News from AJR

Etzba Elohim: Understanding and Interpreting Jewish Prayer in ASL

We are excited to announce our partnership with the JDRC!
AJR and the Jewish Deaf Resource Center (JDRC) will offer Etzba Elohim: Understanding and Interpreting Jewish Prayers in ASL, the first ever program on Jewish liturgy in American Sign Language (ASL) for Deaf and hearing ASL interpreters as well as prospective Deaf community prayer leaders.  Learn all about it here.

Entrepreneurship Grant Awardees

In both 2020 and 2021, AJR students were awarded the prestigious Auerbach Grant from Reconstructing Judaism, a product of their participation in an inter-seminary course on entrepreneurship. Last year, Tzipporah Horowitz was bestowed the award for her project “JamJews,” which aims to create “a new Jewish community from across the spectrum of Jewish identity, that focuses on inspiration, education, and music.” This year, Joseph Berrios was honored for his innovative project which “seeks to reimagine and redefine a sacred space for the Anusim by reaching out to underrepresented Latinos.”

Science for Seminaries

AJR was one of eight seminaries chosen by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for their Science for Seminaries Project. We became the first ever Jewish seminary to receive the award, which “provides participating institutions with resources to integrate science into their coursework and campus-wide events.” Science for Seminaries falls under AAAS’s Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program, in partnership with the Association of Theological Schools.

Pathways for Tomorrow

AJR recently received a grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc., as part of their Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative. With a project titled, “Mosaic Religion and the Religious Mosaic: An Approach to the Jewish Community for Christian Seminarians,” AJR hopes to prepare pastors and congregational lay ministers to better participate in thoughtful interfaith work, serve as empathetic chaplains to patients of other faiths, and achieve a more well-rounded understanding of our shared scriptures that builds bridges between our respective communities.

Circus Arts

AJR’s own Ayal Prouser can be seen flying high on the cover of the Jewish Standard. The story highlights our recent integration of Circus Arts into the curriculum. Titled “Sacred Arts, Circus Arts,” the class saw students juggling, climbing, and pyramid-building through the lens of Bible, where “the idea is not that we use the text as a jumping-off point to the arts,” said Dr. Ora Horn Prouser, “but to really use the art to process the text.”

Peace Studies

Another Jewish Standard cover story, this time featuring our Dean of Cantorial Studies, Hazzan Michael Kasper, broke the news of our new Peace Studies program. “One of the things we want to do as cantors is build community,” Kasper said. “As I thought about that, I thought about the kinds of communities we want to live in, and it seemed to me that we want to live in a peaceful community, a place where people get along even when the disagree. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that cantors are in the perfect position to help make that happen.”