Renowned scholar Lori Lefkovitz has been named the inau­gural holder of the Rud­erman Pro­fes­sor­ship of Jewish Studies at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity and the director of Northeastern’s Jewish Studies pro­gram.

Alumnus Morton Rud­erman, COE, ’59, and his wife, Marcia, made the chair pos­sible through a gen­erous donation.

The Ruderman’s com­mit­ment to the Jewish com­mu­nity and the study of its his­tory and cul­ture will be enriched by the appoint­ment of Lori Lefkovitz. She is an out­standing scholar whose love of teaching and engage­ment with the Jewish com­mu­nity will ele­vate the impact of Jewish studies at North­eastern,” said Joseph E. Aoun, pres­i­dent of North­eastern University.

Before coming to North­eastern in August 2010, Lefkovitz was the Sadie Gottesman and Arlene Gottesman Reff Pro­fessor of Gender and Judaism at the Recon­struc­tionist Rab­binical Col­lege and the founding director of the College’s Kolot: Center for Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies.

Our family wel­comes Pro­fessor Lefkovitz as the new Rud­erman Pro­fessor of Jewish Studies at North­eastern,” said Jay Rud­erman, Pres­i­dent of the Rud­erman Family Foundation.

We believe that her pas­sion for Jewish life and schol­ar­ship cou­pled with Northeastern’s unique co-​​op pro­gram will have a pro­found pos­i­tive impact on the Jewish com­mu­nity of Greater Boston and beyond.”

To North­eastern, Lefkovitz brings a diverse back­ground that includes inter­dis­ci­pli­nary training in Jewish Studies and pro­gram devel­op­ment, specif­i­cally training in lit­er­a­ture and crit­ical theory and expe­ri­ence teaching both Bible and modern and con­tem­po­rary Jewish literature.

Pro­fessor Lefkovitz is the right leader at the right time to lead Northeastern’s Jewish Studies pro­gram. She is a gifted and tal­ented scholar whose exper­tise and knowl­edge undoubt­edly will enhance the program’s mis­sion to develop future leaders, to nourish Jewish iden­tity in the modern world, and to rep­re­sent Judaism in the public sphere,” said Georges Van Den Abbeele, Dean of the Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Humanities.

Lefkovitz hopes to estab­lish strong rela­tion­ships with the Jewish com­mu­nity through co-​​op and stu­dent life, work with Northeastern’s tal­ented fac­ulty to expand the program’s cur­riculum and coor­di­nate events and con­fer­ences. The goal of these efforts, she says, is to fur­ther increase stu­dent interest in the program.

I am hon­ored to have been selected for this posi­tion,” said Lefkovitz, “and excited and chal­lenged by this oppor­tu­nity. A full-​​time chaired posi­tion is an expres­sion of com­mit­ment to Jewish Studies and opens the pos­si­bility of devel­oping a first-​​rate pro­gram that emerges from Northeastern’s unique strengths.”

Lefkovitz expressed grat­i­tude to the Rud­erman family for their gen­erosity, vision, and com­mit­ment to North­eastern. She is enthu­si­astic about the University’s urban set­ting and Boston’s impres­sive Jewish com­mu­nity, which promises to pro­vide fer­tile ground to help build the Jewish Studies program.

Lefkovitz’s career com­bines tra­di­tional dis­ci­pli­nary schol­ar­ship in lit­erary and cul­tural studies and work as a public intel­lec­tual involved in modern Jewish life, with an emphasis on women’s con­cerns and gender iden­ti­ties in Jewish tra­di­tion. She recently authored a book, In Scrip­ture: The First Sto­ries of Jewish Sexual Iden­ti­ties (2010), and in addi­tion to her other books, she has con­tributed essays to many col­lec­tions and jour­nals in the field.

Lefkovitz has been hon­ored with a Ful­bright Pro­fes­sor­ship at Hebrew Uni­ver­sity of Jerusalem, has held an asso­ciate fel­low­ship at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­vania, and a post-​​doctoral fel­low­ship at the Philadel­phia Insti­tute for Psy­cho­analysis. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Eng­lish and Amer­ican Lit­er­a­ture from Bran­deis Uni­ver­sity, and received her mas­ters and Ph.D. in Eng­lish from Brown University.