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Grant Allows Jewish Studies Program to Offer New Scholarships

by Gail Hairston

(July 14, 2014) — More scholarship opportunities will soon be available for students who want to minor in Jewish studies at the University of Kentucky. The Interdisciplinary Jewish Studies Program in the UK College of Arts and Sciences has received an $85,000 grant from the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence (JHFE).

The grant will fund five undergraduate scholarships for students who minor in Jewish studies. Some of the scholarships are available for the 2014-2015 academic year, and the remainder are for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Students who want to apply for the scholarships should contact the Jewish Studies Program at 859-257-6973 or fill out the application online.

The application deadline is July 31, 2014.

"The program has grown significantly in the last two years — tripling the number of yearly events we organize for the UK and Lexington communities, increasing local partnerships, returning Hebrew to the curriculum, and offering Yiddish language as well," said Janice Fernheimer, director of the Jewish Studies Program.  "We are excited to have this opportunity to broaden our reach among undergraduates, and look forward to this innovative new partnership.  Students selected for scholarships will have the chance to work closely with a mentor in Jewish Studies, gain access to primary materials through a unique undergraduate research experience, and strengthen our knowledge of Kentucky’s Jewish heritage, which is as broad and deep as the Bluegrass itself. We are absolutely thrilled to continue to expand the program’s reach and to embark on this partnership with JHFE."

Jewish Studies Program

An interdisciplinary program since 1996 at UK, Jewish Studies offers a varied curriculum including classes in Jewish culture and civilization, history of the Holocaust, Jewish rhetoric, the Jewish graphic novel, Israel studies, Jews in America, women in Judaism, and the Jewish musical tradition. It is the only Jewish Studies program in the Commonwealth to offer courses in both Hebrew and Yiddish language. The affiliated faculty are drawn from six UK colleges including Arts and Sciences, Fine Arts, Communication, Medicine, Education, and Engineering. The minor in Jewish Studies familiarizes students with the historical and contemporary diversity of Jewish culture, language, literature, religion, history, and philosophy.

The Jewish Studies Program also offers a guest lecture series, a graduate essay competition and prize, an undergraduate research award, and support for study abroad through the Zolondek Travel Grant. It  also collaborates with the local Jewish community, Hillel, and the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass on annual major events.  For further opportunities, the university has agreements of collaboration with Haifa and Ben Gurion Universities in Israel. 

To learn more about the program, click here.

Based in Louisville, the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence is a grant making organization with a mission to foster innovative medical research and health related programs, form community partnerships in the health care arena, and support and advance the Jewish community in Louisville and the surrounding area.