Jewish Studies (JWST)College of Arts and Humanities
4141 Susquehanna Hall, 301-405-4975
Director: C. Manekin (Prof)
Professors: H. Lapin (HIST), C. Manekin (PHIL), Y. Peri (JWST), M. Rozenblit (HIST)
Associate Professors: B. Cooperman (HIST), A. Feuer (JWST; Research Associate Professor), M. Grossman (JWST), S. Jelen (ENGL), R. Manekin (JWST), P. Scham (JWST; Research Associate Professor), E. Zakim (SLLC)
Assistant Professors: M. Suriano (JWST)
Affiliate Professors: J. Glass, R. Igel, A. Karamustafa, F. Keshavarz-Karamustafa, S. Selden, S. Sosnowski, S. Telhami, M. Zilfi
Affiliate Associate Professors: A. Borrut, L. Felbain, J. Freidenberg, S. Khamis, G. Strauch, P. Wien
Professors Emeriti: A. Berlin (Emerita)
Visiting Faculty: A. Mahalel (Visit Assoc Prof), P. Peri (Visit Asst Prof)
The Major in Jewish Studies provides undergraduates with a framework for the organized and interdisciplinary study of the history, philosophy, and literature of the Jews from antiquity to the present. Jewish Studies draws on a vast literature in a number of languages, especially Hebrew and Aramaic, and includes the Bible, the Talmud, and medieval and modern Hebrew literature. Yiddish language and literature compose an important sub-field. Courses offered by this department may be found under the following acronym(s): JWST, HEBR, ISRL, and RELS.
The Meyerhoff Center and Program for Jewish Studies encourages research and provides instruction about the rich history and culture of the Jewish people from earliest times to the present day. Dedicated to the highest standards of scholarship, the program offers a wide array of courses in Hebrew Language and Literature, Jewish History, Bible, Rabbinics, Jewish Philosophy, and Yiddish Language and Literature. These courses form one of the largest undergraduate Jewish Studies programs in North America. In addition, the Jewish Studies program supports faculty research projects and organizes frequent academic conferences and lectures in order to bring the fruits of scholarship to a wider public. The Jewish Studies Program seeks to provide undergraduate majors with an appreciation for the interdisciplinary nature of Jewish Studies, understanding that Jewish literary texts, Jewish history, and Jewish culture and thought are, to a large degree, inseparable. Students are expected to master the Hebrew language and acquire facility in reading, understanding, analyzing, and interpreting texts both in Hebrew and in English translation. In addition, students should be able to pursue independent research and to argue coherently and persuasively in writing.
Program Learning Outcomes
The Jewish Studies Program seeks to provide undergraduate majors with an appreciation for the interdisciplinary nature of Jewish Studies (understanding that Jewish literary texts, Jewish history, and Jewish culture and thought are to a large degree inseparable). Students who complete the major should acquire the following knowledge and skills:
Academic Programs and Departmental Facilities
The Minor in Religious Studies is an 18-credit course of study that provides students with the opportunity to learn about religion in cross-cultural and trans-historical perspectives. A core course introduces students to the study of world religions, while other courses range widely in their focus, allowing students to learn more about sacred texts, traditions, practices, philosophies, and material culture. Courses may focus on a single religious tradition, a region or period of history, or a concentrated approach to the analysis of religion and religious culture. Courses for the minor are drawn from such departments and programs as Anthropology, Art History and Archaeology, Classics, Government and Politics, History, Honors, Jewish Studies, Philosophy, and Women's Studies.
Admission to the Major
Hebrew proficiency through Intermediate Hebrew I is a prerequisite for the major, but students can declare the major prior to fulfilling this prerequisite and can take Jewish Studies courses while building their Hebrew skills. Many students may choose to prepare for the Hebrew requirement by studying Hebrew on their own or by enrolling in the University's sequence of beginning and intermediate Hebrew courses.
Placement in Courses
The Foreign Language Placement Test in Hebrew is used to determine in which Hebrew course students should enroll. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Requirements for the Major
The undergraduate major requires 48 semester hours (27 hours minimum at the 300-level or above). Students enroll in 39 credits of Jewish Studies courses, and 9 additional credits from a field or fields outside of Jewish Studies. Jewish Studies courses for the major may include courses offered by Jewish Studies or cross-listed with other units.
By satisfying the Hebrew language requirements of the major, Jewish Studies majors will fulfill the Global Engagement Requirement of the College of Arts and Humanities. A minimum "C-" is required in all courses offered toward major requirements. An overall GPA of 2.0 or greater in the major is required for graduation.
1. Language Prerequisites
Please Note: Students can declare the major at any time and take other Jewish Studies courses while they are working to satisfy these prerequisites.
Hebrew language skills corresponding to the second-year level (HEBR211: Intermediate Hebrew I or the equivalent)
Students may meet the prerequisite through successful completion of the lower-level sequence (HEBR 111, 112, and 211, or the equivalent). Students with a background in Hebrew will be placed into the appropriate course by the Hebrew faculty. Students with a strong background may be deemed to have satisfied the Hebrew prerequisites by the Hebrew faculty.
2. General Requirements (18-21 credits)
Majors in Jewish Studies complete three core courses and fulfill an additional four requirements for a total of 19 to 22 credits in General Requirements (credit hours for Hebrew language are flexible, as discussed below).
Students may choose from:
3. Area of Specialization/Tracks (15 credits)
In consultation with an advisor, majors select an area of specialization in addition to their general Jewish Studies coursework. Up to six credits of this area of specialization may be at the lower or upper levels, while the remaining nine credits must be at the upper level or above. Approved specializations include:
Jewish History and Society (JH)
Jewish Religion and Thought (JR)
Jewish Literature and Culture (JL)
Israeli Society, Politics, and Culture (IS)
Hebrew Language and Texts (HL)
All Jewish Studies courses fall into at least one (and as many as three) of these areas of specializations. Students may petition to have courses count toward a particular area of specialization.
4. Electives (6 credits)
Students take two Jewish Studies courses (6 credits) as electives toward their major. 3 credits must be at the upper level.
5. Supporting Courses (9 credits)
Students take nine (9) credits in courses outside Jewish Studies, of which at least six (6) credits must be at the 300-level or above. Supporting courses are determined in consultation with the advisor. They should provide context for the area of specialization.
Note: A current listing of the Department's courses and assignment of courses to the above categories may be found on the Jewish Studies website. Students are reminded that, if there is a topic that doesn’t figure in the list of courses, they are welcome to propose an independent study.
Mentoring: Students majoring in Jewish Studies will be assigned a faculty mentor from among the faculty specializing in their area of specialization. Students should consult with their faculty mentor as they plan their course of study.
Requirements for the Minor
Minor in Jewish Studies
The Minor in Jewish Studies offers a broad overview of the principal aspects of Jewish Studies as a field. Students are encouraged to take courses in a variety of areas through a combination of required fields and general electives.
To make an appointment to explore or declare a minor, go to www.arhu.umd.edu/undergraduate/academics/minors
To make an appointment to explore or declare a minor, go to www.arhu.umd.edu/undergraduate/academics/minors
Minor in Israel Studies
Students doing a Minor in Israel Studies will study the history, culture and political structure of Israel and its place in the Middle East. Students from all majors are encouraged to apply.
The minor consists of 15 credits, and is organized around the following requirements:
Required Core Courses (9 Credits)
To fulfill the Middle East Studies requirement, students must take one of the courses listed below or a comparable course. This list is not complete; other courses may be substituted with the approval of the Advisor. Students may also take one additional course from this list as an elective for credit toward the Minor.
*A comparable course at another university may substitute for this; consult the Minor Advisor
** Other courses in Middle East Studies at UMD or elsewhere may be substituted for those on this list in consultation with the Advisor. HIST, COMM, GVPT, and SLLC all regularly offer special topics courses on the Middle East.
Elective Courses (6 Credits)
JWST142 Introduction to Modern Israel
ISRL289I Fundamental Questions of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
ISRL448A: Israeli Politics and Government
ISRL448B: Israeli Society
ISRL449 Advanced Topics in Israel Studies
*HEBR111, 112, 211, 212
Special Topics in Israel: (Topics change on an annual/semester basis, generally taught by distinguished visiting faculty.)
· ISRL249: Special Topics in Israel Studies
· ISRL349: Special Topics in Israel Studies
· ISRL449: Advanced Topics in Israel Studies
Special Topics in recent years have included: The Arab-Israeli Conflict through Film; Introduction to Israeli Cinema; Immigration & Ethnicity in Israel; Israel Politics and Society; Women and Gender in Israel; Public Culture in Israel; Israel Society as Seen Through Literature & Culture; Cultural Diversity and Multiple Identities in Contemporary Israeli Society; Society Politics and Mass Media in Israel; The Theater of Terror: Modern Terrorism and Mass Media; Israeli Politics for Young Leaders, and more.
Other appropriate courses may be taken as electives if approved by the Israel Studies Advisor.
· Coursework must include at least 9 upper level credits, of which 6 of those credits MUST be taken at University of Maryland. These include credits earned in UM Study Abroad programs.
· A student may use a maximum of 6 credits (two courses) to satisfy requirements for both a major and a minor. Courses completed for one minor, may not be used to satisfy the requirements for another minor.
· No courses with an earned grade below “C-” may count towards the minor.
· An overall GPA of 2.0 in the minor is required for graduation.
· Up to 2 courses may be taken at another university if the courses are approved by the Israel Studies Advisor. These would include credits earned in non-UM Study Abroad Programs.
To make an appointment to explore or declare a minor go to: www.arhu.umd.edu/undergraduate/academics/minors
Majors in Jewish Studies have mandatory advising every semester. They must meet with the advisor before being allowed to register for classes for the next semester. You can reach the Jewish Studies advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-405-7640.
(Students with an additional major will have additional advising requirements depending on the major and/or college of the additional major.)
Please note that Jewish Studies majors must also meet with a College of Arts and Humanities advisor:
Students who wish to minor in Jewish Studies must meet with the advisor at least once, mainly to declare the minor.
What to expect from advising
During advising meetings, the advisor will chart a student’s progress through the major or minor. The kinds of questions that the advisor will ask include “what courses are you taking,” “what courses do you intend to take?,” “are you interested in studying abroad?,” and “how are you doing in your classes?”
The advisor will make notes and go through the Major or Minor Advising Form to ensure that the student understands the major’s or minor's requirements, what courses to take, and when to take them. Every student will get a copy of his or her Major or Minor Advising Form at the end of each meeting for his or her own records.
Note that students who have not yet declared Jewish Studies as their major must meet with the Jewish Studies advisor and then meet with an ARHU advisor. During this first meeting with the Jewish Studies advisor, the student will learn about the Four-Year Plan, which is a schedule of classes developed by ARHU and Jewish Studies for the typical Jewish Studies major to follow. It outlines which courses should be taken during which semesters.
What to bring to an advising meeting.
When students come to a meeting with the Jewish Studies advisor, they should bring a list of courses they are thinking about taking, as well as any other requirements they need to fulfill for another major or minor.
Other documents, such as the requirements for another major or minor, descriptions of courses taken abroad, and previous Major or Minor Advising Forms, are also helpful to bring.
The Honors Program in Jewish Studies is designed to encourage Jewish Studies majors with excellent grades and strong academic interests to pursue an individual research project of their own design, in consultation with and under the direction of a faculty advisor. The Program consists of twelve credits taken in a student's Junior and Senior years, culminating in the writing of an honors thesis. Students who complete the Honors Program are deemed to have completed the research seminar requirement for the major, typically completed through JWST409.
Junior Year: Students apply for admission to the Honors Program in the Fall of their Junior year, and, upon admission, enroll in the Honors Seminar (JWST408) (3 credits) in the Spring of their Junior year. During this time students are expected to develop a general research plan to be approved by the prospective thesis advisor. Thesis advisors will generally belong to the regular or affiliate Jewish Studies faculty. Other faculty may serve as thesis advisor with the written permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Senior Year: In the Fall of their Senior year students select an upper-level course (3 credits) closely related to their research agenda in consultation with the advisor. This may include a regularly offered undergraduate course, independent study, in which case students are encouraged to apply for an Honors Option for that particular course. In addition, students may request permission to enroll in a graduate-level course to complete this part of their requirement. Students who enter the Honors Program with a clearly defined research interest may complete this requirement in their Junior year.
In addition, students take 6 credits of JWST418: Honors Thesis Research, under the direction of their thesis advisor. Typically these will be divided between the Fall and Spring semesters. Students are expected to work out with their advisors clear goals that contribute to the thesis as a whole for each semester of thesis research, and will be graded each semester on the basis of having met those goals. In the second semester, the principal goal will be the completed thesis.
Student Societies and Professional Organizations
Undergraduate Jewish Studies Organization
The goal of the Undergraduate Jewish Studies Organization (UJSO) is to provide non-curricular support for Jewish Studies majors and minors. Such support includes career guidance, cohort development, networking activities, social events, and other programs designed by the UJSO's members. Led by members, the UJSO responds to students' needs that extend beyond the curricula of the Jewish Studies Program.
All Jewish Studies majors and minors, as well as other students interested in Jewish Studies, are encouraged to attend meetings and get involved.
Scholarships and Financial Assistance
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