William & Mary student Josh Kim ’17, an international relations major, completed a semester abroad this fall at Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv, Israel as one of the first recipients of the new Meyers-Stern Scholarship.
Started in 2014, the Meyers-Stern Endowment was created to allow William & Mary students to further their studies in Israel. In addition, the endowment also pays for guest lectures, conferences and visiting professors in Judaic studies.
Kim’s primary goal in studying abroad at Tel Aviv University was to deepen his understanding of ancient biblical Hebrew and to gain a better understanding of the political and economic tensions in the Middle East.
“I want my worldview and American cultural values challenged through actively engaging with the local culture of Tel Aviv,” said Kim.
Having been in Israel since late July, Kim has had unique opportunities interning at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.
“I’ve helped put together a presentation for an event commemorating the Egyptian intellectual Ali Salem,” said Kim. “I am currently working at the press archives scanning old Syrian newspapers from the early 1970s to create an electronic database for researchers.”
Kim also kept up with his studies by taking classes.
“I took four classes,” said Kim. “Two of which were Judaism and Christianity in Conflict and Conversation plus a Hebrew language course called Ulpan.”
In addition to Kim receiving the Meyers-Stern Scholarship, Stephanie Hertzenberg ’16 and Brian Jenkins ’17 got to go on an archaeological dig back in the summer of 2015 as the first W&M students to have received the scholarship. Jenkins was also the first-ever Judaic studies minor to receive the scholarship.
They both went to Tel Halif, Israel, where they lived for five weeks working on the excavation of the Lahav Research Project. There they helped to expose an area showing the destruction of the biblical town of Rimmon by the Assyrian king Sennacherib in 701 B.C.
“The experience of working at Tel Halif was incredible and I wholeheartedly recommend it,” said Hertzenberg. “I truly cannot put into words how amazing it was to hold in my hands a clay jar that had not been touched by a human being in 3000 years.”
Students interested in applying for Meyers-Stern Scholarships can get more information from either Professor Marc Lee Raphael, director of the program, at firstname.lastname@example.org or from the Charles Center. Applications for summer study are due by Feb. 1, 2016, and applications for academic semester/year are due by March 1, 2016.