A Master of Arts in Jewish History candidate, Passi Rosen-Bayewitz embarked on a study of Jewish professional women who had made a difference during the interwar years and the Holocaust period, between 1918 and 1945. Rosen-Bayewitz calls her subjects “ordinary women who accomplished extraordinary things”—very much like Rosen-Bayewitz herself.
Suffice it to say, Frederika Lorie has committed herself to understanding, whether that applies to varied individuals, communities, religions or other environmental circumstances. The Leeds, UK native and recent Cambridge University Theology honors grad is now residing in Manhattan’s Upper West Side while earning her Masters in Jewish Studies at Touro. As one might expect, the move’s been something of a culture shock.
Ira Bedzow isn’t your ordinary triple-degree-holding doctoral student, ordained rabbi and published poet. He may, in fact, be the only individual currently on the Eastern Seaboard with those particular credentials. The Florida native and Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies alum (not to mention 2010 commencement speaker… which wasn’t even his class) didn’t set out to overachieve. He simply followed his yen for knowledge and didn’t blink.
We often make our boldest moves when young and full of ambition. Taking giant leaps toward independence while growing up as a teenage girl amidst conflict in the Middle East demonstrates an entirely different level of confidence and purpose. Mahnaz Shmalo, an alumnus of Touro’s Graduate School of Jewish Studies—and recently designated instructor at the Lander College for Women—was in high school when the Iranian revolution erupted in 1979. After graduating, she managed to escape to England and live with her sister, initiating a decades-long journey that would take her to Israel for 25 years and, eventually, America, where she now resides in Passaic, New Jersey. She has never returned to Iran.
Marking an outstanding achievement in academia, Graduate School of Jewish Studies Associate Professor Dr. Natalia Aleksiun has earned three research fellowships for the current academic year at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York and the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv, Ukraine.
Aspiring actress-singer Miriam Leah Droz, who was raised as a Conservative Jew, stopped performing for 10 years after she decided to become strictly Orthodox and adhere to Jewish religious law that prohibits women from singing or performing live in front of men due to modesty issues.
Dr. Michael A. Shmidman has served as Dean of Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies since 1986, and was appointed to the Victor J. Selmanowitz Chair in Jewish History in 2003. He has been a member of Touro’s faculty and administration since 1981, when he was recruited to serve as the first director of the newly established Graduate School of Jewish Studies.