The Jewish Studies Program was founded in 1973 on the conviction that understanding the impact and richness of Jewish culture requires training in the languages, literature, and history of the Jewish people, as these developed across the globe and over thousands of years. Jewish Studies course offerings cover Jewish civilization from its ancient Near Eastern origins through its contemporary history. It is an interdisciplinary program, the interests of which are diverse and cross-cultural. The program brings together faculty from an array of departments, including Near Eastern Studies, History, Anthropology, German Studies, Government, Comparative Literature, and Linguistics.
The Jewish Studies Program offers a minor, and provides instruction and specialization in the fields of Semitic languages; the Hebrew Bible; medieval and modern Hebrew literature and film; ancient, medieval and modern Jewish history, Holocaust Studies, Jewish ethnography, and Yiddish culture.