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Roth Center Celebrates 10 Years

Students, faculty, and staff gathered with alumni, friends of the College, and members of the Upper Valley Jewish Community (UVJC) in April for a gala series of events marking the 10th anniversary of the Roth Center for Jewish Life. Sponsored by Dartmouth College Hillel and the UVJC, the weekend was a celebration of a community as well as the building that has nurtured it for a decade. The schedule was filled with religious services; meals; panel discussions; a tour of Facing the North Wind, an exhibition of Dartmouth's newly acquired collection of artwork and books by Maurice Sendak; and a concert by the Hirsch Pinkas Piano Duo. The Sendak collection was recently given to the College by UVJC member Morton E. Wise.

Roth Center photo 1
From left: The Rev. Dr. Fred Berthold Jr. '44, professor of religion emeritus and the first dean of the Tucker Foundation; Amanda Roth Salzhauer '93; and Ethan Levine ‘03, Thayer '05, spoke at a panel discussion during the Roth Center's anniversary celebration. (Photo By Kawakahi Kaeo Amina '09)
Saturday's first panel, "Israel and Dartmouth," moderated by Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz, director of the Dickey Center, reflected Dartmouth as a college with an international student body, where concerns of the world hold the interest of members of the community. That session was complemented by "The Impact of the Roth Center for Jewish Life," a panel moderated by Provost Barry Scherr and composed of students, faculty, alumni, and UVJC members. For many students, panelists observed, the Roth Center serves as a home away from home.  It's a place where, said Meredith Druss '08, "we eat, we sleep, we pray." Dartmouth Hillel cultivates and nurtures student leadership, noted panelist Ethan Levine '03 Thayer '05, incoming chair of the Hillel Alumni Board.  And the Roth Center, Levine and others observed, helped shape their identities as Jews. The panels, attendees commented, were remarkable not merely for their content, but for the change at Dartmouth they reflected: "These discussions never could have happened thirty years ago," one listener remarked.

Speaking at dinner Saturday night, President James Wright said, "The Roth Center lights our path. It offers magnificent support for Jewish life, but it also teaches us that when rightful attention and respect are paid to the needs and strengths of each community within the whole, the whole itself is strengthened. Dartmouth would be vastly diminished were this center not here."

Roth Center photo 2
President James Wright (right) greets Edward Boraz, the Michael Steinberg '61 Rabbi of Dartmouth College Hillel, at an exhibition tour during the Roth Center's 10th anniversary celebration. Morton Wise, donor of the Morton E. Wise Collection of Maurice Sendak, looks on. Jeffrey Horrell, librarian of the College, is in the background. (Photo by Kawakahi Kaeo Amina '09)
Steve Roth '62 Tuck '63, honorary chairperson for the celebration and center benefactor, asked dinner attendees "what is it about what happens at Dartmouth" that transforms the lives of the College's students, and makes it possible for each generation to make Dartmouth its own?

Reflecting on the weekend's celebration, Edward Boraz, the Michael Steinberg '61 Rabbi of Dartmouth College Hillel and Rabbi of the UVJC said, "The Roth Center makes Jewish life at Dartmouth possible, and makes Jewish community viable." He expressed the wish that it "continue to be a place that embraces the diversity of Jewish spirit, a center that is spiritually open to all, a center for doing good in the world and at Dartmouth. If we continue on with this purpose in mind, we will have done a good thing."

By KELLY SEAMAN

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Last Updated: 6/12/08