The Society for Classical Reform Judaism is a voice of advocacy for the preservation and nurturing of the historic values of the liberal Jewish tradition. Our Programs include an international network of resources and support for individuals and congregations who share our principles, offering worship, educational and program resources.
Edward M. Ackerman Distinguished Professorship of the American Jewish Experience and Reform Jewish History at the Cincinnati Campus of HUC-JIR
This new faculty position, currently held by Dr. Gary P. Zola, formalizes the collaboration of the Society with Hebrew Union College(HUC). Now all of the SCRJ’s programs at HUC are developed and facilitated as official academic programs for rabbinic, cantorial and graduate students. With the full support of the resources, staff, and facilities of the Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, our various activities have a more central profile in the students’ perception and participation.
The Ackerman Professorship was facilitated by the Society with a major gift of our Founding Board Member, Edward Ackerman of Dallas, Texas.
Annual SCRJ Institutes on HUC-JIR Campuses
These Institutes, conducted on all four campus – Cincinnati, Los Angles, New York, and Jerusalem – feature lectures, seminars, and worship services that reflect the history, thought and liturgical traditions of Classical Reform Judaism. Rabbi Howard Berman, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) faculty, cantors and Reform Jewish leaders are among the teachers. These institutes engage the students in a major encounter with Classical Reform during the formative early years of their study.
Cross Campus Intensive Course in American Reform Jewish History and Thought
For the first time in Hebrew Union College’s history, twelve students from all three American campuses registered for this unique opportunity. They gathered in Cincinnati for an intensive week of study of the documents, events and liturgy of historic Reform Judaism. The group also traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, to experience the birthplace of American Reform. It was here where the first organized effort at creating an American Reform Judaism began to unfold in 1824.
The course seminars were taught by Dr. Gary P. Zola, Professor Richard Sarason, and Rabbi Howard Berman. Dr. Zola is the Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives, and now holds the Ackerman Professorship for American and Reform Jewish studies. Professor Sarason is Director of the Pines School of Graduate Studies, Professor of Rabbinic Literature and Thought, and The Deutsch Family Professor of Rabbinics and Liturgy at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rabbi Berman is the Executive Director of the SCRJ.
Annual Classical Reform Service and Concert
Held at the HUC College Synagogue in Jerusalem. The choir includes cantorial students as was as local professional singers, and the entire Jerusalem community is invited to attend.
Consultation with Congregations Interested in Including Classical Reform Services and/or Classical Reform Elements into their Worship Experience
Partnerships with Liberal/Progressive Jewish congregations outside the U.S.
Har El Congregation, Jerusalem, Israel
The Society collaborates with Har El in creating and present a yearly weekend program in Jerusalem that includes a special Classical Reform worship service, with Classical Reform music, sung and played by Har El’s eight voice choir, accompanied by piano and harp. The words of the service are also unique. They contain readings from Society and Har El’s joint publication, B’Hadrat Kodesh (In the Majesty of Holiness). This is an historical publication that offers beautiful and beloved prayers from the Classical Reform, Union Prayer Book, translated into Hebrew.
Ec Chayim (pronounced “Atz Chayim”), Warsaw, Poland
The Society helps support this small, but growing congregation that is reviving the spirit and practice of progressive Judaism in Warsaw. Rabbi Stas Wojchiechowicz is leading the way. The members celebrated Rabbi Stas’ tenth anniversary with the congregation this year (2016).
Rabbi Berman Berman spoke to the congregation at this special Shabbat musical service, and pledged that the Society will support Ec Chayim in any way it can. Other members of the SCRJ staff and board were also present to witness this very moving moment in the rebirth of Reform Judaism in Poland.