Evan Vossman
First-Year Ph.D. Student

What were some meaningful aspects of the Archeological Dig at Tel Dan in Israel?
Some meaningful aspects of the trip for me were experiencing the culture(s) and physical locations. My research interests revolve around languages, so hearing conversational Hebrew spoken on a daily basis gave me deep joy. I’ve spent countless hours reading ancient Hebrew texts and trying to “immerse” myself by listening to audio recordings, but there’s something unique about hearing native speakers converse and getting the opportunity to respond. Hebrew came alive to me in new ways, and I felt inspired to deepen my grasp of the language. Additionally, observing the daily habits and interactions of the various groups who dwell in Israel was its own educational experience. I had a visceral feeling of wonder while walking and driving through locations that have hosted such a rich and eventful history.

What knowledge do you hope apply from the trip to your studies this year?
Some knowledge I plan to apply from the trip to my studies is to stretch myself when it comes to languages. Internalizing a target language can enhance one’s research exponentially. I quickly saw the benefits of immersion for studying texts, as Hebrew felt more intuitive to me after being there only a few weeks. I want to hire a modern Hebrew tutor in the coming semester, and I plan to enroll at an ulpan in the near future.

Please briefly tell us about your academic/professional journey to the Pines School.
I discovered HUC-JIR during my undergraduate studies and immediately knew I wanted to do further graduate work there. This intuition was confirmed after visiting campus and witnessing the warm yet rigorous learning environment. Academically, I’m fascinated by the Hebrew Bible, and I care deeply about promoting positive and informed relationships between Jews and Christians. Learning alongside rabbinical students sounded like a dream. In my experience so far, HUC-JIR has provided an unparalleled education both in the classroom and through generous invitations by faculty and students to experience Jewish culture.