Like most literature majors, I’ve always loved reading. I’ve also always loved carrying on intellectual conversations involving complex subjects and big words. One of the most delightful things about the Hebrew University English Department was that it enabled me to combine those two loves into a course of study. But it wasn’t just that my class reading lists consisted mainly of contemporary and classic literature (including some excellent books I would never have thought to read on my own), or that I got to spend hours engaged in stimulating discussions with lovely and intelligent people who shared my interests. My time in the department also exposed me to a wide range of thinkers, many in fields that weren’t necessarily literary. And most importantly, I found myself in an environment that rigorously encouraged critical thinking, where my professors could actually parse my sesquipedalian ramblings and call me on inconsistencies or lack of substance. It was an environment that challenged me to work hard, to put careful thought into my words–and to learn. I’ve emerged from it edified–and with some published poems under my belt to boot.
I was always a reader growing up, but I had never thought of literary studies as a career option. It somehow did not occur to me that I could work at what I love. Therefore, when I enrolled in the English Department at the Hebrew University in the early 2000s, it was so as to have some form of spiritual sustenance while I pursued my more “serious” course of study in another of the university’s faculties. It did not take long, however, before English became my overriding intellectual preoccupation and the center of my academic career. And so, a contingent decision, made almost desultorily, changed the course of my life.
I owe much of the last decade – from the acceptance to the graduate program at Stanford University to the subsequent hire by the Department of English and American Studies at Tel Aviv University – to my professors at Hebrew U. The English Department offers its undergraduates what I now know to be a world-class education, all while providing a genuine home to the literary-minded student. It provided me with a model of academic and intellectual excellence that I continually try to live up to in my own teaching, research and writing.
More to come…