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Encyclopedia > Jewish studies

Jewish studies also known as Judaic studies is a subject area of study available at many colleges and universities in the Western World. The word Jew ( Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination... The term college (Latin collegium) is most often used today to denote an educational institution. ... Representation of a university class, 1350s. ...

Traditionally, Jewish studies was part of the natural practice of Judaism by Jews. The study of Torah, Tanakh, and Talmud was all part of every-day religious life for the Jewish people. Since the Renaissance and the growth of higher education through universities in modern times, and following the mass-secularization of most Jews today, many people, including people not of the Jewish faith, have chosen to study Jewish studies as a means of understanding the Jewish religion, heritage, and Jewish history. Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. ... Torah () is a Hebrew word meaning teaching, instruction, or law. It is the central and most important document of Judaism revered by Jews through the ages. ... Tanakh [תנ״ך] (also Tanach, IPA: or ) is an acronym that identifies the Hebrew Bible. ... The first page of the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berachot, folio 2a The Talmud (תלמוד) is a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs and history. ... Raphael was famous for depicting illustrious figures of the Classical past with the features of his Renaissance contemporaries. ...

For the minority of Jews who are religious, there are opportunities at Orthodox Judaism yeshivas or at institutions such as at Conservative Judaism's Jewish Theological Seminary and the Reform Judaism Hebrew Union College. For the majority of Jewish students attending regular academic colleges and universities there is a growing choice of Jewish studies courses and even degrees available at many institutions. Orthodox Judaism is the stream of Judaism which adheres to a relatively strict interpretation and application of the laws and ethics first canonized in the Talmud (The Oral Law) and later codified in the Shulkhan Arukh (Code of Jewish Law). It is governed by these works and the Rabbinical commentary... Yeshiva or yeshivah (Hebrew: ישיבה pl. ... This article refers to Conservative (Masorti) Judaism in the United States. ... The Jewish Theological Seminary of America The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, known in the Jewish community simply as JTS, is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism, and is the movements main rabbinical seminary. ... Reform Judaism can refer to (1) the largest denomination of Judaism in America and its sibling movements in other countries, (2) a branch of Judaism in the United Kingdom, and (3) the historical predecessor of the American movement that originated in 19th Century Germany. ... Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (also known as HUC or HUC-JIR) is the main seminary for training rabbis, cantors, educators and communal workers in Reform Judaism. ...

The subject of the Holocaust and the associated phenomenon of Anti-Semitism as well as the rise of the modern State of Israel and the revival of the modern Hebrew language have all stimulated unusual interest in greater in-depth academic study, research, reading and lecturing about these core areas of knowledge related to current events. Concentration camp inmates during the Holocaust The Holocaust was Nazi Germanys systematic genocide (ethnic cleansing) of various ethnic, religious, national, and secular groups during World War II. Early elements include the Kristallnacht pogrom and the T-4 Euthanasia Program established by Hitler that killed some 200,000 people. ... The Eternal Jew: 1937 German poster. ... Hebrew (עִבְרִית or עברית, ‘Ivrit) is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family spoken by more than seven million people in Israel and Jewish communities around the world. ...

The political situation in the Middle East, especially the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has raised the profile of Jews, Judaism, and Zionism on campuses, spurring many on to study these subject for non-degree as well as for credits in obtaining a BA or MA degree. A growing number of mature students are even obtaining Ph.D.s in Jewish studies judging by the quantity of courses and programs available. Many hope to obtain employment in the field of Jewish education. A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip are at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ... Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. ... Poster promoting a film about Jewish settlement in Palestine, 1930s: Toward a New Life (in Romanian),The Promised Land (in Hungarian), the small caption (bottom) reads First Palestinian film with sound Zionism is a national liberation movement,[1] a nationalist[2] and political movement that supports a homeland for the... A Bachelor of Arts (B.A. or A.B., from the Latin Artium Baccalaureus) is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course or program in the arts and/or sciences. ... A Master of Arts is a postgraduate academic masters degree awarded by universities in North America and the United Kingdom (excluding the ancient universities of Scotland and Oxbridge. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

Many Christians are searching for an understanding of the Jewish background for Jesus and Christianity and for the source of monotheism that sprang from Judaism. There are those who are seeking an understanding of the complex and volatile relationship between Islam and Judaism. Others are searching for spirituality and philosophy and therefore seek classes in Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) and Jewish philosophy. There are also those who have a genuine concern and attachment to modern Israel as Christian Zionists and therefore seek to learn more about the subjects related to their beliefs. Jesus (8–2 BC/BCE to 29–36 AD/CE),[1] also known as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity. ... Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centred on Jesus of Nazareth, and on his life and teachings as presented in the New Testament. ... In theology, monotheism (in Greek μόνος = single and θεός = God) is the belief in the existence of one deity or God, or in the oneness of God. ... Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. ... For other uses, including people named Islam, see Islam (disambiguation). ... Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. ... Spirituality, in a narrow sense, concerns itself with matters of the spirit. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... This article is about the overall Jewish mysticisms tradition. ... Jewish philosophy refers to the conjunction between serious study of philosophy and Jewish theology. ... Christian Zionism is the belief among some denominations of Protestant Christians, mainly in the United States, that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, through the estabishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy, and is a necessary precondition for the return...

The following are only a few significant examples of places where Jewish studies are offered and flourish in an academic setting:


Touro College

Touro College has facilities that allow students to achieve their studies in academic and professional degrees. The College takes its name from Judah Touro and Isaac Touro, Jewish community leaders of colonial America, who represent the ideals upon which the College bases its mission.[1] Touro College is a Jewish-sponsored independent institution of higher and professional education, in New York City, New York, United States. ... Judah Touro (Newport, Rhode Island, June 16, 1775 — New Orleans, January 13, 1854) was an American Jewish businessman and philanthropist. ... Isaac Touro, along with Judah Touro, was a Jewish community leader of colonial America. ...

Yeshiva University

Yeshiva University facilitates the study of academic and professional disciplines. Its leadership is Modern Orthodox Judaism and it offers a wide range of Judaic studies such as Talmud and Jewish law. Yeshiva University is a private university in New York City whose first component was founded in 1886. ... Modern Orthodox Judaism (or Modern Orthodox, also known as Modern Orthodoxy and sometimes abbreviated as MO) is a movement within Orthodox Judaism that attempts to synthesize traditional observance and values with the secular modern world. ... The first page of the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berachot, folio 2a The Talmud (תלמוד) is a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs and history. ... Halakha (הלכה in Hebrew or Halakhah, Halacha, Halachah) is the collective corpus of Jewish law, custom and tradition regulating all aspects of behavior. ...


Harvard University was the first major American university to establish a department of Judaic Studies and appointed Dr. Harry Austryn Wolfson as the first head of department: Harvard University (incorporated as The President and Fellows of Harvard College) is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ... Jewish studies also known as Judaic studies is a subject area of study available at many colleges and universities in the Western World. ... Harry Austryn Wolfson (November 2, 1887–September 19, 1974) was a scholar, philosopher, historian, and the first chairman of a Judaic Studies Department in the United States. ...

The Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University is the focal point for the study and teaching of Judaica through publications, fellowships, lectures, and symposia on topics of interest to scholars and to the general public. The Center sponsors visiting scholars and post-doctoral research fellows and coordinates undergraduate and graduate studies on an interdisciplinary basis...Harvard was the first university in America to establish a Chair in Jewish Studies, the Nathan Littauer Professorship of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy (1925). Since then, Harvard's commitment to Jewish Studies has continued unabated, and its efforts to solidify and broaden the presence of this field in the curriculum ultimately resulted in the creation of Harvard's Center for Jewish Studies in 1978. The hope of the Harvard alumni, faculty and administration involved in this project was that the new Center would not only satisfy an unmistakable need for further growth within the University itself but would also benefit the study and teaching of Judaica throughout the country. [2]

SUNY Albany

The Judaic Studies (JST) department at UAlbany offers undergraduate courses at elementary and advanced levels, many of which are cross-listed with other departments. Practicum credit may be earned by assisting with course instruction and Internship credit through community service. A major and minor in Judaic studies is offered. Many students take advantage of the SUNY-wide Israel study program for a semester or year overseen by the JST department. Students may apply for department sponsored scholarships. [3]


The Program in Judaic Studies at Princeton University provides students the opportunity to explore over three millennia of Jewish culture, history, and literature from the Bible to contemporary Jewish thought and society. Since its establishment in 1996, the program has offered a variety of courses, lectures, conferences, film series, and exhibitions taking advantage of Princeton’s rich resources in Judaic studies in a range of disciplines and departments. There is no “typical” certificate student; we serve students with a wide range of interests and welcome all who are motivated to deepen their knowledge of Judaic studies. [4]


"This nine-month course offers a chance to study Judaism at many different stages in its history - from its roots as the religion of the Israelites to the 20th century - as well as the opportunity to develop a language important to the knowledge, understanding, practice and interpretation of the Jewish faith (or learn a language from scratch, as I have done). The plethora of choice on the taught courses ensures that students can begin or further and expand their studies in any area which interests them, whatever their experience or background in the subject. The course is a springboard to a variety of future careers: many students choose to build on what they have studied at PhD level; some, like me, use the course to further their learning prior to undertaking formal teacher training. Whether your interest in the subject is personal or academic, the MSt at Oxford offers a challenging and wide-ranging course of study." [5]


Jewish Studies at the University of Virginia allows you to focus on the history, languages, and literature of the Jewish people; the beliefs and practices of Judaism; and the enduring contributions of Jewish wisdom to human civilization. You can take courses in Biblical and Modern Hebrew, Yiddish, Bible, Rabbinic literature, Jewish ancient and modern history, Jewish literature and culture, Holocaust studies, Jewish theology, and Jewish communities and cultures worldwide. As part of your studies, you can study abroad in Israel or in other centers of Jewry beyond America. [6]


The Program of Jewish Studies was founded as an extension of the Department of Semitic Languages and Literatures, now the Department of Near Eastern Studies, in 1973 and attained status as an intercollegiate program in 1976. The program has grown out of the conviction that Judaic civilization merits its own comprehensive and thorough treatment and that proper understanding of any culture is inconceivable without adequate knowledge of the language, literature, and history of the people that created it. Accordingly, the offerings in the areas of Jewish languages and literatures have been considerably expanded, and courses in ancient, medieval, and especially modern Jewish history and culture have been added to the program. It is a broadly based, interdisciplinary program, bringing together faculty from various Cornell departments and colleges. The scope of the Jewish Studies curriculum covers Jewish civilization from its ancient Near Eastern origins through its contemporary history and culture in Israel and the diaspora communities around the world. It is a secular, academic program, the interests of which are diverse and cross-cultural. The program recognizes its special relationship to teaching and research in classical Judaica and Hebraica pursued by the members of the Department of Near Eastern Studies. It presently enables students to obtain basic instruction and specialization in the fields of Semitic languages; the Hebrew Bible; medieval and modern Hebrew literature; ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish history; and Holocaust studies. In some of these fields students may take courses on both graduate and undergraduate levels. Faculty throughout the university provide breadth to the program by offering courses in related areas of study. [7]

The Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University

The Borns Jewish Studies Program (JSP) at Indiana University is one of the oldest and most vibrant Jewish Studies programs in the country. With our large and highly accomplished faculty, our diverse and attractive course offerings, our focus on undergraduate education inside and outside the classroom, Indiana University has come to be a university chosen by top high school students and leaders because of the excellence of its Jewish Studies Program
Among the 77 Jewish Studies majors and 100 students pursuing an area certificate students and Hebrew minor in the spring of 2005 were outstanding young people from a wide range of backgrounds, including many with proven leadership experience in international, national, and regional Jewish youth organizations.
Our students are the centerpiece of our program and we make special efforts to provide them with the kinds of educational opportunities they need and deserve: a curriculum of 50 courses a year; significant scholarship support; professional career guidance; and more. To pursue Jewish Studies at Indiana University, in short, is to be part of a comprehensive and unusually caring program of studies, carefully built over three decades, which encourages students to focus rigorous attention on Judaism and the Jews.

[8] Indiana University is the principal campus of the Indiana University system. ... The word Jew ( Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination... Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. ...

The Jean & Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan

The Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan was originally formed as an independent program in 1976 and expanded into its current model in 1988. A strong faculty with a variety of expertise has allowed the interdisciplinary program to grow significantly in recent years. Areas of special interest include numerous faculty with strengths in Rabbinics and Yiddish. The center recently received a substantial donation, allowing for the creation of the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies.

[9] UM also has campuses in Dearborn and Flint. ...

External links

(Access to over 400 Jewish Studies sites, including library catalogs and databases)



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