July 2014: A team led by our archaeologist Jodi Magness has discovered a third mosaic in ongoing synagogue excavations at Huqoq, in Lower Galilee. This new mosaic is the first time a non-Biblical story has been found decorating any ancient synagogue. UNC students participated in the dig, including seven who were supported by grants from the Center, shown at right.
Summer 2014 interviews with Professor Magness:
A new IMAX film featuring our own Jodi Magness is coming to Raleigh’s Marbles Museum. Filmed in 3D for the giant screen, Jerusalem immerses audiences into one of the world’s most beloved cities. Discover why this tiny piece of land is sacred to three major religions through the stories of Jewish, Christian and Muslim families who call Jerusalem home. Join renowned archaeologist and UNC Distinguished Professor, Dr. Jodi Magness, as she travels underground to solve some of this city’s greatest mysteries. Unprecedented access to the city’s holiest sites, as well as rare and breathtaking aerial footage of the Old City and the Holy Land, combine to make Jerusalem a unique and stunning cinematic experience. The Raleigh opening: Saturday, February 22, 2014. Length: 40 minutes. Visit Marbles Museum for screening details. On March 2nd, the alumni association is hosting a talk by Professor Magness and film screening. For details, and to register, please visit the alumni association.
A Modern Approach to Classical Hebrew: Carolina’s Classical Hebrew program in the Department of Religious Studies recently underwent a major transformation, leading to a significant increase in the number of students enrolled. The new two-course sequence in Classical Hebrew (RELI 211 and 212) incorporate historical and cultural content into the courses while still maintaining the grammar instruction necessary for further Biblical study.
Faculty Leadership Changes for 2013 – 2014: As the Center embarks on its second decade of excellence, a new team of faculty leadership take the helm. The new director is Professor Ruth von Bernuth, who came to Carolina in 2008 as assistant professor of early modern German studies. Yaakov Ariel has assumed the role of Associate Director, and David Lambert is now the faculty liaison to the advisory board.
Graduate Student Profile: Anna Kushkova: When Anna Kushkova, of St. Petersburg, Russia, arrived at Carolina to begin her Ph.D. program in Anthropology, she already had more than a decade of career experience, much of which was focused on studies of Jewish communities in Russia, Ukraine and Moldova.
Samson Mosaic Found: Professor Jodi Magness and Carolina students had another eventful summer at the excavation site of a Late Roman synagogue in Huqoq, Galilee. In summer 2012, the group discovered a stunning floor mosaic showing Samson and the foxes. This summer, they found another mosaic which shows Samson carrying the gate of Gaza on his shoulders.
New Advisory Board members: Joining the Center’s Advisory Board this year are Peter Boneparth ’80 and Felix Lurye ’03. And a former board member, Allen Fields ’60, ’65, is returning to the board.
Graduate Student Recruitment: This spring was the first time the Center offered “top off” grants to prospective graduate students with an interest in a field of Jewish Studies. The grants were offered as part of a comprehensive recruitment package. Both students who were offered the top off grants ultimately did choose to come to Carolina for their graduate studies: Rachel Gelfand in American Studies and Alejandro Moreiras in Religious Studies.
Grant to UNC Library: A grant of $25,000 from the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation will help build collections in the field of Jewish Studies at the UNC Libraries.
Inside this edition: Ten Reasons to Celebrate In spring 2003, a group of Carolina faculty, administrators and alumni banded together to lay out an ambitious plan for Jewish Studies at Carolina — a particularly bold plan for a state-funded research university located in the American South. In the ensuing decade, the goals that were initially considered rather audacious started to be achieved, one by one, with the top goal, an undergraduate major in Jewish Studies, being accomplished this academic year. Check out our top 10 reasons to celebrate 10 years of excellence.
Transformative Gift for Graduate Student Recruitment and Support Former members of the TEP fraternity have committed a total of $875,000 to support Carolina’s students. The new Tau Epsilon Phi Fund for Jewish Studies will support graduate students working on topics in Jewish Studies in varying stages of their academic careers.
Jewish Studies and the Carolina Difference: A Vision for the Next Decade of Excellence When the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies was created in 2003, we had a clear sense that building a program in Jewish Studies at Carolina would be different. The goal for the next decade is to make the Carolina program a nationally recognized leader in the field. Achieving this depends on our ability to continue to develop innovative curricular offerings, to expand our network of faculty across disciplines, and to promote interdisciplinary research and teaching that reflect our global and historical approach.
Graduate Student Profile: Naomi Graber
This May, Naomi Graber will earn the doctorate in musicology that has been her dream since attending a conservatory summer camp when she was 15. After attending Brandeis University as an undergraduate, she came to the Carolina Department of Music in 2007 with the initial interest in studying Mozart. In the course of a research project, however, she stumbled across a new subject, which has evolved into her dissertation on the American works of the Jewish-German composer Kurt Weill, who fled Nazi Germany in 1933.
Graduate Student Profile: Patrick Tobin
Patrick Tobin was drawn to Carolina in order to work with Christopher Browning, the Frank Porter Graham Distinguished Professor of History, who is one of the preeminent scholars on the Holocaust. “I honestly didn’t know a lot about North Carolina before applying, but I knew about Professor Browning. I’d read his book, Ordinary Men, as an undergraduate and it wholly reshaped my interests. Prior to that, I’d been learning ancient Greek and preparing for some kind of future in Classics. But Professor Browning’s book got me interested in Holocaust studies, so I dropped Greek for German and began to pursue UNC.”
From the Director’s Desk: Reflecting on the Past, Planning for the Future With this issue of News from the Center, we invite you to take a moment to reflect on the past decade with pride. But we also want to focus your attention on what lies ahead.
Faculty and Student Grant Awards Thanks to generous private support, this year the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies was able to offer more funding awards than ever before to undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty. Funding for these awards was made possible by the Howard R. Levine Student Excellence Fund, the Rhonda A. and Robert Hillel Silver Fund for Graduate Support, the Jerry and Huddy Cohen Faculty Excellence Fund, the Joseph Kittner endowment fund, the Shapiro / ZBT Undergraduate Research Fund, the Advisory Board Director’s Expendable Fund, and the Fund for Jewish Studies.
News Briefs: ALUMNUS WINS NATIONAL AWARD: T. Fielder Valone Jr.’s UNC honors thesis recently won a national award from the American Historical Association. The Raymond J. Cunningham Prize for the best article by an undergraduate published in a history department journal was awarded to Valone for his research paper titled Destroying the Ties that Bind: Rituals of Humiliation and the Holocaust in Provincial Lithuania.
DISTINGUISHED FACULTY APPOINTMENT: Jonathan M. Hess, director of the Center, was recently honored at a reception for newly appointed distinguished faculty. The College of Arts and Sciences awards distinguished professorships to selected faculty for their outstanding research and teaching
PRESTIGIOUS HONOR: The Stanford Humanities Center has awarded a faculty fellowship for 2013–14 to Yaron Shemer, the Levine/Sklut Fellow in Jewish Studies and assistant professor of Modern Hebrew Literature and Israeli Culture in the Department of Asian Studies. This is a highly selective, residential fellowship which offers Professor Shemer a full year to focus on his research at the Stanford campus.
10TH ANNIVERSARY FUND FOR JEWISH STUDIES CHALLENGE: As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations, the Center initiated a challenge for annual fund supporters to increase their unrestricted contributions that are so vital to the Center’s programs.