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decade of distinction scholar series

The Decade of Distinction Scholar Series is generously underwritten by the 
Shirley & Henry Kraus Scholar-in-Residence Fund.

Five world-class scholars in a series of virtual learning opportunities!

Recordings of these lectures can be found on the Temple Shalom YouTube channel

Rabbi Sally Priesand

View this recording HERE
Reflections of My Life as a 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. Rabbi  Priesand was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion on June 3, 1972, at the Plum Street Temple in Cincinnati.  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.

Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, Ph.D.

Agreeing to Disagree: Why and How Jews and Christians Read Scripture Differently

Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies and Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt.  Her over 30 books include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus and Short Stories by Jesus; four children’s books (with Sandy Sasso); The Gospel of Luke (with Ben Witherington III); and The Jewish Annotated New Testament (co-edited with Marc Brettler).  In 2020 she published The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently (with Marc Brettler); and Sermon on the Mount: A Beginner’s Guide to the Kingdom of Heaven. She is the first Jew to teach New Testament at Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute. AJ describes herself as an unorthodox member of an Orthodox synagogue and a Yankee Jewish feminist who teaches New Testament in a Christian divinity school in Nashville, the Buckle of the Bible Belt. 

Rabbi Norman Cohen, Ph.D.
View this recording HERE
If I Am Only for Myself, What Am I? The Imperative of Social Action in Midrashic Tradition

Dr. Norman J. Cohen serves as Professor Emeritus of Midrash at HUC-JIR/New York. He served as Provost of HUC-JIR from 1996-2009, Interim President of HUC-JIR from Dec. 1999 - June 2000 and as Dean of the New York Campus from 1988-1996. He was ordained by HUC-JIR in 1971 and received his Ph.D. from HUC-JIR in the field of Midrash in 1977. He lectures widely on the Modern Interpretation of the Bible.

Rabbi Gary Zola, Ph. D.
View this recording HERE
Title to be announced


Gary Phillip Zola is the Executive Director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) and the Edward M. Ackerman Family Distinguished Professor of the American Jewish Experience & Reform Jewish History at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati. The AJA is the world’s largest free-standing research center dedicated solely to the study of the American Jewish experience. He received both his rabbinic ordination (1982) and his Ph.D. in American Jewish History (1991) from HUC-JIR.


Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph. D.
View this recording HERE
American Jewish Thought Since 1934: Diversity and Dialogues 

Dr. David Ellenson, Ph.D., Chancellor Emeritus of HUC-JIR, served as Interim President (May 10, 2018 - March 31, 2019) after the death of Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., z"l, in a plane crash on May 5, 2018. Rabbi Panken succeeded Rabbi Ellenson as President on January 1, 2014, at which time Rabbi Ellenson was named Chancellor upon his retirement from the position of President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Internationally recognized for his publications and research in the areas of Jewish religious thought, ethics, and modern Jewish history, Rabbi Ellenson’s twelve years as President of the seminary of the Reform Movement (2001-2013) were distinguished by his devotion to sustaining HUC-JIR’s academic excellence and ensuring its financial sustainability.

Estelle & Stuart Price
Anne & Dr. Mark Rubin

Henry Kraus- Honorary Chair
David Citrin- Co-Chair 
Lydia Bond- Co-Chair

Josh & Esther Garfield
Lenore Greenstein
Susan & Joel Pittelman
Susan & Jack Rabin
Mae Riefberg
Michael Rubner
Arthur & Susan Sissman
Sheldon & Betsy Starman
Ed & Ellen Wollman
Judy & Mel Zahn

Fri, February 23 2024 14 Adar I 5784