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Alumni Spotlight

Harvey Sukenic

Library Director, Hebrew College Library,
Newton, MA

B.A. in Judaic Studies, 1977

Describe your job responsibilities:

I’ve worked at the Hebrew College Library for over 30 years.  Since 2009 I’ve been the library director and sole librarian. My responsibilities include handling reference questions, purchasing and cataloging books, managing course reserves, preparing library displays and instructing students, faculty and patrons in the use of Judaica reference resources and research.


What is the most rewarding part of your work?

Hebrew College is a small college, but my work is so varied.  I assist a large variety of library patrons – students in our junior high and high school Hebrew School program, online students in our Jewish Studies and Jewish Education Masters programs, Rabbinical and Cantorial Students, adult education learners, community members, along with the college faculty and staff.


Tell us about studying at the Frankel Center:

I grew up in the Detroit area and Michigan was always my first choice for university. When I was at Michigan the Jewish Studies major was relatively new and a small program. I got to know my teachers and fellow students well. My adviser was Jehuda Reinharz, the first professor of Jewish history in the program. I was highly involved with the Jewish student community on campus. While at Michigan I lived for two years in a Jewish co-op and in a Jewish fraternity my senior year. I was also active in Hillel and served as co-president one year.


How did your education prepare you for your current job?

At Michigan I concentrated in Jewish history.  After I graduated, I went to Brandeis to study Jewish history, earning a M.A. and doing doctoral work, before moving to the Hebrew College Library.  Michigan gave me a wide exposure to Jewish history, Bible, Hebrew language and literature, Yiddish language and literature, and Jewish texts.  Together with my year abroad, it prepared me for my graduate work, and my career as a Judaic librarian.


What advice would you give to students who are considering studying Judaic Studies?

Take a wide range of courses in the program.  Expose yourself to the range of Jewish history and civilization.  Take advantage of the language training.  Study Jewish texts. Get to know your teachers and students. Enjoy the opportunities around campus.