Archive for May, 2012

“And for your years of service to OWU Hillel….”

May 13, 2012

“…we present you with this cat menorah.”

That line, delivered by OWU Hillel President Tammy Winkler, was among the most unforgettable delivered at the 2012 Ohio Wesleyan University Baccalaureate Service last night.  I truly appreciate the thought that went into this gift – made from up-cycled materials and Cora-friendly.  As you can see, she and Ketzel that Kitty are already getting acquainted.  Elsa, our dog, is still not sure what she thinks…

This is my final post as OWUJew.  I had three and a half great years advising Jewish students at Ohio Wesleyan.  I am glad for the experience and grateful for the opportunity.

The following are thanks I offered at the farewell lunch held in my honor on Friday, May 4th.   They seemed worth repeating here.

“I want to offer thanks to Hillel leaders part and present.  I especially wish to thank the presidents with whom I worked most closely: Michael Cohen, Lily Strumwasser, Lizzie Rubenstein, and Tammy Winkler.  Thanks to Richard Elias for being the Hillel handyman every Sukkot, lending his power tools and pick-up truck.  Thank you Bob Gitter for posting this job listing on the Little Minyan listserv and then being an excellent guide on the side.  Thanks to Michael Flamm for ongoing support, institution memory, and advice.  Thank you Karen Poremski – One of the few faculty members I got to know.  I wish we’d been able to take that trip together to the Lakota Reservation, but I’m happy to have gotten to know you and share stories of spirituality and motherhood. (NOTE to students: Karen has been one of Challah for Hunger’s best customers.  Be sure to let her know when you’ll be baking!)

Thanks to all my colleagues in the Chaplain’s Office.  I learned so much from you all.  Your questions about Judaism, knowledge of theology, dedication to social justice and the students of OWU, challenged me in unexpected ways.  I especially want to thank Sarah Dubois for responding to all my questions and executing my off-campus requests.  I couldn’t have gotten things done without you.  Finally, I would like to thank Jon Powers for his endless support and accolades which I am still trying to live up to.

Like most students, I came to Ohio Wesleyan a seeker.  I was looking for a way to reconnect with Jewish traditions and Jewish people.  I found that at OWU.  However, just as the usefulness of students’ time at the university is limited, my time here as reached its end.  Thank you so much for welcoming me into your community.”

So, what’s next for OWUJew?

This summer and into the fall, I will continue to teach Art Education in the online master’s program for the University of Florida in addition to some adjunct teaching for The Ohio State University.  I’m interested in doing some research on Jewish picturebooks as a medium for cultural preservation, using the P&J Library program as a primary example.  This parallels my primary focus which will be raising Cora, along with her big sister Rosa and brother George, to be a mensch.




Note of Thanks to an Unnamed Adviser

May 4, 2012
Many of you will know to whom this note is intended.  I hope that he reads this and appreciates my heartfelt message.  I hope everyone reading it can learn something from my reflections.
Dear Unnamed Adviser,
I wanted to apologize for not formally thanking you today during the luncheon.  It was not deliberate, but I was thinking a lot about it on my way home seeing as you were at the lunch when others I thanked were not able to be there.  It meant a lot to have you there.  I did, of course, think of you as I was writing up my talking points, I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to say.  I think I’m more clear now.
I have appreciated your perspective on Jewish Life at OWU the past year and a half.  Just like the professor who gives you trouble when you are in his class but you really respect in retrospect, you sometimes challenged me in ways I did not really want to be challenged.  Your traditional views forced me to recall my own conservative upbringing and some of the things I am leaving out and leaving behind in my own life and in my work.  While these have for the most part been conscious choices on my part, I sometimes feel a void and a space of longing in my spiritual core as a result.
So, I wanted to thank you more formally and apologize if I didn’t always seem eager for your input.  Know that it was indeed valuable and appreciated.