and skills of educators working with this age group, graduated its inaugural cohort and launched Cohort 2, totaling 31 participants implementing innovative Jewish education.
  • The Induction and Retention Initiative, to reinforce fulfilling and successful long-term career paths for educators, was inaugurated with a New Educators Transition Boot Camp taught by 15 veteran educators who are HUC-JIR education alumni.
  • The Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute, organized to strengthen the Jewish culture and leadership of early childhood programs, was launched with 16 participants, in partnership The Jewish Theological Seminary and in consultation with the Bank Street College of Education.
  • A Rabbinical-Education Program for students on the Cincinnati campus, who previously did not have access to this joint program already available in Los Angeles and New York, was launched to allow them to earn the M.A.R.E. degree through the New York School of Education.

Students in the Certificate Program in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults engage in intensive seminars on campus in Los Angeles and New York, while Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education students study with Dr. Michael Zeldin, Senior National Director of the Schools of Education and JJF-EI Project Leader, in an onsite course in New York.


Faculty: New Chairs Inaugurated

Alyssa Gray, J.D., Ph.D.
Emily and Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman Chair in Rabbinics

Alyssa Gray, J.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Codes and Responsa Literature at HUC-JIR/New York, has written on a number of topics, notably martyrdom in the Jerusalem Talmud, the formations of the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, liturgy, the halakhic history of Jewish women’s charitable giving in the Middle Ages, the evolution of Talmudic attitudes toward the poor, and the application of contemporary legal theory to medieval halakhic literature. Her current research interests are wealth, poverty, and charity in classical and medieval rabbinic literature and the literary relationship between Bavli and Yerushalmi Yoma.

“Alyssa Gray’s distinguished scholarship, gifted teaching, and dedicated mentorship of our students reflect the core values of our institution,” says Rabbi Ellenson. “Her research and publications in Talmud and Rabbinics have added important contributions to the field and she has rendered significant service through her participation on HUC-JIR’s Board of Governors.”

Professor Gray is the author of A Talmud in Exile: The Influence of Yerushalmi Avodah Zarah on the Formation of Bavli Avodah Zarah (2005), and edited (with Bernard Jackson) Studies in Mediaeval Halakhah in Honor of Stephen M. Passamaneck (2007). She has also contributed to My People’s Prayer Book, My People’s Passover Haggadah, and The Torah: A Women’s Commentary. Dr. Gray is a founding member of the Faculty Council and from 2009-2012 served on the Board of Governors as HUC-JIR’s elected Faculty Governor. She is a member of the editorial board of the Hebrew Union College Annual.

Dr. Gray joined the HUC-JIR faculty in 2000. She received her Ph.D. (with distinction) in Talmud and Rabbinics from The Jewish Theological Seminary, and also holds an LL.M. in Mishpat Ivri (Jewish Law) from the Hebrew University Faculty of Law. Prior to pursuing her studies in rabbinics, she practiced law as a commercial litigator at Davis Polk & Wardwell. She also graduated from Barnard College (B.A. magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa), The Jewish Theological Seminary (B.A.), and the Columbia University School of Law (J.D.; Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar).

Dr. Gray inaugurates the Emily and Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman Chair in Rabbinics, which was established thanks to the generosity of Herbert Corkin, z”l, and the many friends and congregants of Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman, C ’63, Ph.D. ‘73, and his wife Emily, z”l. Rabbi Mehlman is a Lecturer in Midrash and Homiletics at HUC-JIR/New York and Rabbi Emeritus at Temple Israel in Boston, where he served as Senior Rabbi for twenty years. His rabbinate has been distinguished by his commitment to human rights and social justice.

“Rabbi Mehlman has been my valued colleague for over ten years. The establishment of this Chair reflects his and the College-Institute’s commitment to the study and teaching of the riches of classical and medieval rabbinic literature, to which I’ve been privileged to devote my scholarly career.”
Dr. Alyssa Gray

Rabbi Rachel Adler, Ph.D.
Rabbi David Ellenson Chair in Jewish Religious Thought

Rabbi Rachel Adler, Ph.D., Professor of Modern Jewish Thought and Feminist Studies at HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles is recognized as one of the first theologians to integrate feminist perspectives and concerns into the interpretation of Jewish texts and the renewal of Jewish law and ethics. Her essay “The Jew Who Wasn’t There” (1971) is generally considered the first piece of Jewish feminist theology. She is the author of Engendering Judaism (1999), for which she was awarded the first National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Thought ever presented to a female theologian.

“Dr. Adler is one of the pioneering scholars of the Jewish feminist movement,” notes Rabbi Ellenson. “Her expertise in the areas of Jewish feminist theology and ethics; Judaism and gender; women, religion, and sexuality; and theologies of pain, suffering, and loss enriches the studies of our students and the thought leadership of the Reform Movement.”

Professor Adler was a contributor and on the editorial board of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary (URJ Press, 2007) and wrote on the book of Leviticus for the 2009 weekly commentary “Reform Voices of Torah.” Her current articles are to be found in Chapters of the Heart, edited by Sue Levi Elwell and Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer; Makin A Difference: Essays on the Bible and Judaism in Honor of Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, edited by David J.A. Clines, Kent Harold Richards, and Jacob L. Wright; CCAR Journal (Fall 2012); Judaism and Health: A Handbook of Practical, Professional, and Scholarly Resources, edited by Michele Prince; AJS Perspectives; and The Jewish Political Tradition (Volume 3), edited by Michael Walzer, Menachem Lorberbaum et al. She is currently working on an article on J.B. Soloveitchik’s conflicted view of Jewish women and an article on the feminism of Eliezer Berkovits. Professor Adler serves on the editorial boards of Tikkun and Nashim.

Dr. Adler received her Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics from the University of Southern California with a joint certificate in Judaica from HUC-JIR, M.A. in English Literature from Northwestern University, and Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota. She was ordained as a rabbi by HUC-JIR in 2012.

Dr. Adler inaugurates the Rabbi David Ellenson Chair in Jewish Religious Thought, which was established in tribute to Rabbi David Ellenson, N ‘77, Ph.D., HUC-JIR President, with a lead gift from Leona Aronoff-Sadacca, a member of the Western Region Board of Overseers, and the generous participation of other individual benefactors. Internationally recognized for his publications and research in the areas of Jewish religious thought, ethics, and modern Jewish history, Rabbi Ellenson’s most recent publications include After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity, which won the National Jewish Book Council’s Award as the outstanding book in Jewish Thought in 2005; and Pledges of Jewish Allegiance: Conversion, Law, and Policymaking in 19th-and 20th-Century Orthodox Responsa, co-authored with Daniel Gordis (2012), a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in Scholarship.

“Rabbi David Ellenson is a uniquely creative scholar. He has been my teacher and my friend for many years, ” and I am honored to hold a Chair named for him.”
Rabbi Rachel Adler, Ph.D.


Faculty/Administration Appointments

Tenure Awarded

Sara Bunin Benor, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles, is an expert on Jewish language, culture, and identity.

Rabbi Haim Rechnitzer, J ’03, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Thought at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, is an authority on political theology and modern Jewish and Israeli thought.


Rabbi Yehoyada Amir, J ’04, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish Thought at HUC-JIR/ Jerusalem, is a distinguished scholar of Jewish religious thought.

Lisa S. Grant, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish Education at HUC-JIR/New York, is an expert on Israel education, adult learning, and the professional development of Jewish educators.

Rabbi Dalia Marx, C/J ’03, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Liturgy and Midrash at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, is an innovative scholar in the areas of liturgy and midrash.

Faculty Appointments

Lynn Kaye, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Rabbinics at HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles, has scholarly interests in the intersection of law and literature in the Talmud.

Administrative Appointments

Sheila Adler, M.A., Project Director of the Leadership Institute, has served as a mentor for this program during the past eight years.

Rabbi Kenneth A. Kanter, C ’80, Associate Dean, HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, is a distinguished rabbinical leader who also serves as the Director of the Rabbinical Program on that campus.

Madelyn Katz, M.A.J.E. ’84, RJE, Ph.D., Associate Dean, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, is responsible for academic and student affairs, operations, and campus programming.

Rabbi Jan Katzew, C ’88, Ph.D., Director of Service Learning at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, implements his expertise in Jewish education and service learning as the head of The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Fellows Program.

Rabbi Elliott Kleinman, C ’92, M.P.S.A., M.Ed., Chief Engagement Officer in Institutional Advance- ment, is responsible for the Annual Fund, donor relations and recognition, and enhancing our ties to congregations and organizations.

Amanda Bernstein Richardson, M.A.J.C.S/ M.S.W. ‘97, Associate Director of the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, is an accom- plished Jewish communal service alumna.

Evie Rotstein, Ed.D., Director of the New York School of Education, is a pioneer in the field of professional development and Jewish education for interfaith families.

Michael Zeldin, M.A.J.E. ’77, Ph.D., Senior National Director of the Schools of Education, is Professor of Jewish Education at HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles; Director of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education in Los Angeles; Founding Director of DeLeT – Day School Teachers for a New Generation; and Jim Joseph Foundation – Education Initiative Project Leader.


Faculty Highlights

Merri Lovinger Arian, D ebbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Faculty and Liturgical Arts Consultant, presented “The Power of Music” at the Leadership Institute Summer Seminar.

Dr. Isa E. Aron, Professor of Jewish Education, is co-director of the new B’nai Mitzvah Revolution, a joint project of HUC-JIR and the Union for Reform Judaism.

Dr. Carole B. Balin, N ’91, P rofessor of Jewish History, is co-editing a collection of essays in honor of the Centennial of Women of Reform Judaism with Dr. Gary P. Zola, and wrote an essay on the history of the Uniongram.

Dr. Sarah Bunin Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, produced the Jewish English Lexicon, an online collaborative database of Hebrew, Yiddish, and other words used by Jews in English.

Dr. Norman J. Cohen, N ’71, Ph.D. ’77,  Professor of Midrash, published “Surviving the Narrow Places: Judah and Joseph and the Journey to Wholeness” in Midrash and Medicine: Healing Body and Soul in the Jewish Interpretive Tradition. Ed. William Cutter (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2011).

Dr. Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy, headed the research team that produced the Jewish Community Study of New York: 2011, the largest Jewish community study ever conducted.

Dr. Michael J. Cook, N ’70, Ph.D. ’75,  Sol and Arlene Bronstein Professor of Judaeo-Christian Studies and Professor of Intertestamental and Early Christian Literatures, published “The Distribution of Jewish Leaders in the Synoptic Gospels: Why Wariness Is Warranted” in Soundings in the Religion of Jesus: Perspectives and Methods in Jewish and Christian Scholarship. Eds. Bruce Chilton, Anthony Le Donne, and Jacob Neusner (Fortress, 2012).

Dr. David Ellenson, N ’77, President and Grancell Professor of Jewish Religious Thought, published “A Zionist Reading of Abraham Geiger and his Biblical Scholarship” in Making a Difference: Essays on the Bible and Judaism in Honor of Tamara Cohn Eskenazi. Eds. David J.A. Clines, Kent Harold Richards, and Jacob L. Wright (Sheffield Pheonix Press, 2012).

Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Professor of Bible, was awarded the National Endowment for the Humanities Award for her project, “Out from the Shadows: Biblical Women in the Persian Period (6th – 4th Centuries B.C.E.).”

Dr. Reuven Firestone, N ’82,  Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam, spoke to communities and agencies in Israel, other areas of the Middle East, and Europe about Judaism, Islam, and dialogue.

Dr. Nili S. Fox, Director, School of Graduate Studies and Professor of Bible, presented “Fashion vs. Ideology: Three Biblical Laws Pertaining to Israelite ‘Dress’” at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Joshua D. Garroway, C ’03, Rabbi Michael Matuson Professorship and Assistant Professor of Early Christianity and Second Commonwealth, published “The Circumcision of Christ: Rom 15:7- 13” in the Journal for the Study of the New Testament 34.4 (2012).

Dr. Kristine Garroway, Ph.D. ’09,  Visiting Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible, published “Gendered or (Un) Gendered? The Perception of Children in the Ancient Near East,” in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies 71.1 (2012).

Dr. David J. Gilner, Ph.D. ’89, Director of Libraries, published “Fulfilling Mitzvot through the Practice of Lovingkindness and Wisdom” in Buddhist-Christian Studies 32 (2012).

Dr. Lisa D. Grant, Professor of Jewish Education, was the keynote speaker and conference organizer for The Enhancement and Enrichment of Global Jewish Connections at UJA-Federation of New York.

Dr. Alyssa Gray, Emily and Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman Chair in Rabbinics and Associate Professor of Codes and Responsa Literature, presented a paper at the UC Berkeley Talmud Colloquium on “The ‘Invention of Tradition’ and the Formation of the Bavli: Reflections on the Selective Incorporation of Y. Yoma 1:1intoB.Yoma2a-12a.”

Dr. Lawrence A. Hoffman, N ’69, Ph.D. ’73, Barbara and Stephen Friedman Professor of Liturgy, Worship, and Ritual, was the keynote speaker at the annual conference of Interim Ministry Network on “Modernity, the Clergy, and Congregational Transformation.”

Dr. Joshua Holo, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles, and Associate Professor of Jewish History, published “Thoughts on Gershom b. Judah and the Italian Roots of Early Ashkenazic Jewry” in Pesher Nahum: Texts and Studies in Jewish History and Literature from Antiquity to the Middle Ages Presented to Norman Golb. Eds. J. Kraemer, M. Wechsler; Assoc. eds. F. Donner, J. Holo, and D. Pardee (Oriental Institute Press, 2011).

Rabbi Shirley Idelson, N ’91, Dean, HUC-JIR/New York, completed research on the founding of the Jewish Institute of Religion in preparation for the writing of her Ph.D. dissertation on this topic, as well as the year-long celebration of “JIR at 90” underway at the New York campus.

Dr. Samuel K. Joseph, C ’76, Eleanor Sinsheimer Distinguished Service Professor of Jewish Education and Leadership Development, published “Eric Bram: Portrait of a Rabbi as an Educational Visionary” in the Reform Jewish Quarterly: Spring 2012 and in a forthcoming Festschrift.

Dr. Jason Kalman, Gottschalk-Slade Chair in Jewish Intellectual History and Associate Professor of Classical Hebrew Literature and Interpretation, presented “The Song of Songs Which is Solomon’s?: The Implications of the Netziv’s Rinah shel Torah” at the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Rabbi Naamah Kelman, J ’92, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, led a D’var Torah on Chol HaMoed Sukkot at the Jerusalem campus, hosting representatives from 38 organizations involved in the Israel Jewish renaissance, all of whom are members of Panim: For Jewish Renewal in Israel.

Dr. Jonathan Krasner, Associate Professor of the American Jewish Experience, published “The Limits of Cultural Zionism in America: The Case of Hebrew in the New York City Public Schools, 1930–1960” in American Jewish History 95,4 (2009).

Christopher Eli Kraus, JD, MTS, Visiting Instructor in Jewish Education, was recognized by the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities for excellence in teaching.

Dr. Adriane Leveen, Senior Lecturer in Hebrew Bible and Lead Judaica Specialist in the Jim Joseph Foundation- Education Initiative, was a panelist at the Museum of Biblical Arts’ discussion of “Jerusalem: Sacred City of Three Faiths.”

Rabbi Richard Levy, C ’64, Rabbi of Campus Synagogue, Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles, was Scholar-in-Residence at the CCAR’s Chadeish Yameinu High Holy Day preparation retreat in Asilomar, CA.

Dr. Dalia Marx, C/J ’03, Associate Professor of Liturgy and Midrash, published “A Female Rabbi is like an Orange on the Seder’s Plate: Women in the Rabbinate, Challenges and Horizons” in Rabbi – Pastor – Priest. Ed. Walter Homolka, Heinz-Günther Schöttler (Berlin: De Gruyter).

Dr. Bernard H. Mehlman, C ’63 Ph.D. ’73, Visiting Lecturer in Midrash and Homiletics, published “ Ma’aseh Avraham Avinu ‘Alav Hashalom: Translation, Notes, and Commentary” in the CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Spring 2012.

Dr. Michael Meyer, Ph.D. ’64, Ochs Professor of Jewish History, published “Religious Reform and Political Revolution in Mid-Nineteenth Century Germany: The Case of Abraham Jakob Adler” in German-Jewish Thought Between Religion and Politics: Festschrift in Honor of Paul Mendes- Flohr on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday. Eds. Christian Wiese and Martina Urban. (Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2012).

Rabbi Bennett Miller, C ’74, Lecturer in Pastoral Theology, was elected Chair of the Association of Reform Zionists of America.

Dr. Stephen M. Passamaneck, C ’60, Ph.D. ’64, Professor Emeritus of Rabbinic Literature, published “Retracing Traces of Rabbinical Maritime Law” in J ewish Law Association Studies XXII, Studies in Jewish Law in Honour of Bernard S. Jackson. Eds. Leib Moscovitz and Yosef Rivlin (Jewish Law Association, 2012).

Joyce Rosenzweig, Artist-in-Residence, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, performed in a concert at the Aspen District Theatre in Aspen, Colorado, with cantorial alumni.

Dr. Evie Levy Rotstein, Ed.D., Director, New York School of Education, published “Intermarriage: Connection, Commitment, and Community: Jewish Education and Teenagers from Interfaith Families” in International Handbook of Jewish Education International Handbooks of Religion and Education, Volume 5, Part 3. Eds. H. Miller, L. Grant, & A. Pomson (Springer-Science & Media, UK, 2011).

Cantor Bruce L. Ruben, Ph.D., Director, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, presented a lecture on his book, Max Lilienthal: The Making of the American Rabbinate, at the Reform synagogue in Munich, Germany where Lilienthal was born and grew up, and officiated at the Shabbat service that followed his lecture.

Dr. Richard S. Sarason, C ’74,  Professor of Rabbinic Literature and Thought, participated in the panels “Legal Fictions: Studies of Law and Narrative in the Discursive Worlds of Ancient Jewish Sectarians and Sages” and “Race in Rabbinic Literature: Reflections on Charles Copher’s The Black Presence in the Old Testament” during the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in San Francisco.

Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller, DFSSM ’87, Professor of Cantorial Arts, composed and premiered a musical setting of “Shehecheyanu” for cantor, congregation, and piano as a commission honoring Rabbi Jeffrey Sirkman’s twenty- five years in the rabbinate.

Sheryl Stahl, Senior Associate Librarian, HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles, was elected Vice President for Membership of the Association of Jewish Libraries.

Rabbi Melissa Zalkin Stollman, MARE ’08, N ’10, Coordinator, Certificate Program in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults, became the Vice President of Professional Development for the Reform Youth Professionals Association.

David Strickland, Adjunct Organist and Pianist, was commissioned to write the score for Deepak Chopra’s new meditation CD based on his best selling book, A Path to Love.

Dr. Mark Washofsky, C ’80, Ph.D. ’87,  Solomon B. Freehof Professor of Jewish Law and Practice, published “The Woodchopper Revisited: On Analogy, Halakhah, and Jewish Bioethics” in Medical Frontiers and Jewish Law. Ed. Walter Jacob (Pittsburgh: Rodef Shalom Press, 2012).

Dr. Dvora E. Weisberg, L ’11, Director, Rabbinical Program, HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles, and Associate Professor of Rabbinical Literature, published “Clothes (un)Make the Man: bMenahot 109b” in Introduction to Seder Qodashim: A Feminist Commentary on the Babylonian Talmud V. Eds. Tal Ilan, Monika Brockhaus, and Tanja Hidde (Mohr Siebeck, 2012).

Dr. Yaffa Weisman, Director, Frances- Henry Library, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Studies, was elected as Vice President/President Elect of the Association of Jewish Libraries.

Dr. Andrea Weiss, N ’93, Assistant Professor of Bible, delivered the 2012 Goodman Lecture at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN on “Ancient Words, New Voices: The Story of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary.”

Rabbi Margaret Moers Wenig, N ’84,  Lecturer in Liturgy and Homiletics, was elected to the Executive Committee of the Academy of Homiletics.

Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, N ’90, D.Min. ’94, Dr. Paul M. and Trudy Steinberg Distinguished Professor in Human Relations and Counseling and Clinical Director, Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling, celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling.

Dr. Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service, spoke about his research on Jewish power at national organizations.

Dr. Michael Zeldin, MAJE ’77, enior National Director, Schools of Education, and Professor of Jewish Education, serves on the Executive Steering Committee of the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education, a pilot project connecting researchers, practitioners, and philanthropists in the field of Jewish education.

Dr. Tali Zelkowicz, MAJE ’00, L ’02,  Professor Sara S. Lee Chair for an Emerging Scholar in Jewish Education, was invited by the Avi Chai Foundation to serve as researcher for the National Study of Day Schools.

Dr. Wendy Zierler, Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Literature and Feminist Studies, was named a finalist in the Moment Magazine-Karma Foundation Fiction Contest.

Dr. Gary P. Zola, C ’82, Ph.D. ’91,  Director, American Jewish Archives, and Professor of the American Jewish Experience, received the BRIDGES for a Just Community’s Distinguished Service Citation.

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.

  • Irving D. Karpas, Jr., Former Governor
  • Manuel Mayerson, Governor Emeritus
  • Lawrence Ramer, Former Governor
  • Cantor William Sharlin, Adjunct Professor Emeritus of Sacred Music and Jewish Liturgy
  • Bonia Shur, Director Emeritus of Liturgical Arts

Graduate Studies

Fifty students are currently pursuing the Ph.D., M.A., or D.H.L. degrees in the areas of Bible, History of Biblical Interpretation, Rabbinics, Second Temple Judaism, Jewish Thought, and American Jewish History at the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) in Cincinnati.

The diversity of this learning community of emerging scholars is exemplified by the eight new students admitted this year – four Jewish students (two of whom are HUC-JIR rabbinical alumni), three Christian students, and one Hindu student. These students are integrated into the rabbinical student community on the Cincinnati campus through shared courses and student life activities, thereby forging vital links of interfaith understanding.

Enriching their studies this summer was the seven-week Israel Program, made possible by a generous grant from Richard J. Scheuer, z”l, former Chairman of HUC-JIR’s Board of Governors. Eight students and one recent Ph.D. recipient participated in a month-long archaeological excavation at Tel Dan, studied Modern Hebrew, and visited ancient and modern sites while based at HUC- JIR/Jerusalem. Additional enrichment was offered by alumnus-in-residence Dr. Martin Abegg’s lectures on Dead Sea Scrolls studies for students and alumni back in Cincinnati.

The broad range of scholarship emanating from HUC-JIR’s emerging graduate scholars and distinguished alumni was reflected in the papers they presented at the major academic conferences of the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Oriental Society, and the American Schools of Oriental Research. Furthermore, current graduate students and alumni enjoyed the SGS’s new newsletter, Qol Hadash, reporting on student projects, accomplishments, and events.

Sarah and Phillip Bollinger, Ph.D. students in Bible and Ancient Near East, participating in the SGS Summer Israel Program at Tel Dan.

Graduate students study with rabbinical students in the “Biblical Narrative” course taught by Dr. David Aaron at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati.


HUC-JIR in Print

January-December 2012

Seekers of Meaning: Baby Boomers, Judaism, and the Pursuit of Healthy Aging
Rabbi Richard F. Address, C ’72, D.Min. ’99
URJ Press, 2012

Faith, Truth, and Reason: New Perspectives on Franz Rosenzweig’s “Star of Redemption 
Edited by Drs. Yehoyada Amir, J ’04, Yossi Turner, and Martin Brasser
Verlag Karl Alber, 2012

Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism
Dr. Sarah Bunin Benor
Rutgers University Press, 2012

Masking and Unmasking Ourselves: Interpreting Biblical Texts on Clothing & Identity
Dr. Norman J. Cohen, N ’71, Ph.D. ’77
Jewish Lights Publishing, 2012

The Jewish Community Study of New York: 2011
Dr. Steven M. Cohen, Jack Ukeles, and Ron Miller
UJA-Federation of New York, 2012

Pledges of Jewish Allegiance: Conversion, Law, and Policy-Making in Nineteenth-and Twentieth-Century Orthodox Responsa
Rabbi David Ellenson, N ’77, and Rabbi Daniel Gordis
Stanford University Press, 2012

Holy War in Judaism: The Fall and Rise of a Controversial Idea
Dr. Reuven Firestone, N ’82
Oxford University Press, 2012

Paul’s Gentile-Jews: Neither Jew nor Gentile, But Both
Dr. Joshua D. Garroway, C ’03
Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012

Jewish Masculinities: German Jews, Gender, and History
Co-edited by Dr. Sharon Gillerman, Benjamin Baader, and Paul Lerner
Indiana University Press, 2012

Israel Education Matters: A 21st Century Paradigm for Jewish Education
Dr. Lisa D. Grant and Dr. Ezra M. Kopelowitz
Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education, 2012

We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism – Ashamnu and Al Chet
Dr. Lawrence A. Hoffman, N ’69, Ph.D. ’73
Jewish Lights Publishing, 2012

Pesher Nahum: Texts and Studies in Jewish History and Literature from Antiquity through the Middle Ages Presented to Norman (Nahum) Golb
Edited by J. Kraemer, M. Wechsler, with participation of F. Donner, Dr. Joshua Holo, and D. Pardee
The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 2012

Hebrew Union College and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Dr. Jason Kalman
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 2012

The Way of Man According to the Hasidic Teaching
A New Translation with Notes by Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman, C 63, Ph.D. 73, and Dr. Gabriel Padawer
Jewish Lights Publishing, 2012

The Laws of Evidence: Shulhan ‘Arukh Hoshen Mishpat Hilkhoth Eduth
Dr. Stephen M. Passamaneck, C ’60, Ph.D. ’64
Deborah Charles Publications, 2012

Prophecy and Perfect Political Order: The Political Theology of Leo Strauss
Dr. Haim O. Rechnitzer, J ’03
Bialik Publishing, 2012

Mothers in Therapy: A Psychological Look at Four Talmudic Women
Dr. Ruchama Weiss and Avner HaCohen
Miskal – Yediot Aharont Books and Chemed Books, 2012

Beyond Breaking the Glass: A Spiritual Guide to Your Jewish Wedding, Revised Edition
Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, N ’90, D.Min. ’94
CCAR Press, 2012

Making a Difference: Essays on the Bible and Judaism in Honor of Tamara Cohn Eskenazi
Edited by David J.A. Clines, Kent Harold Richards, and Jacob L. Wright
Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2012

CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly – Symposium Issue on Judaism, Health, and Healing
Guest edited by Michele Prince and Rabbi Nancy Wiener, N ’90, D.Min. ’94
CCAR Press, 2012

American Jewish Archives Journal: Volume 65, Nos. 1 and 2
Dr. Gary P. Zola, C ’82, Ph.D. ’91, Editor
Special double issue commemorating the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War
American Jewish Archives, 2012

Hebrew Union College Annual: Volumes 80 and 81
Dr. Edward Goldman, C ’69, Ph.D., ’74, Editor”
Dr. Richard Sarason, C ’74, Associate Editor
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 2012

Remnant Stones: The Jewish Cemeteries and Synagogues of Suriname: Essays
Aviva Ben-Ur with Rachel Frankel
HUC Press, 2012

A Window on Their World: The Court Diaries of Rabbi Hayyim Gundersheim, Frankfurt am Main, 1773-1794
Edward Fram
HUC Press, 2012

NGSBA Archaeology, Volume 1
Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology, 2012


Israel: Ordination and Academic Convocation Celebrates Leadership

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 / 1 Kislev 5773

“Dorit Beinisch, President (ret.) of the Supreme Court of Israel, presented the Ordination and Academic Convocation Address in absentia.

In the challenging conditions of Israeli society, a better and more just society can only emerge on the basis of the recognition of the dignity of every human, created in God’s image, and the protection of equality as part of human dignity. We must encourage a spirit of tolerance and understanding among the various factions and groups that comprise the diverse mosaic that is the sum picture of Israeli society.”

Seven new Israeli Reform rabbis were ordained by Rabbi David Ellenson: Yehudit (Judith) Werchow, Na’ama Dafni-Kellen, Esteban Gottfried, Gadi Raviv, Tlalit Shavit, Uri Lam, and Or Zohar. They join the alumni of the Israel Rabbinical Program who serve Progressive congregations, schools, and communities throughout Israel.

Rabbi Moshe Yehudai, Rabbi Dr. Daniel Schiff, Avraham Infeld, and President (ret.) of the Supreme Court of Israel Dorit Beinisch (in absentia) were awarded honorary degrees.

Cantorial students singing at the Convocation.

Certificates for graduates in Pluralistic Jewish Education, part of the Master’s Program in Jewish Education in partnership with the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University, were presented to: Lior Argaman (accepted by her father), Smadar Bielik, Michal Berman, Noga Brenner Samia, Ofer Lichtig, and Eliraz Shifman-Berman.

Certificates for graduates of the Sugyot Chaim – a Talmudic Bibliotherapy Program sponsored by the Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling, were presented to: Ronit Erez, Liora Hacohen, Fern Kadoshy, Sara Lvovich Mehaudy, Bilha Merom, Yael Omer, Laiki Saban, Tlalit Shavit, Yali Shner, Carmit Pizem, Hodaya Kantarow- itz Wachtel, and Ruth Yaglom.

Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, celebrating with the graduates and guests.

The Board of Governors Israel Committee, co-chaired by David Harman and John Golden at the Convocation.

The Tenufa (Momentum) Program, an exciting program for young leadership training, aims to create a community among pluralistic young Israeli social activists. During bimonthly meetings held at HUC-JIR, participants develop professional leadership skills that will enable them to have a positive impact on Israeli culture and society.


Jewish Nonprofit Management

Our rebranding – from the School of Jewish Communal Service to the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (SJNM) – has been widely embraced. Our program is attracting high caliber students and the graduates of the Class of 2012 have found excellent positions with Jewish communal and/ or social service nonprofit organizations, including the Union for Reform Judaism, Hillels, and several Reform synagogues and day schools.

The Fieldwork Internship, a hallmark of the SJNM program, provides students with highly supervised fieldwork assignments at Jewish communal agencies throughout the Los Angeles area. This experience puts their classroom learning into action and prepares them for the variety of responsibilities and expectations they will encounter in their professional careers. In addition, students benefit from the mentorship of prominent lay leaders in the Jewish community who are recruited for this purpose by the SJNM Advisory Board.

The Capstone Project undertaken by second-year students has yielded research that has sparked new community-based programs. This year’s projects, covering a wide range of compelling communal concerns, including the membership model of Jewish women’s organizations, Jewish nonprofits’ revenue sources, how nonprofits communicate change, and the importance of Jewish history for Jewish communal professionals.

Dr. Steven Windmueller, Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service, teaching his Jewish nonprofit management students.


Klau Libraries, Frances-Henry Library, S. Zalman and Ayala Abramov Library

In Jerusalem, the staff of the S. Zalman and Ayala Abramov Library serves as the first point of contact between our first- year students in the Year-In-Israel Program and the online resources of the College-Institute. They provide orientation to the resources of the Rechler Computer Center and those found on the Jewish Studies Portal (JSP). Working individually with the students, they review the available online databases, demonstrate their proper use, and explain their relevance to each student’s particular course of study. They also orient the students in the use of both the Israeli ALEPH online catalog and the VTLS online catalog used at the three American libraries.

At the Klau Libraries in New York and Cincinnati, and at the Frances-Henry Library in Los Angeles, the Library staff meets with all students new to that campus to acquaint them with various services provided by the library, including interlibrary loan and the regulations and procedures for using neighboring universities’ libraries. We have recently upgraded the VTLS online public access catalog used at all three American libraries, and enhanced the software used to search our online periodical and newspaper holdings for relevant citations and information to better meet the information and research needs of our users.

Dr. David Gilner, Director of Libraries, and HUC-JIR Governors Cantor Sarah Sager, Marcie Zelikow, Joy Greenberg, Gary Greenberg, and Kenneth Gilman peruse a Samaritan Book of Deuteronomy (Ashkelon, 1164 CE), one of HUC-JIR’s oldest treasures and the oldest Samaritan manuscript in the Western Hemisphere.


Los Angeles: Learning and Leadership

Students at the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles benefit from leading practitioners, scholars, and community activists who participate in special programs addressing issues our students will face in their future professional careers.

During the past year, the Spiegel Seminar in Jewish Family Values featured presenta- tions by leaders from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Larry Moses, President Emeritus and Senior Philanthropic Advisor of the Wexner Foundation, was the Rabbi Louis Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence and SJNM Culmination Speaker. The Fisher Family Colloquium, established by Georgie and Professor William Cutter, C ’65, Ph.D., was inaugurated on Founders’ Day with guest speaker Tim Rutten, former Los Angeles Times columnist, who spoke about the role of religion in American society.

Our commitment to interfaith understand- ing is reflected in our partnership in the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (CMJE), a joint project with the Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation and the University of Southern California Center for Religion and Civic Culture. The CMJE’s website, receiving approximately half a million “hits” monthly, has become a trusted resource center to which Muslims and Jews can turn to receive accurate, dispassionate, non-politicized information about Judaism and Islam.

Our campus demonstrates the Reform Movement’s advocacy on behalf of inclu- sivity through the Institute for Judaism, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity. This resource for our rabbinical, education, and nonprofit management students, alumni, and the larger community in both religious and secular environments has just complet- ed its pilot phase of the LGBT Welcoming Synagogues Project, which seeks to provide comprehensive tools to help congregations become more open and welcoming to LGBT Jews.

Our Louchheim School of Judaic Studies serves as the Jewish studies program for the University of Southern California. This relationship, which celebrated its 40th year in 2012, provides HUC-JIR faculty teaching Jewish studies and Hebrew language to over 650 USC undergraduates of all back- grounds each year. In addition, the Louch- heim School has taken the lead in estab- lishing a Jewish Studies Collaboration that includes those centers that service Jewish students on USC’s campus, including the Casden Institute for the Study of the Role of Jews in American Life, the USC Shoah Foundation, and USC Hillel. The inclusion of our faculty at lectures, concerts, film festivals, exhibits, and panel discussions has fostered HUC-JIR connections to USC faculty and staff, and these undergraduate programs nurture the recruitment of pro- spective students for HUC-JIR’s graduate and professional programs.

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, D.H.L. ’10, Dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University, and his 19-year-old son Jacob (not pictured), who has autism, addressed students on the challenges of serving children with special needs in Jewish and public education at a program organized with the BJE-Builders of Jewish Education.

Holocaust survivor Leona Aronoff-Sadacca, endowed the Leona Aronoff Rabbinic Mentoring Program to enhance the alumni mentorship and professional development of rabbinical students through summer residencies, year-long internships, pastoral counseling, student pulpits, and post-ordination practice. Pictured with Dr. Joshua Holo, Dean, and rabbinical students Sara Abrams ’13, and Greg Weisman ’13.

Fourth-year rabbinical students Lisa Berney, Keara Stein, and Jason Rodich preparing an assignment for Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi’s class on Leviticus.

Dr. Sarah Bunin Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, teaching one of several courses offered by HUC-JIR’s Louchheim School of Judaic Studies for undergraduates at the University of Southern California each year.

Irwin Engelman, Chairman of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors, and Stephen Sacks, Chairman of the Union for Reform Judaism  with Dr. Warren R. (Chip) Fagadau and Joy Greenberg, members of the Board of Governors, in the campus Mercaz, which houses the Western Center for Reform Judaism.



Museums and art exhibitions serve as resources for students preparing for careers of Jewish leadership, offer the public meaningful educational opportunities, and provide traveling exhibitions and programming for Reform congregations and cultural institutions throughout North America.

Skirball Museum in Cincinnati

The Jews of Częstochowa: Coexistence- Holocaust-Memory – a photo-documentary portrayal of a vibrant Jewish community in Poland before the Nazi occupation.
Cosponsored by The Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education

Michael Gore – contemporary Jewish ceremonial art by the Venetian glass artist.

Simeon Zigler – drawings and paintings by the Cincinnati-based artist.

Exhibitions at the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles

Marlene Louchheim: Commitments – intimate and monumental sculptures expressing love, distance, fear, and the need to heal the world.
With the support of the Louchheim family and Sue Neuman Hochberg

Jewish Ritual: Rethinking, Renewed – sixteen artists explore the role of art in ritual for the lives of individuals and communities.
Organized in collaboration with the Jewish Artists Initiative (JAI) of Southern California with support from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles

Song of the Land – artists consider contemporary issues of environmental sustainability.
Cosponsored by the Jewish Women Artists Network

HUC-JIR Museum in New York

With the support of the Irma L. and Abram S. Croll Foundation and George, z”l, and Mildred Weissman

Leonard Everett Fisher: 70 Years an Artist – the Pulitzer Prize-winner’s works illuminating the Bible and American and Jewish history.

Nathan Hilu’s Journal: Word, Image, Memory – outsider art capturing the Lower East Side, midrash, and experiences as a U.S. Army guard at the Nuremberg Prison and War Crimes Trials.

Janet Shafner: Dark Prophecies – depictions of moral issues, ethics, and human relationships in the Torah.

Joëlle Dautricourt: The Book of Happy Writing – the mystical, symbolic, and divine forces within the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
With the support of Moment magazine, Ruth and Marvin A. Sackner, and Evelyn and Bernard Korman

Max Ferguson: Painting My Father – paintings and drawings reflecting the evolving artist-father relationship over thirty years.


New York: HUC-JIR Celebrates “JIR at 90”

In celebration of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish Institute of Religion (JIR) in 1922 by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and the Free Synagogue, the “Be Wise Entrepreneurial Grants Competition” challenged students to design a project that would promote entrepreneurialism and bring a spirit of innovation and creativity to campus by exploring and experimenting with community-building and outreach techniques. Students were asked to showcase the values upon which Rabbi Wise founded the JIR that are still part of the New York campus culture today. An important element in each proposal was the development of partnerships with other Jewish organizations, including the Union for Reform Judaism and Reform synagogues.

Thanks to a generous gift from Elizabeth and Steven Gruber, of the Eastern Region Board of Overseers, six projects were accepted to receive seed money for implementation. The panel of judges included Rabbi Shirley Idelson, Dean, HUC-JIR/New York; Rabbi Aaron Panken, Assistant Professor of Rabbinic and Second Temple Literature, HUC-JIR/New York; Rabbi Michael Friedman, Central Synagogue, New York; Cantor Daniel Singer, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, New York; Overseer Steven Gruber; and Hannah Goldstein, MARE ’11, N ’13. The grantees will present their projects to the student body at a Spring community program, and the prize winner will be announced in June 2013.

Nancy Bach ’13
Rachel Van Thyn ’13
“A recent New York City study reveals that there is a sizable percentage of Jews who mark Jewish life-cycle events, but do not belong to a synagogue,” note cantorial student Bach and rabbinical student Van Thyn. “Officiation by Reform clergy at these events offers an opportunity to further educate these unaffiliated Jews about Jewish communal prayer, observance, study, and action.” Their pilot program will form a small temporary chavurah of hand-selected couples and families with whom a student cantor has personally forged a bond through recent life-cycle work. Participants will experience Judaism and life in the larger Jewish community, explore the idea of synagogue attendance and/or affiliation, consider ways to maintain Jewish connection after the pilot session is over, and discuss how participating regularly with a synagogue community might work for this group.

Lauren Furman ’13
Adena Kemper ’13
Cantorial students Furman, the student cantor of Temple Beth El (Jersey City’s Reform synagogue) and Kemper (a resident of Jersey City) are working on a project that aims to provide outreach and community building for young Jewish adults in the Jersey City area. They envision that programming will focus on Shabbat and holiday gatherings in participants’ homes, and look forward to learning the specific needs of the community. Ultimately, they hope to provide a Jewish connection for young adults in this growing community.

Sara Luria ’13
Rabbinical student Luria’s ImmerseNYC project seeks to build a community mikveh for the largest Jewish community in the U.S. Drawing upon the model of Mayyim Hayyim in Boston, she hopes to create a welcoming space for conversions or the observance of niddah; a place where individuals can immerse after their last round of chemotherapy or a bar-mitzvah child can come to celebrate a life transition. Luria adds, “Through education and immersions, my project will introduce New York Jews to the myriad ways that this ritual can add meaning to their Jewish lives and how a community mikveh could meet the ritual needs of our diverse Jewish population.”

Adam Lutz ’16
Benjamin Ross ’16
Rabbinical students Lutz and Ross are creating Project Zug, an Israeli-American online learning experience that is dedicated to creating, renewing, and strengthening the bonds between Israeli and American Jews and that is inspired by their Year-In-Israel experiences. “Each country is creating a relevant contemporary Jewish culture, but each country’s culture is developing in diverse directions without significant dialogue,” they say. “We view Project Zug as a platform for meaningful one-to-one dialogue on text, culture, identity, and tradition.”

Jonah Zinn ’14
Over the past decade, hundreds of young Jews have moved to Fort Lee, Edgewater, and other neighborhoods in New Jersey along the Hudson River where there is no organized Reform Jewish presence. Rabbinical student Zinn’s initiative will utilize a community-organizing model to build a Jewish community for young couples and families in this area, guided by the question “what do we want from our Jewish lives?”

Rayna Dushman ’15
Sarah Krevsky ’13
According to cantorial students Dushman and Krevsky, “music has a way of entering our souls, bringing us closer to each other, and creating community.” Working closely with Cantor Benjie Schiller, they are compiling and publishing a communal songbook of Cantor Schiller’s music. “Each composition will be accompanied by a kavannah, an intention, as well as background information on the text, and an enclosed CD recording will help those unable to read notated music to participate. Cantor Schiller’s compositions will help enrich individuals’ spiritual practice and personal connection to Judaism,” they explain.


Outreach to the Community

Our students’ community service initiatives throughout North America are exemplified by their ongoing grass-roots efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Fourth-year rabbinical student Jodie Gordon collected items to donate to the victims of Hurricane Sandy with her pre-confirmation class at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire. She explains, “Right after the hurricane, Rabbi Deborah Zecher, N ’82, sent out an email to the entire community asking them to donate new socks, flashlights, batteries, and sanitizing wipes for me to bring back to the city. In just two days, we collected over 300 pairs of socks and approximately 20 shopping bags filled with supplies. My students sorted, labeled, and packed these supplies, which we then brought to Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn to be distributed to those in need.”


Pastoral Care

Pastoral care is hardly limited to working with the ill and infirm; it also involves working with members of the community affected by divorce, substance abuse, mental illness, infertility, or a myriad of other issues that our students will confront in their future professional placements.

HUC-JIR/Cincinnati was the first Jewish seminary to offer Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) through our own curriculum and the first seminary to be fully accredited as an independent center for this training. Under the leadership of Rabbi Julie S. Schwartz ’86, Jay Stein Director of Clinical Pastoral Education and Pastoral Care, students are placed in adult and children’s hospitals, specialized care for families suffering traumatic losses, and outreach to the elderly and those in hospice care. Since 2005, 400 hours of CPE are required for all rabbinical students; those who have fulfilled 1,600 hours of CPE are eligible for Board Certification as a chaplain.

The tenth anniversary of the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling at HUC-JIR/New York marked a decade of exceptional opportunities for our students to develop pastoral knowledge and skills. Under Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, N ’90, D.Min. ’94, Founding Director, the Center continues to provide coursework, as well as in-field experience at leading New York hospitals and institutions, to equip students with the understanding and skills they will need to serve their Jewish communities effectively.

Students complete at least 400 clinical training hours under the auspices of the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education. Leaders in the area of Judaism and disabilities addressed the entire campus community in a day of learning, which included a model service that Congregation Rodeph Sholom designed for its families with members with disabilities. On military bases and aircraft carriers, students explored the opportunities of military chaplaincy with alumni. A pluralistic master-class, “Explorations in Jewish Pastoral Theology,” brought together Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist rabbis.

The Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, directed by Dr. Ruchama Weiss, is a pioneering force in Israel. Courses in clinical pastoral education are provided for students in the Israel Rabbinical Program. The two-year Mezorim program prepares Israeli clergy and health care professionals working in pastoral positions, including those working with parents of special needs children and with prisoners and Correctional Officers. Sugyot Chaim (Life Texts) provides a one- year program in bibliotherapy techniques through psycho-dynamic beit midrash-style study for an interdenominational range of Israeli professionals, primarily educators. A new clinic offers services to those in need of support and solace, and also functions as a training environment for “simulation” exercises for training programs and the Israel Rabbinical Program.

The Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health at HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles is a catalyst for interaction, discussions, and partnerships among spiritual leaders, healthcare providers, and Jewish community professionals and members. It provides pastoral education to all students at the Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles and supervises the required pastoral care internships for rabbinical students in hospitals and other healthcare settings. It convenes conferences, workshops, and research to generate ideas and projects on Jewish spirituality and healing, bioethics, illness and wellness, and the health of the healthcare system through an international network of over 3,000 professional and lay leaders. In January 2012, it partnered with UJA-Federation of New York to bring together the first ever transdenominational rabbinical seminary pastoral educator conference to explore pedagogy, advance field-building, and disseminate scholarly findings in Jewish pastoral education.

The restructured Interfaith Doctor of Ministry Program, under the direction of Rev. Ann Akers, has 21 religiously and ethnically diverse students enrolled in three levels. Clergy who work in congregational, chaplaincy, counseling, or community settings are offered coursework and clinical supervision with attention to the specific context of the pastoral relationship. They develop and implement a demonstration project responding to an actual clinical problem or need in their ministry setting. This program is playing an increasingly important role at the College-Institute in meeting the needs of interfaith clergy seeking to serve communities that are struggling during the current economic crisis.

Experts in advocacy and service to people with disabilities engaged rabbinical, cantorial, education, and Doctor of Ministry students and alumni during a day of learning at HUC-JIR/New York on creating communities of inclusion and welcome. Organized in partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism, the program featured (from left): Rabbi Lynne Landsberg, Senior Advisor on Disabilities for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the Task Force on Access to Lifelong Jewish Learning; Alexis Kashar, Director of the Jewish Deaf Resource Center; and Neil Jacobson, Founder of Abilicorp, an employment agency for people with disabilities.


The QR Code Project

This QR code – a two dimensional bar code readable by most mobile devices – provides access to HUC-JIR’s free educational resources developed by Rabbi David Gerber, C ’12. Click onto this icon to find the Eight QRazy Nights! Guide to Hanukkah; The QR Bookmark for your prayer book to learn Hebrew or brush up on prayers; listen and learn with Musical Midrash – a fully interactive QRiculum (QR+curriculum); study Talmud and Torah with the Reform Daf Yomi; glimpse within the mezuzah with your Mezuzah Scanner; travel with the Mobile Siddur; and listen to The QR Prayer Sheet. HUC- JIR’s recruitment materials also include a QR code to guide prospective students to our admissions website!


Rabbinical Studies for the Real World

In addition to their core courses in Bible, Talmud, Midrash, history, and Jewish religious thought, and their chaplaincy and pulpit internships, spirituality initiatives, and professional development classes, HUC-JIR’s rabbinical students have the opportunity to hone the knowledge and practical skills needed to approach issues in contemporary Jewish life and the changing Jewish community.

The Gerecht Family Institute  for Outreach and Conversion, generousley endowed by Ash Gerecht, provides two- or three-day workshops that are required for all third-year rabbinical (and cantorial) students. The Institute offers textual background that undergirds the Jewish ideals relating to outreach and conversion throughout Jewish history and the many streams of contemporary Jewish life. Students study the psychology of conversion and the phases and emotions converts experience when changing faiths. They hear from those who have converted and their spouses, consider the ways in which congregations can be welcoming to those not yet part of Jewish life, practice interviewing techniques, and consider conversion curricula. They discuss circumcision, immersion, and beit din practices in North America, Israel, and around the globe. As they learn about best practices with HUC- JIR alumni, they emerge with an understanding of the issues that makes this program one of their most valued learning experiences.

The Schusterman Outreach Weekend Institutes, funded by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, are required for all fourth-year rabbinical (and cantorial) students. The Institute guides them in creating a culture of embrace to those on the margins of Jewish life. Students attend one of three institutes held in a Reform congregation where professional staff and lay leadership have partnered in transformative skills that reshape congregations into welcoming outreach communities. Students live with congregational families, often intermarried. They are led in discussions by rabbis, interfaith couples, and lay leaders who are effectively dealing with the difficulties faced by interfaith families, including successful integration of diversity into temple life, questions related to intermarriage officiation, and outreach to the LGBT community and unaffiliated singles and couples.

Rabbinical students are also required to fulfill social action projects that have an impact on the larger community. Through work with agencies and organizations devoted to social justice, they learn how their Jewish social vision can mobilize congregations and communities to bring about societal and communal change. As a context for these projects, they study civil rights and civil liberties, domestic and global poverty, immigration, LGBT rights, Israel issues of pluralism and peace, interreligious relationships, and community organizing. Our emerging rabbis learn how to translate their moral vision into dynamic social action communities that inspire affiliation.

Rabbinical students Brent Gutmann ’13 and Lindsey Rothschild ’16 leading services at the Scheuer Chapel in Cincinnati.

HUC-JIR students dialogue with a panel of congregants and lay leaders, at Temple Bnai Jeshurun in Short Hills, NJ, who represent the tremendous diversity of families in Reform congregations today.


Spirituality Initiatives

HUC-JIR is committed to helping students deepen their spiritual practice in order to help them become more effective clergy and educators.

The New York School’s two-year Spirituality Initiative, generously funded by the Joyce and Irving Goldman Family Foundation, is being developed in a collaboration with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS). The Initiative includes course offerings, spiritual direction, and a variety of intensive and retreat experiences for students and alumni.

In the Initiative’s first year, courses included a year-long elective on “Mindful Jewish Spiritual Practice” and a summer intensive on “Creating Embodied Jewish Experience,” led by Rabbi Myriam Klotz, in which over twenty students and alumni focused on Jewish spirituality and yoga in a course geared specifically to clergy interested in deepening their practices and integrating them into their professional lives and their communities. The Initiative’s second year includes additional spiritual direction opportunities for our students, a spring elective on “Wise Activism,” and a summer intensive on “Spiritual Practices for Jewish Environmental Leadership” with Dr. Adriane Leveen and Rabbi Rachel Cowan, N ’89.

In addition, in a year-long Faculty Seminar on the Spiritual Formation of Clergy, New York faculty are considering additional ways to deepen this aspect of our students’ training. Overall, the aim of the Initiative is to enhance our students’ capacity to make Jewish religious experience meaningful and accessible to all who seek it.

The Society for Classical Reform Judaism (SCRJ), with the support of the Edward and Wilhelmina Ackerman Foundation, offers student scholarships, seminars, a Prize Essay Program, contemporary Classical Reform liturgy resources and prayerbooks, and a new organ in the Scheuer Chapel to enhance the spiritual development of students in Cincinnati. This past year in Jerusalem, the SCRJ inaugurated special seminars for first-year rabbinical and cantorial students and for Israeli rabbinical students and organized a public program highlighting Classical Reform’s great musical tradition, principles, and practice.

Rabbinical, education, and Jewish nonprofit management students in Los Angeles convene with alumni for an annual Spirituality Retreat sponsored by the Spiritual Growth Department, headed by Rabbi Richard N. Levy, C ’64, and funded by the Angell Foundation. These retreats include prayer, meditation, yoga, song, nature walks, making art, and exploring the relationship between spirituality and social justice. Students participate in Rabbi Levy’s yearly elective on “Modes of Spiritual Awareness” and in ongoing reflection meetings with faculty.

The Spirituality Initiative at HUC-JIR/New York provided students and alumni with a week-long Jewish spirituality and yoga training program geared specifically toward Jewish clergy.



Students and faculty across HUC-JIR’s four campuses benefit from the innovative technology of our e-classrooms for team-taught cross-cam- pus courses, guest lectures, and academic meetings. With the growth of HUC-JIR’s executive and certificate programs for Jewish educators (page 7) and cantors (page 6) who continue to live and work in their communities throughout North America, onsite learning on our campuses is combined with ongoing distance learning, as seen in this Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education class with Dr. Adriane Leveen, Lead Judaica Specialist, Jim Joseph Foundation – Education Initiative.


URJ Partnership

HUC-JIR and the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) are partners in fostering a vibrant Reform Movement throughout North America.
The newest project, joining together with all the other arms of the Movement, is the “Campaign for Youth Engagement.” Dr. Gary P. Zola, Director of the American Jewish Archives (AJA), is working with rabbinical students on the Cincinnati campus to organize exciting retreats for several hundred high school and college students each year. Hosted by the AJA, these youth programs focus on themes including social justice, environmental issues, Israeli culture, and Jewish identity. The B’nai Mitzvah Revolution, a joint project led by Dr. Isa Aron, Professor of Jewish Education at HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles, and Rabbi Bradley Solmsen ’01, Director of the URJ’s Campaign for Youth Engagement, seeks to address retention of families post-b’nai mitzvah and and strengthen middle and high school engagement.

(Pictured) Rabbi Rick Jacobs, URJ President, with our Year-In-Israel students and Israeli rabbinical students during the period of missile attacks from Gaza.



Dedicated volunteers support HUC- JIR’s vitality in a myriad of ways. Distinguished business leaders and professionals, Jewish communal executives, philanthropists, and alumni from all of our schools and programs serve on the Board of Governors and regional Boards of Overseers associated with each campus. Their expertise, leadership, and generosity advance strategic planning, encourage academic excellence, and provide vitally-needed financial resources. Through service on admissions and placement committees, volunteers also help welcome and orient prospective students and coach graduating students in preparation for placement interviews.

School-based advisory committees, including those guiding the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music and the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, bring professional and lay expertise to bear on student experiences. Committees facilitate mentorship and internship opportunities and help make connections between students and working professionals.

Our outreach to the larger community is strengthened by volunteers who bring our faculty and students into their congregations and homes for meaningful educational programs. Volunteers also bring their knowledge as art collectors and curators to the advisory committees guiding our museums and support the aesthetic enhancement of our campuses.

The Alumni Council provides overarching leadership for HUC-JIR’s school-based alumni associations and alumni professional organizations. Council members focus on fostering life-long connections between graduates and the College-Institute. HUC- JIR meetings are organized at the annual gatherings of professional and academic associations for our rabbinic, cantorial, education, nonprofit management, and graduate studies alumni. Opportunities for on-going learning are encouraged through Kallah and online experiences. The Alumni Council is also committed to encouraging alumni participation in fundraising, both through the HUC-JIR Annual Fund and school-based initiatives. The President’s Rabbinic Council, comprised of about 100 rabbis drawn primarily from congregations, also brings its perspective to bear on enhancing student and alumni experiences.

(Pictured) HUC-JIR Governor Jay H. Geller, Chair, Board of Governors Communications ommittee joined HUC-JIR students on their Germany Close Up trip exploring the roots of Reform Judaism, the Holocaust, and the renewal of Jewish life in Germany today.



HUC-JIR is constructing an updated website that will launch in 2013. Stakeholders from throughout the institution – students, faculty, adminis- trators, alumni, lay leaders, and Reform Movement professionals – have partici- pated in intensive meetings to guide new approaches to content, graphic design, and technology. The goals areto feature the scholarship and thought leadership of our faculty and students, inspire prospective students and facili- tate their admissions process, support the needs of students and faculty, strengthen the bonds of alumni, and engender support from donors and friends.


Xavier University

HUC-JIR and Xavier University enjoy a unique collaboration between a Jewish seminary and a Jesuit university that offers a Jewish and Interfaith Studies Program to undergraduates at Xavier and provides resources for rabbinical and graduate students at HUC-JIR.

HUC-JIR faculty teach Xavier’s undergraduate courses in Jewish Studies, thus assisting Xavier to establish a minor in Jewish Studies. Xavier students have full access to the extensive holdings of HUC-JIR’s Klau Library and American Jewish Archives. Xavier faculty are invited to participate in courses offered by HUC-JIR’s School of Graduate Studies and to assist with the guidance of doctoral dissertations and comprehensive exams. HUC-JIR’s rabbinical students have the opportunity to broaden their expertise through the M.A. in Education Administration at Xavier. Through this partnership, HUC-JIR’s and Xavier’s faculty develop dynamic and collegial partnerships as teachers and mentors who nurture ecumenical understanding among their students and impart the wisdom of both faiths.

Father Michael Graham, President of Xavier University, and Rabbi Ellenson celebrate the unique partnership between a Jesuit university and Jewish seminary.



The Richard J. Scheuer Seminar in the Year-In-Israel Program has been dedicated in tribute to Richard J.  Scheuer, z”l, former Chairman of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors and Chair of its Israel Committee, through a generous endowment gift from the Scheuer family: Elizabeth Scheuer and her husband Peter Joseph (members of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors) and Joan Scheuer, Richard’s widow, and their daughter Marian Scheuer Sofaer, as well as from a donation from the Skirball Foundation.

The dedication ceremony at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem welcomed students, Israeli guests, and a delegation of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors Israel Committee, co-chaired by Governors David Harman of Jerusalem and John Golden of New York. The ceremony was marked by a brief film on Richard Scheuer’s life and remarks by Rabbi Ellenson and Jerusalem Dean Rabbi Naamah Kelman, J ’92. Esther Herlitz, former Israeli diplomat and member of the Israel Board of Overseers, reminisced about her first encounter with the Scheuer family in the 1960s, when Richard’s brother, Congressman James Scheuer, brought them to Israel.

The Richard J. Scheuer Israel Seminar was initiated by Rabbi Michael Marmur during his tenure as Dean of the Jerusalem campus. It is a weekly day-long seminar that constitutes the centerpiece of the Year-In-Israel Program for first-year rabbinical, cantorial, and education students. The Seminar investigates the multiple voices in Israeli society and the complex search for solidarity and mutual responsibility among Jews living in both Israel and the Diaspora. It does so by exploring the changing nature of Israeli society from its pre-state emphasis on the molding of the new Jew to the contemporary reality of competing ideational-cultural voices. Programming involves lectures, site visits, visiting speakers, film, literature, and music.

Richard J. Scheuer was a man marked by great intellect, generosity, and humility who shunned honors during his lifetime. In partnership with President Alfred Gottschalk, he was the chief architect of the Jerusalem campus, working closely with architect Moshe Safdie throughout its design and construction. An unparalleled lover of Israel, Richard Scheuer loved the Jerusalem School, its visual connection to the Old City, and the Year-In-Israel Program for North American matriculating students. He believed that infusing the Year-In-Israel Program with the history and archaeology of the Jewish people in the land of Israel at the same time as students learned about Israel as a contemporary society would enhance their understanding of the Jewish people. It is an honor for the College-Institute that his name will now be associated permanently with our Jerusalem campus.



“Be strong! Be strong! And may we be strengthened!”
Guided by the dedication, wisdom, and generosity of the Board of Governors (at right), and the benevolence of the Boards of Overseers, alumni, faculty, students, staff, and friends, HUC-JIR will continue to fulfill the sacred mission of preparing leaders for the Reform Movement and the Jewish people worldwide.

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