We are excited to announce the appointment of Professor Elias Sacks as the new Director of the Program in Jewish Studies. Professor Sacks succeeds Professor Nan Goodman, who will continue to serve as a faculty member with the Program in Jewish Studies and Department of English. This fall, Professor Sacks will be on sabbatical and will begin his directorship on January 1, 2020. During his sabbatical, Professor Beverly Weber will serve as the Interim Director for the Program in Jewish Studies beginning July 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019.
We're also pleased to announce that Meghan Perea, Executive Manager of the Program in Jewish Studies, has received a promotion within the College of Arts & Sciences at CU Boulder.
Please join us in congratulating Professor Sacks, Professor Weber, and Meghan Perea on their new appointments! Thank you, Professor Goodman, for your work as the Director of the Program in Jewish Studies!
Continue reading to learn more about these changes in Jewish Studies!
Outgoing Director of the Program in Jewish Studies
To our students, colleagues, program and library staff, College administrators, community members, and donors, I write with a fond farewell. It has been an honor and privilege serving as Director of the Program in Jewish Studies these last four years. My term as Director came to an end on June 30, 2019, and I am stepping down in order to devote more time to my research and writing. There can be no question, however, that my all of my future endeavors, scholarly and pedagogical, will be informed by everything I have learned as Director of this energetic, innovative, and intellectually diverse program. In my Jewish Studies classrooms, I have had the good fortune to teach some of the most curious students of my career; I have enjoyed and benefited from a myriad of conversations with my colleagues on topics ranging from Jewish philosophy to music; I have expanded my knowledge of the Jewish experience in America by immersing myself in our growing archival collections; I have made lasting friendships with and witnessed an outpouring of generosity from a variety of community members; and I’ve had the pleasure of working with two of the most talented and dedicated staff members I’ve ever known.
I am also happy to say, I have added value to this gem of a program. I leave the program in a stronger place, having launched a number of initiatives that have expanded our public education programming and increased our fundraising to unprecedented levels. I have also overseen three new hires for faculty members whose research areas and class offerings have enriched our curriculum, and I have worked diligently on existing faculty retention and support at the same time. I have broadened the interdisciplinary reach of an already interdisciplinary program, bringing English and Dance graduate students as well as a faculty collaboration with Women and Gender Studies into the mix, and I have doubled down on our efforts to recruit more students into our newly user friendly major and minor tracks.
To our wonderful incoming Director, Eli Sacks, whose term officially starts in January 2020, and Interim Director, Beverly Weber, who will lead the Program in Fall 2019, I wish you the best of luck and am so glad you will be at the helm. Finally, I know Beverly and Eli join me in thanking Meghan Perea, whose service to PJS has been incomparable. We all wish her well in her new administrative staff position in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Felicidades and parabéns!
Interim Director for the Program in Jewish Studies, July 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019
Professor Weber is Associate Professor of German Studies and Jewish Studies, and joined PJS in 2014. For the last two years she has been privileged to serve as the Associate Director of Graduate Studies. She teaches courses on racisms in Europe after 1970, Holocaust memory, film, and refugee art and activism. She is currently writing a book manuscript, Decolonizing Hospitality, on refuge and sanctuary in contemporary German culture. Her first book, Violence and Gender in the “New” Europe: Islam in German Culture, examines racist and Islamophobic responses to gender violence in German politics and news media, as well as Muslim women’s challenges to gender violence and racism in literature, art, and popular media. Her co-authored book (with Maria Stehle) entitled Precarious Intimacies: The Politics of Touch in Contemporary European Cinema will appear in early 2020; it explores intimate friendships and relationships in films about those living extremely precarious lives - particularly refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants.
Professor Weber will resume her duties as the Graduate Director of the Program in Jewish Studies Spring 2020.
New Director of the Program in Jewish Studies, Starting January 1, 2020
Elias Sacks, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Religious Studies, will become Director of the Program in Jewish Studies in January 2020. His research and teaching focus on Jewish thought, Jewish-Christian relations, philosophy of religion, religion and politics, and religious ethics, with a particular interest in the modern period. He is the author of Moses Mendelssohn’s Living Script: Philosophy, Practice, History, Judaism (Indiana University Press, 2017), as well as articles on medieval and modern thinkers such as Moses Maimonides, Baruch Spinoza, Nachman Krochmal, Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, and Jacob Taubes. Sacks also published some of the first English translations of Moses Mendelssohn’s Hebrew writings in Moses Mendelssohn: Writings on Judaism, Christianity, and the Bible (Brandeis University Press, 2011), which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. He sits on the board of the Society of Jewish Ethics and is a past president of the Rocky Mountain-Great Plains Region of the American Academy of Religion / Society of Biblical Literature, and since joining the University of Colorado Boulder in 2012, he has served as Associate Director of the Program in Jewish Studies, Associate Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, and a member of the Center for Humanities and the Arts steering committee.
While Professor Sacks will be working closely with our community during the Fall 2019 semester, he will be on sabbatical. Please contact Professor Beverly Weber or CUJewishStudies@colorado.edu with any Jewish Studies related inquiries you may have before January 1, 2020.
Outgoing Executive Manager with the Program in Jewish Studies
I am delighted to announce that I have received a promotion in the College of Arts and Sciences and will be taking a lead administrative position in CU’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese. This is an advancement opportunity in which I will be learning new professional skills in leadership and management.
I am comfortable making this transition in my career at this time because I am confident that I am leaving Jewish Studies in a place of strength. I am so proud of all we have accomplished over the seven years I have worked in the program, and I am equally excited about what is to come. Indeed, this is a bittersweet moment for me. I cannot express the profound sense of gratitude and love I feel for the Program in Jewish Studies, our faculty and staff, our incredible students, and our wonderful community. Jewish Studies has been my home for nearly a decade. Having been both student and staff, I feel strongly that Jewish Studies is a model for what an academic unit can be at CU. I want to thank you all for everything you have done to make my time here in PJS truly wonderful. Students, working with you has been my favorite part of the job. It has meant the world to me to learn alongside such engaged, intelligent, and compassionate people. To our community members, PJS would not be possible without you. Thank you for all you do for PJS faculty, students, and staff.
I especially want to thank Professor Nan Goodman and Professor David Shneer, who were the two wonderful directors during my time in PJS. Thank you both for your inspired leadership.
I deeply regret that I will not have the chance to continue to work with Professor Beverly Weber and Professor Elias Sacks as they take over the directorship of the program. Having worked with them both on many projects over the years, there is no doubt in my mind that PJS is heading in exciting directions. They are both administratively savvy, care deeply about the success of PJS, have creative ideas about where PJS can go next, and are delightful colleagues to boot! With Professor Weber and Professor Sacks at the helm and Vanessa Frye, Communications and Outreach Administrator, holding down the fort (who, I must add, is one of the most talented, creative, and compassionate staff members I have ever worked with), I am confident that PJS will continue to thrive. I’m also grateful to Michelle Gaffga, Director of Development in CU Advancement, and her team, and Michael Lynn, Academic Advisor for Jewish Studies, who are incredible colleagues and will continue to be amazing resources for Jewish Studies’ community and students. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of them with questions.
I will have a two-month, staged transition beginning July 1, 2019, so that I may work part-time in PJS to assist with finding and training my replacement and keeping the ball rolling during the transition. My official last day will be August 30, 2019. Please understand that during this transition period, I may be slower to respond to emails and requests.
And finally, please know, I will not be going far! I will still be in the College of Arts and Sciences at CU, and I look forward to participating with the Program in Jewish Studies as a staff collaborator and active community member.
Thank you, to this Jewish Studies community, for everything.