Congratulations to the 2017 graduates!

On May 8th, 2017, the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies commended the newest alumni of Emory University for reaching a milestone in their education.

Greeted with bagels, coffee and other light snacks, the families of the graduates involved with TIJS celebrated in the Candler Library Seminar Room with the TIJS faculty and staff on Monday before Emory’s 172nd Commencement Ceremony took place.

Of the spring 2017 graduates, four were undergraduate students with a major in Jewish Studies and one was a Ph.D. student affiliated with the program; however, TIJS also used this moment to congratulate two other graduates who finished their coursework in the summer and fall of 2016.

Ethan Arbiser, Harrison Bleiberg, Sydney Hertz and Isabel Kornman were extremely excited to receive their Bachelor’s degrees on Monday. Despite their shared interest in Jewish Studies, they all differed in their plans for post-graduation.

  • Arbiser hopes to find full-time employment and plans to attend a graduate school and obtain his Master’s in Business Administration within the next few years.
  • Bleiberg has applied to be an Education Fellow with the Institute of Southern Jewish Life and is currently interviewing for the position. He wants to one day work in Jewish Education.
  • Hertz was a double major in Jewish Studies and English. She decided to major in Jewish Studies to help build her understanding of the Jewish religion and culture but is now seeking employment in tech/advertising.
  • Kornman was a double major in Jewish Studies and Comparative Literature. She hopes to obtain a fellowship or job for a couple of years until she attends law school.

(Ethan Arbiser) - (Ursula Blumenthal, Prof. David Blumenthal and the Bleibergs)

(Professor David Blumenthal with Isabel Kornman)

Cory Driver was equally excited to graduate with a Ph.D in Religion at commencement on Monday (Picture left with with his advisor Don Seeman). Previously a TIJS Fellow, Driver received a number of grants and awards from TIJS for research, travel, etc. His dissertation, entitled ‘“Yours or Ours?” Muslims Performing Selfhood in Moroccan Jewish Cemeteries,’ asks how Moroccan Muslims use performance of affiliation with the former Moroccan Jewish community to create their social identities and develop their idealized moral selfhood. He is currently teaching at the Council on International Education Exchange and has taught courses on Contemporary Moroccan Culture and Society, Arab Spring and Qur'an in translation, but hopes to soon teach courses he developed on Jewish Morocco and the History of Anthropology in Morocco.

In August of 2016, Josey Bridges Snyder (pictured right) got her Ph.D. in Religion. Her dissertation title was "Looking Back at Lot's Wife: A Reception-Critical Character Study.” She is currently spending quality time with her family and newborn baby before returning to work.

Emmy Firestone’s accomplishments were also celebrated on Monday by TIJS. Firestone graduated in the fall of 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Jewish Studies. She has since been working full-time and plans to attend graduate school to become a physician assistant.

TIJS is proud to wish these recent graduates well as they embark on their different professional and educational journeys and look forward to hearing about future achievements.

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