Masked students strolling to class in front of Goldwin Smith
The languages, literature, and history of the Jewish people areĀ an integral part of human heritage.

About Us

The interdisciplinary Jewish Studies Program at Cornell is built upon the strength of our premier faculty from eleven departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, with expertise in Jewish Studies from antiquity to the present. Jewish Studies faculty are also affiliated with a broad range of other interdisciplinary programs. Cornell Jewish Studies is also unique for counting among its faculty a colleague in the Food Science department in CALS who specializes in Kosher and Halal practices.

The Jewish Studies Program offers Cornell students a wide selection of courses on Jewish culture, history, media, and texts from: ancient Israel; late antique Mesopotamia; medieval Iberia; the Shoah; Modern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas; and beyond. Students at Cornell can also study Hebrew and Yiddish.

The long-standing inter-collegiate minor in Jewish Studies reaches students across Cornell University. In recent years, Jewish Studies awarded minors to students enrolled in the Arts and Sciences, as well as in Agriculture and Life Sciences, Engineering, Human Ecology, and Industrial and Labor Relations. The program will start to accept undergraduate students into a new Jewish studies major starting in Fall 2023. 

As part of our academic mission, the Jewish Studies Program supports undergraduate and graduate student research through a summer grant program. During the academic year, Jewish Studies sponsors public lectures, conferences, and symposia, as well as cultural events such as concerts, performances, film screenings, and literary readings.

White Hall in winter

History of Jewish studies at Cornell

Cornell University has a long and distinguished history of fostering the study of Judaica. Felix Adler, who is perhaps best remembered for his later role in founding the Society for Ethical Culture, joined the Cornell faculty in 1874 as a professor of Hebrew and Near Eastern literatures. He was succeeded by Nathaniel Schmidt, who taught Semitic languages and history at Cornell from 1896-1932. The Department of Semitic Languages and Literatures (now Near Eastern Studies), was founded in 1965 by Isaac Rabinowitz, a professor of Biblical literature and an authority on the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Jewish Studies Program was founded in 1973 and attained the status of an intercollegiate program in 1976.

White Hall steps

Give to Jewish Studies

Your support enables the program to enhance the experience for undergraduate students. Gifts can help fund lectures and conferences, student research, distinguished speakers, and other program priorities. We will greatly appreciate and immediately put into use any gift, no matter the amount.

Give to Jewish Studies 

Cornell clock tower on a summer evening

Affiliated programs at Cornell

Our program is closely connected through joint faculty members, cross-listed courses and collaborative events and projects to anthropology, comparative literature, archaeology, German studies, history, Near Eastern studies, and religious studies.