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Director’s Message: A Welcoming Community


I am delighted to introduce myself as the director of the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies. My colleague Ruth von Bernuth has done a fantastic job as director for the past nine years, and I am sure that she will continue to guide us wisely from behind the stage as we move into this new phase of development. She has set us up for success as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Center this academic year, with all sorts of exciting events planned for spring 2023.

I arrived at UNC Chapel Hill in Fall 2017 as the G.L. Paddison Professor of Classics, and quickly discovered a welcoming community of friends and colleagues, both in my home department and at the Center. As I attended more Center events, I realized how much I enjoyed the interdisciplinary nature of the Center, and its focus on Jewish culture, history, religion, and language. As someone whose research centers on ancient Greek and Latin literature, I was pleased to find intellectual connections among colleagues in religious studies, Yiddish, and German. As someone whose parents were German Jews who became refugees in the late 1930s, I was pleased to find personal connections among community members and visitors to our campus.

As I begin my tenure, I will be ably assisted by Michele Rivkin-Fish (associate professor, department of anthropology) our associate director, and Karen Gajewski (M.A.), our executive director. We are thrilled to announce a new hire: Jillian Hinderliter (assistant professor, department of gender and women’s studies and Carolina Center for Jewish Studies), who is the Moses M. and Hannah L. Malkin Fellow in Jewish History and Culture, and will contribute to our Center’s academic strengths. This spring she teaches “A Social History of Jewish Women in America.” We hope to move forward with more faculty hires this coming academic year. While the Center will continue its efforts to focus on Jewish history and culture, we also welcome the challenge of keeping an open and safe space for conversations about antisemitism, both locally and (inter)nationally, whether in our lecture series or in our community outreach programs.

We encourage you to keep an eye out for our upcoming programming for the 20th anniversary, especially the major celebration on campus on March 2, 2023. We would love to see you at any of our regular events, which occur both in person and on Zoom.

I hope you share our sense of pride as we reflect on all that has been accomplished these past 20 years and that you also eagerly look forward to our third decade of excellence. All our academic and outreach programming is made possible by private support, and everyone affiliated with the Center is very grateful for your generous donations. If you haven’t already renewed your support of the Center, you may use the enclosed envelope or visit our website ( to make a secure, online gift. With your help and participation, I look forward to an amazing year ahead!


Patricia A. Rosenmeyer

Seymour and Carol Levin Distinguished Term Professor and

Director, Carolina Center for Jewish Studies

G.L. Paddison Professor of Classics, department of classics

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