By Jacob Martin-

The University of Louisville has appointed, Ranen Omer-Sherman, Ph.D. as the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Chair of Judaic Studies.  The endowed chair was funded by the JHFE and other local donors.  It’s funding exceeds $2.5 million.

Omer-Sherman comes to U of L after working at the University of Miami and Saint Louis University in Madrid, Spain.

“I love this move. Leaving Miami for Louisville was great. I was in that city for about 12 years. Certainly there’s nice things about being near the beaches and so on, but not a great sense of community and Louisville, as many people have told me, is a small town where you have the cultural benefits of a large city and I’m really liking that,” said Omer-Sherman.

Although Dr. Omer-Sherman has only been at the University for a little over a month, he is already making an impact on campus.

He is leading a Humanities course this Fall focusing on youth in Palestine and Israel and hopes to do programming for the Jewish community in Louisville through lecture series and other events which will draw the community onto campus.

“Dr. Omer-Sherman has been great so far,” said Humanities faculty member Shari Gater.  “We are very excited to have him as a member of the Humanities department.”

Omer-Sherman has contributed to numerous publications and has authored three novels. His most recent work, “The Jewish Graphic Novel: Critical Approaches,” examines major Jewish themes through text and visual art for accessibility within the classroom.  Omer-Sherman is also working on a book about the Kibbutz movement and hopes to teach a class dedicated to exploring the Bible, not as religious or authoritative text, but as a literary story.

“We hope to rebuild the Jewish studies Minor and eventually one day hopefully have a Jewish Studies major as well,” said Omer-Sherman. “There’s a lot of faculty doing very, very exciting work in Jewish Studies and I think a lot of us have a lot of ambition and excitement about strengthening this program.”