Student Corner

Israel Academic Travel Awards 2017

Global Affairs, Judaic Studies, and Middle East Studies are pleased to announce a competition for travel awards for academic study in Israel in the summer of 2017. The deadline for application is April 3, 2017.

Awards of $1500 may be used to defray expenses such as airfare and registration costs. Awardees will submit a written summary of their travel experience by September 15, 2017.

Please call the Center for Judaic Studies at 860-486-2271 for application details.

This program is not open to current seniors graduating in May 2017, or to incoming students. Summer is defined according to the UConn calendar (end of May through end of August).

Questions? Contact judaicstudies@uconn.edu.

Nathan Schachter Reflects on Serving on the Selection Committee for the Jewish Plays Project

Nathan Schachter, UConn sophomore, reflects on his experience as a member of the selection committee for the 2nd Annual Jewish Playwriting Contest.
“I was immersed in the conversations among the committee that came out of these readings, as we discussed what worked, what didn’t, which plays were our favorites, and why. Being the only student on the committee, it was interesting to hear what the other members, who had much more maturity, life and wisdom on me, both artistically and Jewishly, had to say on the topic” – Nathan Schachter
This past February, I had the opportunity to sit on the selection committee for the 2nd Annual Hartford Jewish Playwriting Contest. The selection committee included community members at Charter Oak Cultural Center and UConn’s Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. We selected 3 plays from a pool of 10 that we wanted to see continue on to the next round.  I was asked by Professor Jeffrey Shoulson of the Center for Judaic Studies to sit on this committee, and I am extremely fortunate to have done so.
 
Throughout the process, of selecting the top three plays, it was eye-opening to see the amount of new Jewish work that is being produced around us today. In reading the plays I was assigned to read, I was challenged to think about what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century. I was immersed in the conversations among the committee that came out of these readings, as we discussed what worked, what didn’t, which plays were our favorites, and why. Being the only student on the committee, it was interesting to hear what the other members, who had much more maturity, life and wisdom on me, both artistically and Jewishly, had to say on the topic.
 
On February 16, I left campus and attended the Jewish Playwriting Contest at  Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford. There, our top 3 plays were performed in front of an audience, ranging from non-Jewish prospects to UConn’s own acting students. Using text-in votes, we all decided on our favorite play that would be moving on in the 2017 Jewish Play Project Festival in New York City in April, where the ultimate winner will be given a chance for their play to be further developed and workshopped. I am looking forward to see where our favorite, Book of Esther, makes it in the rest of the competition!
 
 
 

Julia DePalermo – Study Abroad

Julia DePalermo is a junior Political Science major with minors in human rights and French. She is currently studying abroad in Israel this semester at the University of Haifa! Julia reflects on her first Shabbat in Israel below. You can follow her entire journey by following her blog on the link below.

“I spent the sabbath with my new friends in Netanya, a suburb of Tel Aviv. They graciously invited my into their home to experience a “real shabbat”. I have never seen a kosher kitchen before. Marcelle, my host for the weekend had two ovens, microwaves, sinks, and two sets of cups and silverware. One for meat and one for dairy. Every Friday night is like Thanksgiving…Everyone I meet opens their homes to me, and cares for me like their own family. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such a resilient and kind people…”

Nathan Schachter- Times of Israel

Nathan Schachter is a sophomore at UConn majoring in communications, minoring in dramatic arts, and is in the Fast-Track program pursuing a master’s in public administration. He recently wrote this article “Why Jewish Nonprofit Matters: I Believe in Giving Back” for the Times of Israel. Below is an excerpt from Nathan’s article and you can read the entire article using the link below.

“No matter where we are in the world, we are all Jews. As we all come together from such diverse religious and geographical backgrounds, we can still create community through the simplicity of being Jewish. Each individual must feel like a part of the bigger picture, like that of a family model. But just like with any family, we each have responsibilities. We must each take it upon ourselves to take action and become involved in our communities.”

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/why-jewish-non-profit-matters-i-believe-in-giving-back/

Student Interview: Tara Lokke

“I believe it is important to study all of humanities strengths and weaknesses in order to create a better community. The Holocaust was a time of extreme division and superiority that resulted in a horrific blemish on the face of humanity. In order to create a better tomorrow, we must fully understand the mistakes made yesterday.” – Tara Lokke

  1. What is your name?

Tara Lokke

  1. What is your major?

History

  1. What year in school are you?

Junior

  1. What is your hometown?

I have a few. I was born in Reno, Nevada, lived in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, and then in College Station, Texas.

  1. Which Judaic Studies courses have you taken?

A class called The Holocaust. It is a combined Judaic Studies and History course discussing the causes and events of the Holocaust.

  1. Why did you choose to take that class?

I believe it is important to study all of humanities strengths and weaknesses in order to create a better community. The Holocaust was a time of extreme division and superiority that resulted in a horrific blemish on the face of humanity. In order to create a better tomorrow, we must fully understand the mistakes made yesterday.

  1. What was the most interesting thing you learned in your course?

The comradery felt among the inmates of the concentration and death camps provided an example of the power of human connection and the strength of the human spirit.

  1. What is your favorite thing to do on campus during a snow day?

Snuggle up and watch movies!

  1. What activities on campus are you involved in?

I work a lot with the Veteran Association and Military Services on campus, working to collect Veteran’s stories to preserve them for future generations.

  1. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream at the dairy bar?

I really like to get cake batter with rainbow sprinkles. It makes it feel like my birthday any day.

  1. What was your favorite class? (Judaic studies or not)

I honestly don’t think I have a favorite. Each class brings a new experience with more information. If I had to say the class I had the most fun in, I would probably say the exhibit class that I took with Dr. Fiona Vernal where we created an exhibit on the ANC and South Africa and opened it in the Dodd Center. That exhibit has already made an impact for South Africa and continues to spread information to schools near and far.

  1. What other experiences have enriched your studies?

I actually started my own research project called The Story Front and Beat Your Gums that has impacted my life and studies tremendously. I have met incredible people, made wonderful friends, and learned more from the Veterans that I interviewed than I might have learned in my life.

Student Interview- Arianna Dines

 

Ariana Dines is a sophomore economics major and geography minor, involved in the many on-campus activities. Read her interview below to learn more about Arianna!

  1. What is your name?

Arianna Dines

  1. What is your major?

Economics with a geography minor

  1. What year in school are you?

Second year

  1. What is your hometown?

Bedford, MA

  1. Which Judaic Studies courses have you taken?

Ethiopian Jews in Ethiopia and Israel and Sociology of Antisemitism

  1. Why did you choose to take these classes?

I had met Ethiopian Jews my age and heard their personal stories but I wanted to learn more about the Ethiopian Jews’ fascinating history and their place in Israeli society. I took Sociology of Antisemitism because I think today people forget that antisemitism is still prevalent in many societies globally and I believe it is important to study. It also fulfilled a few requirements for me!

  1. What is your favorite thing to do on campus during a snow day?

Probably get cozy and watch a documentary, hang out with friends, and catch up on work I’ve procrastinated on!

  1. What activities on campus are you involved in?

Women and Minorities in Economics, Tap Club, and Hillel

  1. What are you most looking forward to this semester?

I’m actually studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’m excited to be immersed in the culture and language, explore nature outside of the city, and hopefully learn about the large Jewish community there!

  1. Do you have any advice for incoming students who may be reading this?

As long as you plan, you have time to fit really cool activities into your schedule in the next four years. I’ve had time to take unique, unrequired classes, study abroad, and fit in a minor and maybe a second major. Also, everyone says this, but get involved—it’s the best thing you can do for yourself while at UConn. Pick a couple organizations you’re interested in and stick with them. Finally, know that you can use your points at Chuck and Augie’s in the U if you ever get tired of dining hall food!

  1. What other experiences have enriched your studies?

Little things here and there, that usually involve creating connections with others who study economics too. The club Women and Minorities in Economics has allowed me to meet others in my major and even faculty. In addition, last semester I started going to economics tutoring because I didn’t understand one homework. The same people kept going back and we ended up having study groups on our own.  I also enjoy going to the occasional lecture on a topic I’m interested in, such as climate change or social issues.

  1. Do you know what you want to do when you graduate?

I’m not 100% sure, but I’m interested in urban planning. Urban planning is quite broad and can include more technical aspects like zoning and transportation, but I’m interested in improving the economy and community dynamic in areas that are struggling or blighted.

  1. What courses are you taking this semester?

While in Argentina, I will be taking Social Economy in Latin America, Economic Integration in Argentina, Political and Social Change, Latin American Relations, and a Spanish Class.

 

 

Student Interview- Erin McAneany

Student Name: Erin McAneany

  1. What is your name?

Erin McAneany

  1. What is your major?

Actuarial Science

  1. What year in school are you?

Junior

  1. What is your hometown?

Madison, CT

  1. Which Judaic Studies courses have you taken?

Sociology of Anti-Semitism (SOCI 2509W) with Professor Arnold Dashefsky

  1. Why did you choose to take that class?

I chose to take the Sociology of anti-Semitism for a few reasons, one being my interest in how historic events and attitudes have affected the prevalence of modern anti-Semitism.  I was also interested in how past anti-Semitism has influenced prejudice in today’s society.  I thoroughly enjoyed Professor Dashefsky’s class and got more out of it than I thought possible.

  1. What is your favorite thing to do on campus during a snow day?

I always trudge through the snow with my friends down to Blaze to get some hot pizza to warm us up!

  1. What activities on campus are you involved in?

I am a member of both Delta Gamma and Gamma Iota Sigma (Actuarial Science Fraternity) and I often tutor students in different areas of math.  I also partake in campus-wide events such as HuskyTHON and am a member of a few clubs on campus.

  1. What are you most looking forward to this semester?

I am studying abroad in Florence, Italy this semester!  I am beyond excited to immerse myself in a new culture by learning the language, engaging in new customs, and of course by trying all the best gelato.

  1. Do you have any advice for incoming students who may be reading this?

I think that expanding yourself outside of your comfort zone is one of the best ways to get the most out of your college experience.  For example, one of my favorite classes I have taken at UConn has been the Sociology of anti-Semitism.  Even though this class is not related to my major whatsoever, I would have really missed out on a great experience had I not elected to take this course.

  1. What other experiences have enriched your studies?

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to have worked as an actuarial intern, an experience I found tremendously valuable as it gave me the opportunity apply my major in a professional and practical environment. Although the bulk of my work was focused on actuarial tasks, I was able to gain skills that have helped me in many other areas of my life. For example, the lessons I learned in time management and the balance of my extensive workload have made me a much more productive student. My internship experience also made my classes at UConn more enjoyable because I was able to take what I had learned in class and apply it to real world scenarios. This continues to motivate me as a student, knowing that the knowledge I gain in my studies will assist me as I transform into a contributing member of society.