Mission Statement

Jewish Studies is an interdisciplinary academic field that encompasses the diversity of the global Jewish experience as reflected in the Jewish textual tradition, literature and the arts, history, social science, gender studies and queer studies. The Jewish Studies Program draws on this diversity to show how Jewish communities have mattered in and to many different societies and cultures throughout history. In Jewish Studies courses, students work closely with faculty and each other in small, interactive classes, learning how identity forms at the individual and group levels, how to think about and analyze stereotypes and the roles that they play in society, and how to turn knowledge into action. These courses equip students with multiple lenses for looking at American and global cultures and societies, as well as an ethical framework for understanding and responding to social and political issues.


Jewish Studies courses include scholarly, experiential and practical learning that prepares students for meaningful and productive careers. The strong liberal arts background of Jewish Studies majors and minors equips them to communicate clearly and sensitively and to read for critical information as well as to notice what is left unsaid. These skills are useful in different contexts, allowing graduates to seize new opportunities as they arise, rather than locking them into a specific career path. The Jewish Studies major and minor prepare students for a broad variety of careers upon graduation as well as for future jobs in fields that do not exist yet.

What’s special about the Jewish Studies degree is that all of these skills are learned in close contact with faculty, in an interdisciplinary context, with attention to analysis and comparison across the globe. With this training, students graduate with the ability to think flexibly, pay attention to a broad variety of variables, and recognize and grapple with complexity and gray areas. Additionally, Jewish Studies majors and minors graduate with training in ethics, social responsibility and civic engagement. Specifically, JS 390CS (Nonprofit Internship in the Jewish Community) offers students marketable skills and career preparation for professions inside and outside the Jewish community, and JS 318 (Applied Jewish Ethics) guides students through discussions and problem solving regarding workplace ethics. This background prepares students for advanced academic training in any humanities or social-science field. It also prepares students for positions in educational, social-service, communal, and government agencies and organizations.


Scholarships for students taking Jewish Studies courses, in addition to specially designated scholarships for Jewish Studies majors and minors, are administered through Financial Aid.


Jewish Studies Program
Office of Interdisciplinary Studies
Sierra Tower (ST) 807
(818) 677-6762