The Jewish art scene in Los Angeles is a small but vibrant community that spans generations, styles, and the full length and breadth of the city itself. Now, for the first time, three of L.A.’s preeminent Jewish institutions — Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), University of Southern California Hillel and American Jewish University (AJU) — have teamed up to produce a collaborative exhibition that stretches across three venues and features more than a dozen local artists.
One day in early March 1954, Uri Herscher, just 12 at the time, ran away from his parents. His father, Joseph, a cabinetmaker, and mother, Lucy, a laundress, were having trouble making ends meet living in Israel. Together with Uri and his younger brother, Eli, they were meant to leave from Haifa the next morning to travel to the United States. There, the family would find a new home in San Jose, Calif., a thriving middle-class community with very few Jews, where Joseph’s sister had already set down roots.
Imagine taking a graduate school class — a small one, with maybe a dozen students — and for the entire year, not being able to understand a single word the professor said. For your final examination, you have to rely on notes compiled from your classmates and pray they understood the material enough to effectively teach you.
In 1963, Richard Levy was in his mid-20s and in his last year of rabbinical school when he was sent on an internship to a synagogue in Jasper, Ala. About the time of Rosh Hashanah, not far away in the town of Birmingham, a bomb exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church, an African-American place of worship, and four girls were killed.
Rabbi Aaron Panken, the newly announced president-elect of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), said just days after being named that he hopes to bring a fresh perspective to the Reform movement’s academic home by marrying technology, creativity and a renewed commitment to Reform values, including at the HUC-JIR Los Angeles campus.
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) has elected its former dean, Rabbi Aaron Panken, as its new president. Panken succeeds Rabbi David Ellenson, who will become HUC-JIR’s new chancellor upon his retirement from the position of president.
Rabbi Aaron Panken was elected president of The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the Reform movement’s rabbinical school.
I was in college when I first heard the Beatles sing “When I’m Sixty-four.” The idea of getting older, losing my hair or wondering whether my partner would still need me was not my concern. But now, with Paul McCartney over 70, and me just one year away from 64, it’s a different story.
When Rabbi Laura Geller learned that her father had Alzheimer’s disease, she struggled with the news. He was only in his 70s, after all, and it was painful for her to watch the man who had raised her — who she said had been “important and powerful and wonderful” in her life — lose his ability to perform daily tasks.
Susan Goldberg, rabbi of Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock, grew up in nearby Echo Park. “There were no Jewish families around when I was growing up,” Goldberg, 38, said. Now that these neighborhoods are being gentrified, and a young, creative crowd is moving in, the Jews are coming, too.
What’s the difference between investiture and ordination? Plenty, say officials at the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, which has announced that for the first time since establishing its cantorial school in 1948, it will ordain rather than invest its graduating class of cantors.
Dvora Weisberg doesn’t think she’s had any unfair advantages over her fellow rabbinical students graduating from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) this month. Well, maybe a few. “I do have a considerable number of years over most of the other students,” Weisberg, 51, admitted recently. That, and she’s also the director of HUC-JIR’s School of Rabbinical Studies.
When he took over as dean of the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in July 2010, Josh Holo, already a professor at the college, brought with him a few photographs of 11th-century letters to hang on the wall behind his desk. Among the letters is one that mentions a major problem for the Jewish communities in Egypt at the time: how to raise funds to redeem fellow Jews who had been taken captive by pirates.
The Reform movement’s cantorial school has been named after the late Debbie Friedman.