Dr. Jacob Meskin, a dis­tin­guished scholar of Jewish Studies, has been named the inau­gural holder of the Rud­erman Pro­fes­sor­ship of Jewish Studies for the 2009–2010 aca­d­emic year. Tes­ta­ment to their com­mit­ment to the Jewish com­mu­nity and the study of its his­tory and cul­ture, alumnus Morton Rud­erman, COE, ’59, and his wife Marcia made the chair pos­sible through a gen­erous donation.

Mort Rud­erman is an out­standing leader for our uni­ver­sity,” said North­eastern Pres­i­dent Joseph Aoun. “With this gift, he is bringing together two of his pas­sions: his alma mater and the advance­ment of Jewish studies. We are grateful to Mort and his family for helping to ele­vate our aca­d­emic pro­file and for accel­er­ating our momentum.”

Meskin is aca­d­emic director of the Me’ah Pro­gram and assis­tant pro­fessor of Jewish Thought and Edu­ca­tion at Hebrew Col­lege. In his role at North­eastern, he will work with Jewish com­munal ser­vice orga­ni­za­tions to broaden the range of expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­ni­ties and launch a broad range of cul­tural events on campus. Meskin will guest lec­ture in Jewish Studies classes and present a sem­inar on ped­a­gogy. In the spring, he will teach “The Kab­balah: Jewish Mys­ti­cism from the Zohar to Madonna” and a course in Phi­los­ophy and Religion.

The Rud­erman Family Foun­da­tion is excited that Pro­fessor Meskin has been chosen as the inau­gural holder of the Rud­erman Jewish Studies Pro­fes­sor­ship,” said Jay Rud­erman, Pres­i­dent of the Rud­erman Family Foun­da­tion. “We believe that his lead­er­ship and pas­sion for Jewish learning will greatly ben­efit the pro­gram, the uni­ver­sity and the greater Boston Jewish community.”

This is a great honor. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy in my aca­d­emic career making Jewish Studies a real, living part of stu­dent and campus life,” said Meskin. “Jewish Studies may be an aca­d­emic dis­ci­pline, but once you see what it’s really about, the human ques­tions —both big and per­sonal —that are at stake, you realize that it’s a ter­ribly pas­sionate, engaging, and some­times trans­for­ma­tive discipline.”

The mis­sion of Northeastern’s Jewish Studies Pro­gram is three-​​fold: to develop future leaders, to nourish Jewish iden­tity in the modern world, and to rep­re­sent Judaism in the public sphere.

North­eastern already has an impres­sive group of scholars involved in Jewish Studies,” added Meskin. “So in addi­tion to working with my col­leagues and teaching my courses, I hope this year to con­nect Jewish Studies in even richer ways with Jewish life on campus, with the co-​​op pro­gram, and with the broader uni­ver­sity community.”

Meskin has taught at Princeton Uni­ver­sity, Rut­gers Uni­ver­sity, Williams Col­lege, Yeshiva University’s Revel Grad­uate School, Lehigh Uni­ver­sity and Rollins Col­lege. He received his master’s and PhD degrees from Princeton. He pub­lished in Modern Judaism, The Journal of Reli­gion, Cross­Cur­rents, Judaism, Sound­ings, and Lev­inas Studies, as well as in sev­eral edited vol­umes, and is cur­rently working on a man­u­script on the role of Jewish tra­di­tion in the phi­los­ophy of Emmanuel Levinas.