BA Hebrew and Jewish Studies
Assistant Curator, Jewish Museum London
Why did you choose Hebrew and Jewish Studies?
...everyone, students and staff, get to know one another and you don’t spend your degree being an anonymous face in a huge lecture hall“
I chose to study Hebrew and Jewish Studies because I really wanted the opportunity to learn something totally new at university; something challenging that I felt I wouldn’t be able to teach myself.
I hadn’t previously learnt languages at school but this wasn’t a barrier for me studying Hebrew and Yiddish! And as well as new languages, the Hebrew and Jewish Studies degree taught classes in history, literature and politics.
I also liked the idea of being part of a small department where everyone, students and staff, get to know one another and you don’t spend your degree being an anonymous face in a huge lecture hall.
What stands out about your time in the Department?
What stands out to me about the department are the people. All the academics were so passionate about what they taught, it was infectious! They were also passionate about us students - about our personal learning and development and growth. For me, the Hebrew and Jewish Studies Department always felt like a big, inclusive family who were always inspiring me and sparking my curiosity.
Where do you work? What do you do?
I now work at the Jewish Museum London as an Assistant Curator, which is really a dream job for a Hebrew and Jewish Studies graduate! Every day is different and I am constantly working on new projects: planning exhibitions, giving public talks, creating gallery displays, bringing new items into the museum, researching British Jewish History and trying to solve mini mysteries that get thrown up almost every day. One of my favourite things about this job is how much room there is for being creative and independent. I am able to take my own interests and passions and turn them into something the public might be interested in seeing! It’s very rewarding. I also get a lot of satisfaction from being in a job where I get paid to use Yiddish – there is always something new to translate – so don’t let anyone tell you that what you learn at university won’t be useful in the “real world”.
“...don’t let anyone tell you that what you learn at university won’t be useful in the “real world”.
How did HJS prepare you for your career?
HJS prepared me for my career by giving me the subject specific skills to enter into niche areas of work! My knowledge of Jewish history and languages originally got me a part time job cataloguing rare Hebrew and Yiddish books and pamphlets for an antiquarian bookseller. This in turn led me into library and archive work where I developed skills that were highly transferrable for museum work which has brought me to where I am today!
As well as the subject specific knowledge, employers have also appreciated the more general skills I developed during my time with HJS such as ability to carry out research, to write in an academic and professional voice, to think critically and be analytical.
The caring and nurturing nature of the department also prepared me for a career by enabling me to grow and develop as a person; particularly in self-confidence, which I had very little of at the start!
What would you say to students thinking of joining the Department?
Do it! It was the best 4 years of my life!
Anything else you would like to add?
Just a big thank you to the entire department! Maybe one day, I’ll be back.