This is supposed to be an end-of-the-year message, but like everything else, it’s not as simple as that. For those of us teaching our last classes or taking final exams, this time of year marks a middle and a beginning as well as an end. It’s the end of 2015, but it’s the middle of the academic year, which we will pick up again after a few weeks away. Ralph Waldo Emerson referred mysteriously to this overlapping of academic time frames as a “recommencement,” an ending that is also a beginning and that comes together in an enduring sense of a time in between.
I have always loved this temporal confusion. To be a member of the university community is to experience time’s multiple layers and to blur the lines between beginning, middle, and end. So in what I prefer to see as a multi-faceted time of the year message, I want to note the projects we have begun, are still working on, and have finished, while acknowledging that everything we are doing may affect our students, faculty, community members, and friends as beginnings, middles, and/or ends, depending on where their experiences intersect with our own.
We celebrate the successful end of Embodied Judaism 2015: Freedom Seder, an event that moved large numbers of students, faculty, and community members to engage with scholarship and materials in the Post-Holocaust American Judaism Archives in a uniquely tangible way. This project can still be enjoyed through the Freedom Seder exhibit on the second floor of Norlin Library. We marked the launch of our new Israel/Palestine Professorship with a public lecture and student/faculty colloquium with renowned author Sayed Kashua. Our students worked in our community as interns, and our faculty once again delivered an engaging roster of courses. We mark the beginning of a new Culture Track to our major (to begin Fall 2016), which will allow more students to experience what the Program in Jewish Studies has to offer, and we observe the productive mid-point of our ongoing projects to make the Jewish Studies office a more user-friendly place and to engage newly admitted students, many of whom we hope to see working or relaxing in our new office space when they start CU in the fall.
Best wishes for a happy beginning, middle, or end to the year—however you choose to see it.
Nan Goodman, PhD, JD
Director, Program in Jewish Studies
Professor, English Department