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Alumni Profiles

Earnest Vener

"The Center for Jewish Studies is like a precious treasure to me! At CJS I was able to engage in rigorous Jewish learning in a passionate, supportive, and thoughtful environment. The leadership at CJS manages to create a community that is serious academically, yet centered around joy and a love of learning. I am so grateful for my time at CJS and the foundation in Jewish studies that the MA program provided me with. After I completed my MA at CJS I began rabbinical school. The MA prepared me with a grounding in history, text, and language that enriches my learning everyday."

Earnest was a Berkeley-Jerusalem Fellow during their time at the CJS, and is currently studying at the JTS Rabbinical School. 

Robert Galoob

"The women of CJS, Deena and Naomi, along with help from Josh, guided me through a transformative and life-altering experience of intellectual and personal growth during my doctoral studies. Their patience, knowledge, wisdom, and kindness gave me the support necessary to navigate the difficulties of researching, formulating, and finally writing a complex dissertation. Through periods of absolute confusion and frustration, buoyed by occasional moments of clarity and elation, their presence and strength helped provide the courage to move forward. The dissertation process is not unlike a marathon, challenging us both mentally and physically. The unexpected turns in research lead to difficult decisions about the direction of our project, and we are often faced with the prospect of jettisoning portions of what we have already set in stone. Without their help, I can't imagine working through the momens of indecision and existential angst. Thank you Deena, Thank you Naomi. Thank you CJS."