The College of Charleston and its School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs are proud to announce the appointment of professor Ezra Cappell as the director of the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program, effective July 1, 2018.
A native of New York and graduate of New York University, Cappell joins the Jewish Studies Program having spent the past 17 years as Associate Professor of English and founding Director of the Inter-American Jewish Studies Program at the University of Texas at El Paso. Throughout his tenure at UTEP, Cappell was praised for his efforts in the classroom, with student organizations on campus, and in the broader community where he served a variety of Jewish and secular organizations in leadership and volunteer positions.
An expert in Jewish American fiction, Cappell’s current book project, Off the Derech: Jewish Orthodoxy in the Modern World (SUNY Press, 2018) addresses the determination by former members of ultra-Orthodox communities to publicly share their stories of departure and Renaissance. In his earliest publication, American Talmud (SUNY Press, 2007), Cappell redefines the genre of Jewish American fiction and places it squarely within the larger context of American literature.
As director of the College of Charleston’s Jewish Studies Program, Cappell will teach in Jewish Studies and will hold a joint appointment in the English Department. He will oversee the various components of the Jewish Studies Program, including its academic course offerings, regular community events, and the Jewish Student Union/Hillel. Founded in 1984, the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program aims to serve College of Charleston students and others with an interest in Judaism through offerings emphasizing academics, student life, and community outreach, in order that they may gain a greater understanding of themselves and of their community.
Cappell remarked that he is “delighted to be joining the incredible Jewish Studies team at the College of Charleston. It is a tremendous honor to have been chosen as director of the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program. I am humbled by the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Marty Perlmutter who has built a program of excellence over these past decades. I look forward to working together with the Program’s dedicated faculty, staff and community members.”
Long-time Jewish Studies Director Marty Perlmutter, who will retire in July, commented that “Ezra’s commitment to growing the multi-dimensional model of Jewish Studies at the College is reassuring, especially since he has made similar efforts with both students and the larger community in his years at UTEP. His expertise in Jewish American fiction is a real bonus, adding a new dimension of instruction to the College’s curriculum. It is a gift to be able to leave Jewish Studies in such good hands.”
College of Charleston Provost Brian McGee said he has no doubt that Cappell will carry forward the high standards established by Perlmutter.
“Through the selection process, we quickly learned that Dr. Cappell is an outstanding mentor and scholar,” McGee said. “We are confident he will continue Dr. Perlmutter’s tradition of innovative and engaged leadership in the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program. President McConnell and I congratulate Dr. Cappell, and all of us at the College of Charleston look forward to working with him.”