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 Sarah outside LOC 2 Sarah Workman’s first semester at Carolina found her, begrudgingly, in a fantasy literature class. She enrolled in the course simply to meet a requirement for a 20th Century American Literature credit, but as it turns out, the class laid the foundation for her dissertation. Workman’s project examines how enchantment mediates history in contemporary Jewish American literature. She is exploring fantasy genres, magic, a return to the folkloric, whimsical nature of Yiddish storytelling, and how these elements frame the reader’s relationship to the past. Read the profile. Publish Date: Fall 2015
 Woelk.vsm Emma Woelk: A study abroad program offering the opportunity to work in a German science lab seemed the ideal experience for Emma Woelk, then a junior at Vassar College who intended to build a science career. Instead, the program served as a wake-up call that changed the course of her life.”I soon realized that what really interested me was not a science workbench, but German culture and history,” said Woelk. In May 2015, she became the first graduate student to complete the Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies and the first to earn the Graduate Student Certificate in Jewish Studies at Carolina. Read the profile. Publish Date: Spring 2015 




Guy Shalev, having grown up in a middle-class suburb of Tel Aviv, says he never met any Palestinians. The homogenous secular Ashkenazi Jewish environment in which he had grown up was not unusual given Israel’s segregated education system and communities.

“Toward the end of my military service, I started questioning the world around me and I had an urge to explore my surroundings firsthand,” said Shalev.
Read the profile. Publish Date: Fall 2014

kessler  By Samuel Kessler:  “For anyone who spends even a little time in Jewish studies, one quickly learns that the National Library in Jerusalem is full of characters and an endless number of anecdotes about them. What I came to the NLI to find is contained in 82 folders spread over three boxes. To start my work each morning I sit at a desk and am handed a folder—I began with number one and will end with number 82. The excitement of this life is in the minutia: I never quite know what I will find when I open each new folder.”
Read the profile. Publish Date: Fall 2014
kushkova  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. Read the profile. Publish Date: Fall 2013
graber.crop.vs 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. 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. The decision to focus on the acclaimed composer of The Threepenny Opera took even Graber by surprise. “I knew ‘Mack the Knife,’ and that was it,” she admits. “But I started listening to his work more and fell in love with it.”
Read the profile. Publish Date: Spring 2013
tobin.crop.vs 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.”
Read the profile. Publish Date: Spring 2013
gaskill.vsm.2012 Stephanie Gaskill: While pursuing her Master’s degree in History, Stephanie Gaskill became fascinated by the role religion plays in foreign policy decisions. Now in the Religious Studies department, Gaskill focuses on America’s religious history. “Carolina’s program was a perfect fit for me because I am able to work with two incredible faculty members who are experts in my two main areas of interest.” Read the profile. Publish Date: Spring 2012
duncan.topkapi.vsm Carrie Duncan:  From conducting archaeological digs in Israel and Jordan, to deciphering ancient inscriptions, to teaching undergraduates to read Biblical Hebrew, Carrie Duncan is  exploring cultural idenities in the Middle East and sharing her work with Carolina’s students. “One of the things I’ve loved the most has been the opportunity to bring Judaism and Jewish Studies to a group and culture that is not often exposed to it.”
Read the profile. Publish Date: Winter 2011
vanryn.workshop.vsm.11 Ria Van Ryn: Sociology student Ria Van Ryn started teaching eigth grade Muslim and Jewish students as part of her research efforts on minority identity. The project evolved from teaching them about each other’s traditions and values, until ultimately one day the young students met face to face for a day that none would ever forget.  “The day of the workshop was one of the most fulfilling of my life. The kids were all so excited, and it was just amazing to see how quickly they connected. I’ve had nothing but positive reactions from the school communities as well as others around the country who want to learn more about the program.”
Read the profile. Publish Date: Spring 2011
gindi.vsm Joseph Gindi: Upon learning that Professor Jonathan Boyarin had joined the Religious Studies department, Joseph Gindi started to seriously research graduate opportunities at Carolina. The more he learned, the more he became excited about studying with truly excellent scholars in American religion, anthropology of religion, and philosophy of religion. “The Center for Jewish Studies has been an important, perhaps even essential, part of my graduate experience at UNC. First, it has helped bring new faculty members to campus. And second, through its many events, the Center has enabled me to connect personally with scholars from across the vast field of Jewish Studies..” Read the profile. Publish Date: Spring 2009
 RichardBenson_resized Richard Benson: The first ever meeting of the Jewish Studies Graduate Student Network brought together graduate students from across campus to connect through their shared interest in Jewish culture. At this first meeting were students from several departments, including History, German Languages and Literatures, Religious Studies and Communications Studies, who came together to discuss two chapters of Richard Benson dissertation which focused on the stories of Martin Buber. “The Graduate Student Network  has allowed me to learn from students in diverse fields and has introduced me to a variety of questions that comprise the field of Jewish Studies. It has also taught me to make my own work accessible to people who don’t specialize in German.”
Read the profile. Publish Date: Spring 2009