Rebekah (Shapiro) Raz '98 is Director of the Community Relations Council and Young Adult Division for the Jewish Federation in Providence, Rhode Island, after completing her MA in Jewish Studies at the University of Connecticut. She and her husband Liran are the parents of a daughter Annabelle, born in June 2004. Rebekah writes: "I was thrilled to see all the wonderful things that are going on in Ithaca. It's too bad there was no Jewish Studies minor when I was a student. The courses sound wonderful!"
Amber Beland '97, who took the Jewish Cultures class as an anthropology major, graduated from Harvard Divinity School with a Master of Divinity degree and was recently ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister. She and her husband are living in the Washington, DC area, where he is doing his medical residency at Walter Reed Hospital.
Andrew Englander '97 lives in Portland, Oregon, where he works for a non-profit organization called the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition. "We're an advocacy organization focused on salmon recovery in the Columbia and Snake River basin. My job mostly involves fighting with federal officials and working with state and Native American fishery agencies and members of Congress."
Shari ( Davis ) Blum '96 lives in Florida with her husband Rabbi Aryeh Blum, a rabbi, mohel and musician, and their children Meira Sonia (4) and Akiva (1). She sent this update on her life since graduation: "I attended law school for one semester, until my Jewish soul was ready to burst, and ran away to Israel. I participated in many programs there, the main one being Livnot U'Lehibanot, a learning, hiking and community service program. I found the missing link in my life and became an observant Jewish woman. Soon after, I met my husband (back in the states). We have lived in Omaha, Nebraska, where he directed a Torah learning center. I am a teacher -- I work mostly with preschool and kindergarten. In fact we built our own Jewish Preschool in Omaha named Etz Chaim. My main duties are of course raising my children -- the most important (and exhausting) job in the world, which I take very seriously. Outside of this, I teach many women privately regarding Jewish laws, lead the chesed organizations (that is, cook for those who are sick or needy in some way on a weekly basis) and teach in the preschool."
It was wonderful to see Rebecca (Falkove) Brown ' 96 during my August 2004 visit to NYC and share an afternoon with her at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. After a number of years as a social worker, she recently completed her master's degree in teacher education and is an elementary school teacher's aide, looking for a full-time job on Long Island, where she lives with her husband Douglas Brown.
Jill Goldmsith '96 is currently working as the regional director at the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Glenn Roth '96 left his job as a sportswriter and is in graduate school at Manhattanville College, pursuing a dual masters in childhood and special education. He writes: "I wanted to do something more meaningful with my life and make a positive contribution to society. I've also been working as a volunteer at the American Museum of Natural History. Glenn describes his travels with enthusiasm to Europe (where he found the Ann Frank House in Amsterdam particularly moving), Alaska , the Canadian Rockies, Seattle and Vancouver, river rafting, horseback riding, the Calgary Stampede."
Allan Naplan '94, now artistic administrator of the Pittsburgh Opera after several years of performing with the Houston Grand Opera, was awarded one of IC's two Outstanding Young Alumni Awards for 2004, in recognition of his exceptional professional success. His choral compositions have been performed throughout the United States, including the White House, Carnegie Hall, and Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as well as at venues in 26 other countries. Allan's "Schlof Main Kind" is part of the archival holdings of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and his arrangement of "Hatikva"- a commission to celebrate the State of Israel's 50th anniversary - was premiered before an audience that included then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. He still serves as a high holiday cantor for Congregation Beth Yeshurun in Houston, Texas, and has recorded a CD of melodies from Friday night services at that synagogue, titled Thank God It's Shabbat.
Paul Guggenheim '94 is on the staff of the Field Museum in Chicago, focusing on conservation education with the population living in the buffer zone of a new national park in Peru. Prior to his work at the Field Museum, Paul served in the Peace Corps in Honduras, in Nicaragua as an educator with a human rights organization, and in Washington, DC at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Check out his current project at http://www.fieldmuseum.org/cordilleraazul.
Ira Seidel '94 writes from Eldersburg, Maryland, where he is a physical therapist: "I have fond memories of your class [Jewish Cultures] and wish I could re-enroll, as American Jewish Life and Intro to the Holocaust sound extremely interesting. I am a busy husband and father these days. Laurie and I were married in October 1999, and our son Jordan Ray was born May 28, 2002." A history major at IC, Ira sent us a photo of himself participating in the Gettysburg Civil War Re-enactment, along with one of Laurie and Jordan at a Passover seder.
Luz-Maria Villa '94 is living in the Bronx and working at a midtown financial institution and taking courses in Latin American Studies. She wrote in June 2004 : "I'm thrilled, though not surprised, at how rapidly the Jewish Studies program is growing. Last month I went to Colombia after 26 years. Though a lot of it had to do with seeing my father and siblings, it also had a lot to do with 'getting back to my roots.' I've noticed a few people are making the same voyage or pilgrimage if you will. That the Jewish Studies program is blossoming is a testament to that desire to re-connect with the past and make the present better for the future."
Robin Arutt '93 is Director of Educational Programs and Services for a multicultural educational publishing company in Philadelphia, whose mission is to prepare and empower students, teachers and families in large urban settings. She describes this work in glowing terms: "Understanding where students and teachers are, the realities of their experience -- helping them to stand up for themselves in their communities and in the world, to value their own opinion and personal expression, to intelligently question their own assumptions as well as the assumptions and messages of others, is for me the most subversive and revolutionary act I've had the privilege to participate in." Since graduating from IC, Robin has traveled widely (including Ghana and Costa Rica) and earned a M.Ed. degree from the University of Vermont. She writes: "I have been keeping up with the news regarding the fantastic development of the IC Jewish Studies program with pride and enthusiasm. I feel fortunate to have had the privilege of participating in the pioneer [Jewish Cultures] course while I was at IC. I learned so much and find myself referring back to it with frequency, even in my relatively secular life."
Lisa Grossman-Cline '92 is living in Rochester, New York, while her husband finishes his MBA at the Simon School. She has made the JCC and synagogue the center of her activities, with her son in the JCC nursery school where Lisa is a substitute teacher, and her daughter enjoying Hebrew School.
Cori (Schoenstadt) Sokolow '92 is Executive Director of the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management, working with her husband Brett as consultants for colleges and universities on issues such as sexual assault, harassment, alcohol and hazing. They live in Williston, Pennsylvania, with their daughter Gabrielle Emma.
Seth Zuckerman ' 92 is Director of Finance for Econnergy Energy Company. He and his wife Erika and children Shifra (6) ) and Noah (3) live a busy Jewish life in Teaneck, New Jersey.