Judaic Studies Advising Guide
a religious and cultural tradition with a history that spans more than three
thousand years. Since the Jews’ exile from their homeland in the 6th century
BCE, Jewish life and culture has thrived in a variety of geographical settings
and historical periods in both western and non-western societies.
studies explores the many varieties of Jewish experience, viewing Judaism not
just as a religion but also as a living civilization. To pursue Judaic studies
is to open a window onto a world that has influenced our own in many important
ways: Judaism’s pivotal role in the development of major world religions
(Christianity and Islam), its importance for understanding the politics of the
modern Middle East, and its relevance as a paradigm for understanding the
complexity of cultural Diaspora are among a number of important examples.
studies is an interdisciplinary major. Coursework drawn from a variety of
academic departments allows students to appreciate the diversity of Jewish life
and culture. A major in Judaic studies is founded on the study of Hebrew
language and classical Jewish texts, including the Hebrew Bible and Rabbinic
commentaries. Students contextualize their work with primary sources through
additional coursework focusing on Jewish culture and history. Majors are
expected to pursue coursework that spans a variety of historical time periods.
Students investigate such diverse topics as Representations of the Holocaust in
Germany and the US, Judaism and the Environment, Ethnography of Jewish
Experience, American Jewish Literature, Jewish Women Writers of Latin America,
Judaism in the Time of Jesus and Arab-Israeli Conflict. All courses unless
otherwise noted, are suitable for First-Year students.
Courses appropriate for prospective majors
majors are urged to begin the study of Hebrew as early as possible. New students who present evidence of
successful Hebrew studies may begin at levels beyond HEBR 103.
RELG 103, Hebrew
Scriptures in Context should also be elected early on.
that fulfill distribution requirements
Requirement: Successful completion of HEBR 116 fulfills
the college’s language requirement
JDST 206, Jews and Judaism in the US
Comparative Civilizations: JDST 316, Middle Eastern Cinema
IA: Any of the religion courses required for
IB: JDST 216, Love, Sex and Hebrew Texts
those interested in Sustainability: JDST 215, Jewish Environmental Ethics
For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Judaic Studies.
independent studies (some of which might substitute for certain requirements):
Women in Midrash, Women’s Peace Movements in Israel, Jews in Italy, Jewish
Marriage Contracts, Gay & Lesbian Ordination in American Judaism
information contact Professor Nitsa Kann.
Opportunities for off-campus study
Students have the opportunity to study at one of the Dickinson Partner Programs at Hebrew University in Jerusalem or Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheva. There are also other
opportunities for Judaic Studies majors to pursue off-campus study. In a unique
partnership with the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Dickinson students
can spend the spring semester of their Junior year in New York City at List
College, the Undergraduate College at JTSA. Please see the program coordinator
for details and other study abroad options.
The Asbell Center for Jewish Life supplements the Judaic studies curriculum
with engaging lectures and cultural programs by visiting scholars and artists.
In addition, Dickinson's Hillel is a student organization that also plans
programming related to Judaic studies. Hillel is open to interested students of
all religious and cultural backgrounds.
studies majors develop strong critical skills with an emphasis on
communication, analytic thinking, reading and interpretation. Majors are well-prepared for careers in
social services, business, education, non-profit organizations, government
agencies and the religious vocations. Many students interested in careers in
Jewish education pursue internships at a local Jewish day school or at one of
five synagogue religious schools in the area.
A major in Judaic Studies is distinctive among the scores of English and
business majors competing in similar job areas.