JS Major

Approved September 16, 2015.

Requirements for the Jewish Studies major (30 credit hours):

  • 2 courses in Jewish history and/or culture (6 credit hours)
  • 2 courses in Judaism (6 credit hours)
  • *demonstration of proficiency at the intermediate level of Hebrew or Yiddish (usually satisfied by taking 2 courses [6 credit hours] at the 200-level)
  • 3 electives (9 credit hours)
  • JWSH 601, a capstone course (3 credit hours)*

*During the Fall 2017 semester, JWSH 601 will be attached to pre-exisitng courses. Beginning Spring semester 2018, however, JWSH 601 will be taught as its own course, and will only be taught in the Spring semester thereafter. 

With the language requirement, Jewish Studies offers a BA - there is no BGS degree in Jewish Studies.

The Majors Marketplace website now features Jewish Studies degree options!


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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