Students Author Book About Colgate’s Jewish History


The cover of the book, “Repression, Re-Invention, and Rugelach: A History of Jews at Colgate,” written by Colgate students.

Sofia Melgoza, Maroon-News Staff

A group of Colgate students and alumni celebrated the kick-off of the Bicentennial Year by publishing a new book that traces the history of Jewish people at Colgate.

Published in June, “Repression, Re-Invention, and Rugelach: A History of Jews at Colgate,” was the culminating work of a Jewish Studies seminar course taught by Alice Nakhimovsky, Distinguished Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of Jewish Studies and Russian and Eurasian Studies, in the spring of 2017.

AmyBalmuth ’17, Emily Kahn ’19, Cameron Pauly ’19, Kim Ravold ’19, Marit Vangrow ’18 and Dominic Wilkins ’17 each wrote a chapter of the book. Professor Nakhimovsky edited the work and advised students throughout the writing process.

“Working on ‘Repression, Re-Invention, and Rugelach: A History of Jews at Colgate’ was an immensely fulfilling experience,” Pauly said. “I got to put my writing and research skills to the test alongside my colleagues, and I was able to contribute to a valuable work on Colgate’s history.”

The book details Colgate’s Baptist roots and present day non-sectarian status.

It also highlights the quota system that once impeded Jewish acceptance rates at Colgate, Jewish students’ searches for identity and acts of anti-Semitism resistance on campus.

Kahn, who is now the President of the Colgate Jewish Union, penned a chapter about the social lives of Jewish students.

“[Jewish life] provides a sense of stability, a chance to unwind from class and a way to make lifelong connections,” Kahn said. “I cannot imagine my Colgate experience without an organized Jewish life, so co-writing this book was a way for me to give back to all those who fought before me to make my experience possible.”

The book is currently available online and at the Colgate bookstore for purchase, as well to rent at Case-Geyer Library.

Contact Sofia Melgoza at [email protected].

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified a student author’s class year. Dominic Wilkins is a member of the class of 2017, not 2018.