As I write this, I am completing a year as interim director of TIJS, filling in while Jeffrey Lesser has been on leave. It has been a busy and productive year despite the absence of many of our most involved faculty members.
Last fall, we welcomed Cornelia Wilhelm—professor of history at Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität München—as a visiting professor in history and Jewish Studies under the sponsorship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Wilhelm has taught courses on the German-Jewish experience both in Germany and America. This September, we look forward to welcoming a new tenure-track faculty member, Ellie Schainker, who will be jointly appointed in the Departments of History and Jewish Studies. Schainker—who was a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies this past year—is a specialist in the history of Russian Jews and will be teaching courses at Emory on modern European Jewish history.
The large number of faculty leaves this year reflects the fact that TIJS boasts a core faculty of eighteen members who collectively have one of the stronger research profiles of any academic unit at Emory. They have been scattered across the country and the globe this year, supported by a number of prestigious research fellowships and grants. Jeffrey Lesser was a senior fellow at Emory's Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry and also held the Sackler Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Tel Aviv University. Miriam Udel was a Harry Starr Fellow at Harvard University's Center for Jewish Studies, and Benjamin Hary was a senior fellow at the University of Michigan's Frankel Institute for Jewish Studies. Hary also was named this year as one of Emory's Winship Distinguished Research Professors.
Several TIJS core faculty members received awards this year that will allow them to go on research leave in 2011–2012, including Jacob Wright, who was awarded an NEH Faculty Fellowship (the only one given in the field of biblical studies and the only one given to an Emory faculty member in 2010). I will be on leave during spring 2012 to complete my book on the reading culture of Jewish immigrants in the United States.
Major core faculty publications in 2010–2011 include Deborah Lipstadt's The Eichmann Trial, which already has won critical acclaim in the New York Times Book Review and many other major media outlets. In addition, during the spring 2011 semester, Lipstadt was nominated by President Obama to serve on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. This position is one of great distinction and underscores Lipstadt's leading role in Holocaust scholarship in the United States and internationally. See more news of TIJS faculty achievement.
During academic year 2010–2011, we have put in place our new major in Jewish Studies, which replaced an older model of undergraduate education with a more carefully structured set of requirements that expose students both to a range of disciplinary approaches to Jewish Studies as well as to the range of chronological periods in which Jewish civilizations have taken shape. Our burgeoning Yiddish program has been one of the most successful new language programs introduced at Emory in recent years and has broadened the number of languages students may study in order to complete the major. We also have rolled out this year a new core course for our majors and minors titled "Introduction to Jewish Studies," which supports the goals of the new curriculum in offering students an orientation to the many disciplinary approaches one may utilize in studying Jewish societies and cultures. Our thanks to William Gilders for inaugurating that course.
Our study abroad programs at Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem continue to thrive and allow our students to extend and enrich the intellectual work they complete on campus. In addition, this past summer, Benjamin Hary again has led the very successful Sephardic Jewish Culture summer program in Europe.
The James T. Laney Graduate School approved the new Certificate Program in Jewish Studies, which was launched in fall 2011. The program formalizes the role of TIJS as a resource, bridge, and clearinghouse for PhD students in various departments. It requires a mixture of course work, language training, interaction with Jewish Studies faculty through exams and dissertation work, and participation in a common course or seminar. The program provides needed support and a greater sense of academic community for students in departments without dedicated faculty in Jewish Studies, and it will enhance the experience of students in "anchor" departments by increasing their exposure to cross-disciplinary perspectives.
In fall 2010, four graduate students received the TIJS top-off fellowship (which offers them a supplement to their regular stipend), bringing the number of TIJS Fellows to eight. Read about these students and find more news about graduate students.
Our Faculty/Graduate Student Seminar in Jewish Studies again brought several leading scholars to campus this year and continued to attract a stunning array of participants from almost every department and unit in Emory College of Arts and Sciences and the Laney Graduate School, as well as many participants from other schools at Emory. Read about talks by guest speakers Sara Japhet, Rothschild Lecturer Marc Dollinger, and Tenenbaum Lecturer Jeremy Dauber.
Also in this issue of the TIJS newsletter, alumna Marni Davis writes about her experience as a graduate student at Emory, and we congratulate the students who graduated during the 2010–2011 academic year. You also may view this year's photo gallery.
We are grateful to the generous donors who make so many of the special programs of TIJS possible. Please join us in thanking them for their support.
As always, for the most current information on TIJS, please visit our website at js.emory.edu.
Director, Tam Institute for Jewish Studies