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15 minutes | 14 days ago
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.
26 minutes | a month ago
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.
28 minutes | a month ago
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 Politics at Harvard University. She is the author of Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life – in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There).
26 minutes | 2 months ago
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.
31 minutes | 2 months ago
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.
22 minutes | 3 months ago
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 Jewish communal institutions and all who work, learn, or worship at them develop cultures of safety, respect, and equity”, and has provided training for private, public, nonprofit, and higher education workplaces focusing on the evidence-based value of human connection, feedback, coaching, empathy, and mindful efforts to build workspaces where people show up with full engagement.
21 minutes | 3 months ago
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 by CCAR Press.
23 minutes | 4 months ago
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. Louis and as President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis (2012 to 2019). A tenured Professor of Political Thought at HUC-JIR, he contributes an unusual combination of teaching and scholarship, experience in Jewish nonprofit administration, and volunteer community leadership to the College-Institute. President Rehfeld earned a Ph.D. in Political Science (2000) and a Master of Public Policy (1994) from the University of Chicago, and a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, in the Philosophy Honors Program at the University of Rochester (1989). The author of The Concept of Constituency (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and numerous articles, Dr. Rehfeld’s research focuses on contemporary democratic theory with related interests in the history of political thought and the philosophy of the social sciences. He has published on the political uses of the Hebrew Bible and has taught yearly courses on Zionism and Jewish Political Thought at Washington University in St. Louis. As HUC-JIR President, Dr. Rehfeld leads the four-campus international institution of Jewish higher education and seminary for Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR’s campuses in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York provide the academic and professional training programs for the Reform Movement’s rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offer graduate programs for scholars of all faiths. HUC-JIR’s 4,000 active alumni serve over one million members of the Reform Movement, nearly 900 North American congregations, and more than 1,200 congregations worldwide, representing the largest Jewish denomination in North America, and the growing Progressive Movement in Israel and around the world. HUC-JIR alumni also hold leadership positions in Jewish educational, communal, cultural, and social service institutions, in hospital and military chaplaincies, in Jewish summer camping and Israel youth and engagement programs, and as faculty and Hillel directors at colleges and universities.
18 minutes | 4 months ago
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.
33 minutes | 5 months ago
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 Serve Treatment Centers; and, volunteers on the Prostate Cancer Awareness Team for the American Cancer Society. He was named 2007 “Pastor of the Year” by the Inland Valley News. Reverend Cager presently serves as the Interim President of the Los Angeles Council of Churches and is the President of the AME Ministerial Alliance of Southern California.
26 minutes | 5 months ago
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.
34 minutes | 6 months ago
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.
19 minutes | 6 months ago
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.
29 minutes | 6 months ago
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 of the Blue Dove Foundation and Director of Client Care at The Berman Center, a Jewish-based intensive outpatient treatment program for mental health and substance abuse. A South Florida native, Epstein specializes in teens, young adults and crisis intervention. In 2019, Daniel was recognized by the Atlanta Jewish Times as a 40 under 40 honoree. Gabrielle (Gabby) Leon Spatt is a genuine connector who is passionate about bringing people and organizations together to accomplish big dreams. A personal tragedy led Gabby to start volunteering with The Blue Dove Foundation, an Atlanta-based non-profit focusing on mental health and substance abuse education, outreach and awareness through a Jewish lens. Gabby transitioned from board member to staff member in April 2019. She devotes her time to her professional role along with community engagement through different leadership roles. In 2017, Gabby was recognized by the Atlanta Jewish Times as a 40 under 40 honoree and a member of the 2019 Outstanding Atlanta Class. Justin Milrad is a passionate and engaged businessman and individual who believes that we each have a responsibility through tikkun olam to make this world a better place. Justin is the CEO of the Berman Center, a mental health and substance abuse intensive outpatient program. Driven by his passion for the Jewish community, Justin is on several Jewish boards including the Blue Dove Foundation, an Atlanta-based non-profit focusing on mental health and substance abuse education, outreach and awareness through a Jewish lens. Justin is also He is also involved in the National Young Leadership Program at Jewish Federation and is currently enrolled in the Wexner Heritage Institute, a program developing Jewish leaders across North America. The Blue Dove Foundation's book, "Quieting The Silence: Personal Stories" is a collection of personal stories dedicated to raising awareness, understanding, support and hope for those who struggle with mental illness and addiction in the Jewish Community and is available on Amazon.
48 minutes | 7 months ago
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.
21 minutes | 7 months ago
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 Muslims and Jews. Named one of 50 people quietly changing the nonprofit world by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Aziza currently serves on L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Interfaith Leaders Collaborative and previously served on President Barack Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Host: DR. JOSHUA HOLO, PH.D. is the Dean of HUC-JIR's Skirball Campus in Los Angeles and Associate Professor of Jewish History. He served as Director of the Louchheim School of Judaic Studies at USC from 2006-2010. Dr. Holo's publications focus on Medieval Jews of the Mediterranean, particularly in the Christian realm. His book, Byzantine Jewry in the Mediterranean Economy, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2009.
24 minutes | 7 months ago
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.
32 minutes | 8 months ago
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 Rabbinical Education. Previously, he trained in Jerusalem (Conservative Yeshiva) and Seminario (Chazzanut). Cantor Rustein was selected by the URJ for the Klal Yisrael Fellowship (as the first South American). Additionally, he has sung in the Vatican to Pope Francis and travelled through Jewish Germany as a guest of the German Government.
31 minutes | 8 months ago
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, Hillel, and many others. She is a graduate of the Anti-Defamation League's Glass Leadership Institute, the recipient of Hadassah's prestigious Myrtle Wreath Award, and was listed by the Algemeiner as one of the top "100 people positively contributing to Jewish life" in 2018. She previously served for 5 years as an Executive Board Member at Friends of the IDF, Young Leadership NY. Amanda graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Diplomatic History and a Master of Governmental Administration and received her Juris Doctor from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she was a Public Service Scholar; served in the Bet Tzedek Legal Services Clinic, providing legal services to the underrepresented; served in the Advanced Human Rights Clinic, providing legal services to immigrants and refugees; sat on the Executive Board of the Cardozo Advocates for Battered Women; and was a Fellow in the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Clinic. She practiced securities litigation at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP before dedicating her career to the advancement and protection of the Jewish people and the Zionist community.
33 minutes | 9 months ago
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.
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