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A letter from Outgoing Jewish Studies Coordinator Rachel Hallote

I first came to Purchase College as Coordinator of the Jewish Studies Program in the fall of 2001, just days before 9/11. It was quite a beginning, learning the ropes in the wake of a national catastrophe. But thanks to many supportive colleagues, all went smoothly. One of the most supportive was Professor Roberta Barkan, the founding director of the Program, who encouraged me as I moved towards the next steps for Jewish Studies. Professor Barkan had built the Program from the ground up, a remarkable accomplishment, and her foundations allowed me to take it to the next phase.

During my first few years, I integrated Jewish Studies more fully into the School of Humanities by cross-listing most of our courses, and making many of them part of the College’s general education required curriculum. This led to more students from throughout the College taking our classes, and often choosing to minor in Jewish Studies. It also put the Program on the radar of faculty and staff throughout the College. Over the last two decades I’ve added many new courses into our curriculum, and also have offered many public programs, including the films and lectures. We always like to bring the Westchester community onto our campus, to give all of you a taste of what we do in our classrooms. I’ve also had the great pleasure of bringing groups of students over to Israel, to participate in our Archaeology Summer Program, which I’ve been running since 2011 (currently suspended due to the pandemic).

But now it’s time for me to move forward into my own next phase, one where I will be able to concentrate more on teaching, as well as on my own research and publications. To that end, I’m leaving the Jewish Studies Program in the capable hands of Professor Lisa Keller, who is excited to take it on. Professor Keller is a Professor of History with a keen interest in Jewish Studies, who has been involved with the Program since its inception, and she will be a wonderful coordinator. Please read her welcome note on the following page.

Thank you to every one of you, for your continued interest in and support of the Program during all my years as coordinator.

–Rachel Hallote, outgoing Coordinator


Look under Related to find links to Professor Hallote’s podcast on the archaeology of ancient Israel, called This Week in the Ancient Near East.