ALBANY, N.Y. (March 13, 2007) --The University at Albany today announced the appointment of Olga Litvak as director of the Center for Jewish Studies and faculty member in the Judaic Studies Department. Litvak, currently assistant professor of modern Jewish history at Princeton University, was chosen as a result of a highly competitive international search and will assume the position on September 1, 2007.
Litvak replaces founding director Mark Raider and interim director Daniel Levy.
"Dr. Litvak brings a wealth of experience that is sure to provide dynamic leadership for our Center for Jewish Studies and contribute greatly to faculty scholarship and teaching in the Department of Judaic Studies and beyond," said Provost and Officer in Charge Susan Herbst.
"I want to thank the search committee and particularly our representative Peter Elitzer, for the outstanding group of candidates and the choice of Professor Olga Litvak to head our Center for Jewish Studies. Dr. Litvak has the vision, leadership ability and academic credentials to drive the Center to greater achievements. Our board looks forward to working with her," said Alan Goldberg, vice chairman of First Albany and chairman of the Center's advisory board.
"I am delighted to join the Jewish studies community at the University at Albany and I look forward to many productive years ahead," said Litvak. "I am enormously grateful to the university for the unique opportunity to contribute to the development of Jewish education in the Capital Region and to work with the outstanding faculty of the Jewish Studies Department. It is a special pleasure to have the support of the Center's board, so supportive of creativity, social responsibility and intellectual rigor in the academy."
Litvak specializes in Eastern European and Jewish history, focusing on the modern period. Born in the Ukrainian town of Vinnitsa and raised in Moscow, Litvak immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of 10, and spent her first year in Albany as a student at the Hebrew Academy. She attended Columbia University as an undergraduate, earned her doctorate in Jewish history from Columbia in 1999, and joined the Princeton faculty the same year. Her first book, Russia's First Jewish Soldiers and the Making of Russian-Jewish Memory (2006), analyzes how Russian-Jewish writers and intellectuals in the late 19th century represented and responded to a landmark event in Russian-Jewish culture: the conscription of Jewish boys and men into the Russian military, which began in 1827. She currently serves as the painting and sculpture editor of The Jews in Eastern Europe: The YIVO Encyclopedia, and has written and lectured on a wide range of subjects related to the study of Russian Jewry, including urban violence, literary life, war and revolution and contemporary historiography. Litvak is currently working on several projects, including a book on the Kishinev Pogrom of 1903, a biography of Sholem-Aleichem, and a study of the central role played by Jewish artists, critics, patrons, and dealers in the development of Russian art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.