Some find it disappointing that Portland State only offers Judaic studies as a minor, but with new faculty member Nina Spiegel, that’s set to change soon.
Spiegel is the new Rabbi Joshua Stampfer Professor of Israel Studies, and her position is the only designated tenure track position in Israel Studies in the Pacific Northwest. She will also teach a number of Judaic studies courses, including “Israeli Culture and Society” this fall.
During her undergraduate experience at Brown University, Spiegel discovered a love of the topics she now teaches.
Before coming to PSU, Spiegel spent time on the East Coast at American University and Brandeis University after receiving her doctorate from Stanford.
Spiegel said she has always enjoyed teaching and seeing the different types of conversations that can come up in a classroom.
“It inspired me that you can really make a difference in people’s lives by encouraging them and supporting them and opening them up to new ideas and concepts,” Spiegel said.
Spiegel will publish Embodying Hebrew Culture: Aesthetics, Athletics, and Dance in the Jewish Community in British Mandate Palestine next June. The book looks at cultural activities and the ways in which they shaped the development of Jewish culture during the British Mandate for Palestine during the 1920s and ’30s, as well as how it became the Israeli society it is now.