Aaron Schimmel ’18
Aaron is currently working as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow, teaching English in a Jerusalem elementary school. His school is in a neighborhood that absorbed a large number of Soviet Jewish immigrants in the 1990’s, and as he becomes a part of the community he hopes to learn about the experiences of his students’ families as Jews in the Soviet Union. He is applying to Ph.D programs in history, hoping to advance his thesis research by studying the linguistic dimensions of national identity and nationalism in the Russian Empire and Soviet Union.
Aaron’s interest in Russian began when he picked up Aleksander Solzhenitsyn’s novel Cancer Ward. After reading Solzhenitsyn he began to explore other Russian writers, feeling drawn towards their work, and developed an interest in learning the language in which this literature were originally written. In addition to wanting to learn the language, he also began to explore the historical context that produced the literature. With interests in Russian literature and history, choosing to study Russian at Lewis & Clark was an easy decision.
Upon returning to Lewis & Clark from his study abroad program in St. Petersburg, Russia, Aaron began leading first-year conversation groups, which he did through his Senior year. He spent his Senior year researching and writing an honors thesis in history which explored the political and ideological roles of Yiddish and Hebrew among Jews in the late Russian Empire and Soviet Union.