(Modern) Judaic Studies & the Humanities

This is what I have come up with, trying to pitch a major in Modern Judaic Studies to the undergraduate student body here at Syracuse. The tricky part is how to frame the major as a double major and synchronize it with other areas of University study in more traditional and pre-professional areas of study. Let me know what you think.

In our technological world, training in the Humanities is increasingly seen as an asset by professional schools and employers. The academic study of Jewish society and culture, texts and ideas, is a platform upon which to develop unique perspectives out onto the world in which we live. Courses explore literature, thought & culture, gender, politics & society, Israel & the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, history, Hebrew, the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, art, architecture, visual culture, Judaism, Bible, and textual tradition.

[1] A major in Modern Judaic Studies or a Minor in Judaic Studies is an invaluable tool for work in the Jewish community (federation work, the rabbinate, museums, social services, Jewish education, non-profit work, Israel advocacy, etc.), and also for those of you considering work or study in Israel.  

[2] As part of a double major or a minor, Judaic Studies adds alternative points of view to traditional majors in American Studies, Art History, Business, Communications, Economics, English and Textual Studies, History, International Relations, Marketing, Middle Eastern Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, and Religion and Society, Sociology, Visual and Performing Arts, Women and Gender Studies, or the Writing Program. Work in Judaic Studies makes more complex your study in other fields.

[3] A major in Modern Judaic Studies or a Minor in Judaic Studies provides opportunities to explore universal human questions relating to culture, ethics, identity, and meaning. You don’t have to be Jewish and it doesn’t matter what you believe or don’t believe; we only want you to think and write, clearly and critically, about the things most important to you.


About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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