In my third year as a graduate student in English at Columbia University, I came to a life-changing conclusion: as much as I enjoyed studying Victorian literature, I couldn’t see myself devoting my life to it. My real passion lay instead with the study of Jewish and Hebraic culture. After finishing my Columbia doctorate in the late 1970s and sampling different sub-specialties in Jewish studies—midrash, medieval Hebrew poetry, and others—I settled on modern Hebrew literature.
My Life with Hebrew
When people find out that I teach Hebrew literature, they invariably remark, “Oh, you must be fluent.” I’ve now been working hard at it for many decades, and I’m still not there.