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YU News

Honors Courses Abroad Offer Unique Opportunities in Summer 2023 for Stern College Students

This past summer, students from Stern College for Women participated in two fascinating classes abroad offered by the S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program: a trip to Paris to learn about famous French artists and a trip to Israel to conduct archaeological fieldwork in Jerusalem.

Manet, Degas, and Modern Paris

Students participated in the Honors “Manet, Degas, and Modern Paris” class that took place in Paris, France from June 5-15. Led by Dr. Marnin Young, professor of art history at Stern College, the group examined, in detail, the relationship of the French capital and the artists, Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas on the same ground they walked: the Tuileries gardens, the Saint-Lazare train station, the Grands Boulevards, the Garnier Opera, and other interesting destinations.

Students in front of the Eiffel Tower

The core of the class focused on the exhibition, “Manet/Degas” at the Musée d’Orsay, and featured a close look at their artistic precedents at the Louvre, from Titian to Delacroix and Monet to Matisse, as well as their friends and followers at the Musée d’Orsay.

The students went on daily walking tours through Paris, giving them extensive knowledge of the history of the French capital, and also visited the city’s grand boulevards, parks, and historical sites, including the Arc de Triomphe, the Opera building and the Eiffel Tower. They also visited many museums that are currently featuring exhibitions of art from the Renaissance to the present that include the permanent collections of the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay. They learned about the work of Gustave Caillebotte, Suzanne Valadon, Faith Ringgold and Rineke Dijkstra, and visited the Musée Picasso, the Orangerie and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. In addition to the art and history, the students enjoyed the unique opportunity to sample the wide range of kosher dining options in Paris.

Students in front of Manet's, The Balcony, at the Musee d'Orsay

“It was so rewarding to finally see the artistic masterpieces that I had learned so much about in class,” observed Yosepha Pickholz ‘24S. The students also made a very memorable day trip outside Paris to the town of Giverny, where the painter Claude Monet lived the last few decades of his life. “Seeing the place where he painted so many of his famous works was a special experience for everyone,” said Young. “The weather was nearly perfect throughout the course and student participation was exceptional. The course was a true success all around.”


Archaeological Fieldwork Investigation: Unearthing the Rich History of Israel

Under the guidance of Dr. Jill Katz, professor of archaeology at YU, and Dr. Steven Fine, Churgin Professor of Jewish History and Director, Yeshiva University Center for Israel Studies, ten intrepid students embarked on an awe-inspiring journey of discovery through archaeological site visits and excavation. For one week, they toured Talmudic era sites, following in part the Sanhedrin trail, before commencing two weeks of excavation in Jerusalem's Ophel Hill. Together with faculty and students from the Hebrew University and Armstrong University, the students worked each day at the base of Har Habayit – Judaism’s holiest ancient site in the heart of Jerusalem. This immersive experience allowed students to connect with the ancient roots of the Jewish people, gaining a deeper understanding of the cultural heritage that binds them to the Land of Israel.

Dr. Jill Katz
Students at the archaeological site

"There is no way to fully describe the awe, wonder, and amazement that we all felt throughout the excavation to be digging adjacent to and just below the Temple Mount," said Dr. Katz. "The excitement was increased by the special finds uncovered by the students: cisterns, complete oil lamps, Ophel bowls, coins, bricks stamped by the Roman Legion and so forth. To say that history was palpable is an understatement."

The students were greatly affected, inspired and moved by their work. "Doing archeology right near Har HaBayit was a perspective-shifting experience," said Yaira Katz '26S. "I am still in awe of the opportunity I was given by Yeshiva University to participate in real archeological research in Jerusalem as an undergraduate student."