The Program in Jewish Culture & Society is pleased to announce that Samantha Berkowitz has been awarded the Spring 2024 Ronald H. Filler Jewish Studies scholarship. Berkowitz is a rising junior majoring in Jewish Studies and minoring in Child Health and Wellness. While she is currently on track to graduate one year early thanks to her ambition and determination, Berkowitz intends to continue her studies after graduation. Her goals include earning a certificate in Strategic Leadership and Management at the University of Illinois GIES College of Business before continuing on to University of Colorado Boulder for a master’s degree in Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice.

Writing about her experience in the Program in Jewish Culture and Society, Berkowitz says that taking YDSH 320 Responses to the Holocaust with Dr. Rachel Harris led her to change her major to Jewish Studies in the second semester of her freshman year. Beyond that, taking classes like Hebrew and World Religions rekindled her love for learning. She has also worked with Rabbi Heather Paul, the on-campus rabbi at Hillel. Berkowitz currently fills in for Rabbi Jody Cook as a teacher at Sinai Temple and intends to teach Judaic classes for her next semester to expand her knowledge and expertise. By taking this position, she hopes to start having opportunities to work with children and to move closer to her ultimate goal of running a religious school or synagogue.

The Ronald H. Filler Scholarship in Jewish Studies is awarded to a Jewish Studies student each fall and spring semester. The scholarship supports a student who has demonstrated a commitment to Jewish Studies and excelled in relevant coursework. The award in Jewish Studies is one of a number of scholarships that Mr. Filler has created to support students across the campus with a diverse array of interests and strengths. Part of Ronald Filler’s vision when he created the Filler Scholarships at the University of Illinois was to promote excellence, to provide mentorship, and to encourage awardees to make meaningful contributions based on their own strengths and accomplishments. The recipients become part of a network of Filler Scholars who embody this vision and enhance the impact of the awards. Past recipients of the Ronald Filler Scholarship in Jewish Studies have gone on to pursue legal careers, work for Jewish community and philanthropic organizations, and play an active role in their synagogues and communities.

Click here for more information about the Ronald Filler Scholarship in Jewish Studies and past winners.


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