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August 23, 2002 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-08-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Ilana Gaba, Judaic Studies graduate student

Dr. Todd Endelman, new Frankel director

Dr. Zvi Gitelman, Tisch professor

Growing Jewishisr

U-M's Frankel Center kicks o a master's program in Judaic studies.

DIANA LIEBERMAN

Copy Editor/Education Writer

wnw

8/23
2002

32

r. Zvi Gitelman came to Ann
Arbor in 1968 to teach
Eastern European politics at
the University of Michigan.
In 1971, he secured $40,000 from
Detroit's Jewish Welfare Federation (now
the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan
Detroit) to pay an assistant professor of
Jewish History for three years. He was
Dr. Jehuda Reinharz, and he's now presi-
dent of Brandeis University in Waltham,
Mass.
Today, U-M's Jean and Samuel
Frankel Center for Judaic Studies boasts
17 faculty members, each with a joint
appointment in his or her major disci-
pline; 10 teach exclusively Judaic
Studies.
"That's from zero in 1970," Dr.
Gitelman said.
"We are the second-largest school of
Jewish studies in the United States in
terms of the number of faculty, exceeded
only by Brandeis, tied with Penn

[University of Pennsylvania in
Philadelphia]," he said.
The Frankel Center offers 40-50
courses each year, attracting 1,200-1,500
students of all ethnic and religious back-
grounds. In addition, professors extend
outreach to synagogues, high schools
and community groups, lead summer
study-abroad tours, offer special campus
community programs in history and arts
among other activities. Each year, one or
two visiting professors and numerous
guest lecturers add to the diverse course
offerings.
Dr. Gitelman, who recently returned
to Michigan from leading a summer
study program in Poland and Eastern
Europe, is the Tisch Professor of Judaic
Studies and a professor of political sci-.
ence. Director of the Frankel Center for
Judaic Studies for six years, he relin-
quishes that role Aug. 31 to Dr. Todd
Endelman, who had held the position
for eight years before Dr. Gitelman took
over.
Dr. Endelman, who holds the
William Haber Professorship of Modern

Jewish History, has been a professor in
the U-M history department since 1985.
He takes the reins of the Frankel Center
just in time to oversee the launching of
the center's first-ever master's degree pro-
gram.
The master's in Judaic Studies is an
inter-disciplinary course of graduate
study designed for students who seek a
deeper knowledge of Jewish culture, his-
tory, arts and letters. For its first year, the
program has attracted four diverse stu-
dents, Dr. Endelman said.
"One fellow will become a Secular
Humanist rabbi; one is an older man
who had lived in Israel, who is doing it
for its own sake (Torah lishmah); one is
enrolled in a Ph.D. program elsewhere
— his field is English — and took a
leave of absence to gain more of a Jewish
background for his research."

Inspired To Teach

The fourth master's degree student is
Ilana Gaba, 22, of West Bloomfield.
Gaba graduated from U-M last spring
with a major in Hebrew and Jewish

Cultural Studies (HJCS), a division of
the Near Eastern Studies department.
"Professor Gitelman told me about
the master's degree program even before
it was approved," she said. "I was root-
ing for it to happen before it was estab-
lished."
The daughter of Dr. Arthur Gaba
and Clara Gaba, who teaches at Hillel
Day School of Metropolitan Detroit and
Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington
Hills, she plans to go into Jewish educa-
tion.
"You take example from people who
inspire you in your life. I was greatly
influenced by watching my mom's dedi-
cation and enthusiasm. And [Hillel
adminstrator] Aviva Silverman was my
inspiration, helped finding sources,
showing me what a Jewish woman can
do. Hillel, as a whole, played a great role
in my life."
Dr. Gitelman is one of her favorite
professors. "I first met him when he was
a guest lecturer in one of my courses. I
told myself, 'I have to get into a course
he's teaching.'

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