The Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted unanimously yesterday to grant the Jewish Studies Program permanent status. This is a wonderful achievement and we should be celebrating and thanking one another for all of our hard work over the years.
Special thanks go to those who were involved in founding the program twenty years ago, including Susan Ackerman, Ehud Benor, Shalom Goldman, Marianne Hirsch, Larry Kritzman, Leo Spitzer, and Barry Scherr. And to those who have chaired the program over the years: Leo Spitzer, Annelise Orleck, and Ehud Benor. Irene Kacandes, Klaus Milich, Steve Kangas, Alan Lelchuk and Barbara Krieger have been wonderful supporters and faculty members since the early years. More recently, we have been joined by Jonathan Smolin, Yuliya Komska, Nadav Samin, Udi Greenberg, and Bernard Avishai, and we welcome their participation. Sadly, Michael Bronski, who has been teaching large classes of enthusiastic students for over a decade, will be leaving us and we will miss him very much.
Our program is obviously highly respected on campus and we are grateful to all those who have taught courses and who will be teaching in the future. Most wonderful is the growing collegiality with other departments, including German Studies, History, Middle East Studies, Religion, English, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Sociology, Comparative Literature, and Government. Our current deans, Mike Mastanduno and Lynn Higgins, have been very supportive and generous, and we thank them.
We are also grateful to Clyde and Diane Brownstone, whose generous endowment has made it possible for us to bring to campus some of the most interesting scholars in the field, including Ruth Kark, Elliot Wolfson, Jonathan Boyarin, Danny Rubinstein, Sidra Ezrahi, Bryan Cheyette, among others. The Brownstones have also come to campus to hear the inaugural lectures of our visitors, and we have enjoyed their enthusiastic presence at our events and look forward to welcoming them back to Dartmouth soon and often. We also look forward to welcoming Sylvie Anne Goldberg, from the Ecole des hautes etudes, as our Brownstone Visiting Professor this fall.
We have also benefited from Dartmouth's Harris Professorship, through whose generosity we have brought professors to campus from Germany, including Christina von Braun, Andreas Gotzmann, Christian Wiese, Sibylle Quack, Micha Brumlik, and Hartman Lehmann; we now have three nominations pending. Our informal alliance with the Zentrum jüdische Studien in Berlin is encouraging post-doctoral students in Jewish Studies to come to Dartmouth for extended visits, and that enriches our program as well. We have also welcomed many visitors from Israel, including our forthcoming visiting professor, Hillel Cohen, from Hebrew University, who will teach this summer.
I also want to thank Alison Bernstein, formerly vice-president of the Ford Foundation, for grants that have enabled us to hold many important conferences on campus, particularly on topics related to Jewish Studies/Islamic Studies. Those conferences became the foundation for our current congenial relationship with Middle East Studies at Dartmouth.
Our bibliographer at Berry Library, William Fontaine, and Hazen Allen, at Jones Media Center, have been very accommodating in purchasing needed books and films for the program, and we thank them for their attentiveness to our needs. We have been fortunate to have the assistance of wonderful administrators, including Margaret Brannen, Meredyth Morley, Karen deRosa, and our current team of Therese Perin-Deville, Carol Bean-Carmody, and Bise Wood Saint Eugene.
Leon Black has been the mainstay of the program, and it is thanks to him that we have our teaching faculty and our lectures. For his continuing generosity to the Program and to Dartmouth, we are all deeply grateful.
Most of all, we are fortunate to teach extraordinary students, and they have been flocking in ever increasing numbers to our courses. Our classes are fabulous, and our Jewish Studies Program will certainly continue to flourish in the years ahead.
Let us raise a glass and toast our friends, our students, our faculty, and our magnificent program! To Dartmouth!
Professor Susannah Heschel
Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies
Chair, Jewish Studies Program
Hanover, NH 03755