Belofsky Fellowships in Holocaust Studies
The Selwin Belofsky Fellowship in Holocaust Studies is awarded to students who want to work on topics related to the Holocaust and its consequences, and who have been accepted to the PhD. program of the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. Belofsky Fellows receive 12-month stipends of $20,000 along with complete remission of all UT Dallas tuition and fees annually for up to five years, subject to satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree. Fellows have no required teaching responsibilities or other work assignments and have the opportunity to pursue doctoral studies under the supervision of Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth, Dr. Nils Roemer, or Dr. David Patterson.
New Belofsky Fellow Appointed in Fall 2013
Belofsky Fellow Sarah Valente and Selwin Belofsky
The Belofsky Fellowship in Holocaust Studies has been awarded to Sarah Valente, Ph.D. student in the School of Arts and Humanities. Born in Brazil, Ms. Valente and her family immigrated to the United States when she was twelve years old. As an undergraduate student at UT Dallas she was awarded the State of Texas Valedictorian Scholarship for her first year of college and was then a recipient of the UT Dallas Academic Distinction Scholarship for the following three years. Now a doctoral student, she is using her knowledge of Portuguese and other languages to pursue a program of original research on Brazilian Holocaust literature and the history of Brazilian Jewry.
Ms. Valente comments on her decision to engage such a demanding area of study: “I think it is because it brings me face-to-face with undeniably the most intriguing, grappling questions regarding political, philosophical, historical, and religious issues confronting the Jewish people in the aftermath of Auschwitz, confrontations between Jews and Christians, and post-Holocaust issues facing Christendom, since the annihilation of the Jews occurred in the heart of Christian Europe. You could say that I chose to focus on the Holocaust because it is not only about historical facts, or the art, music, poetry, and literature that emerges from the Event, but because it demands a response, deep enquiry, and serious analysis of one’s own fundamentally-held beliefs.
Ms. Valente’s interest in the Jews of Brazil is not only a matter of academic concern but also has its personal aspect. She explains: “One of my favorite surprises was when my academic research intersected with my life: I started researching about the remarkable recent discovery of marranos, descendants of Jews who were forcibly baptized into Catholicism during the Portuguese Inquisition, in present-day Brazil, and the more I studied their customs and traditions, family names, regions of residence, and idiosyncrasy of their language, the more I realized that my Portuguese ancestors must have been marranos! I went on to write more extensively on this topic as one of my Master Thesis Portfolio paper titled ‘New Christians, Ancient Jews: Brazil’s Jewish Past and Present.’” Having already established contact with scholars in Brazil, Ms. Valente plans to pursue a career of scholarship and teaching at the university level.
In addition to being an outstanding student, Ms. Valente is a highly talented cellist and has played in the UT Dallas String Orchestra, under the direction of Mr. Arkady Fomin, first violinist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. “Getting the chance to play my cello with fellow students,” she comments, “and learn new skills from someone who has such love for music, energetic ability to teach, and such delightful humor, has been one of the highlights of my UT Dallas experience.”