The Greenberg Center is pleased to announce that fourth-year student Jonathan White will graduate with honors in both areas of his double major, Jewish Studies and Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS).
Jonathan came to the University of Chicago from his family home in Florida. As early as middle school he was drawn to theater arts and went on to perform in plays and musicals throughout middle school and high school and to participate in thespian competitions. Thus, although he decided to attend UChicago for the Core and the broad and well-rounded education it provides to students, he knew from the outset that he wanted to pursue theater arts. As he progressed in his TAPS courses, however, he found that his focus expanded. Jonathan writes, "I knew I wanted to pursue theater, but during my time here, my interest expanded beyond the design and performance aspects to further explore . . . directing and writing, which culminated in the experience that was Yivdak." The play Yivdak, written and directed by Jonathan, was his joint BA thesis for TAPS and Jewish Studies. (The performance can be viewed here.)
But what drew him to Jewish Studies? Jonathan states that "Ari [Almog] was crucial in shaping that interest. It started with a kid (the simple child) struggling to conjugate verbs in her Hebrew class (and still struggling) and led to archaeology, Bible study, and a greater appreciation of Jewish Studies. And I could not be happier that this was the path I was led down!" Senior Instructional Lecturer for Modern Hebrew, Ariela Almog, who has taught at the University since 1988, had Jonathan as a student for three years, starting with the introductory courses all the way through intermediate and advanced Hebrew. In her words, Jonathan is "one of the most serious, dedicated, and ambitious undergraduates I have ever worked with." It was only natural that Jonathan would ask her to be his faculty adviser for the Yivdak project, which portrays a poor Jewish weaver in ancient times.
What will he do next? Jonathan writes, "The future is still uncertain for me but I know that I will carry with me my love of Judaism, my love of religion, my struggle with forming a full sentence in Hebrew, and the pursuit of performance, directing, and writing. The options are there and doors are opening. And it will be what it will be! ברור!"
Whatever the future holds, we know it will be wonderful! Congratulations, Jonathan!