Hebrew College Spring Prozdor Alumni Reunion

Prozdor students throwback

Reconnect with your Prozdor classmates and other alumni at our virtual Hebrew College Spring Prozdor Reunion on April 27th from 7:30-8:30 p.m. EST. Join us for this special evening of learning with Prozdor teachers Mr. Norm Finkelstein,  Mr. Matthew Lowe, and Rabbi Laura Bellows`18.

This event is open to all Prozdor grads — please share with your former classmates! We also encourage you to update your information so we can stay in touch as Hebrew College gets ready to celebrate our Centennial in 2022.

Breakout Sessions (You may choose one)

Inside the Golden Gate: When the Holocaust Came to America
with Mr. Norm Finkelstein, Prozdor alum and current faculty member

In 1944, at the height of World War II, 982 European refugees found a temporary haven in Oswego, New York. They had spent frightening years one step ahead of Nazi pursuers and death. They spoke nineteen languages, and, while most of the refugees were Jewish, some were Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Protestant Christians. From the time they arrived at the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter they began re-creating their lives. In the history of World War II and the Holocaust, this “token” save by President Franklin D. Roosevelt was too little and too late for millions. But for those few who reached Oswego it was life changing.

Life is Unpleasant – Wisdom from our Sages
Matthew Lowe, Prozdor faculty 2007-2017

When even the Rabbis say it would be easier if we hadn’t been created (Eruvin 13b), how do we live with that? A lesson with Matthew Lowe, who is now a therapist in NYC if you can believe it (you can).

How to Stay Hydrated While Crossing the Sea: What one Midrash Can Teach Us About Responding to Climate Change Today
Rabbi Laura Bellows, Director of Prozdor and Teen Learning

It was 1730 in the Ottomon Empire when Rabbi Yaakov Culi started printing the Me’am Lo’ez, intended as a user-friendly Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) commentary on the Tanakh for his rapidly assimilating community. In it he tells of no less than 50 miracles (including access for all to safe drinking water!) that helped the Children of Israel cross the Red Sea. Using the Me’am Lo’ez’s midrash at the sea as our source text, we will explore what wisdom it may offer for building a just, accessible, and climate resilient society today.

Faith in Isolation Expressed Art Exhibit

Kiddush cup and screen photo

Inaugural Hebrew College Arts Initiative

“This idea of seasons within faith, was one I thought of often. In Genesis 8:22 it reads, ‘For as long as Earth lasts, planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never stop.'”
— Brenda Bancel, curator of  “Faith in Isolation Expressed” 

Over the past challenging year, many of us found ourselves looking for strength and faith when separated from our communities. In Hebrew College’s inaugural Arts Initiative project “Faith in Isolation Expressed,” photographer and curator Brenda Bancel has created a photo installation looking at how we found that faith despite our challenges. “At one point I began looking through the Internet for photos of faith and how people were digging deep into theirs in order to be comforted,” she said. “People were getting creative in order to engage in their faith. It was so moving to see believers unite together in this period of separation.”

>> Read more about Bancel and the inspiration for the exhibit

supported by cjp logoHebrew College is grateful that our Arts Initiative is supported by Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston’s (CJP) Arts and Culture initiative.

Exhibit dates + in person touring schedule

Title: The Faith in Isolation Expressed

Dates: April 12 to June 6, 2021

Location: Hebrew College Cutler Atrium

Reservations: To tour the gallery in person, please email Tanya McCann at tmccann@hebrewcollege.edu to sign up for a 30-minute visit with masks and distance. Four people per group. 

Hours: Open for public viewing Mondays through Fridays by appointment, using COVID-safe protocols. The show may be viewed on the following days and times:

  • Mondays: 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
  • Tuesdays: 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
  • Wednesdays: 8:30 am – 2:00 pm
  • Thursdays: 8:30 am – 2:00 pm
  • Fridays: 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

Brenda BancelAbout the Curator: Brenda Bencel

Brenda Bancel is the President of the Champions of Love Foundation and owner of Brenda Bancel Photography LLC. She spent ten years in the advertising industry working with clients such as Apple in Los Angeles and IBM in New York, Paris and London before realizing that she wanted to focus on non-profit work.   She was President of the TAKE 5 Foundation for ten years where she gave photography lessons to kids in underserved communities. She is a 2011 graduate of the New England School of Photography where she received honors in documentary.  She also recently studied for two years at the Harvard Divinity School as a special student. Brenda is interested in the cross section of where creativity and compassion intersect.

Faith in Isolation: A Multifaith Panel Discussion

In response to Brenda Bancel’s “Faith in Isolation Expressed” exhibit, religious leaders from the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions will explore the ways in which they and their communities have expressed their spiritual commitments during the pandemic. This will include discussion of prayer, meditation, study, and acts of service and advocacy. Panelists include: Rabbi Or Rose, founding director of the Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College; Dr. Celene Ibrahim, author of Women and Gender in the Qur’an and editor of One Nation, Indivisible: Seeking Liberty and Justice from the Pulpit to the Streets; and Shively T. J. Smith, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Boston University School of Theology.

>> Learn more

Curator’s Statement

One of the things that I can’t live without in my life is faith.

It’s like breathing for me.

But when Covid seeped into the world, fear and uncertainty sank in; governments, news channels, organizations all scrambled to try to understand this deadly virus.

Fear, is mentioned a lot in my faith, The phrase, “Fear not, “ is mentioned over 70 times in the bible.  Yet, here I was, afraid.  I needed my spiritual nourishment.  The world was in quarantine, all  of us collectively trying to figure out how to be safe to ourselves and to others.

This time was an incredibly challenging season for myself and my family.

This idea of seasons within faith, was one I thought of often. In Genesis 8:22 it reads, “For as long as Earth lasts, planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never stop.”

This moment for me felt like a very long, cold, dark winter.

As a photographer, I felt zero inspiration to capture this moment in time. I only wanted to see the other side of this pandemic and still do.  But at one point I began looking through the Internet for photos of faith and how people were digging deep into theirs in order to be comforted.  I saw photos of people finding ways to celebrate the high holidays, perform sacraments, conduct prayers and even do baptisms by squirt guns.  People were getting creative in order to engage in their faith.  It was so moving to see believers unite together in this period of separation.

There were also photos of extreme sadness. The solitude of death, the inability to be together to celebrate a life lost felt unbearable. These were moments where only being together could bring serenity and comfort.

But globally, across all religions, the beauty of the believers in their quest and thirst for spiritual practice brought hope into my days.

As I was also looking to nature to comfort me, I was reading about the amazing life of the sequoia trees. Their life felt like an analogy of faith.

The sequoia is the oldest and one of the largest tree species in the world.  It never stops growing in its lifetime. They can live 3000 years and be 300 feet tall.  To put this in perspective, it’s the size of a twenty-six floor building. They can be 30 feet in diameter.  So the tree, is just an amazing force and presence.

Yet in order for the tree to reproduce, the pine cones must be set on fire so they open and the seed is released.
So for the sequoia to bear life, it must suffer.

The sequoias greatest risk of dying is not fire however, as its bark protects the tree, but its greatest risk of dying is that their roots are too shallow, far too shallow for their height and weight.

So in order to live, they grow near each other, and they pull on each others roots for support.

They pull on each others roots so they don’t fall down.

For me it perfectly sums up this moment, this season. We all pulled each other up in order to make sure we didn’t fall. It showed that even the strong are vulnerable, and that sometimes the suffering can lead to a beautiful harvest. Let’s talk about what the harvest will be. Let’s find the beauty in the harvest.

Selections from the Exhibit

Growing in Spirit: Exploring Interreligious Education at the High School and Undergraduate Levels


Join the Journal of Interreligious Studies and the Association for Interreligious/Interfaith Studies for a spring symposium on interreligious education—classroom-based and co-curricular—at the high school and undergraduate levels. Hear from practitioners, scholars, and students who will share best practices, pandemic-related insights, and ongoing questions and challenges. The symposium will include small group discussion (breakout rooms) to allow for more intimate conversation.

Register here to receive the Zoom dial in details via email:


Special thanks to the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations whose support made this  event possible.

Arthur Vining Davis Foundations logo






Logo: Journal of Interreligious StudiesAssociation for Interreligious/Interfaith Studies

Rabbi Art Green’s 80th Birthday Event


We have the honor and joy of gathering online to celebrate Rabbi Art Green’s milestone birthday with a special Zoom event on Monday, April 5th at 7 p.m.

Art will offer a retrospective on his most essential teachings and some of his students and friends will share blessings and remarks.

rabbi art greenRabbi Arthur Green

Rabbi 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.

If you would like to make a gift in celebration of Art’s special birthday, he has requested all gifts be directed to the “Art Green Research Fund.” Please indicate this fund in the comments section of our online giving form or on your check. Thank you.

Pesach Full Moon Workshop: Zachar & Nekevah

Breath Lab logo - new


 Wednesday, March 31, 7-8:30pm ET

Join Breath Lab for the full moon of the Hebrew month of Nisan, as we celebrate Passover, the Jewish people’s festival of freedom. Back in the fall, in the Book of Genesis, we learned that God is both Zachar (Male) and Nekevah (Female) — we also learned that human beings, created in God’s image, hold these two sacred aspects of Self. Now, as we step inside the story of Exodus, God reveals both energies in unison, acting as both Ish Milchama, the Man-of-War archetype of the Plagues, and as Imanu, our Sacred Mother, birthing the Israelite Nation across the sea’s parted canal.

What could this mean for our own personal liberation? Led by a team of four fabulous teachers—Adele, a doula and midwife-in-training; Eliza and Jeremy, a pair of advanced embodiment teachers; and Joey, a rabbinical student at Hebrew College—we will turn to Jewish text, along with embodied practice, to name, discuss, and tune ourselves into the “sacred feminine” and “sacred masculine” energies we all hold. May freedom speedily follow!

Breath Lab, a center for Jewish embodiment, is a project of RUACH. RUACH nurtures creative, traditionally rooted Jewish practice, and is a member of Hebrew College’s planned new campus.

A Note on Inclusion

Participants will choose one aspect to focus on for the workshop, in either a Sacred Feminine or Sacred Masculine breakout room. Folks of all genders (cis, trans, queer and non-binary) are enthusiastically welcome, and will be invited to choose the space that speaks to them in the moment. The only way from gender constriction to gender liberation is together!

Our Teachers

Jeremy Falk empowers people through transformational breath and embodiment practices backed by 15 years of experience and over 1,000 hours of training in movement sciences, meditation, and positive psychology. He’s traveled the world studying wellness and has been honored for his accessible approach with Ambassadorships for Lululemon, Fitbit, and Yoga Journal. You can learn more at jeremyfalk.com and by connecting with @jeremyfalkyoga on Instagram.

joey-glickJoey Glick is a current rabbinical student at Hebrew College in Boston. Joey has helped to start and has been an eager participant in masculinities groups at Hebrew College and Vassar College.  A native of Pittsburgh PA, Joey is a big fan of the banjo and stew.

>> Read Joey’s blog post about this event



Adele Moss has been a professional doula since 2014. She is currently training as a homebirth midwife at Birthwise Midwifery School. In addition to birth work, Adele participates in the Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston where she performs the ritual of preparing bodies for burial. She enjoys teaching traditional Jewish texts that explore our relationship to birthing and dying.


eliza-wildEliza Wild empowers Women to reclaim their radiance through radical self-expression and embodied ritual.  Through her in-depth studies in the Art of Feminine Expression, Somatic Embodiment, Bhakti Yoga and Psychology, Eliza’s mission is to create a world where all women feel safe, seen, and free to embody passion and pleasure. It is by connecting to our own inner radiance that we find belonging and feel our connection to ourselves, this earth, and each other. She believes that when women come together to be held in a safe space and feel the truth of their essence, they have the power to change the world.