The Program in Jewish Studies is supported by instruction in Hebrew language from elementary through advanced levels, with opportunities to study abroad in Israel and elsewhere during the junior year. Yiddish language at the elementary and intermediate levels is available through the Self-Instructional Language Program, and special instruction in Aramaic, the language of the Talmud, is available. Because a large and important population of Jews in the pre-1948 era lived in the linguistic and cultural milieu of Arab lands, students may wish to consider taking advantage of the Arabic language curriculum in support of their work in Jewish studies.
Jewish Studies draws upon faculty from a wide variety of departments including Anthropology, Greek and Roman Studies, English, Hispanic Studies, History, Political Science, Psychology, and Religion, reflecting the multidisciplinary orientation of the field. The curriculum stresses the diversity of Jewish experience and includes study of the history, religion, and culture of Jews in Western and non-Western societies.
The program strongly recommends that students pursue one of the many options that exist for a junior year abroad experience. Students are encouraged to begin discussions about this with their professors as soon as possible. In addition to the core courses in Jewish studies, the program is reinforced by an ample list of approved courses on topics in Jewish culture offered in the constituent disciplines of the field. These courses, along with approved courses taken in a junior year abroad, may be credited to the major or correlate sequence.
Requirements for the major and correlate sequence are detailed in the "For Students" section of this website as well as in the catalogue; in brief, students chart their own paths through the diversity of disciplinary methodologies and subject areas, establishing their own points of significant intersection, thus contributing to the definition of this emerging field of study. No prior background in the study of Jews or Judaism, whether of a religious or cultural nature, is assumed.