Welcome to Jewish Studies!

Jewish Studies

Explore our website to learn more about our major and minor in Jewish Studies, the assortment of courses offered by a diversified faculty, and to see the variety of events sponsored by our program. We invite all students, alumni and friends to see what we're up to here at KU as well as in the surrounding communities.

Why major in Jewish Studies? Because Jewish Studies offers a creative environment to learn, think, and reflect about Jewish culture, history,  communities, and religion from both a national and global perspective.

Renee Perelmutter has been appointed next program director of Jewish Studies!

Professor Perelmutter’s term will begin this summer. Professor Perelmutter will succeed John Younger, who retires this summer, having served since 2013.

Read about this exciting transition in the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle:

 
"Perelmutter is an Associate Professor at KU and is jointly appointed between Jewish studies and Slavic languages and literatures. Prior to this appointment, Perelmutter served as director of undergraduate studies in both Jewish studies and in Slavic languages and literatures. Over the years, Perelmutter developed and taught a variety of courses on Jewish cultures and languages... Perelmutter enjoys advising and mentoring students, and these efforts have been recognized by the Michael J. Young award for undergraduate advising. Twice Perelmutter has been selected as a finalist for the K. Barbara Schowen undergraduate research award for supporting undergraduate research in Jewish Studies and beyond."


 

 


Today's Hebrew Date:

Today's Hebrew Date in English:


Calendar of major and minor Jewish holidays



Jewish Studies Program statement in solidarity with protests against police brutality

Beloved community,

As an academic program in the University of Kansas, we stand in solidarity with Black Americans -- including Black Jewish people -- and everyone hurting after the senseless, brutal murder of George Floyd and all people targeted by systemic racism and injustice in our country. We continue to be committed to our core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This morning, the Association for Jewish Studies sent out an email reminding us that as scholars of Jewish Studies, we are keenly aware of the devastating impact of discrimination and violence against minority groups. Dr. Cécile Accilien, the Chair of the KU Department of African and African-American studies, shared with us the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

The Jewish Studies academic community is rich and diverse – it includes scholars and students who are Jewish and non-Jewish, scholars and students of all ethnic and racial backgrounds and from multiple denominations and creeds, people who are immigrants (like myself) and those who are American-born. The Bible commands: צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף tzedek tzedek tirdof, which translates into English as “Only justice shall you pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20). In this well-cited verse, the Hebrew word tzedek, or justice, repeats twice. There can be many explanations of the repetition – textual interpretation in all its many forms is a beloved pursuit for many of us. Today, I am going to give you my own interpretation -- though I am sure that it already exists somewhere in the treasury of Jewish exegesis. One tzedek, or justice, you must pursue for yourself and for people like you; that is, perhaps, the justice that is easiest to understand, because we keenly feel injustices committed against ourselves and people like us. The other tzedek is the justice you must pursue for the sake of people who are not like you. It is often a harder lesson, but a necessary one. The justice, or tzedek, which we pursue thus also becomes a gift of chesed, of lovingkindness that enriches all of us.

 

In solidarity,

Dr. Renee Perelmutter,

Director of the Jewish Studies Program

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe

* indicates required
Upcoming Program Events
KU Today
Home to 50+ departments, centers, and programs, the School of the Arts, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration
KU offers courses in 40 languages
No. 1 ranking in city management and urban policy —U.S. News and World Report
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
Nondiscrimination Policy

In the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at The University of Kansas, we understand that an equitable and safe multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural environment produces innovative thinking, research, and learning. Click here for the University's nondiscrimination policy.