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Student Profiles

Click here to check out an informative video from KU Hillel called "Alumni Working in the Jewish World."


Class of 2018, BA, Major in Jewish Studies

After graduation, Caleb will attend the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem as part of a 5-year program with the Hebrew College Rabbinical School. He has received two scholarships to help fund his rabbinic studies including an Israel Fellowship from Hebrew College, and a Lishma Fellowship from the Conservative Yeshiva. Caleb wants to attend rabbinical school to become a rabbi who is also a gay, Orthodox Jew. He wishes to work on issues related to the Orthodox LGBTQ community, including representation and advocacy, access to ritual, and resolving Halachic issues.

Class of 2018, BA, Major in Jewish Studies, and BSW in Social Work

“In August 2018, I will be making Aliyah (moving to Israel) and after a couple of months will serve in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force). I won’t know what unit or position I will have until I go through the draft process, but I know that the knowledge and skills I’ve received from my time at KU will be directly transferable to my IDF service. When I am not on base, I will be living with a host family on a kibbutz in the south. The Jewish Studies major allowed me to live and study in Israel for a semester, helping to strengthen a passion for Jewish spaces and cultivating a personal ownership over America’s role in their relationship with Israel.“ -Sam

Class of 2018, BA, Major in Jewish Studies, Departmental Honors in Jewish Studies, University Honors Program

"After graduation I will be moving to Jackson, Mississippi to work for the Institute for Southern Jewish Life as an Education Fellow. I will be based in Jackson for the next two years and will be traveling around the South helping various congregations with their Jewish curriculums and programming. I am very grateful that the Jewish Studies program at KU has prepared me for this next chapter in my life." - Mackenzie

Class of 2017, BA, Double-Major in Jewish Studies, and in Political Science, Departmental Honors in Jewish Studies

"I currently work at Hillel International in Washington DC on the Measurement Team as a Measurement Associate. In this position, I work with the Measuring Excellence program which tracks student metric and financial fundraising data. I work with Hillel professionals to better understand how to be data informed and why having a data informed Hillel is important. The Jewish Studies Program at KU really allowed me to explore and experience all types of Jewish Studies and allowed me to connect to my professional career." - Sarah

Class of 2016, BA, Double-Major in Jewish Studies, and in Religious Studies

"I have accepted a position as Israel Engagement Associate at The University of Delaware. I will be taking my Jayhawk pride into Blue Hen country. I will be working with students to build their relationship with Israel as well as staffing their Birthright trips. Israel is at the forefront of foreign policy for the United States and there should be a dialogue that students and campuses are comfortable coming together to talk about. I have always had a special connection to Israel and I can not wait for it to become my career. The Jewish Studies department has been a great support system during my time here at KU and helped me study abroad at The University of Haifa. I can not wait to see what the future holds in the Jewish professional world."   -Becca

Class of 2016, BA, Double-Major in Jewish Studies, and in Political Science, Departmental Honors in Jewish Studies, University Honors Program

"I’m excited to begin the next part of my life in New York City as the inaugural Presidential Fellow for Millennial Engagement at the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). I'll be working with the URJ and its partner organizations to create and implement strategies to more effectively engage millennials (people in their 20s and 30s) in Jewish life. I have always had a strong connection to Reform Judaism through camp and youth group, and I can’t wait to pursue this passion professionally. Reflecting upon my Jewish experiences at KU, the Jewish Studies Program allowed me to explore and discover different aspects of Judaism and expand my connection to the Jewish religion, culture, and people." -Evan

Class of 2015, BA, Special Major in Jewish Studies, and Major in Applied Behavioral Science

Molly Rissien was the first student to graduate from KU with a Special Major in Jewish Studies.  This historic moment was written about in the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. She also majored in Applied Behavioral Science with a focus in Early Childhood Autism Intervention.  She works as a Para-Educator for Keshet: A Rainbow of Hope for Children and Adults with Special Needs, located in Chicago, IL. Keshet is a not-for-profit organization providing educational, recreational, vocational and social programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities, operating according to Jewish values.  

Jewish Studies Program statement in solidarity with protests against police brutality

Beloved community,

As an academic program in the University of Kansas, we stand in solidarity with Black Americans -- including Black Jewish people -- and everyone hurting after the senseless, brutal murder of George Floyd and all people targeted by systemic racism and injustice in our country. We continue to be committed to our core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This morning, the Association for Jewish Studies sent out an email reminding us that as scholars of Jewish Studies, we are keenly aware of the devastating impact of discrimination and violence against minority groups. Dr. Cécile Accilien, the Chair of the KU Department of African and African-American studies, shared with us the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

The Jewish Studies academic community is rich and diverse – it includes scholars and students who are Jewish and non-Jewish, scholars and students of all ethnic and racial backgrounds and from multiple denominations and creeds, people who are immigrants (like myself) and those who are American-born. The Bible commands: צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף tzedek tzedek tirdof, which translates into English as “Only justice shall you pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20). In this well-cited verse, the Hebrew word tzedek, or justice, repeats twice. There can be many explanations of the repetition – textual interpretation in all its many forms is a beloved pursuit for many of us. Today, I am going to give you my own interpretation -- though I am sure that it already exists somewhere in the treasury of Jewish exegesis. One tzedek, or justice, you must pursue for yourself and for people like you; that is, perhaps, the justice that is easiest to understand, because we keenly feel injustices committed against ourselves and people like us. The other tzedek is the justice you must pursue for the sake of people who are not like you. It is often a harder lesson, but a necessary one. The justice, or tzedek, which we pursue thus also becomes a gift of chesed, of lovingkindness that enriches all of us.


In solidarity,

Dr. Renee Perelmutter,

Director of the Jewish Studies Program

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