Who [is Mark Hurvitz?]

Mark Samuel Hurvitz

I was born in Spring­field, MA but grew up in Los Ange­les, CA. I have had an extreme­ly var­ied involve­ment in Jew­ish life. I attend­ed a Work­man’s Cir­cle Sun­day School for a cou­ple of years but became a Bar Mitz­vah and was con­firmed at a Con­ser­v­a­tive syn­a­gogue. As a teenag­er I was involved in AZA, Habon­im and Young Judaea, the last of which I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to trav­el to and study in Israel with for a year fol­low­ing high school grad­u­a­tion in 1964.

After return­ing from Israel, I received a Bach­e­lor of Arts degree in music, with a focus on the recorder, from Cal­i­for­nia State Col­lege at Los Ange­les in 1972. My com­po­si­tion “Feb­ru­ary, 1969” [Feb­ru­ary 1969 (per­for­mance ver­sion of May 22–23, 1969): Ten refrig­er­a­tors that cycle at least twice an hour are plugged in and arranged around a pedes­tri­an path­way in two fac­ing semi­cir­cles of five each with the uncov­ered motors fac­ing the cen­ter. With­in the semi­cir­cles, the refrig­er­a­tors must be near­ly touch­ing each oth­er.] was per­formed at the Cal State LA Envi­ron­men­tal Events Fine Arts Fes­ti­val and my com­po­si­tion “ShRQ” for unac­com­pa­nied alto recorder was pub­lished in “Tree” mag­a­zine, a jour­nal devot­ed to Jew­ish mys­ti­cism. Dur­ing the ear­ly 1970’s I played recorder with “The Fair­fax Five” a group of young Jew­ish activists who per­formed at var­i­ous street fairs in the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty. In addi­tion to these, broth­er and I had a week­ly radio pro­gram on lis­ten­er sup­port­ed Paci­fi­ca radio sta­tion KPFK called “Catch­ing Up”. Dur­ing one of these evenings we per­formed (with the lis­ten­ing audi­ence) my com­po­si­tion Decem­ber 1968

Dur­ing that peri­od I became a leader in Hashomer Hatzair, and after the June 1967 war in Israel, I became involved in the Jew­ish stu­dent move­ment of the peri­od. My great­est involve­ment was my par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Jew­ish Rad­i­cal Com­mu­ni­ty which held week­ly Shab­bat cel­e­bra­tions and which attempt­ed to raise the con­scious­ness of the Jews of Los Ange­les regard­ing such issues as the Viet­nam War and the farm work­ers’ strike as well as Jew­ish edu­ca­tion and the cru­cial role of the Pales­tin­ian peo­ple in a peace set­tle­ment for Israel. I was hired as part of the exper­i­men­tal ombuds­man staff of the Youth Depart­ment of the Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion-Coun­cil of Greater Los Ange­les to help devel­op bet­ter rela­tions between Jew­ish youth and the “estab­lish­ment.” On the edi­to­r­i­al board at its incep­tion (1970), I became the sec­ond edi­tor of DAVKA, a mag­a­zine pub­lished by and for Jew­ish youth in the Los Ange­les area. I served in that capac­i­ty until com­plet­ing my BA in 1973.

I entered Hebrew Union Col­lege-Jew­ish Insti­tute of Reli­gion in 1973 and was in Israel on the first year of the rab­binic pro­gram dur­ing the Yom Kip­pur War. After study­ing for two years in Los Ange­les, I was ordained from the Cincin­nati cam­pus in June of 1978. My rab­binic the­sis dealt with a study of ear­ly Hebrew print­ing as depict­ed in the respon­sa, codes and the ear­li­est haskamot (rab­binic appro­ba­tions).

For two years I worked with the Lead­er­ship Devel­op­ment Divi­sion of the UJA-Fed­er­a­tion Cam­paign of New York where I served both as a Staff Asso­ciate in charge of edu­ca­tion­al and com­mu­ni­ty action pro­gram­ming and as Direc­tor. From 1980 through 1982, I was a rab­bi at Tem­ple B’nai Abra­ham of Liv­ingston, New Jer­sey. I was the Assis­tant Direc­tor of SHAMOR of the Nation­al Jew­ish Resource Cen­ter, respon­si­ble for devel­op­ing and pre­sent­ing cours­es on Jew­ish val­ues for UJA-Fed­er­a­tion lead­er­ship and Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of CHEVRA, a nation­al group of Con­ser­v­a­tive, Ortho­dox, Recon­struc­tion­ist and Reform rab­bis and aca­d­e­mics study­ing togeth­er to work toward a com­mon agen­dum. I was also the rab­binic facil­i­ta­tor of Chavu­rah Beth Chai of Mahopac, New York.

I was the rab­bi of the New York Soci­ety for the Deaf and the Hebrew Asso­ci­a­tion for the Deaf. In that capac­i­ty I lead ser­vices in Amer­i­can Sign Lan­guage and orga­nized a youth, as well as a young adults group, to reach out to the many young deaf Jews who have no con­tact with the Deaf Jew­ish Com­mu­ni­ty. I was also the edi­tor of “Zeroa Netuyah” a nation­al newslet­ter (now defunct) for pro­fes­sion­als deal­ing with issues of being Jew­ish and deaf.

Before mov­ing to the San Diego area, I was the rab­bi of B’nai Keshet, the Mont­clair Jew­ish Cen­ter, a Recon­struc­tion­ist con­gre­ga­tion in sub­ur­ban New Jer­sey.

I am inter­est­ed in a wide vari­ety of sub­jects. I have a Mas­ters degree in Library Sci­ence from Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty in New Jer­sey. Par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in the unique­ness of con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can Jew­ish life, I also pur­sued advanced stud­ies in Con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can Jew­ish pop­u­lar cul­ture. I have pub­lished a num­ber of arti­cles deal­ing with var­i­ous aspects of our com­mu­ni­ty and col­lect arti­facts and ephemera that depict the val­ues and the accep­tance of Jew­ish life in Amer­i­ca. My col­lec­tion of Juda­ic lapel but­tons has been dis­played in syn­a­gogues, Jew­ish Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­ters and Libraries around the coun­try, and selec­tions of it have on dis­play at the HUC Skir­ball Muse­um in Los Ange­les and in an exhib­it on Jew­ish Humor at the Sper­tus Muse­um in Chica­go.

For all the years we lived in San Diego, I was the part time rab­bi of Con­gre­ga­tion Etz Chaim of Ramona and remain asso­ci­at­ed with this won­der­ful group of peo­ple.

I am Vice Pres­i­dent for Com­mu­ni­ca­tions of Nis­us Soft­ware Inc. a soft­ware pub­lish­ing com­pa­ny which makes Nis­us Writer Pro and Nis­us Writer Express (pro­nounced “Nice us” a good Eng­lish word that means an endeav­or, or effort), easy to use and pow­er­ful award win­ning word pro­cess­ing pro­grams (Joe Kissell’s lat­est review) and a vari­ety of oth­er use­ful tools.

I have taught the Intro­duc­tion to Judaism class of the UAHC (now URJ) at least once a year for near­ly twen­ty years in New York, New Jer­sey and San Diego. I enjoyed teach­ing the class not only because of the joy I receive in expe­ri­enc­ing some­one’s first adult response to Judaism, but also because the vari­ety of approach­es I per­ceive enrich my own aware­ness of the beau­ties and excite­ment of Jew­ish life.

I live in New York City. I am mar­ried to Deb­o­rah R. Prinz, Rab­bi Emeri­ta of Tem­ple Adat Shalom in Poway, Cal­i­for­nia, now the Direc­tor of Pro­gram and Mem­ber Ser­vices of the Cen­tral Con­fer­ence of Amer­i­can Rab­bis. We have two chil­dren, Avi­gail and Noam who now live in Brook­lyn, NY. My moth­er Faye Hurvitz died in July of 2005; I have a sis­ter who retired from 30 years as a social work­er for the Jew­ish Board of Fam­i­ly and Chil­dren’s Ser­vices in New York, and a broth­er in Israel who lives with his fam­i­ly on kib­butz Hat­zor and who is lucky enough to be able to merge work with play through earn­ing a liv­ing spe­cial­iz­ing in the uses of the inter­net in the edu­ca­tion­al process.

Hurvitz || Prinz || Avrunin

Ego Surfing
(Wherein I look for people with my name on the WWW.)

Rabbis With Web Sites

What would it be like if I took a(n almost) daily picture?

© Mark Hurvitz
Last mod­i­fied Mon­day; June 13, 2011

1 Response to Who [is Mark Hurvitz?]

  1. Domethra L Ray says:

    Hel­lo Mark, I remem­ber work­ing with you at UJA-Fed­er­a­tion in MY years ago. I was hap­py to read about you & your works. It’s been a lot of years.
    May you con­tin­ue to do the good works you began in your youth. Per­haps our paths will cross again. ‍♀️

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