EPC Unanimously Approved a Revised Minor in Jewish and Israel Studies  

On February 2020, the Education and Policy Committee, the committee in charge of Wesleyan’s academic curriculum, approved unanimously the Center for Jewish Studies’ proposal for a Revised Minor in Jewish and Israel Studies. This new multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary minor explores various academic areas such as Jewish religion, Jewish culture, Jewish letters and Israel Studies. Courses counted for this Minor are offered by Jewish and Israel core and affiliated faculty, Jewish and Israel distinguished visitors and other Wesleyan faculty.  Student theses with Jewish and Israel relevance across the disciplines as well as study abroad courses and Hebrew courses will be counted towards the five required courses for the Minor. The requirements for completing the Minor will be updated and listed in the Center for Jewish Studies website as well as the Registrar’s catalog. Students can declare the new Minor at the same time they declare their Majors. Students who are currently taking courses in Jewish and Israel Studies as well as faculty expressed their enthusiasm and support of this innovative new minor. Please contact the Director of the Center for Jewish Studies, Dalit Katz, dkatz01@wesleyan.edu for additional information.


Winners of the Best Jewish Studies Project Contest

The committee for the Best Jewish Studies Projects Awards has chosen two winners for the Best Jewish Studies Award: one in the creative category and one in the academic category. For the best creative project, the winner is Shayna Dollinger’s Abayudaya Radio Show. In this remarkable radio podcast, Shayna explores the Abayudaya, the unknown Jewish community in Uganda. The podcast moves elegantly and smoothly between Shayna serving as a journalist and the community’s rabbi whom she interviews. While exploring the subject, Shayna does not shy away from confronting controversial questions about the difficulties of Aliya (immigration to Israel) that members of the community face in light of the unfair and possibly racist attitude of the Israeli religious authorities and the establishment. For the best academic paper, the winner is Noah Kline’s paper on Memory in the Spotlight. Relaying on interviews with Spiegelman and other sources, Kline offers a fascinating analysis of Art Spiegelman canonical comic Maus that expands into existential and philosophical questions regarding truth and memory. While the issue of preserving the private Holocaust experiences of Spiegelman’s father from Auschwitz through graphic narration is brought to light by Kline in a thorough way, he explores  deeper questions: What is memory and does it represent the truth? How can we describe the reality of one person’s experience and translate it into a work of art? Is it possible to create a meaning out of someone else memories? Kline did a great job in this piece by articulating his philosophical questions while providing answers and suggestions for answers leaning on the multilayered complex work of Spiegelman.