Dear Ms. Deborah Katz: Rivka Feinberg
When I came to Washington University, I intended to pursue pre-medical studies. I had a strong background in languages, having taken Hebrew since age six and Spanish through high school, so I decided to add Arabic to my first-year class schedule. I had such a wonderful experience in the class that I am now majoring in Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Studies. This year I am studying abroad at Hebrew University in Israel, where my coursework includes classes in Hebrew, Arabic and history.
Last summer, the University Libraries gave me the opportunity to work on a fascinating and rewarding project, which has widened my academic horizons even further. The Libraries are cataloging several hundred rare Jewish books, part of the Shimeon Brisman Collection of Judaica, and I researched the signatures and stamps of previous owners as part of this process. My background in Hebrew and Jewish history proved especially helpful. I was able to translate, identify and document most of the signatures and stamps in the books using electronic and print resources, linking the books to scholars, rabbis and libraries around the world.
It was inspiring to learn about the people who had handled these unique books before me—some of them dating back to the 16th century—and to know I played a role in uncovering their stories for future scholars and students. I hope to work with these materials again when I return from Israel, and I know I will draw upon this experience in my academic and professional life.
The Annual Fund helps make it possible for the Libraries to acquire, preserve and make accessible incredible materials like the Brisman Collection. Your generosity allows students to conduct primary research and discover new academic pursuits during our Washington University education. Thank you for your gift last year to support University Libraries. Please renew or increase your gift for 2011-12.
With thanks and very best wishes,
Rivka Feinberg, Arts & Sciences, Class of 2013