Thanks to Jewish Studies Travel Grants, undergraduates are able to live abroad, experience other cultures, and learn foreign languages through immersion. This funding is provided by generous community supporters of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies. Here are the 2015 Travel Grant winners. Check back later this year for blog posts by each student about their experiences abroad! (Please note that the Travel Grants will not be offered in 2016-2017.)

Halle Friedland

My name is Halle Friedland and I’m a junior from Seattle. I am an intended Informatics major and Jewish Studies minor. In my free time I love to hike, take pictures, and travel. This coming winter I will be traveling to Rome, Budapest, Prague, and Vienna with the Comparative History of Ideas (CHID) Department to explore the histories of the empires that existed in these areas. I am beyond ecstatic to have this opportunity to explore the histories of the various cultures and religions that resided in these areas, specifically the Jewish communities!

Jamie Schwartz

My name is Jamie Schwartz and I am a junior majoring in Biology and Jewish Studies. With this grant I plan on traveling to Israel to help distribute DNA kits to Holocaust survivors (and/or their first generation offspring) with the hope of discovering familial connections that were lost as a result of WWII and its aftermath. The DNA kits I will be working with require collecting saliva samples that will then be used to cross reference family ties throughout one of the world’s largest DNA databases for genealogical research. The hope of this project is that the more survivors tested, the greater the likelihood of finding long-lost family members.  With the last generation of Holocaust survivors nearing the ends of their lives, projects of this type are vitally important, and I am humbled to be able to participate in such meaningful work—thank you Stroum Center for Jewish Studies!

Ariel Vardy

I am a sophomore studying Comparative History of Ideas (CHID) with a minor in Education, Learning and Society. I am studying to be a Secondary Social Studies Teacher. As a CHID student, I take a multidisciplinary approach to the social science, and studies its intersections and applications within Education. Currently, I am studying identity constructing in the classroom, as well as the emergence and development of norms within institutions.

With this generous grant, I will be able to study how the Jewish identity is constructed within a flurry of post-USSR nationalism in the Black Sea region. I will be able to trace back how my original family must have lived in Romania, and then compare it with Jews across the sea in Georgia. This contrast between two Black Sea countries, and two Jewish communities will help clarify how different iterations of the Jewish identity are positioned and experienced within specific country contexts.
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⇒ Learn more about the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Washington, our Sephardic Studies Program, or our Israel Studies Program.
Note: The opinions expressed by faculty and students in our publications reflect the views of the individual writer only and not those of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies.