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Deborah Gurt

B.A. in Judaic Studies, 1994

Assistant Librarian and Processing Digital Archivist at the McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of South Alabama

Describe your job responsibilities:
I have a wide range of responsibilities that include helping researchers navigate our collections, accessioning and processing incoming collections, curating and mounting exhibits, research and writing, as well as planning and implementing digitization projects. I have a good deal of flexibility to pursue projects that are of interest to me and to build relationships across the university that facilitate collaboration and scholarship.


What is the most rewarding part of your work?
My work is rewarding because it contributes to learning. I enjoy helping a variety of constituents use and learn from the historical material in our custody. I also learn from it – this year I received two grants to create a public history exhibit about an important figure in Mobile’s Jewish history.


How did your education at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies prepare you for your current job?
The Judaic Studies program at Michigan prepared me to think and work in a variety of modes.This is the greatest feature of the program, and what drew me to it in the first place. It provided a breadth of knowledge and the ability to think expansively and from a variety of perspectives about questions of interest to me. It also inspired a personal interest in learning about my Jewish heritage, and led me to embrace a degree of leadership in the Jewish community.


Who are some of the UM professors who inspired you?
Ralph Williams and Anita Norich were exciting and inspiring lecturers. Miriam Bodian was a historian who personally encouraged my efforts in that direction.


What advice would you give to students who are considering studying Judaic Studies?
The Judaic Studies program is an excellent choice for developing a range of skills and interests and for fostering intellectual maturity. My advice would be to find a mentor in the program and develop a relationship. The Frankel Center has a strong faculty and resources that can be of great advantage to undergraduate students.