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The College Commons Podcast, passionate perspectives from Judaism's leading thinkers, is produced by Hebrew Union College, America's first Jewish institution of higher learning.
3 days ago
Rami Elhanan: From Pain to Peace
Meet one of the protagonists of Colum McCann’s NY Times best-selling non-fiction novel, "Apeirogon," who transformed his daughter’s tragic death into a quest for peace in Israel and Palestine. Rami Elhanan is a peace activist and 7th generation Jerusalemite on his mother's side. His father was an Auschwitz survivor. He is a Graphic designer and fought 3 wars as an IDF soldier. He identifies himself as a Jew, an Israeli, and before everything else a human being. On the first day of the school year in 1997, Rami’s daughter, Smadar, was killed by two Palestinian suicide bombers who murdered 5 people that day. Soon after, Rami joined the Parents Circle, and speaks before Israeli, Palestinian and International audiences. Rami was the Israeli Co-director of the Parents Circle – Families Forum until Aug 2020 when he retired.
Mar 16, 2021
Posen Library Volume 1: Ancient Israel From Its Beginnings Through 332 BCE
Unexpected dimensions of historical Jewish culture and civilization. Alison L. Joseph is Senior Editor of The Posen Library of Jewish Civilization and Culture. She brings her academic expertise in Hebrew Bible and ancient Judaism to the management of the ancient volumes of The Posen Library. Drawing from years of university teaching, research and publication in Jewish Studies, and her own public-facing digital scholarship, Dr. Joseph works on the Posen Digital Library to bring the content of the anthology alive in digital format. Dr. Joseph earned a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a M.A. in Jewish Studies from Emory University. Her first book Portrait of the Kings: The Davidic Prototype in Deuteronomistic Poetics, received the 2016 Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise. She is also co-editor of Reading Other Peoples’ Texts: Social Identity and the Reception of Authoritative Traditions (T & T Clark, 2020). Her research interests include gender in the Hebrew Bible, the Bible in pop culture, biblical historiography, and feminist historiography. She has previously taught at Swarthmore College, The Jewish Theological Seminary, Towson University, Villanova University, Haverford College, and Ursinus College.
Mar 2, 2021
Keith Thomas: Horror and the Torah
HUC-JIR alumnus Keith Thomas discusses his debut feature film—Hasidic horror flick, "The Vigil." Writer/Director Keith Thomas worked in clinical research at several western teaching hospitals before embarking on a career as a novelist and screenwriter. He has published The Clarity (2018) and Dahlia Black (2019), both with Simon & Schuster, and developed numerous book, film, and TV projects with creators like James Patterson. He lives in Colorado. The Vigil is his feature debut.
Feb 16, 2021
Ignacio Cano: Race & Democracy in the Americas
A deep dive into structural racism and inequality in South Africa and Brazil—with lessons for and from the United States. Ignacio Cano got his joint Ph.D. in sociology and social psychology at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain) in 1991. From 1991 to 1993 he worked with UNHCR, focussing on refugees and war-stricken populations in El Salvador. He was also a member of the United Nations Truth Commission for El Salvador. Cano later developed post-doctoral research at the universities of Surrey (UK), Michigan, Arizona (USA) and Lancaster (UK), centered on research methodology and program evaluation. From 1996 onwards, he worked in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on topics related to violence, human rights, public security and education in an NGO called ISER. In 2000, Cano joined the department of social sciences of the State University of Rio de Janeiro, where he is now a full professor of sociology. He is a founder of the Laboratory for the Analysis of Violence (LAV) of the same university. Over the last 20 years, he has researched different issues related to public security, violence, human rights and education and has undertaken impact evaluations of several public security interventions in Latin America. At present he is a visiting researcher at the Safety Lab, Cape Town, South Africa.
Jan 18, 2021
Tamara Harkavy: Creative Placemaking
Engaging community members, artists and youth to create civic beauty. Tamara Harkavy is the founder and former CEO and Artistic Director of ArtWorks where for 25 years she oversaw its growth from a small non-profit to Cincinnati’s largest public art program, creating a model for transforming people and places through investments in creativity. Under Harkavy’s direction, ArtWorks has employed more than 3,600 youth and 3,200 creative professionals, and the organization has completed more than 12,500 public and private art projects including 190 permanent outdoor murals, contributing to the region’s global reputation as an arts destination and an urban, outdoor gallery. Harkavy founded ArtWorks to address a lack of employment opportunities for teens and to recognize the lasting contributions that artists can make to an urban place. Through ArtWorks, youth gain professional workplace readiness skills, and professional artists benefit by opportunities to advance their careers. The organization works through innovative collaborations with community-based organizations, city agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, the private sector, and philanthropies. Among ArtWorks innovations is the 2015 program Ink Your Love, a public tattoo project led by international artists Kurt and Kremena in partnership with the Cincinnati Reds and over 50 local artists. In sum, ArtWorks invests in urban creatives, both emerging and established. In 2017 Harkavy was tapped to be on the creative leadership team for BLINK, an interactive multi-media event spanning 20 city blocks including the newly revived Over-the-Rhine neighborhoods. Over four days, one million people attended this free event in 2017. In 2019 BLINK returned, expanding across the Ohio River to Covington where a 1.5 million people attended. Harkavy’s numerous awards include a C-Suite Award in 2019, YWCA Career Woman of Achievement in 2013 and 2007 Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year. In 2018, TEDxCincinnati honored Harkavy at the inaugural Extraordinary Women event. Recently, Cincinnati Magazine named Harkavy one of Cincinnati’s top 300 business leaders. Harkavy is a member of Leadership Cincinnati’s Class 38. ArtWorks has won numerous awards under Harkavy’s leadership, including the City Livability Award by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, two Cincinnati Post-Corbett Awards, the Ambassador Award from the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau and a Community Impact Award from the American Marketing Association. Harkavy serves on the board of the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce, Mercantile Library, National Museum of Women in the Arts (Ohio Chapter) and the 3CDC program committee. She is on the leadership team planning BLINK in partnership with Brave Berlin, Agar, The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. Previously, Harkavy has served on the boards of Ohio Citizen’s for the Arts and Tender Mercies. She was a founding member of the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund. Harkavy co-authored two books, a best seller about the Big Pig Gig and Transforming Cincinnati (with John Fox) published on the occasion of ArtWorks’ 10th anniversary of their mural program (Orange Frazier Press). Harkavy holds an undergraduate degree from Arizona State University and a master’s in Urban Planning from the University of Cincinnati.
Dec 21, 2020
Israel Crisis on Campus? Maybe, Maybe Not...
Reactivity to press & social media exacerbating and distorting Jewish community conflicts on campus. Tilly Shames is the Executive Director of University of Michigan Hillel. Tilly has worked with Hillels in Toronto and Michigan for 16 years in various positions, including Director of Israel Affairs and Associate Director, before becoming Executive Director at the University of Michigan in 2012. Tilly is passionate about youth engagement, community-building, pluralism, women’s advancement, and social justice. She holds a master's degree in International Affairs and a bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies and Political Science. She is a Wexner Field Fellow Alum and is on the Steering Committee of the Safety, Respect, Equity initiative. Kendall Coden is a 2019 graduate of the University of Michigan. She served as the treasurer of the Michigan Hillel Governing Board in 2018 and as the Chair of the Governing Board in 2019. In her role as Chair, Kendall focused largely on building relationships with other campus communities and fostering a vibrant Jewish community. Outside of Hillel, Kendall acted as a representative of the Jewish community on a student advisory council to University Administrators. Kendall currently lives in Washington, D.C. where she is conducting research on addiction at the National Institutes of Health. Karla Goldman is Sol Drachler Professor of Social Work and Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, where she directs the school’s Jewish Communal Leadership Program. Her research focuses on the history of the American Jewish experience with special attention to American Jewish communities and the evolving roles of American Jewish women. She previously served as historian in residence at the Jewish Women’s Archive in Brookline, Massachusetts and taught American Jewish history at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. She is the author of Beyond the Synagogue Gallery: Finding a Place for Women in American Judaism (Harvard University Press).
Dec 8, 2020
What Are We Missing?
The challenge of growth, spurred by what we’re missing. Author, Joseph A. Edelheit served as a rabbi in Reform synagogues for thirty years, earned a doctorate in Christian theology, and retired as an Emeritus Professor of Religious and Jewish Studies. He has served as a prison chaplain, on a Presidential Advisory Council for HIV/AIDS, created a multi-faith orphanage in rural India for children with HIV/AIDS, and removed five swastikas constructed into the original 1931 facade of a Catholic cathedral in rural Minnesota. He currently lives in Rio de Janeiro where he writes, volunteers as a rabbi, and enjoys teaching his grandchildren English.
Nov 24, 2020
Jews Refiguring Judaism
European and American Jews struggle to find their place as the 20th century matures. Todd M. Endelman is professor emeritus of History and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. He was educated at the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University. He is the author of many books, most recently, Leaving the Jewish Fold: Conversion and Radical Assimilation in Modern Jewish History (2015), which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Prize. Zvi Gitelman is professor emeritus of Political Science and Preston R. Tisch Professor Emeritus of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. He has written or edited eighteen books, the most recent of which is the edited volume, The New Jewish Diaspora: Russian-speaking Immigrants in the United States, Israel and Germany (Rutgers University Press, 2016).
Nov 10, 2020
Deborah Dash Moore: Editor of the Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, 1973-2005
Varieties of Jewish Culture at the Dawn of a New Millennium. Deborah Dash Moore is the Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of History and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. An American Jewish historian, her work focuses on urban Jews. She is the editor in chief of The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization. She also served as co-editor of The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, Volume 10: Late Twentieth Century, 1973-2005.
Oct 27, 2020
Rabbi Melissa Weintraub: Resetting the Table
Building meaningful dialogue and deliberation across political divides. Rabbi Melissa Weintraub is the founding co-Executive Director of Resetting the Table, an organization dedicated to building meaningful dialogue and deliberation across political divides. Melissa was also the founding director of Encounter, an organization that grows the capacity of the Jewish people to contribute to solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Melissa was awarded the Grinnell Young Innovator Prize, which honors demonstrated leadership and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change. An alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship program, Melissa has lectured and taught in hundreds of Jewish communal institutions, universities, and forums on four continents. She was ordained as a Conservative Rabbi.
Oct 13, 2020
Sarah Hurwitz: Rediscovering Judaism
Michelle Obama’s speechwriter takes us on her journey back to Judaism's deepest lessons. Sarah Hurwitz was a White House speechwriter from 2009 to 2017, starting out as a senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama and then serving as head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama. Sarah worked with Mrs. Obama to craft widely-acclaimed addresses and traveled with her across America and to five continents. Before working at the White House, Sarah was a senior speechwriter for President Obama’s 2008 campaign; chief speechwriter for Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential primary campaign; deputy chief speechwriter for Senator John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign; deputy chief speechwriter for General Wesley Clark’s primary campaign; and a speechwriter for Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. Sarah was also a lawyer at the Washington, DC office of WilmerHale. Sarah is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and she was a spring 2017 Fellow at the Institute of P…
Sep 29, 2020
Elisheva Carlebach: Confronting Modernity, 1750-1880
Human stories of Judaism’s seismic shift, told from the Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization. Elisheva Carlebach, editor of The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, Volume 6: Confronting Modernity, 1750–1880, is Salo Wittmayer Baron Professor of Jewish History, Culture, and Society and director, Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, Columbia University. She is the author of several books, including Palaces of Time: Jewish Calendar and Culture in Early Modern Europe.
Sep 14, 2020
Israel-UAE Deal Explained
Geek out on Israel geopolitics with Rand Corporation Middle East expert Jordan Reimer on Israel, UAE, and more. Jordan Reimer is currently a policy analyst at RAND in the defense and political sciences department. He has an MPA from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and studied in Egypt and Yemen. He served as a policymaker at the Department of Defense under two administrations, focusing on Iraq, Iran, and the Arabian Peninsula. Before RAND, Jordan was an intelligence analyst at the New York City Police Department, working on counter-terrorism investigations with a nexus to Syria. He is also a lecturer and course instructor on conflict and insurgency in the post-Arab Spring Middle East, radicalization, and political Islam, most recently at New York University.
Sep 1, 2020
Fran Sepler: Harassment in the Workplace
Managing workplace harassment through organizational awareness. Ms. Sepler is best known for her pioneering work in harassment prevention and workplace investigations. She has developed techniques and protocols used by organizations throughout the United States to investigate complaints of workplace misconduct. Ms. Sepler also wrote Finding the Facts: What Every Workplace Investigator Needs to Know, published in 2008. She has conducted over 1,000 workplace investigations, served as an expert witness regarding employer response to employee complaints, and provided anti-harassment, anti-bullying and implicit bias training for thousands of organizations. She has also conducted workplace climate assessments for myriad workplaces of all sizes. Fran was commissioned by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to develop “Respect in the Workplace” and “Leading for Respect” which are offered nationwide. She has been the lead trainer for Ta’amod, which “seeks to help Je…
Aug 13, 2020
Rabbi Seth M. Limmer: Politics in Judaism and Judaism in Politics
Rabbi Seth M. Limmer on social justice, Israel, immigration (and more) at Chicago’s historic Sinai Temple. Rabbi Seth M. Limmer, DHL, serves as senior rabbi of Chicago Sinai Congregation. During his rabbinate he has served as chair of the Justice, Peace & Civil Liberties of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, as vice-chair of the URJ’s Commission on Social Action, as dean of faculty for Eisner and Crane Lake Camps, and at the time of publication serves on the Board of Trustees of the CCAR. On behalf of Chicago Sinai Congregation’s lead role in organizing the Reform Movement’s participation in the NAACP’s 2015 America’s Journey for Justice, Rabbi Limmer accepted the Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award, the highest honor of the URJ. Author of many articles, 2016 saw the publication of his first full-length book, Medieval Midrash: The House for Inspired Innovation. Rabbi Limmer also served as co-editor of Moral Resistance and Spiritual Authority, published b…
Jul 30, 2020
HUC-JIR President Andrew Rehfeld: At the Intersection of Religious and Academic Values
Creating safe spaces on campuses for free expression and intellectual candor. Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., is the 10th President in the 144-year history of Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion. A distinguished academic, President Rehfeld brings distinctive intellectual, spiritual, and professional qualities to lead the College-Institute’s mission to transform the Jewish community and the broader world. His passion for teaching and scholarship, as well as exemplary leadership skills, have set him apart as a dynamic visionary and community builder. His deep personal commitment to Reform Judaism and Jewish values, profound understanding of the impact of nonprofit Jewish institutions, and entrepreneurial spirit of innovation will lead HUC-JIR to greater excellence. Dr. Rehfeld has bridged both the academic and Jewish worlds as Assistant Professor of Political Science (2001 to 2007) and Associate Professor of Political Science (2007 to 2019) at Washington University in St. Lo…
Jul 21, 2020
Kathryn Fleisher: Young Adults Against Gun Violence
Coalition building and grass-roots programs for gun violence prevention. Kathryn Fleisher is the founding Executive Director of Not My Generation, a nonprofit dedicated to localized, intersectional young-adult gun violence prevention organizing. She is a former NFTY North American President and current RAC Commission on Social Action (CSA) Member. She also previously served on the Executive Planning Committee of the WRJ's inaugural social justice conference. Kathryn is a student at the University of Pittsburgh studying Politics & Philosophy and Gender, Sexuality, & Women's Studies with a minor in Creative Writing. She is deeply involved in the Reform Movement and is passionate about building a more just and compassionate world.
Jul 7, 2020
Pastor John Cager: Racial Justice & Religion
Lessons and challenges from Black church leadership for Jewish and other allies. Pastor John Cager is an Ordained Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He has shepherded four congregations in his ministry: St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Baldwin Hills as a visiting pastor; First African Methodist Episcopal Church, Santa Monica, CA as a supply pastor; St. Stephens African Methodist Episcopal Church, Los Angeles, CA; Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Fontana, California, and most recently was the proud pastor of Second African Methodist Episcopal Church, Los Angeles. His ministries exceed the boundaries of the local church, evidenced by his various leadership positions: Politically active, Reverend Cager worked for Tom Hayden’s “Campaign California” and was elected a Delegate to the 1984 Democratic National Convention. Reverend Cager serves on the Board of Directors of Progressive Christians Uniting, Greater Capacity Consortium; and First To Se…
Jun 23, 2020
Rabbi Noa Sattath: The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC)
Fighting for gay and civil rights, and Jewish pluralism. Rabbi Noa Sattath is the Director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the social justice arm of the Israel Movement for Reform Judaism. She is charged with leading the staff of the organization, developing social change strategies in the fields of separation of religion and state, women’s rights, and the struggle against racism. Prior to her work in IRAC, Noa was the Executive Director of the Jerusalem Open House, the LGBT community center in Jerusalem and the Executive Director of MEET, a non-profit organization that uses technology to create a common language between Israeli and Palestinian young leaders.
Jun 9, 2020
Marra Gad: Racism in Progressive Jewish Communities
The compelling journey of a biracial Jew. Marra B. Gad was born in New York and raised in Chicago. She is an independent film and television producer and now calls Los Angeles home. Ms. Gad is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and holds a master’s degree in modern Jewish history from Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson University. She is the author of The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish girl.
May 26, 2020
Rabbi Richard Address: Jewish Sacred Aging
Seeking meaning in a spiritual approach to aging. Rabbi Address was ordained at HUC-JIR 1972 and currently serves as the Director of Jewish Sacred Aging® (jewishsacredaging.com) and host of weekly podcast "Seekers of Meaning." He served on staff of the URJ for over 3 decades as Regional Director and Director of Jewish Family Concerns, in addition to serving congregations in CA and NJ. He is active in several national and local (Philadelphia-area) organizations dealing with aging, caregiving and end of life. He also serves as Dean of Gamliel Institute and teaches classes associated with Jewish Sacred Aging work at HUC-JIR in New York, Yeshiva Univ, as well a local JCC and numerous congregations.
May 12, 2020
Mental Health in the Jewish Community
Leaders of Atlanta's Berman Center and Blue Dove Foundation tackle addiction and mental health in the Jewish community. Alyza Berman, LCSW, is the founder, owner, and executive director of the Berman Center, a treatment program created to address the needs of individuals who suffer from addiction, mental illness, and co-occurring disorders. She is a trauma specialist as well as an individual, group, couples, and family therapist. Alyza specializes in the treatment of addiction, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and trauma. She has a passion for helping others and fully immerses herself in the people she meets and works with daily. The Berman Center doors first opened to address a problem in the Jewish community, while creating a place and program where Jewish individuals can get help for mental health and/or addiction. The Berman Center is founded on the Jewish principles of connection, community, and belonging. Daniel Epstein, LMHC, LPC is a licensed psychotherapist; co-founder o…
Apr 28, 2020
Rabbi Mike Uram: Next Generation Judaism
Exploring new community models for the next generation of Jews. Rabbi Mike Uram is the Executive Director at Penn Hillel and the author of the best-selling book, Next Generation Judaism: How College Students and Hillel Can Help Reinvent Jewish Organizations, which won a National Jewish Book Award in 2016. He is a sought-after speaker and consultant on the changing nature of the American Judaism, Jewish innovation, cutting-edge engagement and how legacy organizations can reinvent themselves in the age of millennials. He has spent time in all of the different denominations and is most passionate about breaking down the boundaries that prevent people from having full self-actualized Jewish identities.
Apr 21, 2020
We All Look the Same to a Virus: Shared Human-ness in View of a Pandemic
Off-Script: Old Wisdom, New Realty Audio insights from religious thinkers on the Covid-19 pandemic -- a special series of the College Commons Podcast. Episode Contributors: BART CAMPOLO is a secular minister, speaker, and writer who currently serves as the humanist chaplain at the University of Cincinnati and the host of the award-winning Humanize Me podcast. Bart has been profiled in the New York Times Magazine and, together with his famous evangelical father, he is the author of Why I Left, Why I Stayed and the subject of the documentary film, Leaving My Father’s Faith. Dr. LEAH HOCHMAN, PH.D. directs the Louchheim School for Judaic Studies at the University of Southern California and serves as Associate Professor of Jewish Thought at HUC-JIR's Skirball Campus in Los Angeles. AZIZA HASAN is the executive director of NewGround: A Muslim Jewish Partnership for Change, a national model for building authentic relationships, productive engagement and social change between American…
Apr 14, 2020
Rabbi Ariel Burger: Finding the Teacher Within
Sources of inspiration from great teachers—and unexpected ones, as well. Ariel Burger is the author of Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel's Classroom, which won the 2019 National Jewish Book Award in Biography. He is also an artist and teacher whose work integrates education, spirituality, the arts, and strategies for social change. An Orthodox rabbi, Ariel received his PhD in Jewish Studies and Conflict Resolution under Elie Wiesel. A lifelong student of Professor Wiesel, Ariel served as his Teaching Fellow from 2003-2008, after which he directed education initiatives at Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston. A Covenant Foundation grantee, Ariel develops cutting-edge arts and educational programming for adults, facilitates workshops for educators, consults to non-profits, and serves as scholar/artist-in-residence for institutions around the U.S. When Ariel's not learning or teaching, he is creating music, art, and poetry. He lives outside of Boston with his family.
Mar 31, 2020
Rita Fruman and Hernán Rustein: The Remarkable Dynamism of Global Reform Judaism
Mutually inspiring sources of Reform Judaism—from places you may not expect. Rita Fruman was raised in the Reform Movement in Belarus, beginning in 1999. In 2001, she became a madricha and then the Director of the Minsk Netzer club, where she oversaw the training of the next generation of leaders in Jewish summer camps. In 2003, she made Aliyah, and can say that her love for Israel was given to her at the Netzer camp. In Israel, her relationship with Reform Judaism has become even stronger both emotionally and professionally. She has been working for World Union for Progressive Judaism since 2005 and today serves as the Director of WUPJ Operations & Programs in the Former Soviet Union. Cantor Rustein currently resides in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with his wife, Angélica Tobón. He serves as CEO, Student Rabbi and Chazzan at Templo Libertad, Argentina's most historical Jewish congregation. He is currently an advanced rabbinical student in the Iberoamerican Institute for Reform Rabbi…
Mar 17, 2020
Amanda Berman: The Zioness Movement
Fighting anti-Zionism in progressive spaces. Amanda Berman is the Founder and Executive Director of the Zioness Movement, a new initiative empowering and activating Zionists on the progressive left to stand proudly in social justice spaces as Jews and Zionists. Until she recently made the transition to focusing exclusively on building the much-needed Zioness community, Amanda was also a civil rights attorney fighting anti-Semitism legally, spearheading such groundbreaking initiatives as the international action against Kuwait Airways for its discrimination against Israeli nationals, and the dual cases against San Francisco State University for its constitutional and civil rights violations against Jewish and Israeli students and community members. Amanda writes on Jewish and civil rights issues and is a media contributor across various mediums and outlets. She has spoken and presented before diverse audiences including Hadassah, JNF, B'nei Brith, Jewish Federation, AIPAC, JCRC, Hi…
Mar 3, 2020
Dean Phillip Bell and Michael Hogue: Religion, Vulnerability, and Resilience
How does vulnerability and resilience aid in the work of inter-religious understanding? Dean Phillip Bell is President/CEO and Professor of Jewish History at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. He earned a PhD and MA at the University of California, Berkeley and a BA at the University of Chicago. He has served on the Board of the Association for Jewish Studies and he is the author or editor of 10 books in Jewish Studies and Jewish History. Michael S. Hogue is Professor of Theology, Ethics and Philosophy of Religion at Meadville Lombard Theological School (Chicago). He received his MA and PhD from the University of Chicago and is the author of several books, most recently, American Immanence: Democracy for an Uncertain World (Columbia, 2018). He is also co-investigator with Dr. Dean Bell (Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership) of the Religion, Vulnerability and Resilience Project.
Feb 18, 2020
Dr. Alyssa Gray: Ancient Law Made Modern and Spiritual
Recasting the Jewish legal tradition as literature and spirituality. Dr. Alyssa Gray is Professor of Codes and Responsa Literature and Emily S. and Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman Chair of Rabbinics at HUC-JIR in New York. She specializes in Talmud and Jewish Law, about which she has written two books and co-edited a third, in addition to numerous essays for both scholarly and popular audiences. Her new book “Charity in Rabbinic Judaism: Atonement, Rewards, and Righteousness” was just published (Routledge, 2019). She is a frequent and sought-after presenter in academic, synagogue, and other venues. Check out her Eli Talk online: “Jewish Law as Great Literature.”
Feb 4, 2020
Dr. Lesley Litman and Jeremy Leigh: Israel Learned, Israel Experienced
Israel as we visit it in our hearts, minds, and in person. Dr. Lesley Litman is the Director of the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education and works with the Experiment in Congregational Education as the coordinator of its Boston-based initiative. She also consults to The iCenter in the area of curriculum design and professional development in Israel education. Lesley holds a doctorate in Jewish education from The Jewish Theological Seminary. Her research interests focus on the connection between curriculum and innovation in congregational education. Jeremy Leigh teaches Israel Studies and Modern Jewish History at HUC-JIR's Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem. He is the coordinator of the Richard J. Scheuer Israel Seminar for the Year-In-Israel Program, as well as director of the HUC-JIR-JDC Fellowship for Global Jewish Responsibility. He leads the Year-In-Israel Program's program in Lithuania and coordinates the annual professional development program in Former Soviet Union. Prio…
Jan 21, 2020
Rabbi Peter Berg: Political Diversity in American Judaism
Bridging the gap between politically liberal and conservative Jews. Rabbi Peter S. Berg is the Senior Rabbi of The Temple: The Hebrew Benevolent Congregation. The Temple is Atlanta’s oldest synagogue, founded in 1867. Rabbi Berg was named by Newsweek and The Daily Beast as one of the most influential rabbis in United States, by Georgia Trend as one of the 100 most influential Georgians, and by Atlanta Magazine as one of Atlanta’s most powerful leaders.
Jan 6, 2020
Rory Michelle Sullivan: Music is the Muse
How does music unlock and inspire learning and prayer, and even love? Singer-songwriter, composer, and educator Rory Michelle Sullivan has recorded four studio albums and performed internationally. She and her music have been featured at festivals such as ISH, Cincinnati’s Jewish and Israeli Arts and Cultural Festival, on Jewish Rock Radio’s Emerging Artist Showcase, and in Philadelphia RowHome magazine. Rory Michelle’s work explores relating to ourselves, others, and a spiritual Source in healthy, authentic, creative, and constructive ways. Her Jewish-themed musical endeavor, The God Album, includes fun folk, funk, rock, and swing music with songs infused, inspired, and informed by Jewish text. She is currently working on the musical Rising in Love.
Dec 24, 2019
Ferne Pearlstein: The Last Laugh
A comedy show in Auschwitz? Exploring Holocaust and humor — and its limits. Ferne Pearlstein is a critically acclaimed filmmaker & renowned cinematographer. She won the Sundance Cinematography Prize for "Imelda” about the former first lady of the Philippines. She has produced and/or directed dozens of films including THE LAST LAUGH which was released theatrically in over 25 cities and screened at over 100 film festivals including London, Munich, Jerusalem, and Rome. Ferne is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and a 2018 inductee into Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame. View THE LAST LAUGH is available on Amazon Prime.For more information, visit www.lastlaughfilm.us. THE LAST LAUGH is on all social media, including Facebook @lastlaughfilm.
Dec 10, 2019
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg: The Jewish New Wave
Parenting as spiritual practice, the complexity of cultural appropriation, and the challenging work of intersectionality and feminism today. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg is an award-winning author and writer. She was named by Newsweek and The Daily Beast as one of ten “rabbis to watch,” by the Forward as one of the top 50 most influential women rabbis, and called a “wunderkund of Jewish feminism” by Publishers Weekly. She written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Salon, Time, and many other publications, and contributes regularly to The Washington Post and The Forward. She has been featured on NPR a number of times, as well as in The Atlantic, USA Today, NBC News, MTV News, Upworthy, the Canadian Broadcasting Company, Al Jazeera America, Reese Witherspoon’s podcast How It Is, and elsewhere. She is the author of seven books; Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting (Flatiron Books…
Nov 25, 2019
Jordan Reimer: Meta Wars in the Middle East
Policy analyst Jordan Reimer unpacks the complexities of geopolitics in the middle east. Jordan Reimer is currently a policy analyst at RAND in the defense and political sciences department. He has an MPA from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and studied in Egypt and Yemen. He served as a policymaker at the Department of Defense under two administrations, focusing on Iraq, Iran, and the Arabian Peninsula. Before RAND, Jordan was an intelligence analyst at the New York City Police Department, working on counter-terrorism investigations with a nexus to Syria. He is also a lecturer and course instructor on conflict and insurgency in the post-Arab Spring Middle East, radicalization, and political Islam, most recently at New York University.
Nov 11, 2019
Michael S. Roth: “Safe” Spaces?
Campus speech and our values. Michael S. Roth is the 16th president of Wesleyan University. A professor, author and curator, Roth's scholarly interests center on how people make sense of the past. His most recent book is Safe Enough Spaces: A Pragmatist's Approach to Inclusion, Free Speech and Political Correctness on College Campuses (2019), published by Yale University Press. Among his many notable books, Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters, (2014) won the Frederic W. Ness Book Award given annually by the Association of American Colleges & Universities to the book that best illuminates the goals and practices of a contemporary liberal education. He regularly publishes essays, book reviews, and commentaries in the national media and scholarly journals.
Oct 29, 2019
Cole Imperi: Death Becomes Us
Cole Imperi: Death Becomes Us by HUC-JIR
Oct 15, 2019
Scott Shay: Religion, Atheism & the Golden Rule
Is belief of one type or another necessary to lead a good life? Scott Shay is a leading businessman, thought leader, and author of two widely read books: Getting Our Groove Back: How to Energize American Jewry, and In Good Faith: Questioning Religion and Atheism, the latter of which has been recognized as one of the best books of 2018 by Mosaic Authors and earned a finalist award from National Jewish Books. Scott co-founded Signature Bank in 2001, which has become known as one of the best banks in New York for private business owners. And he is a highly sought-after speaker, giving talks around the country throughout the year. For more information, visit: http://scottshay.com.
Oct 1, 2019
Yousef Bashir: Giving Peace a Chance
Palestinian author and vigorous advocate of Israeli-Palestinian peace, Yousef Bashir shares his compelling personal story of why we must focus on the human aspect of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Author of, The Words of My Father: Love and Pain in Palestine, Yousef Bashir is a Palestinian-American from the Gaza Strip, and the son of Khalil Bashir, a highly respected educator. Still suffering the effects of a near catastrophic injury at the hands of an anonymous IDF soldier, Yousef made his way to the United States where he earned a BA in International Affairs from Northeastern University and an MA in Co-existence and Conflict from Brandeis University. Now living in Washington DC, Bashir has worked on Capitol Hill, and served as a member of the Palestinian Diplomatic Delegation to the United States. Yousef is an accomplished author, a vigorous advocate of Israeli-Palestinian peace, and much sought-after public speaker.
Sep 16, 2019
Josh Bloch: Jews and Cults?
Does Judaism have a spiritual blindspot that draws some away, even to cults? Josh Bloch was the host and co-producer of CBC Podcast's Uncover Escaping NXIVM. He has worked on CBC's daily current affairs show The Current since 2012 as a documentary editor. He co-created the CBC show The Life Game, which tells people's life stories with the help of improv actors, and How To Do It: the guide to things you hope you never need to know. He also produced CBC's first Virtual Reality documentary Highway of Tears. Photo credit: Evan Aagaard, CBC
Sep 3, 2019
Lauren Taus: Yoga in the Jewish Soul
Yogi, podcaster, and passionate Jew, Lauren Taus has a different take on being culturally Jewish. With decades of experience as a licensed clinical therapist and yoga teacher, Lauren Taus guides people in embodied healing to alchemize personal and intergeneration pain. She works with the body, the mind and the spirit to transform lives, and guide individuals into their highest, most authentic expression. Lauren works with cutting edge technology in her approaches, most recently certified by MAPS to use MDMA for treatment resistant complex trauma cases. Praised in magazines like USA Today, Self, Men's Health, Wanderlust, Yoga Journal and more, Lauren has worked with celebrity clients, hedge fund managers and entrepreneurial giants as well as at risk youth and the American prison system. Most recently, Lauren launched a deeper investigation into the divergent communities of the Holy Land, and she launched her podcast Inbodied Life to showcase the journey. Inbodied Life includes rich c…
Aug 21, 2019
Rabbi Dalia Marx: Israeli Judaism Meets Reform
Reform liturgy in Israel, where Hebrew content has a whole new meaning. Rabbi Dalia Marx, Ph.D., is the Rabbi Aaron D. Panken Professor of Liturgy and Midrash at the Taube Family Campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem, and she teaches in various academic institutions in Israel and Europe. Marx, tenth generation in Jerusalem, earned her doctorate at the Hebrew University and her rabbinic ordination at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem and Cincinnati. She is involved in various research projects and is active in promoting liberal Judaism in Israel. Marx writes for academic and popular journals and publications. She is the author of When I Sleep and When I Wake: On Prayers between Dusk and Dawn (Yediot Sfarim, 2010, in Hebrew), A Feminist Commentary of the Babylonian Talmud (Mohr Siebeck, 2013, in English), About Time: Journeys in the Jewish-Israeli Calendar (Yediot Sfarim, 2018, in Hebrew) and the co-editor of a few books. Marx lives in Jerusalem with her husband…
Aug 6, 2019
Evie Litwok: Jewish in Jail, and Jail in Judaism
Take a gripping glimpse behind the bars of the American criminal prison system from a Jewish social activist who's done time on the inside. Evie Litwok is the Founder and Executive Director of Witness to Mass Incarceration (WMI). WMI’s mission is to end mass incarceration by placing formerly incarcerated women and LGBTQIA+ experiences at the center of the fight for alternatives to mass incarceration. Evie works to change the narrative from invisibility and victimization to empowerment through documentation, leadership training, organizing and advocacy. Litwok walked out of prison homeless, jobless, and penniless. Despite the lack of resources, she began speaking about her experiences in prison and formed WMI. She has added the goals of eliminating sexual violence, pushing for emergency evacuation of incarcerated people during times of national disaster and her newest initiative, the Suitcase Project, gives newly released people a suitcase filled with much needed items and a potentia…
Jul 24, 2019
Mark Oppenheimer: Reform Isn’t Necessarily Unorthodox
“Unorthodox” Podcast host takes questions on American Judaism and Jewish culture. Author and freelance writer, Mark Oppenheimer, wrote the “Beliefs” column for The New York Times from 2010 until the summer of 2016. He now hosts a weekly podcast "Unorthodox," produced by Tablet magazine. On iTunes’s #1 Jewish-themed podcast, he delivers the News of the Jews to the world, and interviews guests (Jewish and non-) from Roxane Gay to Simon Doonan, from Transparent’s Kathryn Hahn to Dan Savage. His magazine journalism and reviews appear in The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, The Atlantic, The Nation, The Believer, and elsewhere. He holds a Ph.D. in religion from Yale and has taught at Yale, Stanford, Wesleyan, Boston College, and NYU. He has written two studies of religion and popular culture. The first, Knocking on Heaven’s Door, describes how the tumult of the 1960s affected Protestants, Catholics and Jews in America. The second, Thirteen and a Day, tells the story of m…
Jul 10, 2019
Yermiyahu Ahron Taub: Storytelling Traditions, Communicated Anew
Poetry and prose from the pen of Yermiyahu Ahron Taub transport us from the world of Orthodox Judaism to the libraries of modern America. Yermiyahu Ahron Taub is the author of the collection of short stories Prodigal Children in the House of G-d (2018) and six books of poetry, including A Mouse Among Tottering Skyscrapers: Selected Yiddish Poems (2017). Preparing to Dance: New Yiddish songs, a CD of nine of his Yiddish poems set to music by Michał Gorczyński, was released in 2014. Taub was honored by the Museum of Jewish Heritage as one of New York’s best emerging Jewish artists and has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize. With co-translator Ellen Cassedy, he is the recipient of the 2012 Yiddish Book Center Translation Prize and the 2014-2017 Modern Language Association’s Fenia and Yaakov Leviant Memorial Prize in Yiddish Studies for Oedipus in Brooklyn and Other Stories by Blume Lempel (2016). His short stories have appeared in numerous publications, including Hamil…
Jun 26, 2019
Dr. Doris E. Cohen: Déjà Jew
Exploring the therapy of angels and past lives to understand the soul and the self. Doris E. Cohen, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned clinical psychologist and psychotherapist and has been in the private practice for more than 30 years. Her unique approach uses psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, Past-Life Regressions and Dream analysis.
Jun 19, 2019
Pearl Gluck: Straddling Jewish Worlds Through Filmmaking
Exploring the value, ritual, and tradition of storytelling while straddling different Jewish worlds. Pearl Gluck’s work has been part of the Sundance Lab, played at the Cannes Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and PBS. The Turn Out is her first fiction feature film. Her first documentary feature film, Divan (2004) opened theatrically at Film Forum in NYC, was broadcast on the Sundance Channel and played across the country and internationally at festivals. Pearl’s first narrative short, Where is Joel Baum (2012), won prizes such as Best Actor at the Starz Denver Film Festival and Best Film at the Toronto Female Eye Film Festival. She continues to make both documentary and narrative films that explore themes of class, gender, and faith. Pearl teaches Screenwriting and Directing at Penn State University and is currently developing a documentary project exploring specialty courts that offer an alternative, treatment-oriented approach for victims of sex trafficking. Ten years afte…
Jun 5, 2019
Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback: Music as a Tool for Healing
This episode of the College Commons Podcast explores how music can be a powerful tool for bringing people together, and examines empathy's role in the core of Judaism. Senior Rabbi at Stephen Wise Temple, Yoshi Zweiback was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated from Princeton University in 1991 and was ordained as a Rabbi by the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in 1998. He trained as a Jewish Educator at HUC’s Los Angeles campus, where he received a M.A. in Jewish Education. He served Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, California, as Rabbi and educator for eleven years, until moving to Israel with his family in 2009 to become the Director of HUC’s Year-in-Israel program. In addition to overall management of the graduate level program, he served as an instructor in Jewish Liturgy. Rabbi Zweiback is a lecturer at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, and a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the…
May 13, 2019
David Makovsky: Exploring the Two-State Solution
Is the Two-State Solution for Israel and Palestine the best solution for a persistent conflict? David Makovsky is the Ziegler distinguished fellow at The Washington Institute and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process. He is also an adjunct professor in Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). In 2013-2014, he worked in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of State, serving as a senior advisor to the Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations. Author of numerous Washington Institute monographs and essays on issues related to the Middle East Peace Process and the Arab-Israeli conflict, he is also coauthor, with Dennis Ross, of the 2009 Washington Post bestseller Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East (Viking/Penguin). His 2017 interactive mapping project, "Settlements and Solutions," is designed to help users discover for themselves whether a two-…
May 1, 2019
Dr. Marcie Lenk: Staying Open to the Faith of "The Other"
How can we move past fear to find respect and acceptance in our differences? And what does it mean to think about others when we have power? Dr. Marcie Lenk has devoted her intellectual life and career to organizing educational programs and teaching Jews and Christians (and people of other faiths) to understand and appreciate the basic texts, ideas, history and faith of the other. She lives in Jerusalem, where she currently serves as the Academic Director of Bat Kol: Christian Institute for Jewish Studies. She teaches patristics at the Studium Theologicum Salesianum at Ratisbonne Monastery, and Jewish and Christian texts at Ecce Homo Convent, and the Tantur Ecumenical Institute. For the last six years she served as director of Christian leadership programs at the Shalom Hartman Institute. She received her Ph.D. at Harvard University in 2010 with a dissertation entitled, The Apostolic Constitutions: Judaism and Anti-Judaism in the Construction of Christianity, and earned an M.T.S. fr…
Apr 8, 2019
Professor Benjamin Sommer: The Co-Evolution of Judaism and Christianity in America
How has American Judaism developed in the context of American Protestantism, and what have we learned from one another? Benjamin Sommer is Professor of Bible at the Jewish Theological Seminary. The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz described Sommer as “a traditionalist and yet an iconoclast – he shatters idols and prejudices in order to nurture Jewish tradition and its applicability today” and characterized his thought as “a synthesis of intellectual acuity, clarity, deep knowledge of classical Jewish texts along with contemporary Christian theology and ancient Near Eastern literature.” His book, Revelation and Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Tradition, received the Goldstein-Goren Prize in Jewish thought for 2014–2016 and was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award. Publishers Weekly selected it as a “recommended book” in religion, describing it as a “groundbreaking work . . . clearly written and broad in application.” His earlier books, The Bodies of God…
Apr 3, 2019
Dahlia Lithwick: American Jews' Love Affair with the Law
Examining the special relationship American Jews have had with the law, and tackling some of the thorniest controversies about the separation of Church and State. Dahlia Lithwick is a senior editor at Slate, and in that capacity, has been writing their "Supreme Court Dispatches" and "Jurisprudence" columns since 1999. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The New Republic, and Commentary, among other places. She is host of Amicus, Slate’s award-winning biweekly podcast about the law and the Supreme Court. She was Newsweek’s legal columnist from 2008 until 2011. In 2018 Lithwick received the American Constitution Society’s Progressive Champion Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis, and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2017, Lithwick was the recipient of a Golden Pen Award from the Legal Writing Institute; the Virginia Bar Association’s award for Excellence in Legal Journalism; a…
Mar 20, 2019
Professor Marc Brettler: The Bible Says That?
In order to uncover the power and mystery of the Bible, we have to read it first. In this episode of the College Commons Podcast, learn some surprising and fascinating places where you can start. Marc Brettler is the Bernice and Morton Lerner Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Duke University. He has also taught at Brandeis University, Yale University, Brown University, Wellesley College and Middlebury College. His has written God is King, The Creation of History in Ancient Israel, The Book of Judges, and Biblical Hebrew for Students of Modern Israeli Hebrew. He is co-author of The Bible and the Believer, and co-editor of the New Oxford Annotated Bible, The Jewish Study Bible, and The Jewish Annotated New Testament, and has contributed to all ten volumes of My People’s Prayer Book. In 2017, he was one of 100 scholars and leaders asked to participate in the “American Values Religious Voices” project. He is currently at work on part of Psalm…
Mar 6, 2019
Dr. Gregory Mobley: A Baptist and a Jew Walk into a Bar...
A frank and lively conversation between unlikely partners in the work of religious thinking and living. Gregory Mobley is Visiting Professor of Hebrew Bible and Congressional Studies at Yale Divinity School. Previously he taught at Union Theological Seminary (NY) and Andover Newton Theological School in the Boston area. His books in Hebrew Bible include The Return of the Chaos Monsters—and Other Backstories of the Bible (2012) and The Empty Men: The Heroic Tradition of Ancient Israel (2005). Active in Interfaith Learning, he is a co-editor (with Or Rose and Jennifer Peace) of My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation (2012).
Feb 20, 2019
Dr. Melvin Konner, MD, Ph.D.: Darwin, Dogma & the Religious Experience
Religion and the religious experience through the lens of social sciences and evolutionary biology. Dr. Melvin Konner, MD, Ph.D. is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor at Emory University, where he teaches Anthropology, Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, and Jewish Studies. He attended Brooklyn College, CUNY, and his MD and PhD are from Harvard. Konner's books include: Unsettled: An Anthropology of the Jews and The Jewish Body (Nextbook “Jewish Encounters”; An American Library Association Brody Award “Honor Book”), The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit; Becoming a Doctor; The Evolution of Childhood (one of The Atlantic’s Five Best Books of 2010), Women After All: Sex, Evolution, and the End of Male Supremacy, among other books. In addition to his many books, Konner has had regular columns in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and has written for Newsweek, The Forward, Nature, Science and The New England Journal of Medicine. He has also tran…
Feb 6, 2019
Natalie Marcus and Asaf Beiser: Humor Across the Divide
With a growing divide between Israeli Jews and American Jews, can we utilize humor to find something compelling and deep about our shared experience? Natalie Marcus is a highly-acclaimed, award-winning, screenwriter based in Tel Aviv. For the past 10 years, Marcus has been in charge of some of Israel's top-rated shows. She is the creator and head writer of the acclaimed historically-themed sketch show, The Jews are Coming, winner of the Israeli Academy Award for the best entertainment show. Marcus is also the creator and head writer of the TV show, Crowded, that won the "Best Kids' Comedy" award in the Israeli Kid's Choice Awards and a special award for contribution to the public discussion from the Minister of Communication. Marcus is currently writing and show running a new comedy called The Estate for Keshet 12, due to air in 2019, as well as writing a new fourth season of The Jews are Coming. Marcus teaches comedy writing and lectures about writing and Jewish histor…
Jan 23, 2019
Rabbi Geoff Mitelman: Truths, Untruths, and the Problem of Perspective
Our brains are not scientists, they’re lawyers. So, how do we view truth and evidence from a scientific perspective? Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman is the Founding Director of Sinai and Synapses, an organization that bridges the scientific and religious worlds, and is being incubated at Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. His work has been supported by the John Templeton Foundation, Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies, and the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, and his writings about the intersection of religion and science have been published in the books Seven Days, Many Voices and A Life of Meaning (both published by the CCAR press), as well as on The Huffington Post, Nautilus, Orbiter, Science and Religion Today, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and My Jewish Learning. He has been an adjunct professor at both the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and the Academy for Jewish Religion, and is an internationally sought-out teacher, prese…
Jan 9, 2019
Rabbi Sharon Brous: Engaging Tradition
Are we engaging religious tradition to explore pathways toward holiness and to illuminate human possibility—or are we using it as a tool to do the opposite? Rabbi Sharon Brous is a leading voice in reanimating religious life in America, working to develop a spiritual roadmap for soulful, multi-faith justice work in Los Angeles and around the country. Brous is the senior and founding rabbi of IKAR, which was started in 2004 and has become a model for Jewish revitalization in the US and beyond. With the goal of reinvigorating Jewish practice and inspiring people of faith to reclaim a moral and prophetic voice, IKAR quickly became one of the fastest growing and most influential Jewish congregations in the country. Today it is credited with sparking a rethinking of religious life in a time of unprecedented disaffection and declining affiliation. Brous’s 2016 TED talk, “Reclaiming Religion,” has been viewed by more than 1.3 million people and translated into 20 languages. In 2013…
Dec 19, 2018
Dr. Ruhama Weiss: Peace in Fullness
Dr. Weiss' art and life are deeply grounded in Israel where she explores themes of femininity, holiness and Judaism. Dr. Ruhama Weiss is Parallel Associate Professor of Talmud and Spiritual Care, and Director of the Blaustein Center for Pastoral Care & Counseling, on the Jerusalem campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Dr. Weiss is also a poet, artist, and public intellectual.
Nov 14, 2018
Rabbi Amy Eilberg: Peace and Justice
From peace within to the glass ceiling, Rabbi Rabbi Amy Eilberg leads a thoughtful discussion on a life of service. Rabbi Amy Eilberg is the first woman ordained as a Conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. She serves as the Coordinator of Jewish Engagement for Faith in Action Bay Area, a multi-faith, multi-racial social justice organization in the San Francisco Bay Area. She previously served as the director of the Pardes Rodef Shalom (Pursuer of Peace) Communities Program, teaching Jewish civil discourse to rabbis, synagogues and Jewish organizations. Rabbi Eilberg also serves as a spiritual director and interfaith activist. Her book, From Enemy to Friend: Jewish Wisdom and the Pursuit of Peace, was published by Orbis Books in March 2014. She received her Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in 2016.
Oct 18, 2018
Rabbi David Saperstein: Religious Freedom
Rabbi David Saperstein discusses religious freedom, the Supreme Court, civil rights, the Religious Action Center and the midterms. Rabbi David Saperstein is the Director Emeritus, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the Senior Advisor to the URJ for Policy and Strategy. Designated by Newsweek Magazine as the most influential rabbi in America and by the Washington Post as the “quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill,” David Saperstein, for decades, directed the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, representing the Reform Jewish Movement, the largest segment of American Jewry, to Congress and the Administration. For over two years (through Jan. 2017), Rabbi Saperstein served our nation as the U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, carrying out his responsibilities as the country’s chief diplomat on religious freedom issues. Also an attorney, he taught seminars on Church –State law and Jewish Law for 35 years at Georgetown Un…
Sep 18, 2018
Imam Abdullah Antepli: The American Muslim Identity
In this thoughtful conversation, Imam Abdullah Antepli examines the parallels and differences between Muslim and Jewish experiences in America. Imam Antepli completed his basic training and education in his native Turkey. From 1996-2003 he worked on a variety of faith-based humanitarian and relief projects in Myanmar (Burma) and Malaysia with the Association of Social and Economic Solidarity with Pacific Countries. He is the founder and executive board member of the Association of College Muslim Chaplains (ACMC) and a board member of the Association for College and University Religious Affairs (ACURA). From 2003 to 2005 he served as the first Muslim chaplain at Wesleyan University. He then moved to Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, where he was the associate director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program & Interfaith Relations, as well as an adjunct faculty member. He previously served as Duke University first Muslim chaplain from July 2008 to 2014. In his current work at Duke, Antepli e…
Aug 22, 2018
Rabbi Joshua Feigelson: Asking the Big Questions
What is the power of questions? Rabbi Feigelson discusses how the right kind of questions can unlock conversation and community. Rabbi Joshua Feigelson is the Dean of Students at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Prior to joining the Divinity School, Feigelson founded and served as Executive Director of Ask Big Questions, a social startup venture of Hillel International dedicated to improving civic learning and engagement through reflective conversations about questions that matter to all human beings. Under Feigelson’s leadership, the Ask Big Questions initiative helped over 300,000 people on 175 college campuses and in dozens of communities around the world to connect, understand, and trust one another, and won the inaugural Lippman-Kanfer Prize for Applied Jewish Wisdom. From 2005-2011, Feigelson served as Campus Rabbi at Northwestern University Hillel, where he was named one of the top 12 people to know on campus by the Daily Northwestern. While at Northwestern, Feige…
Jul 11, 2018
Rabbi Arthur Green: Serving God in Joy
Rabbi Green discusses Neo-Hasidism, Kabbalah, the Zohar and the search for a contemporary Judaism. Dr. Arthur Green was the founding dean and is currently rector of the Rabbinical School and Irving Brudnick Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Religion at Hebrew College. He is Professor Emeritus at Brandeis University, where he occupied the distinguished Philip W. Lown Professorship of Jewish Thought. He is both a historian of Jewish religion and a theologian; his work seeks to form a bridge between these two distinct fields of endeavor. Educated at Brandeis University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he received rabbinic ordination, Dr. Green studied with such important teachers as Alexander Altmann, Nahum N. Glatzer, and Abraham Joshua Heschel, of blessed memory. He has taught Jewish mysticism, Hasidism, and theology to several generations of students at the University of Pennsylvania, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (where he served as both Dean and Pre…
Jun 27, 2018
Cantor Ellen Dreskin: Prayer as Practice
Cantor Dreskin takes us under the hood of her cantorial craft in this wide-ranging conversation on liturgy, country music, prayer and Reform Judaism. Cantor Ellen Dreskin is an innovative leader in the liberal Jewish movement. Her expertise extends from music to synagogue transformation, from experiential education to enlivened liturgy and mysticism. She has worked as a scholar-in-residence with Jews of all denominations, and has served as Cantor and Educator for congregations in Cleveland and New York. She consults with rabbis and cantors across the country, and has been an online educator for both Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and for the Union for Reform Judaism. Ellen is a graduate of HUC-JIR, has a Master’s Degree in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University, and is proud to have received her honorary Doctorate of Music from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2011. She is a synagogue consultant and clergy coach in the areas…
Jun 14, 2018
Rabbi Donniel Hartman: Boundaries and Jewish Identity
Rabbi Hartman explores the meaning of boundaries and their effect on Jewish identity in time and space. Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman is President of the Shalom Hartman Institute and holds the Richard and Sylvia Kaufman Family David Hartman Chair. He is author of the highly regarded 2016 book, "Putting God Second: How to Save Religion from Itself." Rabbi Hartman is the founder of some of the most extensive education, training, and enrichment programs for scholars, educators, rabbis, and religious and lay leaders in Israel and North America. He is a prominent essayist, blogger, and lecturer on issues of Israeli politics, policy, Judaism, and the Jewish community. He has a Ph.D. in Jewish philosophy from Hebrew University, an M.A. in political philosophy from New York University, an M.A. in religion from Temple University, and Rabbinic ordination from the Shalom Hartman Institute.
May 29, 2018
David Fleischer: Deep Canvasing
David Fleischer and volunteers engage in thoughtful conversations with voters as way to help them reflect on their cruelest opinions and consider revising them. Dave Fleischer has directed the Leadership LAB of the Los Angeles LGBT Center since 2010. Before that, he created and ran the national training program of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund (1993-98) and then the organizing and training department of the organization now known as the National LGBTQ Task Force (1999-2006) before launching the national LGBT mentoring work that gave birth to the LAB. Fleischer is also the author of The Prop 8 Report, a data-driven evaluation of why we lost Prop 8 (on-line at Prop 8 Report). Fleischer has trained organizers, candidates, and campaign managers for more than thirty years.
May 17, 2018
Daphna Rosenberg: A Life in Music
In this musical interview, Daphna Rosenberg discusses her life's journey and sings selected songs from her latest album. After travelling the world for many years as a wandering troubadour, Daphna returned to Israel and reconnected to her Jewish roots through music. Daphna composes music to prayers and Israeli poetry, and is a main prayer leader in the Nava Tehila Jewish Renewal community in Jerusalem. Daphna has specialized in musically leading Circle of Life ceremonies – such as births, Bar/Bat mitzvas and weddings. In her music one can hear the influence of folk and rock with a touch of Klezmer. Daphna is active in the area of spiritual care for the ill, in creating heart-to-heart connections between people and in dialogue circles between Israelis and Palestinians. Her compositions to prayers have become popular in communities throughout the world.
Apr 25, 2018
Marques Hollie: At the Crossroads
Opera singer and Jew by choice, Marques Hollie discusses his journey and musical inspiration. Operatic tenor Marques Hollie, whose voice has been noted for its power, range, and triumphant qualities, has been singing professionally since 2008. Since his debut in Opera Omaha’s production of Verdi’s Aïda, he has gone on to perform more than 20 roles in the operatic canon, including rarely performed and new works. Additionally, he has made multiple appearances on the concert and recital stage (including, but not limited to, a New York Fashion Week runway). After a particularly meaningful Passover experience several years ago, he began seeking out opportunities (musical and non) to explore his identities as a Jew and a person of color. As an emerging Jewish leader, Marques was a member of the inaugural cohort of the Union for Reform Judaism’s JewV’Nation Fellowship, where he began developing Go Down, Moshe; a one man show that tells the Passover story through the musical traditi…
Apr 11, 2018
Dan Nichols: This is Why I Sing
Join Dan Nichols in a musical interview exploring his creative process and Jewish music today. Dan Nichols is a product of the URJ Jewish camping movement. He has toured Jewish summer camps across North America for the last 15 years. A classically trained singer, Dan received his Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance at the University of North Carolina. In 1995, realizing the potential of music to make powerful connections with Jewish youth, Dan established the Jewish rock band Eighteen. Since that time, Dan and Eighteen have released 11 albums. Songs like, L’takein (The Na Na Song), B’tzelem Elohim, Kehillah Kedoshah, Chazak, Hoshia, and Sweet As Honey and have become Jewish communal anthems throughout North America.
1 hr 8 min
Mar 15, 2018
Rabbi Mike Comins: Making Prayer Real
Fundamentally, Jewish prayer doesn't come naturally; we have to learn it to "own" it and, thence, to benefit from it. Join Rabbi Comins, in an exploration of his book and online course, Making Prayer Real. Rabbi Mike Comins is author of Making Prayer Real: Leading Jewish Spiritual Voices on Why Prayer is Difficult and What to Do about It (Jewish Lights) and the Making Prayer Real Course hosted by the College Commons (link). He is also founder of the TorahTrek Center for Jewish Wilderness Spirituality and author of A Wild Faith: Jewish Ways into Wilderness, Wilderness Ways into Judaism (Jewish Lights). Read excerpts and learn more at www.RabbiMikeComins.com. A native of Los Angeles and a graduate of UCLA, Rabbi Comins made aliyah and lived in Israel for fifteen years. He studied classical Jewish texts at the Pardes Institute, earned his MA in Jewish education from Hebrew University, and was ordained in the Israeli rabbinical program of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Relig…
Feb 28, 2018
Anita Diamant: Our Untold Stories
From Kaddish to sexual harassment and Shakespeare, join Anita Diamant on a wide-ranging conversation about writing and giving voice to the voiceless. Anita Diamant was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1951, grew up in Newark, New Jersey until she was twelve years old when her family moved to Denver, Colorado. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in comparative literature and earned a Master’s in American literature from Binghamton University in upstate New York. Diamant was the founding President of Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and is the award-winning author of The Red Tent, The Boston Girl, three other novels and six guidebooks on contemporary Jewish life. Photo by Gretje Fergeson
Feb 15, 2018
Rabbi Andrew Hahn: Hebrew Mystical Chant
Rabbi Hahn explores the crossroads of Hebrew chant, kirtan, and Jewish prayer practice. Rabbi Andrew Hahn holds a Ph.D. in Jewish Thought from the Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative) and received rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Reform). He has also studied at the feet of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal Movement. Dubbed “a Shlomo Carlebach for the twenty-first century,” he weaves traditional Jewish liturgy and musical modes into the increasingly popular call-and-response chant technology from India, known as Kirtan. A more quiet side of his personality, Rabbi Hahn has also been teaching martial arts for more than thirty years. Packaging these skills together, Rabbi Hahn travels extensively bringing Hebrew Kirtan, Jewish meditation and Torah learning to Jewish institutions and yoga studios around the world.
Feb 14, 2018
Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman, Ph.D.: Prayer is an Art Form
Rabbi Hoffman examines why prayer is an art form and how it can transform and transport us. Dr. Lawrence A. Hoffman was ordained as a rabbi in 1969, received his Ph.D. in 1973, and has taught since then at the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, in New York. From 1984 to 1987, he directed its School of Sacred Music as well. In 2003, he was named the first Barbara and Stephen Friedman Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Ritual. He teaches classes in liturgy, ritual, spirituality, theology and synagogue leadership. For almost forty years, he has combined research, teaching, and a passion for the spiritual renewal of North American Judaism. Rabbi Hoffman has written or edited over forty books, including My People's Prayer Book (Jewish Lights Publishing), a ten-volume edition of the Siddur with modern commentaries, which was named a National Jewish Book Award winner for 2007. His Rethinking Synagogues: A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life (Jewish Lights Publishing) and…
Jan 17, 2018
Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D.: An Ethical Life
Dr. Wolpe dives into questions of conversion fear, courageous dialogue, and ethics in science and society. Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D. is the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics, the Raymond F. Schinazi Distinguished Research Chair in Jewish Bioethics, a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Sociology, and the Director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University. Dr. Wolpe also serves as the first Senior Bioethicist for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), where he is responsible for formulating policy on bioethical issues and safeguarding research subjects. He is Co-Editor of the American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB), the premier scholarly journal in bioethics, and Editor of AJOB Neuroscience, and sits on the editorial boards of over a dozen professional journals in medicine and ethics. Dr Wolpe is a past President of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities; a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the cou…
Jan 3, 2018
Rabbi Gilad Kariv: Reform Judaism in Israel
Rabbi Kariv provides a candid look into the social, political and religious life of Reform Judaism in Israel. Rabbi Gilad Kariv is a Reform leader and attorney in Israel, serving as the Executive Director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMRPJ). Rabbi Kariv was born and educated in Tel-Aviv. His involvement with the Reform Movement began in High School, when he joined Congregation Beit Daniel, the Center of Progressive movement in Tel-Aviv. Once completing his secondary education at the "Lady Davis" High-School, Gilad volunteered for a year of service (Shnat Shirut) in the Israeli Scouts, and worked on establishing educational "Nahal" groups. Kariv served in the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Corps under the "Haman Talpiot" program. Following five years of service, during which he completed with honors the officers' program, Kariv went to study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 2001 he earned his bachelor's degree in Law and Jewish Studies. Betw…
Dec 13, 2017
Ruth Weisberg: A Life in Art
Artist Ruth Weisberg explores the influences that have affected both her art and life. Ruth Weisberg, artist, Professor of Fine Arts and former Dean at the USC Roski School, is currently the Director of the USC Initiative for Israeli Arts and Humanities and the founder and President of the Jewish Artists Initiative of Southern California. She received the Printmaker Emeritus Award from the Southern Graphic Council International in 2015 and the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s 50th Anniversary Cultural Achievement Award in 2011. She has been the recipient of the Art Leadership Award, National Council of Art Administrators and the Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award, 2009, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, Hebrew Union College, 2001, College Art Association Distinguished Teaching of Art Award 1999, Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome 2011,1995, 1994, and 1992. Her degrees are from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Perugia, Italy and the University of M…
Nov 29, 2017
Bart Campolo: Secular Humanism
Join Bart Campolo and Josh Holo as they tackle the intersection of religion, philosophy, and morality. Bart Campolo is a secular community builder, counselor and podcaster who recently spent three years as the first Humanist Chaplain at the University of Southern California, before assuming a similar position at the University of Cincinnati. Born and raised in suburban Philadelphia, Bart became an evangelical Christian as a teenager and was immediately attracted to urban ministry. After graduating from Brown University, he returned to Philadelphia to found Mission Year, a national service organization which recruits young adults to live and work among the poor in inner-city neighborhoods. While becoming an influential evangelical leader, however, Bart increasingly questioned his own faith, but it wasn’t until 2011 that he finally completed his transition from Christianity to secular humanism. His work - and his podcast, Humanize Me - now focuses on inspiring and equipping people…
Nov 8, 2017
Ali Abu Awwad and Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger: Partners for Peace
Ali Abu Awwad and Rabbi Schlesinger reach across the Israeli and Palestinian divide through transformational dialogue. Ali Abu Awwad Ali is a leading Palestinian activist tirelessly teaching the life-changing power of nonviolent resistance and reaching out to Jewish Israelis at the heart of the conflict. He is currently finishing his memoir called Painful Hope, an account of his experiences, strategy, and vision for the Palestinian future. In addition to being one of the founders of Roots/Shorashim/Judur, he was recently instrumental in the founding of Taghyeer (Change): The Palestinian National Movement for Nonviolent Resistance. Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger Rav Hanan is an Orthodox rabbi, teacher, and passionate Zionist settler who has been profoundly transformed by his friendship with Ali and with other Palestinians. His understanding of the reality of the Middle East conflict and of Zionism has been utterly complicated by the parallel universe that Ali and others have introduced hi…
Oct 25, 2017
Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin: The Evolution of B'nai Mitzvah
Rabbi Salkin urges a return to sanity and sanctity for this age-old rite of passage. Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin has served as the senior rabbi of Temple Solel since August, 2015. Prior to that, he had served congregations in New Jersey, Georgia, and New York. Rabbi Salkin is blessed with a national and international reputation as one of America’s most quoted rabbis and thought leaders. His words have been cited in The New York Times, The New Republic, and USA Today. He has appeared on many television and radio programs, and has spoken in more than a hundred communities, including in Israel, Great Britain, Cuba, and Poland. His colleagues describe him as “intellectually fearless;” “an activist for Jewish ideas;” and “a public intellectual of the pulpit.” Rabbi Salkin’s books have been published by Jewish Lights Publishing and the Jewish Publication Society. His books have dealt with such subjects as the spirituality of career, masculinity, Israel, righteous gentiles, and Je…
Oct 13, 2017
Rachel Laser: Bridging the Racial Divide
Are Jews white? Join Rachel Laser in a challenging discussion on white privilege and being a minority in America. Rachel Laser is currently working as a consultant on bridging racial and cultural divides. She advises, runs workshops, gives speeches, facilitates conversations and guest lectures about implicit bias, and also racism and privilege at nonprofits, law firms, government entities, universities, public and parochial schools, houses of worship, and community centers. She has also written about white privilege and racism, including Uncovering My White Privilege on Yom Kippur, Flawed But Determined: Becoming a White Supporter of Racial Justice, and her most recent piece Why I am Atoning for Racism. She has spent much of her career finding paths forward on divisive culture issues. Laser recently served as the Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (the RAC), the Reform Jewish Movement's Washington, DC office. From the RAC, she ran interfaith campaigns on…
Sep 13, 2017
Geoffrey Mitelman: Sinai and Synapses
What is the relationship between science and Judaism? Rabbi Mitelman argues that you can value science and religion without rejecting either. Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman is the Founding Director of Sinai and Synapses, an organization that bridges the scientific and religious worlds, and is being incubated at Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. His work has been supported by the John Templeton Foundation, Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies, and the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, and his writings about the intersection of religion and science have appeared on the homepages of several sites, including The Huffington Post, Nautilus, Science and Religion Today, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and My Jewish Learning. He has been an adjunct professor at both the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and the Academy for Jewish Religion, and is a sought-out teacher, presenter, and scholar-in-residence throughout the country.
Aug 21, 2017
Charlottesville: HUC has SOMETHING to SAY
Here are the voices of HUC-JIR scholars and students, reflecting on Charlottesville - giving context to our shared experience. Included are: Rabbi Rachel Adler, Ph.D. Rabbi Adam Allenberg Meir Bargeron Dr. Sharon Gillerman Rabbi Richard Levy Rabbi Michael Marmur. Ph.D. Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D. Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D. Sheryl Stahl Rabbi Dvora Weisberg, Ph.D. Dr. Yaffa Weisman Henry Wudl Dr. Sivan Zakai
Aug 16, 2017
Rabbi Jonah Pesner: Advocacy & Activism
Rabbi Jonah Pesner discusses the history and work of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the pressing social issues they address. Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner serves as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. He has led the Religious Action Center since 2015. Rabbi Pesner also serves as Senior Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism, a position to which he was appointed to in 2011. Named one of the most influential rabbis in America by Newsweek magazine, he is an inspirational leader, creative entrepreneur and tireless advocate for social justice. Rabbi Pesner’s experience as a community organizer guides his pursuit of social justice. He has been a principal architect in transforming the URJ and guiding the Reform Movement to become even more impactful as the largest Jewish denomination in the world. Among other initiatives, he is a founder of the Campaign for Youth Engagement, a bold strategy to mobilize tens of thousands of young people in th…
Aug 2, 2017
Alice Greenwald: Memory and Conscience
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are Alice Greenwald's most moving and challenging projects. Join us for a probing discussion on the complexities of memorializing tragic events. As the chief executive, Alice Greenwald is responsible for the overall vision, financial well-being, management, and long-term sustainability and relevance of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. From 2006-2016, Ms. Greenwald served as Executive Vice President for Exhibitions, Collections, and Education and Director of the Memorial Museum. In this role, she oversaw the articulation and implementation of a founding vision for the 9/11 Memorial Museum, managing its programming, collecting, exhibition, and educational initiatives. Ms. Greenwald previously served as Associate Museum Director, Museum Programs, at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). Her 19-year affiliation with USHMM began in 1986, when she served as a member of the “Design Team” f…
Jul 19, 2017
Rabbi Amy Scheinerman: Hospice, Interfaith and Halakha
Rabbi Scheinerman draws from a wide range of interests as she discusses the needs of the dying, interfaith work and her love of halakha. Rabbi Amy Scheinerman received her bachelor’s degree from Brown University, has studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Princeton Theological Seminary, and was ordained in 1984 at HUC-JIR/New York. She has served Conservative, Reform, and unaffiliated congregations, and has taught in a wide variety of venues. Rabbi Scheinerman has been involved in Jewish education across the spectrum, from preschool programming and family education, through education for the elderly and also those beset by Alzheimer’s. She maintains a popular website at scheinerman.net/judaism, which serves as an educational vehicle without borders, a Talmud blog at http://tenminutesoftalmud.blogspot.org, and a Torah blog at http://taste-of-torah.blogspot.com. Rabbi Scheinerman has served as a volunteer chaplain for the Howard County Police and hospice chaplain in a va…
Jul 5, 2017
Janet Walton: Interfaith Worship and Feminist Theology
Professor Walton discusses the challenges of interfaith worship, feminist theology's long journey and hierarchies in religious institutions. Professor Janet Walton graduated from Catholic University with the B.M. in 1967, received the M.M. from Indiana University in 1971 and the Ed.D. from Columbia University in 1979. She is a Past President of the North American Academy of Liturgy(1995-97), a Henry Luce Fellow in Theology and the Arts (1998), the recipient of a Henry Luce Travel/Research grant (1988), the 2003 recipient of the AAR Excellence in Teaching award (2003) and the 2009 recipient of the Berakah Award, a lifetime award for distinctive work in worship given by the North American Academy of Liturgy. Professor Walton is a Roman Catholic and a member of the Sisters of the Holy Names, a congregation of catholic women. Her publications include four books, Worship and Art: A Vital Connection, Sacred Sound and Social Change, co-edited with Lawrence Hoffman, Women at Worship: In…
Jun 21, 2017
Dr. Rachel Tzvia Back: Poetry and Translation
As a poet and translator, Dr. Back, discusses how her own poetic sensibility enables her to inhabit and translate the work of Israeli poet, Tuvia Ruebner. Rachel Tzvia Back is a poet, a translator of Hebrew poetry, a scholar and an educator. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a PEN Translation grant, a Dora Maar Brown Foundation Fellowship, and a Hadassah-Brandeis Research grant. In addition to five volumes of her own poetry (English) and a study of the poetics of the American poet Susan Howe (1999), Back has published important collections of Israeli poetry in translation. Her collection In the Illuminated Dark: Selected Poems of Tuvia Ruebner (Hebrew Union College Press and University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014) won the triennial Risa Domb/Porjes Prize in 2016, and was a finalist for both the National Translation Award in Poetry and the Jewish Book Council Award in Poetry in 2015. Her new translation collection On the Surface of Silence: The Last P…
Jun 6, 2017
Matan Koch: How We Talk About Disability
In a probing exploration, Matan Koch, disability expert, leads us through a thoughtful discussion on how we language disability and the inadvertent benefits of privilege. Matan A. Koch is a speaker, educator, and consultant, sharing ideas and strategies to promote the universal inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society, using strategies that benefit everyone. His lifelong history of disability advocacy began at age four with a presentation to several hundred young people, continued with a term as the president of Yale University's student disabilities community, and reached its most recent high point with his appointment by President Barack Obama to the National Council on Disability, for a term which concluded in 2014.
May 19, 2017
Dr. Neil Levin: Jewish Music and the Milken Archive
Dr. Neil Levin discusses the history and the musical creativity and life of American Jewry. Artistic Director and Editor-in-Chief of the Milken Archive for Jewish Music since 1993, Neil W Levin has devoted his professional and academic life to the scholarly study of the music of Jewish experience from historical, musicological, ethnological, Judaic, and cross-cultural perspectives. While he has lectured, written, and taught courses on a diverse array of Jewish and Judaically related musical subjects spanning a broad spectrum of traditions, his particular areas of focus embrace comparative considerations of eastern and western spheres of Ashkenazi Jewry in terms of their sacred, secular art, theatrical, and folk music; and the musical creativity and life of American Jewry. As a professor of Jewish music on the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York since 1982, he has taught graduate courses on the history, development, graduate courses on the history, develo…
May 10, 2017
Rabbi Jennie Rosenn: Welcoming the Stranger
Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, HIAS vice president for Community Engagement, provides an overview of the immigration crisis and HIAS' role in helping the stranger. Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, Vice President for Community Engagement, is mobilizing the Jewish community to advance HIAS’ work with refugees in the United States and around the world. Prior to coming to HIAS, Jennie played a catalytic role in building the Jewish social justice movement and the field of Jewish service as the director of the Jewish Life and Values Program at the Nathan Cummings Foundation. She developed innovative initiatives such as the Selah Leadership Training Program and the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable. Under Jennie’s leadership, the Jewish Life and Values Program also worked to amplify a progressive religious voice in America, advance American engagement in the Middle East peace process, and cultivate the environmental movement and women as agents of change in Israel.
Apr 26, 2017
Alana Newhouse: Journalism, Jewish Identity and Society
Alana Newhouse, founder and editor-in-chief of Tablet Magazine, takes us on a thoughtful tour of Jewish journalism, identity and culture. Alana Newhouse is the editor-in-chief of Tablet Magazine, which she founded in 2009. Before that, she spent five years as culture editor of the Forward, where she supervised coverage of books, films, dance, music, art, and ideas. She also started a line of Forward-branded books with W.W. Norton and edited its maiden publication, "A Living Lens: Photographs of Jewish Life from the Pages of the Forward." A graduate of Barnard College and Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, Alana has contributed to The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Slate, and others.
Mar 29, 2017
Erwin Chemerinsky: Immigration Ban and the Law
Erwin Chemerinsky, founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, at University of California, Irvine School of Law, discusses the immigration ban, states' rights issues, and the emoluments suit against the President. Erwin Chemerinsky is the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at University of California, Irvine School of Law, with a joint appointment in Political Science. Prior to assuming this position in 2008, he was the Alston and Bird Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University from 2004-2008, and before that was a professor at the University of Southern California Law School from 1983-2004, including as the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science. He also has taught at DePaul College of Law and UCLA Law School. He is the author of ten books, including The Case Against the Supreme Court, published by Viking in 2014, and two books to be published by…
Mar 8, 2017
Rabbi Michael Marmur: Abraham Joshua Heschel's Legacy, Promise and Possibility
In this first Bully Pulpit podcast produced for a live audience, Rabbi Marmur discusses Heschel's legacy and the possibility for community leadership. Rabbi Dr. Michael Marmur is the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Previously, he served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem. In recent years he has taught courses in Theology, Homiletics, and Pluralistic Jewish Education.Born and raised in England, Rabbi Marmur completed a BA Degree in Modern History at the University of Oxford before moving to Israel in 1984.
Mar 1, 2017
Dr. Vivian Mann: Medieval to Modern Perspectives in Jewish Art
Join Dr. Mann for a wide-ranging discussion on the influence of Jewish craftsmen in the Medieval period to how Jewish art engages with contemporary art. Professor Vivian Mann is Professor Emerita of Jewish Art and Visual Culture at The Jewish Theological Seminary. For many years Dr. Mann was Morris and Eva Feld Chair of Judaica at The Jewish Museum, where she created numerous exhibitions and their catalogs, among them Gardens and Ghettos: The Art of Jewish Life in Italy; Convivencia: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Medieval Spain; and, most recently, Morocco: Jews and Art in a Muslim Land. In 2010, Prof. Mann curated the exhibition Uneasy Communion: Jews, Christians and Altarpieces in Medieval Spain at the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA).
Feb 15, 2017
Rabbi David Ellenson: What Makes Me a Reform Jew?
Rabbi Ellenson examines the tensions of Jews as they moved from seclusion in the pre-modern Jewish world to assimilation and the evolution of Reform Judaism. Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., is Chancellor Emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies (Brandeis University), as well as Visiting Professor in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis. He served as President of HUC-JIR from 2001-2013. Ellenson is a prolific scholar of modern Jewish thought and history with a particular expertise in the emergence and development of Orthodox Judaism in 19th c. Europe. He has also written on Orthodox legal rulings on conversion in modernity, religion and state in Israel, contemporary Jewish movements, Jewish ethics, and emerging trends in Jewish life in North America. His writings include seven solo-authored or edited books and hundreds of articles and reviews, including peer-reviewed pieces and wri…
Jan 24, 2017
Rabbi Owen Gottlieb: Playing with Judaism in the Digital Age
Rabbi Gottlieb discusses contemporary technologies for the transformation and extension of pathways for Jewish learning. Rabbi Owen Gottlieb, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Interactive Games and Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is the founder and lead researcher of the Initiative in Religion, Culture, and Policy at the RIT MAGIC Center, the Institute’s state of the art research laboratory and game studio. In 2010, Rabbi Gottlieb founded ConverJent: Jewish Games for Learning. Gottlieb’s mobile augmented reality game Jewish Time Jump: New York was nominated for Most Innovative Game by the 10th Annual Games for Change Festival in 2013. Current projects include a strategy card-to-mobile game to teach medieval religious legal codes, beginning with Maimonides Mishneh Torah. The digital prototype of the game is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Rabbi Gottlieb and William Braniff (University of Maryland) also recently presented on Video Games and Cou…
Jan 17, 2017
Cantor Elizabeth Sacks: Music that Speaks to Our Experience
Worship and prayer are at the center of Jewish life. Cantor Sacks explores how we can continue to create meaningful and transformative worship experiences through music and song. Cantor Sacks serves as the Senior Cantor of Temple Emanuel in Denver, Colorado. Raised in New York, Cantor Sacks was ordained as a cantor in 2007 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). She was a recipient of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship in Jewish communal leadership and earned several awards as a cantorial student for Traditional Hazzanut, Talmud, and Midrash. Cantor Sacks holds a B.A. in Jewish Studies and Music from Harvard University where she was active in Harvard Hillel and music community service programs. From 2007-2012, Cantor Sacks served as the Associate Cantor at Central Synagogue in New York, where she focused on worship, education and young professional engagement. Cantor Sacks was also a faculty member at Mechon Hadar, an educational institute that empowers Jew…
Dec 8, 2016
Eric Segall: Supreme Myths
Law professor and author, Eric Segall, investigates central myths about the Supreme Court and its judges. Eric J. Segall is Kathy and Lawrence Ashe Professor of Law at Georgia State University College of Law. Prior to his joining the College of Law faculty, he clerked for the Honorable Charles A. Moye, Jr. (1983-1985) and the Honorable Albert J. Henderson, Jr. (1985-1987), after which he engaged first in private practice with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (1986-1987) and subsequently in public service at the United States Department of Justice (Federal Programs Branch, Civil Division, 1987-1991). Segall is a scholar of constitutional law. He has published "Supreme Myths: Why the Supreme Court is Not a Court and Its Justices Are Not Judges" (Praeger, 2012), over thirty articles and reviews in law reviews, and numerous editorials, essays, and blog posts on pressing issues of legal and constitutional concern.
Dec 7, 2016
Alan Cooperman: American and Israeli Jews: The Pew Study
American and Israeli Jews diverge in ways fundamental to their native soil. Join Alan Cooperman in a discussion of the light it shines on the Jewish American experience. Alan Cooperman is director of religion research at Pew Research Center. He is an expert on religion’s role in U.S. politics and has reported on religion in Russia, the Middle East and Europe. He plays a central role in planning the project’s research agenda and writing its reports. Before joining Pew Research Center, he was a national reporter and editor at The Washington Post and a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press and U.S. News & World Report. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1982 and started in journalism at the Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass. He is an author of Mormons in America, Muslim Americans, the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, “Nones” on the Rise and A Portrait of Jewish Americans. He also was the primary editor of Global Christianity and Global Restrictions…
Nov 22, 2016
Dr. Amir Hussain: Muslims and the Making of America
America, Islam and American Muslims have been, and continue to be, important threads in the fabric of American life. In this podcast, Dr. Hussain examines how Muslims have shaped and transformed American identity. Dr. Amir Hussain is Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he teaches courses on world religions. His own particular speciality is the study of Islam, focusing on contemporary Muslim societies in North America. His academic degrees (BSc, MA, PhD) are all from the University of Toronto where he received a number of awards, including the university’s highest award for alumni service. In Fall 2016, he is on a fellowship to the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California. From 2011 to 2015, Amir was the editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the premier scholarly journal for the study of religion.
Nov 9, 2016
Rabbi Don Goor: American Jewish Identity and Dissent
What defines American Jewish identity? Join Rabbi Goor in a searching discussion on politics and the pulpit. Rabbi Donald Goor, Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Judea Tarzana, California, currently serves as Rabbinic Liaison at ARZA World Travel in Jerusalem and as Campus Rabbi at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem. Rabbi Goor grew up in San Diego, California, as the son of a rabbi. He graduated the University of California at Berkeley with honors and distinction. In 1987, he was ordained at the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. Rabbi Goor then joined Temple Judea where he remained for 27 years serving as Senior Rabbi. During his time in Los Angeles, Rabbi Goor served on the faculty of Hebrew Union College where he taught second and fifth year rabbinic students, addressing topics that relate to the practical aspects of being in the clergy. Rabbi Goor continues his own studies at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem as a fe…
Sep 14, 2016
Rabbi Sally Priesand: Pioneer Rabbi
As America's first female rabbi, Sally Priesand reflects on the responsibility of being first and how it has shaped her life. Rabbi Sally Jane Priesand is America's first female rabbi ordained by a rabbinical seminary, and the second formally ordained female rabbi in Jewish history, after Regina Jonas. Priesand was ordained in 1972 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. After her ordination she served first as assistant and then as associate rabbi at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City, and later led Monmouth Reform Temple in Tinton Falls, New Jersey from 1981 until her retirement in 2006.
Aug 31, 2016
Dr. Ron Wolfson: Relational Judaism
"It’s all about relationships,” says Dr. Wolfson. From Chabad to Disney, Dr. Wolfson explores how synagogues can build stronger ties within their communities. Ron Wolfson, Ph.D. is the Fingerhut Professor of Education in the Graduate Center for Education. He joined the AJU faculty in 1975 as an Acting Professor. During his 40-plus year career at AJU, he has served as Director of the Education Department, founding Director of the Whizin Center for the Jewish Future, Director of the Ramah Academy, Dean of the Fingerhut School of Education, Special Assistant to the President, and Vice President of the University. Dr. Wolfson is a frequent scholar-in-residence for synagogues and communities, speaking on a wide range of topics in Jewish life, co-founder of Synagogue 3000 with Rabbi Larry Hoffman, and a pioneer in the field of Jewish family education. He is the author of fourteen books on Jewish life, including Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewis…
Aug 24, 2016
Rabbi Mark Washofsky: Jewish Law in Reform Judaism
Without Jewish law, there would be no Jewish action says Rabbi Washofsky. Join this esteemed scholar as he discusses the impact of law on Jewish life and it's place within the Reform movement. Rabbi Mark Washofsky, Ph.D. is the Solomon B. Freehof Professor of Jewish Law and Practice at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati. Dr. Washofsky has been a member of the HUC-JIR faculty since 1985, most recently serving as Professor of Rabbinics, and specializes in the literature of the Talmud and Jewish law. He received his rabbinical ordination (1980) and Ph.D. (1987) from HUC-JIR. He succeeded his teacher and mentor, Dr. Ben Zion Wacholder, z”l, as holder of the Freehof Chair on July 1, 2006. Dr. Washofsky chairs the Responsa Committee of the Central Conference of American rabbis, which was founded in 1906 by Kaufmann Kohler and empowered by its most prolific writer, Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof. His extensive publications include Jewish Living: A Guide to Contemporary Reform Practice, Revised edition (URJ P…
Aug 1, 2016
Rabbi Elyse Goldstein: Reach Up Reform Judaism
Rabbi Goldstein encourages us to stretch beyond our comfort zone to become knowledgable and observant congregants. Rabbi Elyse Goldstein graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Brandeis University in 1978 and received her Masters in Hebrew Literature and Ordination in 1983, and her Doctor of Divinity, honoris causis, in 2008. She served for twenty years as the Director of Kolel in Toronto, an adult education institute which she founded in 1991, considered a leading institution in the field of Jewish adult education. She is currently the Rabbi at City Shul, a synagogue she founded 3 years ago together with a dedicate team of lay leaders in Toronto. In those 3 years the synagogue has grown to 225 families. She is one of seven women featured in the Canadian National Film Board documentary, “Half the Kingdom.” She is the author of ReVisions: Seeing Torah through a Feminist Lens and editor of The Women’s Torah Commentary, The Women’s Haftarah Commentary and New Jewi…
Jul 20, 2016
Rabbi Laura Geller: Aging Jewishly
Rabbi Laura Geller discusses Next Stage: Temple Emanuel’s Boomers & Beyond Initiative designed to address the needs of community members fifty and above. Rabbi Geller was the first Reform woman rabbi to be selected as the Senior Rabbi of a major metropolitan congregation. She has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including being named one of Newsweek’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America for two years in a row, and receiving the California State Legislature’s Woman of the Year Award. In 2015 she was named one of the 33 most inspiring rabbis by Forward Magazine. Featured in the PBS Documentary called Jewish Americans, she is the author of many articles in journals and books, is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, and served on the Editorial Board of The Torah: A Woman's Commentary, in which she has two published essays. Most recently, she has spearheaded a groundbreaking new project called Next Stage: Temple Emanuel's Boomer and Beyond Initiative and s…
Jul 1, 2016
Rabbi Joshua Weinberg: Hebrew and Jewish Identity
Why should we care about Hebrew? Rabbi Weinberg examines Hebrew as the carrier of culture and a window into Judaism. Rabbi Josh Weinberg is the President of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America. He was ordained from the HUC-JIR Israeli Rabbinic Program in Jerusalem, and is currently living in New York. Josh previously served as the Director of the Israel program for the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and as a faculty member of NFTY-EIE High School in Israel teaching Jewish History. Josh is a reserve officer in the IDF spokesperson’s unit, has hiked the Israel-trail, and came on Aliyah to Israel in 2003. Originally from Chicago, he has a B.A. from University of Wisconsin in Hebrew Literature, Political Science and International Relations, and an M.A. at the Hebrew University in Jewish Education.
May 24, 2016
Rabbi Rick Jacobs: American Judaism in Israel
From Liberal Zionism to American Judaism and the state of Israel, Rabbi Rick Jacobs discusses Reform Judaism's strengths and challenges in grappling with today's most pressing issues. Rabbi Rick Jacobs is president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the most powerful force in North American Jewish life. A longtime and devoted creative change agent, Rabbi Jacobs spent 20 years as a dynamic, visionary spiritual leader at Westchester Reform Temple (WRT) in Scarsdale, New York. During his tenure, he reshaped communal worship, transformed the congregation into a community of lifelong learners, and strengthened the synagogue's commitment to vibrancy and inclusion. Under Rabbi Jacobs' leadership, WRT completed a new "green" sanctuary, one of only a handful of Jewish houses of worship in the nation to carry this designation.
May 5, 2016
Rabbi Denise Eger: Torah for Our Times
For Rabbi Denise Eger, Torah helps us navigate the process of living. From acknowledging God's flaws to living with intention, Rabbi Eger gives us a Torah for our times. Rabbi Denise L. Eger is the founding Rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami, West Hollywood’s premier Reform Synagogue. Rabbi Eger is the President-Elect of The Central Conference of American Rabbis. the largest rabbinic organization in the world, and will assume the presidency as the third woman and first openly gay or lesbian person in the position in 2015. Rabbi Eger is Past President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, the first woman to serve in the post. Recently honored by the City of Los Angeles, she was also named by the Huffington Post as the Most Inspirational GLBT Clergy Person in America. In 2010 she was named by the Jewish Daily Forward as one of the top 50 women rabbis in North America. In 2008, the Jewish Daily Forward named her as one of the Forward 50—the 50 most influential Jewish leaders i…
May 4, 2016
Rabbi Paul Kipnes: Spiritual Parenting
Rabbi Paul Kipnes discusses the deep anxiety, stress and pressure on kids today and offers some wise advice for parents. Rabbi Paul Kipnes, MAJE, a popular lecturer on raising spiritually balanced, emotionally whole children, is leader of Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas, California. A former camp director and North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) regional advisor, Rabbi Kipnes and his wife Michelle November MSSW co-wrote Jewish Spiritual Parenting: Wisdom, Activities, Rituals, and Prayers for Raising Children with Spiritual Balance and Emotional Wholeness (Jewish Lights Publishing).
Apr 21, 2016
Rabbi Aaron Panken: Jewish Texts Matter
Rabbi Aaron Panken discusses the impact and relevance of Jewish texts today. Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., is the 12th President in the 139-year history of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. As HUC-JIR President, Dr. Panken leads the four-campus international institution of higher learning and seminary for Reform Judaism. Ordained at HUC-JIR in New York in 1991, Rabbi Panken has served as a member of the faculty teaching Rabbinic and Second Temple Literature since 1995, Dean of Students (1996-1998), Dean of the New York Campus (1998-2007), and Vice President for Strategic Initiatives (2007-2010). An alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, Dr. Panken earned his doctorate in Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. He currently serves on faculty for the Wexner Foundation and the Editorial Board of Reform Judaism magazine, and has served on the Rabbinical Placement Commission, the Birthright Education Committee, the CCAR Ethics Committee, and in a variety of…
Apr 6, 2016
Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi: Critique and Rebuke
How far should we go to change someone’s opinion? Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi takes a look at Jewish tradition and draws a line. Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi serves the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion as the National Director of Recruitment and Admissions and President's Scholar. Prior to this appointment, Rabbi Sabath served as Vice President of the Shalom Hartman Institute and for over a decade as a member of the Institute's faculty, and directed the Hartman Lay leadership, Rabbinic leadership, and Christian leadership programs. Ordained at the HUC-JIR twenty years ago, Rabbi Sabath also earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary. For several years Rabbi Sabath wrote a monthly column in the Jerusalem Post and has co-authored two books and published numerous articles. Rabbi Sabath also teaches and mentors students of HUC-JIR and speaks throughout North America on leadership, Israel, gender, and theology. She is currently…
Mar 25, 2016
Reverend Jennifer Bailey: Faith Matters
Reverend Bailey explores how people of diverse backgrounds, skin colors, and racial identities can be brought to a space of equality. Rev. Jennifer Bailey, is the Founding Executive Director of the Faith Matters Network, a new interfaith community equipping faith leaders to challenge structural inequality in their communities. She is named one of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress, Rev. Jennifer Bailey is an ordained minister, public theologian, and emerging national leader in multi-faith movement for justice. She comes to this work with nearly a decade of experience at nonprofits combatting intergenerational poverty. A Truman Scholar and Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow, Rev. Bailey earned degrees from Tufts University and Vanderbilt University Divinity School where she was awarded the Wilbur F. Tillett Prize for accomplishments in the study of theology. She writes regularly for a number of publications including Sojourners and the Huffington Post. Her f…
Mar 10, 2016
Rabbi Dr. Samuel Joseph: Enriching Lay Leadership
Rabbi Samuel Joseph takes a deep dive into the challenges and opportunities for building congregational leadership. Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph, Ph.D. is Eleanor Sinsheimer Distinguished Service Professor of Jewish Education and Leadership Development at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, where he teaches in the rabbinical school. His special interest is how Jewish institutions and organizations, from schools to synagogues to national groups, can be most excellent as they seek to fulfill their mission and vision. Toward this end, Rabbi Joseph works with such groups throughout the world. Most recently he taught at the first rabbinical seminary in Germany since the Holocaust, the Abraham Geiger College in Berlin as the Jacobs Fellow. In past years he worked with the Jewish community in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Argentina. He is the founding rabbi of the liberal congregation in Hong Kong. Rabbi Joseph consults with rabbis, educators, administrators, communal leaders and lay leaders, supporting them…
Mar 9, 2016
Rabbi Edythe Mencher: Being on the Margins
The cost of excluding people is an impoverishment of our world and our character. Rabbi Edyth Mencher takes a look at what holds us back from engaging wholeheartedly with people we think of as “other.” Rabbi Mencher serves as URJ Faculty for Sacred Caring Community and Coordinator of the URJ-Ruderman Family Foundation Initiative for Inclusion of People with Disabilities and is an adjunct faculty member of Hebrew Union College-JIR’s Interfaith Doctor of Ministry Program in Pastoral Counseling. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Mental Health and Faith Community Partnership, created to foster dialogue between psychiatrists and faith leaders. She is the co-author of Resilience of the Soul: Developing Emotional and Spiritual Resilience in Adolescents and Their Families. Ordained by HUC-JIR in 1999, Rabbi Mencher is also a graduate of the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy and of Hunter College School of Social Work
Mar 9, 2016
Rabbi William Cutter: The Right-to-Die Initiative
Dr. William Cutter argues both sides of California's Right-to-Die Initiative. Dr. William Cutter is Steinberg Emeritus Professor of Human Relations at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where he held the Paul and Trudy Steinberg Chair in Human Relations, and was Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature and Education. He has taught at HUC-JIR since 1965, and has served in several administrative capacities throughout his academic career. In earlier stages of his career he founded three of the ongoing programs of the College-Institute, the training center for Reform Jewish leaders and nonprofit managers. These programs are the Rhea Hirsch School of Education, the MUSE program of the Skirball Museum, and the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health. He also was the founding director of the Louchheim School of Jewish Studies.
Feb 23, 2016
Rabbi Dr. Michael Marmur: How We Talk About God
Rabbi Michael Marmur explores the way language influences how we think and speak about God. Dr. Michael Marmur is the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Previously, he served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem. In recent years he has taught courses in Theology, Homiletics, and Pluralistic Jewish Education.Born and raised in England, Rabbi Marmur completed a BA Degree in Modern History at the University of Oxford before moving to Israel in 1984.
Feb 16, 2016
Mohammad Darawshe: Shared Society in Israel
Mohammad Darawshe discusses co-existence and equality, two ends of the spectrum in Israel. Mohammad Darawshe is the Director of Planning, Equality and Shared Society at Givat Haviva, the Center for Shared Society in Israel. Mohammad is Arab with an Israeli passport — a Muslim Palestinian citizen of the State of Israel. Like 20 percent of Israel's population, he is, as he puts it, a child of both identities. He brings an unexpected way of seeing inside the Middle Eastern present and future. Previously, from 2005-2013 Mohammad served as the Co-Director of the Abraham Fund Initiatives. Before that he served as the Elections Campaign Manager for the Democratic Arab Party and later the United Arab List. Mohammad holds a B.A from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, an M.A. in Public Administration from Hartford University, and an M.A. in Peace and Conflict Management from Haifa University. Mohammad is considered a leading expert on Jewish-Arab relations and has presented lectures and…
Jan 12, 2016
Dr. Steven Windmueller: Is the Jewish Vote Still Liberal in America?
Is the American Jewish Vote Still Liberal? Join Dr. Windmueller and Dean Holo as they unpack the Jewish political landscape. Dr. Steven Windmueller served as the Dean of the Los Angeles Campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion from 2006 to 2010. In March of 2009, he was appointed to the Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Chair in Jewish Communal Service. Prior to coming to HUC-LA, he has held a number of prominent positions within the Jewish community over the course of a thirty-year professional career. Most recently, he served for ten years as the Executive Director of the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles.
Dec 2, 2015
Rabbi Dr. Reuven Firestone: Muslim Violence through a Jewish Lens
Professor Firestone uses the Bully Pulpit to explain Muslim violence through a Jewish lens. Rabbi Dr. Reuven Firestone is the Regenstein Professor in Medieval Judaism and Islam at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles. Since 1993, Dr. Firestone has served as associate and then full professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam at HUC-JIR. He founded the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (CMJE), a joint program of Hebrew Union College, the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Foundation and the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California. In 2012-2013 he was appointed DAAD Visiting Professor in Jewish and Islamic Studies at Universität Potsdam/Geiger Kolleg in Berlin-Brandenburg. Chosen to be a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002, he received the Fulbright CASA III Fellowship for study and research at the American University in Cairo in 2006. In 2000, he was awarded the fellowship for independent research from the National Endowm…