Past is Present
Rabbi Shirley Idelson, Ph.D., Director of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program, Brandeis University
Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., President, HUC-JIR
In 1922, Stephen S. Wise and the Free Synagogue launched the Jewish Institute of Religion, a pluralistic rabbinical seminary in the heart of New York City. Bucking denominational trends of the time, JIR held freedom of thought and practice paramount. Yet the school had a definite ethos, borne by the cadre of JIR rabbis who responded to the global crises of their era by fighting for klal yisrael, social justice, and Zionism. Many of these rabbis joined the CCAR, and within a few decades the seemingly counter-cultural ethos of their fledgling seminary came to pervade Reform Judaism. In conversation, President Rehfeld and Rabbi Idelson will explore this history and its resonance today - and the power of seminaries to shape the future.