PROFESSOR Andrew Markus said he will step down as director of Monash University’s Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation (ACJC) at the end of this year feeling proud of the vibrancy and scope of its programs, and excited about its future.
The co-author of the Gen17 Jewish population study of Australia served as the centre’s director for an initial six-year term from 2000, before returning to the leadership role at the start of 2017.
He will continue serving ACJC in an emeritus capacity, and be replaced as director by Professor Rebecca Margolis from the University of Ottawa, who will also become Pratt Foundation Chair of Jewish Civilisation.
The centre has also announced the appointment of Associate Professor David Slucki – a Monash University PhD graduate who was supervised at one point by Markus – as the Loti Smorgon Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture, commencing in early 2020.
“The ACJC is entering a phase of heightened excellence,” Markus said. “We are thrilled that such esteemed scholars will take the centre to the next level of scholarly contribution and community engagement.
“Their breadth of experience and global vision will contribute to the ACJC’s position as the leading voice in Australasian Jewish studies, our ongoing leadership of vital international conversations and research, and our deep investment in our community, reflected in our thriving and ever-evolving line-up of public programs.”
Markus added a highlight of his time as director has been observing ACJC grow to the point that “we can now teach up to 700 students per year, and offer a dynamic range of comprehensive programs, including Holocaust and Genocide Studies – our most popular course”.
“ACJC has also increased its offerings of study programs, internships and scholarships that include opportunities to go to institutions overseas,” he said.
Margolis – who has served as coordinator of the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program – said she is looking forward to “becoming immersed in, as well as researching, the Australian Jewish experience, which has always fascinated me as a scholar of both Jewish Canada and modern Yiddish culture”.
“My interest lies in building dynamic programs that engage both the academic and wider communities,” she said.
Associate Professor Slucki – co-director of the Zucker-Goldberg Centre for Holocaust Studies at the College of Charleston South Carolina – said joining ACJC in a senior role at Monash University “feels like a homecoming”.
He said he’ll focus on “creating strong programs that explore the rich diversity and uniqueness of post-World War II Jewish life around the world”.