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August 23, 2002 - Image 36

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

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Cover Story



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There are so
many good
reasons to
read the


ry and culture. Serling anticipates
centers" approach — focusing on
that, within the next two years, the
Jewish culture and history as they
program will be able to add profes-
culminate in Israel and the United
ewish people have a place at
sorships in Jewish religion and
Michigan State University,"
philosophical thought and Israeli
This year for the first time, the
says Michael Serling, chair of studies.
university's Jewish Studies
the East Lansing school's
Dr. Ronald
program will be led by a
Jewish Studies Advisory Board.
Wolfson, vice pres-
professor whose field of
Actually, they have two places, he
ident and director
expertise is far from either
adds. "There's such a renaissance of
of Whizin Center
Jewish life at Michigan State, with
for the Jewish
Dr. Keely Stauter-
the new Hillel building and the phe-
Future at Los
Halsted, whose research
nomenal growth of the Jewish
Angeles' University
interests include 19th- and
Studies program."
of Judaism and co-
20th-century Poland,
MSU grad Serling, a Birmingham
founder of
peasant studies and
attorney, is in a position to know. As Synagogue 2000, a
women in modern Eastern
chair of the 25-member Jewish
national synagogue
Europe, took over from
Studies Advisory Board made up of
renewal program,
Dr. Steven Weiland, who
community leaders and a board
says dollars given
had led the program for
member of the MSU Hillel, he has
to higher education
seven years. He will
his finger on the pulse of Jewish life
in Jewish studies
remain at the university.
at the state's second-largest universi-
are crucial to Jews'
Dr. Stauter-Halsted,
survival as a
whose book, The Nation
Dr. Keely Stauter-Halsted
One of the primary goals of the
dynamic people.
in the Village: The Genesis
advisory board is fund-raising. The
"Supporting the
of Peasant National Identity
Jewish Studies program, which draws growth of oppor-
in Austrian Poland, 1848-
its 21 associated faculty members
tunities to recruit
1914, was published by
from 12 different MSU academic
and prepare a new
Cornell University Press,
departments, is seeking $8 million in generation of
came to MSU in 1994. She
endowment funds. "So far, we've
young people as
hopes to integrate more
raised close to $2 million," Serling
future Jewish pro-
courses on Jewish history
fessionals and lay
and culture of Eastern
Among those contributions was a
leaders is absolute-
Europe and has received a
$250,000 gift from Al Ratner of
ly one of the most
grant to study Yiddish in
Cleveland, who wrote the check in
important things
Poland next year.
honor of the 50th anniversary of his
the community
The new director earned
MSU graduation. Edward Levy Jr. of can do," Dr.
her Ph.D. at the University
Bloomfield Hills donated a
Wolfson says. "As
of Michigan in Ann Arbor
$500,000 endowment for scholar-
we establish the
and is married to David
ships to study in Israel, open to Jews Jewish institutions
Halsted, a computer pro-
and non-Jews alike.
that will carry us
grammer. They have two
Michael Serling
"The only problem is, we can't
through the 21st
children, ages 5 and 10.
use it," Serling says.
century, these are
Dr. Stauter-Halsted is
MSU will not sponsor any Israel
the folks who will
excited about upcoming
travel during the current unrest.
provide the leadership."
events sponsored or co-sponsored by
Thanks to the increase' in dona-
the Jewish Studies program for the
tions, the university has been able to
2002-2003 school year. These
hire two new Jewish Studies faculty
include a museum exhibit on mod-
At MSU, courses in Jewish Studies
members, in the fields of Hebrew
ern Jewish history and a visual
have traditionally followed the "two
language and American Jewish histo-
exhibit and lecture series about

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