Oravetz says that she is often questioned on whether she is Jewish, or if she plans to convert to Judaism. The answer to both is no. She approaches Judaism as a an academic.

"How can we have a religion major in a heathen family like ours?" Meg Oravetz asks, tongue in cheek. "Anne said in some ways it was an advantage. She was able to be objective about all of it." The Oravetz family celebrated Christian holidays in a secular manner. Many of Anne Oravetz's childhood friends, in fact, were Jewish.

In August Oravetz moved to New York to continue studying Hebrew, and she is contemplating graduate school. After working with both Wasserstrom and Sacks, and after finding that blending a knowledge of period and religion helped illuminate Yagel, Oravetz would like to combine Jewish studies and intellec-tual history.

"Many of the exciting questions she has pursued--concerning the relations between Jew and Christian, religion and science, medieval and modern--can be studied by means of a blend of Jewish studies and intellectual history," says Wasserstrom, who adds that this is an area of stimulating opportunity.

Oravetz's promising academic future results in great part from the arduous thesis process. To sustain herself, she had to believe in herself as a scholar.

"Coming up on spring this year, when things started to be really intense, I wondered if I would finish and if I would be satisfied and sane when it was all done," Oravetz says. "The thing that kept coming back to me was 'I'm the only one who can do this.'"


Kaia Sand is a freelance writer. She wrote about Stephen Walborn '98 in the August 1998 issue.





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