Jewish & Israel Studies

The Jewish & Israel studies minor consists of 22 semester hours, including JWST-113 Introduction to Judaism, JWST-255 Jewish Literature, JWST-338 The Holocaust, eight semester hours selected from the other available Jewish & Israel studies courses listed below and two semester hours of independent study approved by the director.

The various departments that partner with the Jewish & Israel studies program may offer special topic and variable content courses of interest (such as Biblical Hebrew, Jewish and Israeli Cinema, etc.) that will be cross-listed as JWST-390 and that will satisfy the elective requirement of the minor. 

Double-counting restriction for interdisciplinary minors: only 6 semester hours of this minor may be double-counted toward the student's major.

JWST-113 Introduction to Judaism

Examines Judaism as it has been defined and developed as a way of thought and a way of life. The course focuses on central religious concepts, holidays, life-cycle ceremonies and various forms of religious expression, including prayer and ritual, in order to help students understand what it means and has meant to be a Jew. Same as RELI-113. 4 SH. CC: Diversity.

JWST-115 Jewish Philosophy and Ethics

Explores issues and problems related to the philosophical and ethical literature of the Jews, from the Talmudic period through the present. Topics vary and may include classical Jewish texts, mysticism, continental and poststructural Jewish philosophy, morality and social practice, women and gender and Judaism in America. The course encourages students to recognize in Jewish texts reflections of Judaism that are diverse and, at times, antithetical to one another. Same as RELI-115. 4 SH. CC: Ethics.

JWST-201 The Hebrew Bible

An introduction to the texts of the Hebrew Bible, with concern for their sociohistorical contexts, literary forms and theological insights. Attention also to the variety of ways in which this literature has been and continues to be valued. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing and one of the following: a course in religious studies, a course in English, a course in history, DIVS-100, WMST-100, or instructor's permission. Same as RELI-201. 4 SH. CC: Diversity Intensive, Interdisciplinary, Writing Intensive.

JWST-207 Women in the Biblical Tradition

An extensive inquiry into women's stories and images in the Hebrew Bible, New Testament and related literature from the biblical period. Explores the range of roles played by women within biblical narratives, the variety of metaphorical/symbolic uses of femininity in biblical traditions, and legal and ethical precepts related to the status of women in the biblical period. Methods and approaches from the social sciences, history, literary studies and theology, as shaped by feminist theory, will serve as the main guides for this study. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing and one of the following: a course in religious studies, a course in women's studies, a course in English, a course in history, or DIVS-100. Same as WMST-207 and RELI-207. 4 SH. CC: Diversity Intensive, Interdisciplinary, Writing Intensive.

JWST-228 Middle East Politics and Society

This course examines the ways in which politics and society in the Middle East are shaped by historical and contemporary structures, processes and practices. The geographic and temporal focus of the course includes the Arab world, Iran, Turkey and Israel during the past century and a half, from the reforms of the late Ottoman Empire, through the years of European colonialism, to the emergence of post colonial states and their contemporary development. Same as POLI-228. 4 SH. 

JWST-255 Jewish Literature

A variable topic survey, in English translation, of the texts, writers, histories and languages that describe Jewish literatures. The course is especially concerned with debates over definitions of "Jewish literature" (What makes Jewish literatures Jewish?), the significance of Jewish literary and cultural diversity, and Jewish literary navigations between diaspora and homeland, secularism and religiosity. Readings may include Hebrew and Israeli literature, Yiddish literature, Sephardic literature or Jewish literatures of Europe and the Americas. Same as ENGL-255. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. 4 SH. CC: Diversity, Literary Expression.

JWST-302 Philosophy in the Wake of the Holocaust

This course examines the validity of certain traditional philosophical assumptions in the aftermath of the Nazi genocide. In this effort the class will read texts by scholars in a variety of fields who throw doubt on the moral value of rational thought, the teleological worldview, the Western conception of "human nature" and the legacy of the Enlightenment through an analysis of the Holocaust and other genocides in the 20th and 21st centuries. Same as PHIL-302. Prerequisite: Junior standing. 4 SH. CC: Ethics Intensive, Interdisciplinary.

JWST-312 History and Culture of Jewish Cuisines

Using anthropological approaches to the study of food, this course examines the meanings and uses of various Jewish cuisines as they developed in diverse regions and historical periods. We will consider the laws of kashrut and their modern interpretations, the social history of traditional Jewish foods, the literary development of Jewish cookbooks, and literary and cinematic representations of Jewish cuisines and dining. Underlying our study will be questions concerning how class, gender, faith, ethnicity, aesthetics and politics inform Jewish foodways. Because cooking and eating are frequently done in the company of others, much of our work will be collaborative. Same as ANTH-312. 4 SH. CC: Diversity, Team Intensive.

JWST-338 The Holocaust

Examines the origins, implementation and consequences of the Nazi program of mass murder over the course of the 20th century. Students study various primary and secondary sources of the Holocaust and consider the lasting impact of how we represent and remember those events. Prerequisite: 100-level history course or instructor's permission. Same as HIST-338. 4 SH.

JWST-390 Topics in Jewish & Israel Studies

Discussion, debate and evaluation of significant trends and phenomena in Jewish & Israel studies. Topics vary according to instructor preference and may include regional literatures and histories, Jewish languages, gender and identity issues, folklore, Jewish film, Jewish music, Sephardic studies, Zionism, Christian/Jewish relations, and black/Jewish relations. 4 SH.

JWST-500 Independent Study

Detailed exploration of literature or author(s) of a selected historical period; of a literary, historical or religious topic, problem or issue; or of creative arts related to Jewish & Israel studies. This course engages students in library or action research, research design or application, or creative work in the arts under a faculty member's direction, and it culminates the minor in Jewish & Israel studies. 2 SH.

Laurence D. Roth, Ph.D.

Department: English & Creative Writing
Professor of English

Email Address
Phone Number 570-372-4202

David M. Imhoof, Ph.D.

Department: History
Professor of History

Karla G. Bohmbach, Ph.D.

Department: Religious Studies
Professor of Religious Studies

Email Address
Phone Number 570-372-4167

Shari Jacobson, Ph.D.

Department: Sociology/Anthropology
Associate Professor of Anthropology

Rabbi Nina Mandel

Department: Religious Studies
Adjunct Faculty in Religious Studies

Email Address
Phone Number 570-372-4718