Thanks to the generosity of the Salata Family, The UJC is able to bring world- class scholars and artists to The UJC several times a year for a weekend of in-depth learning and celebration. Previous scholars have included Peter Cole and Adina Hoffman, Alan Cooper, Galeet Dardashti, Reuven Firestone, Lawrence Hoffman, Danny Matt, and Or Rose. During the 2019/2020 year, The UJC is looking forward to hosting:


UJC Scholar-In-Residence
January 17th-19th, 2020
Linguist, Translator, and Master Teacher
Holy Text/Holy Tongue: What You Didn’t Learn in Religious School About the Bible and the Hebrew Language

(This program is made possible through the generous sponsorship of the Salata Family.)


Friday, 17th January 2020
8:00 AM“Coffee Talk” with Dr. Hoffman
An informal opportunity to meet our scholar and learn about his work and background.
Venue: Rabbi’s apartment (Apt. 3C, One Robinson Place)


7:00 PMThe Bible Doesn’t Say That! Mistranslations, Misconceptions, and Misunderstandings of the TaNaKH
Like the game of telephone that prompts children to pass messages around a circle, hundreds of generations have handed translations of the Bible one to another, along the way distorting the original meaning.  Unlike in the children’s game, we still have the original.  Learn what the Bible really says.
Dr. Hoffman will speak at services and the discussion will continue at Shabbat Dinner.
Venue: UJC Sanctuary
Shabbat Dinner Cost: HK$200 (Adult), HK$70 (Children up to 12)


Saturday, 18th January 2020
9:30 AMHow Do We Know What Hebrew Words Really Mean?
How do translators of the Bible approach their work?  What tools can we use to uncover ancient meanings?  How can modern Jews understand ancient Hebrew?  An eye-opening study session for those who approach the Biblical text in translation or in its original language.
A bagel breakfast will be served.
Venue: Rabbi’s apartment (Apt. 3C, One Robinson Place)


7:30 PM On the Bible’s Cutting Room Floor
What happened to Adam and Eve after they left the Garden of Eden?  What was Abraham like as a child?  Who are the Watchers?  And why aren’t any of these stories in your Bible?  Learn about the fascinating ancient texts that were cut from the Bible, and discover what they can teach us about the Bible and about our lives today.
Venue: Rabbi’s apartment (Apt. 3C, One Robinson Place)


Sunday, 19th January 2020
10:30 AMThe Story of Hebrew: Three Thousand Years of Jewish Continuity
An exploration of the remarkable history that links the Jewish people to its historic language and identity through time: the fascinating story of how Hebrew began, why almost every written alphabet today can trace its roots to Hebrew, how Hebrew developed, where the text of the Bible comes from, the relevance of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient manuscripts, and finally how modern Israeli Hebrew developed.
Venue: UJC Sanctuary


For all events, please RSVP to the UJC office ( by Thursday, 16th January.

About Dr. Joel Hoffman:
Dr. Hoffman is the chief translator for the popular 10-volume series, My People’s Prayer Book (winner of the National Jewish Book Award) and for My People’s Passover Haggadah.  He is the author of the critically acclaimed In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language and of And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original MeaningThe Bible’s Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing From Your Bible, and The Bible Doesn’t Say That: 40 Biblical Mistranslations, Misconceptions, and Other Misunderstandings.  Dr. Hoffman holds a Ph.D. in linguistics and has served on the faculties of Brandeis University and Hebrew Union College.