Saturday, October 30, 2004

Notes found describing HUC founding

Faith matters

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

CLIFTON - Kevin Proffitt and Dorothy Smith were shifting through some papers when they found a 130-year-old book that caused them to pause.

Proffitt and Smith, archivists at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, found the first book of minutes of the college's founders.

"One of the great thrills of historical work is when you're going through materials and find something like this," said Gary Zola, executive director of the archives and a professor at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

The book documents the early meetings of the organizers of Hebrew Union College. The college is the oldest continuously running Jewish seminary in North America and represented a change in the way Jewish seminaries were funded.

Previous, unsuccessful, seminaries were paid for through donations. But the school's founder, Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, formed a union of American Jewish congregations to pay for the school, similar to the way Christian denominations funded seminaries, Zola said.

"We can know how the group moved toward opening the doors of the school, and that's what minutes help us to understand and that's an extremely important find," Zola said.

The 500-page book's first entry is dated July 16, 1874, a year before the first rabbinical students entered the college. It documents an important part of not only Jewish history and the history of Reform Judaism, but Cincinnati history as well, Zola said.

Reformation Sunday

Seventh Presbyterian Church, 1721 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills, will mark the beginning of the Reformation with a "Kirking of the Tartans" service at 11 a.m. Sunday.

The service, which is open to the public, includes a bagpipe and drums procession led by the Cincinnati Scots Pipes and Drums, a roll call of the Scottish clans, a blessing of the family plaids. The Ohio Valley Scottish Highland Dancers will also participate.

"It celebrates the heritage of the church," said Pastor Dick Fouse. "Scotland was a significant part of the Reformation movement, and this celebration honors that."

Xavier hosts symposium

Seven leading scholars on the subject of religious fundamentalism will meet for a symposium at Xavier University Sunday.

The event, which is free and open to the public, runs 1 to 7 p.m. at the Schiff Family Conference Center at the Cintas Center. It will focus on religious extremism as a global phenomenon that crosses national, ethnic, socio-economic and religious boundaries.

The symposium is part of Xavier's Brueggeman Center for Dialogue and is intended as a discussion, not a series of lectures.

Participants from the U.S., France and Canada include experts on Catholicism, Christianity, Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. They plan to discuss the definition of fundamentalism and its trends within different religious traditions as well as address its political impacts and future.

For a complete program, information about participants and the day's schedule, visit

Cathedral hosts Chanticleer

The Cathedral of Saint Peter in Chains will host Chanticleer, a Grammy-award winning male vocal ensemble, Friday at 8 p.m.

The group of 12 men sings chant, Renaissance, jazz and gospel tunes, and will perform a program called "Women, Saintly and Otherwise."

Tickets are $28 in advance and $31 at the door. Students are $15 with student identification. Advance tickets are available at the cathedral, 325 E. 8th St., downtown, or by calling (513) 421-2222 or online at

To submit religion news, e-mail or send a fax to (513) 755-4150.

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Notes found describing HUC founding