Center for Jewish Studies Alumni: Careers and Advice to Prospective Students



    Attorney/Public Defender

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    “The Certificate helped in getting my first job out of school at the 92nd Street Y as the Jewish Youth and Family Educator directing a leadership training and volunteer program for youth from Israel and the United States. In general, I remain very involved in Jewish and Israeli politics and the Certificate served as an excellent foundation.”

    Advice to prospective Certificate students: “Jewish and Israel Studies is a part of every day’s news cycle and is crucial to understanding the global landscape. Having the background provided by the Certificate can make you a more educated reader and a more engaged citizen.”

    Law Clerk, Cooley LLP, Business Litigation Department

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    The minor taught me the value of addressing subjects from an interdisciplinary perspective. My Hebrew classes provided a great introduction to Hebrew culture that was only augmented by my studies of Israeli literature, Jewish history, and cinema. Each class brought a novel perspective to my study of the others.

    The minor also made me more comfortable trying new things. I have never been someone who excelled in languages, but Professor Katz’s Hebrew classes helped me unselfconsciously converse with my peers. Similarly, I never thought I would take a film class, but the minor encouraged me to try one.

    On a personal level, the minor gave me time and space to explore my Jewish identity and my relationship with Israel. Prior to Wesleyan, I had viewed both through the prism of my family and my synagogue community. The minor provided the chance to consider other perspectives, and to fill out gaps in my knowledge.

    Advice to prospective Minors: Students who declare the minor will have the privilege of working with faculty who are determined to see them succeed both personally and professionally. I wrote a thesis related to Jewish studies and although no Jewish studies faculty served as my official advisor, a number of Professors provided me with consistent and invaluable assistance. Additionally, the Professors’ offices were always safe spaces where I felt comfortable discussing what was going on in my life. The relationships I built with my Professors within the minor were among the highlights of my Wesleyan experience.



    Medical Student, Tufts School of Medicine

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    "The Minor helped tremendously in my path to become a physician. Courses provided by the degree built a strong foundation in my critical thinking abilities, and Prof. Katz's continuous portrayal of the humanistic side to Jewish studies confirmed my passion for community-level healthcare. I am committed to improving the health of America's Jewish populations, particularly underserved Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and the Minor provided an excellent foundation to understanding their cultures and needs."

    Advice to prospective minors: "Shake the hand of every visiting scholar! Prof. Katz puts tremendous effort in bringing Israel's foremost literary and filmmaking experts to campus. This is such a unique and valuable experience, especially for a small liberal arts college in Connecticut, and meeting with so many prominent intellectuals greatly strengthened my knowledge of contemporary Israeli society."

    Certified nurse midwife

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    “The Certificate helped me land my first job after graduation—a fellowship in non-profit management through the Schusterman Family Foundation, a philanthropy that funds multiple Jewish community organizations. I then transitioned from the non-profit/Jewish professional world into nursing/healthcare.”

    Advice to prospective Certificate students: “I enjoyed learning about the complexities of diaspora, interfaith mediation, immigration, Zionism and critiques in an intimate setting. It was a positive experience to be part of a smaller department where the professors and staff knew who I was and cared about my growth as a person in the world and as a critical thinker.”



    Membership & Content Conference Manager, Association for Jewish Studies

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    “The Certificate in Jewish and Israel Studies definitely helped me in my professional life. The program allowed me to focus on specialties I was interested in focusing on academically, while giving me a broader base of knowledge. This was helpful in my later academic studies, and it is definitely helpful in my current position! I get to work with professors whose materials I read in class at Wesleyan and help them find the right connections for our annual academic conference, which feels like an extension of college in all the right ways.”

    Advice to prospective Certificate students: “Taking the courses I did allowed me to learn more about the history and culture and all of the controversial issues related to Israel from a variety of perspectives. More broadly related to the post-college world, there are many jobs in the Jewish world in many different areas, and employers in those industries like to see that your background aligns with their work and/or motivations.”


  • NITZAN ZIV '07

    High School Teacher, Harvest Collegiate High School, NY,NY

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    “The courses I took through the Certificate program have largely added to my knowledge and skills in the social studies classroom. I have offered several religion courses over the years and have tutored a number of students in Hebrew and Hebrew Literature while living abroad in Switzerland. I have also worked as a Hebrew/English translator over the years.”  

    Advice to prospective Certificate students: “I find, overall, that I am better able to speak and reflect on being Jewish to my students and other members of my community at work because of my participation in the Certificate program. I found that the courses, readings and teachers offered well rounded perspectives on topics of Judaism and Israel that I was not aware of before college.” 

    (Director’s note: Nitzan wrote an honors thesis entitled Bridging Bavel: Constructions of Iraqi Jewish History and Identity. As part of her thesis she translated her aunt’s memoir from Hebrew to English. The translation was supervised by Dalit Katz.)

  • ZACH MAUER '17

    Hebrew teacher and prospective law student

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    “Having Dalit Katz as my professor throughout my four years at Wesleyan truly helped me to understand the nuances of being a caring teacher and how to cultivate interest in a student when teaching Hebrew. Not only did her courses prepare me wonderfully to teach the language, but the ways in which she taught have been invaluable in helping me to understand how to connect with and inspire students.

    Advice to prospective Certificate students: “Take as many of the visiting Israeli filmmaker courses as you can.  In addition to providing you with an amazing opportunity to learn from an established director, their perspective on Israeli society and Jewish life makes for an incredibly insightful course. Also, since they are visiting professors they are very approachable and most are truly interested in getting to know their students.

    If those courses aren’t available or don’t interest you, always keep an eye on the other CJS courses. There was at least one class in CJS each semester I wish I could have taken.  If Jewish Studies is one of your core academic interests, you will finish the certificate before you even realize it.”



    Community organizer, Jewish educator, and rabbinical student

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    "Jewish studies at Wesleyan helped me fall in love with new types of Jewish learning. The certificate allowed me to integrate my personal and professional passions."

    Advice to prospective Certificate students: "The Certificate allows you to take a broad range of classes and tailor a program to your interests."



    Lutheran Pastor, Executive Director of Lutheran Ministries in Higher Education of NYC

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    “I wasn’t raised in any religious tradition and my spiritual journey began in many ways when I took Judaism(s) with Professor Jeremy Zwelling my sophomore year. I was fascinated by Judaism and religion in general and what began as an academic interest eventually became a personal one as well. While I became a Christian after college, my engagement academically and spiritually with Jewish Studies and Judaism at Wesleyan was incredibly formative for me.”

    Advice to prospective Certificate students: “There are so many layers to Jewish Studies. The learning that comes from this certificate program both helps one understand history, culture, and literature, etc. and to understand one’s own location, sociologically and spiritually, in new ways. Dig in—there is so much to explore!”