Building Jewish Community, Professor Povitz's Courses, Supporting Queer Students

Professor Povitz has made a tremendous impact on me during my time at Middlebury, as a professor and as a person. Her class “History of Urban Food Activism” provided me with context surrounding the history of fighting for equitable food systems and pushed me to think critically about whose voices were, and are, represented and heard in different spaces and at different times. Likewise, it taught me how, over the course of U.S. history, food activism has been utilized to foster community resilience. Through this course I was able to delve into a topic I am deeply passionate. Although I am a neuroscience major, Professor Povitz has brought me into the history department and I am looking forward to taking more of her classes in the future. 

Outside of class, Professor Povitz has made an impact on me through the essential roles she plays in the Jewish and queer communities on campus. During the height of the pandemic, Professor Povitz created a Torah study group for Jewish and non-Jewish students to gather in community and learn together (safely outside). In a time when antisemitism is pervasive on college campuses and in the U.S., it is imperative that Jewish students have spaces where they feel affirmed and have the opportunity to explore their identity and engage in Jewish traditions. In the queer community, Professor Povitz is a mentor and source of support for queer students. It is so essential that queer students have classes that center queerness and professors who share their identity. 

Overall, Professor Povitz has served as a mentor and a source of inspiration in my life and has touched the lives of many of my peers and friends. She plays a crucial role in teaching classes that serve student interests and teach critical thinking skills, as well as in the communities she is a part of. It would be a devastating loss to the Middlebury community if she were to leave. 

Remi Welbel, 2022.5

Leave a Reply