Jewish Faculty and Staff Group

University of Massachusetts Amherst


                                                                                                                October 1996

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

                The overwhelmingly positive comments that we received from attendees at last year's mini-conference (with keynote speakers Myron and Penina Glazer) have led us to organize our second annual mini-conference.  "Ways of Coming Together: Being Jewish in America" will take place on Sunday, November 24, from 9:30 AM to 2:45 PM at Hillel House, 388 North Pleasant Street in Amherst. 

                During the morning session, a panel of our colleagues, moderated by Haim Gunner, will explain their own involvement in Judaism.  Four members of the UMass and Amherst Jewish community —Shlomo Barnoon, Allan Feldman, Marilyn Kushick, and Catherine Madsen—each brings to the panel a different approach to being Jewish in America.  Presentations by panelists and a question-and-answer period will be followed by a complimentary lunch.  The afternoon session will be devoted to facilitated, small group discussions that we hope will provide forums for sharing our own experiences and concerns.  Building on the presentations of the morning session, some groups may wish to consider questions such as:

·         What options do we have for participation or involvement as Jews?

·         How do others express their Jewish identity through vehicles such as Zionism, social justice, philanthropy, religion, etc.?

·         How does our American Jewish experience relate to the experiences of Jews in Israel and in other Western and non-Western countries?

·         Can our affiliation be within or outside of an organized Jewish structure or community?

·         Given our different approaches to being Jewish, what binds us together?  How can we learn from each other?


                Our goal for all of our events is the same: to build a safe and welcoming environment in which UMass faculty and staff can speak with each other about being Jewish, can learn from each other, and can deal with issues on and off campus that are important to Jews.  The mini-conference has been made possible by a grant from Hillel's Jacob Burns Endowment in Ethics.

                Please join us on November 24 and share this invitation with other Jewish faculty and staff at the university.  Through this mini-conference we hope to attract new Jewish faculty and staff as well as reestablish ties with other colleagues and friends.  Also, please respond by Friday, November 15 by calling 549-1710 or by sending email to





Richard S. Ellis, Mathematics & Statistics       Marilyn Kushick, Music and Dance

Co-chair, Jewish Faculty & Staff Group           Co-chair, Jewish Faculty & Staff Group