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NEJS, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Program

So often, we forget what came before, but never what comes after our defining moments.  For years, I studied Islam and the Quran, and an entire year with the New Testament.  It was during my Hebrew Bible class: my eyes were opened to the distinct and causal connections, not just with similarities, but also the differences.  I felt a profound connection with the Scriptures, a fire lit within me, and my feet were firmly placed on the path to a greater understanding of Near Eastern and Judaic studies, as well as interfaith dialogue and peace studies.

 Earning an MA in NEJS will enable me to bring a number of my goals, ambitions – my dreams – to fruition, namely returning to Turkey, bringing my solid grounding in NEJS with me, and serving a university and burgeoning students as a professor.  Moreover, this would be fulfilling not just my own ideals, but my scholarship agreement with the Turkish Government, who, to my great pride, have sponsored me this far in my academic journey, one that has taken me across the world to Brandeis and to my mind the finest education possible in NEJS, and Biblical Studies.

 I bring with me to XXXX a solid foundation in religious studies, one that began when I was a girl.  Indeed, since 1995, I have been immersed in religious education.  Over the years, while Turkish is my native language, I have proven that I am proficient enough in Classical Arabic to read the Quran and enough Koine Greek to read Acts and the Gospels; I am continuing to increase my ability in Greek.  This summer, I have set a rigorous schedule for myself to refine my grasp of Hebrew.  Additionally, I have a working knowledge of the Ottoman language and Persian.

 Proof of my ability to excel in a graduate program can be found in my having completed most of my Psychology of Religion graduate degree, of which I am completing my written thesis.  This program built sensibly on my undergraduate foundation in Islamic Studies and Christian Theology, and have given me extensive insights, of which I would love to share with my fellow, and accomplished Brandeis classmates.  Additionally, my academic work has been decorated by numerous scholarships, and earning a very high rank among all of Turkey’s graduate students.

 While I am proud of my accomplishments, I have gained a great deal of personal and spiritual satisfaction from my social work outside the classroom, my volunteering with children and adults, bringing an appreciation of Islam within many interfaith and intercultural dialogue organizations.  This work inspired me, with the help of the Turkish community, to establish programs and gatherings, a compilation of seven years of practical experiences giving back to my community.

 Aside from my aptitude in languages, I feel that I would complement Brandeis’ student body and NEJS program well since I have both a Middle Eastern and Western approach to my studies.  My homeland of Turkey occupies an important place among Muslim countries, and my connection with the Ministry of Religious Affairs has given me invaluable experience in the area of religious education and the division of politics and religion.

 Researching schools proved repeatedly that XXXX stands out among the numerous schools offering NEJS.  The more I know of XXXX, the more I see that turning to XXXX is more than simply a logical choice, but a natural one for my further education.

 Thank you for your time and consideration.

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