Report on Jewish Studies

Rebecca BennetteBy Associate Professor of History Rebecca Bennette

As a faculty member in Jewish Studies, I’ve been able to see the program grow, as well as benefit from its many offerings. From attending lectures by world famous scholars visiting campus to support for field trips outside the classroom, I’ve been enriched by the program as both a scholar and a teacher. However, only upon becoming director this past year did I realize the time and planning required to make all these benefits available to the Middlebury community. So before going any further, I want to thank Professor Robert Schine for his many years as the head of Jewish Studies at Middlebury.

Jewish Studies at Middlebury continues to grow. We’ve been able to put together a wide-ranging group of professors who have appointments in various departments across the college, but for the first time this past year, Jewish Studies has become the primary appointment for one faculty member. Ted Sasson, though no newcomer to the College, now calls the Jewish Studies program home. This change also allows Jewish Studies to receive a course catalog prefix of its own and to begin officially cross-listing courses with other departments. This will make it easier for students to locate classes that fulfill our minor requirements.

Last year the Jewish Studies faculty offered courses across the curriculum in six departments. Notably, Modern Hebrew continues at Middlebury with Professor Orian Zakai offering instruction in both Hebrew language and Israeli literature. And in the upcoming school year, our offerings will expand to include new courses taught by Professor Nir Avieli, visiting from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and by Professor Shalom Goldman, who will be joining the Department of Religion.

Jewish Studies also helped bring several speakers to campus for a variety of public lectures and workshops. We both cosponsored events with other departments and programs and held our own. Of particular note this year was the Quint Lecture, where Professor Maud Mandel of Brown University delivered to a standing-room-only crowd on the timely topic of “Muslims and Jews in France: History of a Conflict.”