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From the Director

Lori Lefkovitz, Ruderman Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Jewish Studies Program

Dear Haverim (Friends),

I am pleased to announce that Jewish Studies at Northeastern is growing, and we are thrilled to welcome historian Simon Rabinovitch to our faculty. You can read about Simon’s distinguished publications, cutting-edge research, and credentials in these pages. More personally, I am proud of our Jewish Studies faculty, and I look forward to working closely with Simon to expand the course offerings in Jewish Studies and continue to build the program, develop our curriculum, and ensure that our co-curricular offerings remain on the frontier of Jewish Studies. Please join me in welcoming Simon.

As I write this, I am preparing to leave for Israel for almost five weeks with ten Northeastern students on our Dialogue of Civilizations program, with its focus on narrative. I will teach a course on Modern Israeli and Palestinian literature and my colleague, Elan Ezrachi, will teach a course on Modern Israel, with a focus on politics and society. We will travel the country, and for the first time, our program will include three days at the Arava Institute to learn about Israel’s innovations in environmentalism and peace-building through a shared commitment to the health of the environment. In anticipation of the trip, photographer Saskia Keeley visited Northeastern and shared with us her stories of working (through the organization “Roots”) with Israeli women settlers and Palestinian women from neighboring communities who learn to take portraits of each other. The presentation was moving and inspiring, and the photographs breathtaking. Keeley’s project exemplifies the building-connections-across-divides that we explore on the Dialogue of Civilizations program and was a fitting prelude to our trip.

This spring’s programs included our week of Holocaust Commemoration. Omer Bartov delivered a riveting and cautionary lecture about the role of neighbors in the genocide of the Jews, and Adama Dieng, of the United Nations, commemorating the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, taught us about the warning signs of genocide. The week of learning and remembering is a call to attention for our students, who are making connections between history about our own moment in time, to think about what defines our humanity, and how to remain conscientious. Jewish Studies is proud to co-sponsor these important events, and I want to invite you to please read about the work of our prize-winning students, Ruderman Scholar Jessie Sigler, and Gideon Klein award-winner Yael Sheinfeld, both of whom are using their creativity and learning to bring enlightening programs to Northeastern.

Finally: please save the date for the 2019 Ruderman Lecture which will take place on September 24. Best-selling author Michael Pollan, named in 2010 one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and author of eight books, most recently, How to Change your Mind, will talk about what psychedelics taught him about spirituality. Following his talk, Pollan will respond to questions and sign books. (Please go to for more information and to reserve your place.) We are grateful to the Ruderman family and the Ruderman Family Foundation, who are our partners in this annual keynote address and steadfast supporters of the Jewish Studies Program at Northeastern.

Wishing you a lovely summer. I hope to see you in the fall.

Read the rest of the Spring 2019 Newsletter here.

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Welcoming Simon Rabinovitch


Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Week 2019

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Parashat Hashavua with the Jewish Student Union

Haverim Newsletter Spring 2019