Sixteen Judaic Studies minors, two majors, four graduate certificates and one master’s student represented the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies in University of Michigan’s spring commencement on April 28. In addition to their focus in Judaic Studies, the students studied a wide range of subjects including movement science, linguistics, and psychology.

Judaic Studies minor and political science major Alison Schalop will be starting a new position as a teaching apprentice in New York at Blue Engine, a non-profit organization that works to bring teachers to under-served schools. Schalop stated, “I loved getting to know my Judaic Studies professors and the other Judaic Studies students. The department provided me with unique internship and research opportunities for which I will forever be grateful.”

Each year the Frankel Center honors a graduate with the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. The student who receives this award must be graduating with at least a 3.8 GPA and is recommended by Judaic Studies faculty members. This April the award was presented to Julia Berg, a double major in Judaic Studies and the Environment. Maya Barzilai, Associate Professor of Judaic Studies and Near Eastern Studies said, “Julia is a very thoughtful and serious student who is committed to the study of Hebrew language and Jewish culture. Her writing in Hebrew is sophisticated and probing, and she devotes her essays to careful analysis and insightful observations. Julia is also an open-minded thinker who will listen to others and engage with their viewpoints, which makes her a joy to have in the classroom”

“Although studying Judaism has been a lifelong journey, I think that it was really important that I studied it here at the University of Michigan from an academic/historical standpoint, not just a religious standpoint,” Berg commented. “I think this has deepened and challenged my appreciation for my own culture and will definitely help in my future professional endeavors. I only wish that I had time to take more of the classes that I never got around to and to learn from some of the professors that I never met,” she continued. Berg will be starting rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem this summer.

Nathan Moretto is graduating with a Master’s in Judaic Studies and was awarded the Simeon Brinberg Outstanding Student Award. Moretto remarked, “The Frankel Center has provided exceptional opportunities for me to advance my academic career in Biblical studies, including interdisciplinary research with world-renowned faculty and a trip to Israel to participate in an archaeological excavation at Kiriath-Jearim.”

The 2018 graduates will join a distinguished group of Frankel Center alumni.