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Alumni Spotlight

Daniel Pearlman

B.A. in Judaic Studies and Political Science, 2016

Graduate Student at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, studying Nonprofit Management and Leadership and communications and development intern at Hand in Hand: The Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel

Why your work is rewarding:
After working last year at a nonprofit in Boston, I realized that there is much more I wanted to learn about the nonprofit sector if I want to continue working in this field. Studying Nonprofit Management helps me better understand the structure of nonprofit organizations and how to effectively lead a mission-driven organization in the future. Likewise, having the opportunity to intern at and learn from one of the country's leading civil society groups has been an eye-opening experience. In Israel, it is uncommon for Jewish and Arab students to attend the same schools growing up. Hand in Hand, which operates six bilingual schools around the country, is an exception. Watching Jewish and Arab kids play together while speaking a mix of Hebrew and Arabic is touching. I know that these kids will grow up without fear of or hatred toward "the other." This is where peace begins.

About studying at the Frankel Center:
Majoring in Judaic Studies through the Frankel Center allowed me to find my passion for Jewish nonprofit work. All of my professors were amazing, and I learned so much about Jewish history, literature, art, language, and culture.

How your education prepared you for your current job:
I don't think I would have wanted to intern at an organization like Hand in Hand before studying in Israel for three weeks with Professor Shachar Pinsker after my freshman year, as an extension to the Jews in the Modern World class I took the semester before. Since then, I have returned to Israel many times and have come to realize that Israel is both a work of progress and a work in progress. Additionally, the two semesters of Modern Hebrew I took at Michigan made my adjustment to Ulpan (intensive Hebrew learning) in Israel much easier, before the start of my Master's program.

UM professors who inspired you:
So many of my professors inspired me. A few who truly shaped my Michigan experience are Victor Lieberman, Shachar Pinsker, Julian Levinson, Shelley Perlove, and Zvi Gitelman.

Advice to students who are considering studying Judaic Studies:
Do it! From the small class sizes to the personal relationships you can build with the professors and the fascinating course topics, majoring in Judaic Studies was one of the best decisions I made in college. You won't be disappointed!