As we complete our first full week of the “new normal” of online learning and remote work here at the University of Colorado Boulder, I write to you with an offer of support and a message of gratitude. First and foremost, I want to say that the Program in Jewish Studies stands ready to support you in any way that we can, and that I am always available to speak by phone or video. To our students, in particular, I want to say that we know how difficult this period is, and we are here for you. Please let us know if you encounter any issues, ranging from lack of access to WiFi or computing technology to food insecurity to uncertainty about university procedures. We are in close and constant communication with campus leadership, and we will do our best to connect you with the right offices and individuals at CU and get you the resources you need; we are also working closely with our undergraduate advisory board to make sure that we are responsive to any emerging challenges that arise. (For those of you who don’t know it, I also encourage you to visit the university’s COVID-19 site.) We often throw around the term “intellectual community” in academic settings, but that is what we are: a genuine community.
I write, second, to express my profound thanks to our students, faculty, staff, and community partners. Amid the challenges of ever-changing information, new technologies, and social isolation, our courses, internships, and other operations continue, albeit in online form; our events, including a concert with the Conference on World Affairs and lecture with Anschutz’s Center for Bioethics and Humanities, have been put off, but we are looking into the possibility of rescheduling in the future; all in-person spring commencement programs at the university have been cancelled, but we are exploring alternate ways to honor the many accomplishments of our students. All of this is a testimony to the dedication of the diverse members of our community, who have selflessly devoted their time and energy to ensuring that we can continue to fulfill our mission of educating tomorrow’s global citizens and community leaders.
None of us expected the semester to look like this, but I am confident that we, as a Jewish Studies community, will continue to be there for one another. I am so very grateful to each and every one of you, and my (virtual) door is always open.
Director, Program in Jewish Studies