Amer­i­can to lead Ox­ford Cen­tre

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY SI­MON ROCKER

AN ACA­DEMIC who has writ­ten books on Kab­balah and Jewish be­lief is to be the first Amer­i­can head of the Ox­ford Cen­tre for He­brew and Jewish Stud­ies.

David Ariel, 58, the act­ing pres­i­dent of Bal­ti­more He­brew Univer­sity, will suc­ceed Peter Op­pen­heimer in Oc­to­ber. He re­tires af­ter eight years as pres­i­dent of the cen­tre.

“The Ox­ford Cen­tre has had a su­perb in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion over the years,” said Dr Ariel, who will be at­tend­ing its an­nual din­ner in Lon­don next week. “Its founder, David Pat­ter­son, cre­ated a world-class in­sti­tu­tion that at­tracts schol­ars from all over the world.”

He added: “This is a very ex­cit­ing time for Bri­tish Jewry. In my per­cep­tion, the re­nais­sance of Jewish life in Europe is very pos­i­tive and there are some won­der­ful aca­demic and cul­tural de­vel­op­ments.” His four books in­clude What Do Jews Be­lieve; The Jew- ish Faith Re-ex­am­ined and Kab­balah: the Mys­tic Quest in Ju­daism.

For 25 years, he was pres­i­dent of the Laura and Alvin Sei­gal Col­lege of Ju­daic Stud­ies in Cleve­land, Ohio, an in­de­pen­dent in­sti­tute spe­cial­is­ing in the train­ing of Jewish ed­u­ca­tors, with dis­tance-learn­ing pro­grammes in six other Amer­i­can cities, be­fore tak­ing up a role in a sim­i­lar in­sti­tu­tion in Bal­ti­more last Oc­to­ber.

A key ob­jec­tive will be to in­crease fund­ing for Ox­ford’s fel­low­ships, as well as en­dow­ing new posts in ar­eas such as Sephardic stud­ies, Kab­balah and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

David Ariel

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