Established in April 2003, the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies celebrated its 10th anniversary and achieved several milestones during the 2012-2013 academic year. Last year the Center launched a new undergraduate degree program in Jewish Studies, introduced a new certificate for graduate students, and created a new Capstone Course in Jewish Studies, an upper-level research seminar. Effective July 1, the Center embarked on its next decade of serving Carolina’s students and the local community, and coinciding with this new era is a change in faculty leadership. Professor Jonathan M. Hess, who has served as director of the Center since 2003, concluded his third term on June 30th.

von bernuth.vsmIncoming director is Ruth von Bernuth, who came to Carolina in 2008 as assistant professor of early modern German studies in the department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures. Her current research focuses on the relationship between Yiddish and German literature of the early modern period and beyond. In the 2011-2012 academic year, she was honored to receive the Yad Hanadiv Visiting Fellowship in Jewish Studies, which allowed her to spend a year in Jerusalem focusing on her research and to shape what will become her second book, How The Wise Men Got to Chelm. Professor von Bernuth has presented her research at prestigious academic conferences in North America, Europe and Israel.

ariel.vsmIncoming associate director is Yaakov Ariel, professor of Religious Studies, who has taught at Carolina since 1994. Professor Ariel’s body of research focuses on Evangelical Christianity and its attitudes toward the Jewish people and the Holy Land, on Christian-Jewish relations in the late modern era, and on the Jewish reaction to modernity and postmodernity. His book, Evangelizing the Chosen People, was awarded the Albert C. Outler prize by the American Society of Church History and his newest book, An Unusual Relationship: Evangelical Christians and Jews, was released this summer.

lambert.vsmAlso joining the Center’s administration as faculty liaison to the advisory board is David Lambert, assistant professor of Hebrew Bible in the department of Religious Studies. Professor Lambert, who came to Carolina in 2010, specializes in the Hebrew Bible, ancient Israelite religious practices, the history of biblical interpretation and the history of Jewish thought. He has been awarded numerous prestigious fellowships and honors and is currently completing his first book, The Bible Before Repentance.

“With Professor Hess’ dynamic leadership for its first decade, the Center for Jewish Studies has blossomed from a noble idea into a remarkably vibrant hub of scholarship and engagement,” said Terry Rhodes, senior associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences. “Now, as the Center begins its next era, the College welcomes an outstanding new leadership team. We are confident that Professors von Bernuth, Ariel and Lambert will continue to expand the programs offered through the Center to further enhance the campus and the greater community.”