Advisor: Caroline J. Acker

Committee: Joe W. Trotter, Rachel Kranson (University of Pittsburgh)

“Adjusting to Change: The Jewish Community Center Movement in Postwar Urban America, 1945-1980”

This project examines how American Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) in the postwar decades debated whether they should solely enroll Jewish members or whether they should serve all of the ethnic and religious groups in their increasingly diverse neighborhoods. This debate raged alongside another, internal argument over what it meant to be Jewish in the first place. Were Jewish Centers to be “religious” organizations aimed at encouraging Jews to be more observant of Judaism, or was it of more importance to preserve Jewish identity through civilization and culture, as many Jewish Center workers believed? I argue that local JCCs’ priorities and programming were reshaped in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s as Center workers attempted to balance their professional authority with their sectarian commitment. The ideology and practice of the Jewish Center worker, a “Jewish” social worker with a distinct professional identity, involved not only preserving Jewish identity, but also promoting American liberal values. While Jewish Center workers acknowledged the important role of Jewish content within the Center, the empirical and universalistic nature of their training greatly affected the trajectory of these institutions, impelling them to expand Center services to the wider, non-Jewish community. 


Carnegie Mellon University: Pittsburgh, PA

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, Expected May 2017

Examination fields:  20th c. U.S. Social and Urban History; History of American Medicine, Public Health, & Health Policy; American Jewish History; Transnational Modern Latin America

Carnegie Mellon University: Pittsburgh, PA

M.A. in History, Department of History, 2012

Barnard College, Columbia University: New York, NY

Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude, 2009

Major: Spanish and Latin American Cultures

Minor: History

Study Abroad: IFSA-Butler Cooperating Programs in the Americas: Buenos Aires, Argentina (July-December 2007) 

"The Venice Ghetto at 500: Site Based Approaches to Memory Studies"

Accepted for Publication, Graduate Journal of Social Science, Special Issue on Memory Studies, Nov/Dec 2017

Co-authored with Katherine G. Trostel, Doctoral Candidate, University of California-Santa Cruz


William S. Dietrich II Presidential Dissertation Fellowship, Carnegie Mellon University

Dissertation Completion Fellowship, August 2016-May 2017

Charleston Research Fellowship, Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture, College of Charleston

Fellowship to conduct research in the Jewish Heritage Collection, October 2016

Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Selected Participant, “Shaking Foundations” Advanced Summer School in Judaic Studies, Summer 2016

The Ghetto of Venice: The Future of Memory in the Digital Age, University of California, Santa Cruz Department of Literature

Selected Participant, Summer Workshop for Early Career Scholars, Summer 2016

Rabbi Joachim Prinz Memorial Fellowship, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center, American Jewish Archives

Travel Grant for four-week residency at Marcus Center, 2015-16 

Kevy Kaiserman Memorial Summer Fellow, Feinstein Center for American Jewish History, Temple University

Travel Grant for Graduate Student Research, Summer 2015 

American Academy for Jewish Research

Travel Grant for Graduate Student Research, Summer 2015 

A.W. Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series, Carnegie Mellon University

Predoctoral Fellow, Spring 2015 

GuSH Graduate Student Small Project Help, Carnegie Mellon University

Research Funding, Fall 2014 

Fellowships and Awards

Conference and Public Presentations

Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference

Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities Workshop, December 2016

The Venice Ghetto at 500

Panel Organizer, Jewish Communal Surveys in Postwar America, December 2015

The Janowsky Survey and the Postwar Purpose of the Jewish Community Center

Graduate Student Lightning Panel, December 2014

“Jewish Adjustment” and the Professionalization of Jewish Social Work

Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture, College of Charleston

Public Presentation, October 2016

Adjusting to Change: Jewish Community Center Workers, Civil Rights, and the Open Membership Debate of 1968 

Jacob Rader Marcus Center, American Jewish Archives

Seminar Presentation, May 2016

Adjusting to Change: Jewish Community Center Workers, Civil Rights, and the Urban Crisis, 1960-1970

American Academy of Religion, Eastern International Region Annual Meeting

Panel, From Abraham to Black Jesus: Black Power and Monotheistic Religious Identity in Urban America,  May 2016

Looking Outward, Turning Inward: The Jewish Community Center's Response to Black Power, 1965-1970