Alumni Stories

Professor Amy Cohen

Cohen AmyAmy J. Cohen is an Assistant Professor of Law at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. She holds a J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School. She also holds a B.A. from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, sharing the honor of graduating first in the class of 1998.

Prior to joining the Moritz faculty, Professor Cohen was a Fulbright scholar in Nepal where she taught alternative dispute resolution at the Kathmandu School of Law and assisted international donor agencies in implementing programs in community mediation and evaluating the impact of development aid in Maoist-affected regions. Upon her return to the U.S., she clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver, Colorado. During law school, she received a Hewlett Foundation Jr. Fellowship in the Program on Negotiation, worked at the White House and the State Department, and taught legal writing.

At Moritz, she teaches international dispute resolution and mediation in the school's nationally renown dispute resolution program. She also teaches property and a course on law and development. Her research interests include comparative dispute resolution, international development, and gender and cultural theory.

"The Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers was a central part of my undergraduate experience and intellectual formation. I wrote my senior honors history thesis under the direction of center director Professor Yael Zerubavel. I examined the rise of Jewish religious nationalism at the turn of the 20th century and, more specifically, the process through which diverse social groups interpret authoritative texts for disparate, and often competing, political ends. That same inquiry led me to the study of law. When Professor Zerubavel invited me to present my research at the Fourteenth Annual Meeting of the Association of Israel Studies the summer following my college graduation, my desire to become an academic was sealed."

Rachel Gross

photo not available

Rachel Gross (Jewish Studies major, January 2013) enjoyed Professor Portnoy's course on the Jewish Graphic Novel so much that she has created a version of it to teach to eighth and ninth graders at Temple Shaari Emeth Religious School beginning in mid-December.  Course highlights include delving into Action Comics #1 (the superman backstory) alongside Exodus 2: 1 - 10 to draw parallels between the two texts; Art Spiegelman's Maus; and student-driven discussions regarding stereotypes found in the novels in which students will grapple with their responses to these stereotypes as they analyze the intended audience, the societal context of the novel's setting, and what elements of society may have caused them to accept or reject the stereotypes represented in the images.

Jonathan Kobrinski

Kobrinski Jonathan

Jonathan Kobrinski graduated with a minor in Jewish Studies in 2005. After two years of study at Yale Law School, he is currently on a leave of absence in Australia to pursue a Fulbright scholarship. While at Yale, Jonathan has worked in the school's immigration clinic and served a teaching fellow for Yale College undergraduates.

"My minor in Jewish Studies was a great complement to my other undergraduate studies. The Jewish Studies department offered close interaction with talented and diverse faculty and visitors as well as the opportunity to work with and get to know other intelligent and motivated students. This made for a great dynamic within the department, having the effect of making a big school like Rutgers seem a lot smaller."

Adam Lautman

Lautman AdamAdam Lautman graduated from Rutgers College, Rutgers University in January 2010, majoring in English (with a concentration in Creative Writing) and minoring in Jewish Studies. He spent the 2011-2012 academic year teaching English in Netanya, Israel, on the pilot year of the Israel Teaching Fellows program. He is thrilled to be returning to Israel for the 2013-2014 academic year to study at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Dina Mann

Mann DinaDina Mann graduated from Rutgers College in 2005 majoring in Middle Eastern Studies with a minor in Jewish Studies. While at Rutgers, Dina wrote her Henry Rutgers Thesis on “The Binding of Isaac and its Influence on Israeli Society” as shown through Israeli film. She received the Rudolph and Mary Solomon Klein Award upon graduation. Since May 2007, Dina has been pursuing an M.S. at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has had by-lines in The New York Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Denver Post and The Arizona Republic. Her stories cover a wide range of topics: A-rod, knitting with plastic bags, and theme parties. In 2007-08, Dina interned for The Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC. Besides her graduate work, Dina has been a member of the Park Avenue Synagogue faculty for three years. She teaches Jewish history, culture and the Hebrew language to congregants of all ages.

“I found the faculty of the Bildner Center to be especially warm and helpful. Whenever I was in need of research assistance, or a good ear to listen to ideas, I always found faculty and staff to assist. The broad scope of Jewish History, from ancient to contemporary Judaism in America, has aided me in both my teaching and my general outlook on the world.”

Ayelet Margolin

Ayelet Margolin -photo not available

"Jewish Studies at Rutgers provided me with the solid, well-rounded foundation I needed to become a successful contributor to the greater Jewish dialogue in America and an active member of the Jewish communal professional community."

"After graduating from Rutgers, I received a Masters in Strategic Public Relations from The University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication. While at USC, I wrote my M.A. thesis on the role of public relations in the transition from war to peace, using the Oslo Peace Process as a case study."

"Since graduating from the Annenberg School in May 2005, I have moved to Washington, D.C., where I recently became the Assistant Director of Israel Advocacy and International Affairs at the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington. My responsibilities include Israel advocacy, Darfur advocacy/international affairs, Holocaust education (and planning the annual community-wide commemoration) and the organization's public relations."

Rabbi Michael Schwab

Schwab MichaelRabbi Michael Schwab currently serves as Associate Rabbi of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, Illinois. He graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) in May, 2004, receiving both his ordination and an MA in Jewish Education from the William Davidson Graduate School of Education. During his studies at JTS, he completed the Clinical Pastoral Education Program at Penn Foundation for Mental Health and served as the Jewish Life Director in the Goldsmith Student Dormitory. Originally from Haddonfield, NJ, his college years were spent at Rutgers University where he majored in History and Jewish Studies. During that time he also worked for United Synagogue Youth (USY) and spent many summers working at Camp Ramah in the Poconos. In addition, Rabbi Schwab was a counselor for USY on Wheels, USY Poland/Israel Pilgrimage and the Nativ Program for college freshman in Israel. Before coming to Beth El, Rabbi Schwab served the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale and Temple Beth Sholom of Rosalyn Heights and he spent several years studying in Israel at the Hebrew University’s Melton Senior Educators Program, Machon Schechter, and the Conservative Yeshiva.

"I am extremely proud of the honor's thesis that I completed with Dr. Zerubavel as my advisor and still refer to that work in my current position. It is wonderful that a State University such as Rutgers has such a fine Jewish Studies Department that allows college students to explore Judaism on such a high level."

Amy Weiss

Weiss AmyAmy Weiss is currently a PhD candidate at New York University, studying American Jewish history, in the joint degree program between the Departments of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and History. She holds a MacCracken Fellowship from NYU's Graduate School of Arts and Science. Her latest research discusses the influences of the Jewish counterculture and second wave feminism on Jewish naming ceremonies celebrating the birth of a daughter.

Prior to beginning her doctoral work, Amy received a Masters degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary in May 2007. She was a member of the school's graduate honors society, the MA Society of Fellows, and also served as the co-president of the Graduate Student Organization. While a student at JTS, Amy worked at the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust as a Lipper Intern. In this role, she educated New York City public school students about Jewish history and, in particular, the events of the Holocaust. She continues to serve as a museum tour guide.

Amy's academic career began as an undergraduate student at Rutgers, where she graduated summa cum laude in 2005 with a double major in Jewish Studies and Sociology. She wrote her senior honors thesis on American “aliyah” under the direction of Professor Chaim Waxman. Her research, conducted in conjunction with the Sociology Honors Program and the Henry Rutgers Scholars Program, studied the affects of religious affiliation and Jewish education on American Jews' decisions to immigrate to Israel. She was also the proud recipient of the Jewish Studies department's Baruch S. and Pearl W. Seidman Scholarship for three consecutive years.

See Amy's Alumni Video

Lead article in the journal, American Jewish History, “Billy Graham Receives the Ten Commandments: American Jewish Interfaith Relations in the Age of Evangelicalism.” Read more.

Alumni & Friends