Gratz College Insider Spring 2015

Jeffrey B. Plevan 
Annual Fundraising Event 
Dan Raviv
Thursday, May 14, 2015
7:30 PM
VIP Reception 6:00 PM
 at Gratz College
Contact: Mindy Cohen
215 635-7300 x155
Odessa Klezmer Band

Sunday, April 12, 4-5:30pm
RSVP to Barbara Rosenau, 
215 635-7300 x182
Tickets $12 in advance, 
$15 at the door
    Beneath the Helmet
sponsored by the 
Jewish Community High School of Gratz College

Sunday, April 26, 4:00pm
Free and open to the public
RSVP and for more information contact: Mindy Cohen
215 635-7300 x155
Shusterman Distinguished Scholar Lecture
The Future of World Religions: 
Which Are Growing, Which Are Shrinking and Why It Matters

Dr. Alan Cooperman 
Pew Research Center
Tuesday, April 28, 7:30 pm
Free and open to the public
RSVP Mindy Cohen215 635-7300 x155
Please join the Gratz College community for the 
115th commencement ceremonies
Sunday, May 17th, 3:00PM
Leon Graff
Leona P. Kramer Gallery
Through May 29th
Artist's Reception
April 12th, 1:30-3:30
Gallery hours M-Th 9:00 - 5:00, Fri. 9:00-3:00, Sun. 9:00-3:00 (Please call)
For more information contact 
Dodi Klimoff, 215 635-7300 x133
Commencement Ceremonies
Sunday, June 7th, 11:00AM
Shusterman Distinguished Scholar Lecture
The Politics of Tolerance and the 
Ambiguity of Genocide 
in the Modern Age
Wednesday, June 3, 7:30 pm
Free and open to the public
RSVP: Mindy Cohen
215 635-7300 x155
Week 1 July 12-17 
Week 2 July 19-24
Contact: Mindy Blechman 
215 635-7300 x154

Dear Friends,


Timed with the arrival of Passover, this issue of The Gratz College Insider brings you holiday recipes, as well as a link to Rabbi Erin Hirsh's "Seder Starters," which are suggestions for incorporating the issue of modern slavery into your Seder discourse.


In the spirit of the holiday, this Insider also brings you examples of renewal - in the form of new initiatives at Gratz College. We have introduced a new Master of Science degree to our graduate school programming. And, we will be implementing significant changes to the Gratz Jewish Community High School (JCHS) for the upcoming academic year.


Insider readers will also immerse themselves in the stories of an alumnus and a current student, who are each using their Gratz education in unexpected ways to make the world a better and more peaceful place.


Finally, this issue details the many cultural activities taking place at Gratz this spring, culminating with the Jeffrey B. Plevan Annual Event in May, with guest speaker Dan Raviv. Currently the host of "CBS News Weekend Roundup," Raviv promises to enthrall with stories from his experience as a journalist and longtime foreign correspondent.


In the meantime, we at Gratz College wish you and your family a joyous Passover celebration.


Chag sameach

Joy's signature
Joy W. Goldstein                                  
Students during a session at the youth summit at Gratz

Re-envisioning Part-Time Jewish Education at Gratz and Beyond

Recognizing the correlation between quality Jewish education and the development of a strong Jewish identity, Gratz College has been educating teens for well over a century. In recent years, however, there has been a steady decline in teenage enrollment in part-time Jewish education programs nationally, as well as in Gratz's own Jewish Community High School. In an effort to reverse this trend, Gratz is developing innovative programs for reinvigorating religious school education for Jewish youth, both locally and nationally. Read more. 

Nur Munir meeting with former Israeli president Shimon Peres

Alumni Spotlight on Nur Munir: An Indonesian Scholar of Islam and Judaism

"A devout Muslim with a master's degree in Jewish Studies is somewhere between extremely rare and unique," says Gratz professor Dr. Joseph Davis. However, Nur Munir is a Gratz College alumnus who fits this description. An accomplished scholar of both Islam and Judaism, Munir is an Indonesian Muslim whose life story reads like a novel, with plot twists and turns that have taken him around the globe, from Indonesia to Egypt, to the United States, and most recently, to Israel on an unprecedented interfaith mission. For Munir's remarkable and inspiring story,read more

Rich Goldstein at the Hoover Dam

Richard Goldstein: Fighting Hatred with Education

Every student in the Gratz master's program in Holocaust and Genocide Studies has a unique story - and Richard Goldstein is no exception. The grandson of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, Goldstein grew up in New York City. After a career in the military, which included four tours of duty in Iraq, Goldstein now lives with his family in Rathdrum, Idaho, a town of less than 7,500 people, where he is a practicing Seventh Day Adventist and an online student in the Gratz master's program in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Goldstein enrolled in this program to sharpen his skills in law enforcement. To understand why, read more

Student and Staff Spotlight on Alisha Abboudi

Alisha Abboudi is doubly connected to Gratz College: she is a Mid-Career Fellow in our master's program in Jewish Communal Service and Nonprofit Management, as well as a member of the College's development team. Ironically, this dual connection developed out of a chance encounter at a local Starbucks. To  find out how a craving for coffee changed Alisha's life, read more.

The Gratz Gourmet

Appropriately so, the recipes for this "Gratz Gourmet" column come to us from a cookbook called The Passover Gourmet, by Nira Rousso. For over 25 years, this book has been a go-to Passover resource for Rochelle Rabeeya, coordinator of Gratz College's professional learning program for supplementary school educators. Rochelle also teaches in the NEXT program, as a Jewish education consultant with an extraordinary wealth of experience in the field. For Rochelle's bio and her favorite recipes from The Passover Gourmet, read more

Gratz News in Brief

  • Gratz offers new master's degreeThis summer Gratz will welcome its first cohort of students pursuing its new Master of Science in Nonprofit Management for Faith-Based Organizations. With very few existing programs of its kind, the Gratz online Master of Science serves the unique needs of professionals seeking the financial and management tools to operate a successful nonprofit, while reflecting the values of a faith tradition.
  • Gratz voted best online master's degree program in Jewish selected Gratz College as its choice  for the best online master's degree program in Jewish Studies, stating, "This small, private, not-for-profit school based in Melrose Park, Penn., boasts notable faculty members, small class sizes, and reasonable tuition rates, all contributing to its placement at the top of our list for this category."
  • Passover themes play out through the lens of modern slavery:  While Jews celebrate freedom at Passover Seders this year, approximately 30 million people around the world still remain enslaved. Working with Rabbi Debra Orenstein on The Modern Slavery Project, Gratz's Rabbi Erin Hirsh created a collection of readings and activities on modern slavery that can be integrated into the Passover Seder. These "Seder Starters," as well as curriculum suggestions for teachers, are available on the "Judaism in Action" section of the website for the organization Free the Slaves. The Modern Slavery Project was also recently covered in The New Jersey Jewish Standard.
  • Gratz provides temporary home for Wyncote Academy students: Gratz College opened its doors to the students of Wyncote Academy, whose school was ravaged by fire on March 14. Not far from the Gratz Mandell Campus, Wyncote Academy is a small private school for students in sixth through twelfth grades. With the College's immediate response to a neighboring school in crisis, Wyncote Academy was able to resume operations on March 18.