After more than 40 years at Wesleyan. Professor Jeremy Zwelling is retiring this year. When Professor Zwelling arrived at Wesleyan in 1967, the University, like many others in the country, had no program in Jewish Studies. The field as a whole was just beginning to develop. The Association for Jewish Studies (the AJS) was not founded till two years later, 1969. But Jeremy Zwelling had a vision: to bring to Wesleyan Jewish Studies at its best, focusing on highest quality scholarship and cultural progamming. Over the decades, the field of Jewish studies has matured–the AJS now has over 1800 members– and so has the Program at Wesleyan. We now have eight core faculty contributing to the program, and five additional faculty affiliated with the program. We offer a wide range of courses in several departments. JIS at Wesleyan is one of the most active programs contributing academic and cultural events to a broader Wesleyan and Middletown Communities.
Last year, there were seven public events organized by JIS in the fall alone, some within classes taught in JIS. They included lectures and film showings. One of the films was shown within the Middle Eastern Film Series, co-organized by Dalit Katz. In the Spring, we had the Ring Family Israeli Film Festival, organized by Dalit Katz. It included five new Israeli films, followed by a speaker. The JIS also coordinated two speakers within the Middle Eastern Studies Speaker Series. In April we had the annual Frankel Memorial Lecture. All this in addition to four academic public lectures organized within the JIS curriculum. Please, check this blog for announcements of events and news about the Program.
To be sure, Jeremy Zwelling’s retirement marks a turning point, a beginning of a new era. But Jewish and Israel Studies is strong and will continue to flourish. Since December 2009, Magda Teter has been the Director of Jewish and Israel Studies at Wesleyan. Jeremy Zwelling, though now retired, has promised to remain an active participant of the Wesleyan and Middletown community.
For a report on the event honoring Jeremy Zwelling on May 2, 2010, see Olivia Bartlett’s article in Wesleyan Connections.