The Program in Judaic Studies is dedicated to the study of Jewish history, literature, language, politics and religions. Offering an interdisciplinary undergraduate concentration, the program provides students with the opportunity to explore Jewish culture and civilization across the ages. Since Christianity and Islam have deep roots in Judaism, and the Western world has been profoundly shaped by a deep and abiding tension with both Jewish religious tradition and the Jewish communities in its midst, the concentration puts particular importance on studying the interactions of Jews and non-Jews in both ancient and modern periods. The history and culture of the State of Israel and its place in the Middle East is also a major focus of study. These are all issues with significant contemporary resonance, so the concentration offers its students many new insights on the world in which we live.
The critical reading of texts - from the Hebrew Bible to contemporary Israeli poetry, from the kabbalah to modern Jewish autobiography, from philosophical treatises to communal record books - is central to the Judaic Studies concentration. Students are required to complete at least one year of course work in Hebrew, the language of foundational Jewish texts from antiquity to modern-day Israel. They are also encouraged to further improve their Hebrew, and where feasible, to study other appropriate languages such as Yiddish, Aramais, ancient Greek, Arabic, or contemporary European languages.