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Welcome Professor Lisa Keller

I am delighted to have the honor of becoming Purchase College’s Jewish Studies Program Coordinator starting Fall 2021.

I have fulfilled many roles in my 32 years at Purchase College: Professor of History; founder and Director of the Journalism Program; founder and Director of the Westchester and Local History Institute; organizer of a Spoken Word series featuring Poet Laureates, and so much more. As a scholar I have written books, articles, book chapters, and newspaper opinion pieces; I have done many media interviews; and I have organized hundreds of scholarly events for both academics and the public. In my personal life, I have served as president of my synagogue’s Sisterhood, participated in many Temple committees including Adult Education, and have supported initiatives to expand learning experiences for Temple youth.

Purchase’s Jewish Studies program, however, occupies a special place in my heart. When I started teaching here, the incomparable and dynamic Roberta Barkan was beginning her campaign to establish an endowed program devoted to preserving and expanding the study of Jewish language, history and culture at Purchase. No one but Roberta could have done what she did in raising funds to match the prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities grant she was able to secure. The ever energetic and indomitable Roberta was a dear friend, and whenever she asked me to do something, I could never refuse.

I find myself following another hard-to-fill pair of shoes, that of outgoing Jewish Studies Program Coordinator Rachel Hallote. An accomplished and outstanding scholar in her field, Rachel was equally devoted to promoting the Jewish Studies program to ensure its outreach was as extensive as possible, and its programming as appealing as could be. For two decades she provided stable leadership for Jewish Studies and for this we thank her and wish her well in her future endeavors.

I am excited to begin programming for Jewish Studies, aided by the talented and accomplished Jewish Studies Communications and Programing Coordinator Laura Lubart. I look forward to getting to know all of you, the wonderful community who have continued to make Jewish Studies the successful program that it is today.


Lisa Keller