PhD candidate and native Brooklynite Loren R. Spielman could have attended any number of graduate schools to continue his studies in ancient Judaism.
Coming to List College as a transfer student from Boston University, Loren also received his masters in ancient Judaism at The Jewish Theological Seminary. When considering advanced degrees, it was the range of classes offered at The Graduate School, especially Jewish literature in ancient Greek, which made him want to continue his education at JTS.
Working on a concentration in ancient Jewish studies, Loren’s educational track is quite focused though he has enjoyed discussing a wide range of topics and issues with his Graduate School classmates. “I enjoy the sheer variety of my colleagues’ interests. I have daily conversations with people who study Yiddish literature, modern Jewish philosophy, medieval history, codes, and rabbinic theology,” Loren said.
“My advisor and I used to meet every week and read the Jewish historian Josephus together in Greek. It’s not the sort of thing most advisers would do,” he marveled.
Currently working on his dissertation, ”Concilium Vanitatis: Spectacle Entertainment and the Jews From the Herodian Period Through the Muslim Conquest,” Loren’s in-depth analysis of the role that early Greek and Roman entertainments played in the construction of Jewish society and identity has resulted in a newfound appreciation for spectator sports.
His love of games and athletic competition also led to an off-court romance, as Loren met his wife playing volleyball in a city league.
When he finally graduates from The Graduate School in late 2009, Loren intends to apply his appreciation for learning and educating others through a teaching position in religion, history or Jewish studies. While Loren acknowledges that “teaching ancient history to undergraduates is a special kind of challenge,” it is one he is well-equipped to face.