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Hebrew Placement

Before enrolling, students interested in placement should consult the Hebrew program coordinator, Shelley Rissien srissien@ku.edu. Undergraduates whose native language is not English may be exempt from the foreign language requirement in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences if they can show that the high school they attended taught in a language other than English. Consult College Undergraduate Services and the Applied English Center.

Hebrew Placement Exams

All students who seek to begin Hebrew instruction at a level beyond Introductory Hebrew (HEBR 110) are required to take a placement exam. The exam comprises a written component, an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI), and an interview with the Hebrew program coordinator, Shelley Rissien srissien@ku.edu. Students may not register for courses at levels equal to or below their present competence. The placement exam is to be taken prior to registration and/or the first day of classes.

Hebrew Transfer Credits

College credits from other accredited schools/universities can usually be transferred to KU and be considered a part of the foreign language required credits. To ascertain the transfer of credits, students need to consult with the Office of Admissions adm@ku.edu. Students who have a score of 3 or higher in the SAT II for Hebrew are to notify their academic advisor, as well as take the placement exam, and, before enrolling, meet with the Hebrew program coordinator.

Testing out of the Four-Semester Foreign Language Requirement

Undergraduates who wish to be exempted from the four-semester foreign language requirement may do so by passing a proficiency exam. The exam has both reading and writing components taken from all  four course of Introductory and Intermediate Hebrew (HEBR 110, 120; 210, 220) as well an Oral Proficiency interview. Students must pass it with a score of 75 or higher.

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

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