In Memory of Faye S. Moskowitz
The following tribute was written in light of the recent passing of Professor Faye S. Moskowitz (1930-2022). Faye was, for many years, a professor of English and Creative Writing at the George Washington University, and one of the pillars of our program in Judaic Studies.
A prolific writer, Faye authored three books of memoirs, A Leak in the Heart, And the Bridge is Love and Peace in the House: Tales from a Yiddish Kitchen, as well as one short story collection, and edited the anthology, Her Face in the Mirror: Jewish Women on Mothers and Daughters. She was recognized as a GW "campus celebrity" thanks to her Jewish Literature Live, a class that brought contemporary Jewish American authors to campus, which was described by the GW Hatchet as the "Hottest Seats in Class" article.
Faye passed away on February 21, 2022, at the age of 91. May her memory be for blessing.
The following tribute was written in her memory by our colleague, Leslie Jacobson, Professor Emerita of Theatre and of the MFA program.
Arie M. Dubnov
Director, Judaic Studies Program
Faye S. Moskowitz (1930-2022)
It is fitting that much has been written about the remarkable Faye Moskowitz recently, as we mourn her passing on February 21, 2022.
Her retirement at the age of 88 makes me feel a bit like a “slacker” – retiring as I did in 2019 at the age of 71. But after 42 years as a full-time professor at GW, by March 2020, I was cocooning in my own little Pandemic bubble. Thus, I did not realize that Faye had retired in 2020. Nor did I learn of her passing until Jenna Weissman Joselit emailed me a few days ago…. So, as a member of the Judaic Studies Committee for many years, I would like to share some of my own personal reminiscences of Faye with my colleagues in Judaic Studies.
You may remember that Faye’s GW email address – a combination of her first and last names – was “faymos” – and she was, indeed, famous as a writer and as an exceptional teacher. Her “Jewish Literature Live” course brought a long line of
“A-list” Jewish authors onto our campus. Among the many writers visiting GW was Bel Kaufman, who wrote Up the Down Staircase and was the granddaughter of Sholem Aleichem, the famed Yiddish writer. Jenna Weissman Joselit (with whom I had the pleasure of team-teaching an honors course on The Merchant of Venice) suggested that I direct some of our theatre students in dramatizations of a few of Kaufman’s grandfather’s wonderful tales – which we did in a program for students, faculty, and Ms. Kaufman. Then Kaufman spoke about her own work and that of her famous antecedent. It was a memorable experience for our students and for us all – which Faye made possible because of her course.
She was Chair of the English Department during the time I was Chair of Theatre & Dance, and we worked together to help a struggling new hire, who occupied a joint position in Theatre and English. Faye’s goal was to help this person succeed –her goal in all her interactions with others.
Her wisdom and good judgment, leavened with a wonderful sense of humor, were great assets to the Judaic Studies Program and the rest of our committee members as we discussed and problem-solved together.
I was particularly delighted to have Faye and her husband at my Seder table on Passover one year. There was some reason (which I can no longer remember) that she was unable to be with her family – and it was a joy to have Faye and Jack, her husband, celebrate with us!
Faye held many leadership positions at the university over the years, as well as co-chairing the DC JCC’s Literary Festival. She was deeply involved in liberal and progressive political and social causes. But for me, her kindness and encouragement – with students, faculty colleagues, family, and friends – is what I most remember. And it is what I will most miss….
Professor Emerita of Theatre
George Washington University