Program Director: Dr. Jessica Cooperman, Assistant Professor of Religion Studies
Assistant Professor: Nash
The Jewish Studies Program at Muhlenberg College offers students an opportunity to explore the history, literature, languages, traditions, and cultures that have comprised Jewish civilization from its Ancient Near Eastern origins to the present day. Our approach to the study of Jewish experience is inherently interdisciplinary. Our majors and minors take classes with faculty from the Departments of Religion Studies, History, Political Science, Theatre and Dance, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, as well as many others across the College. Our program stresses the diversity within and among Jewish communities, the interaction between Jewish cultures and those of the surrounding world, and the dynamism that characterizes the historical development of both modern and pre-modern Judaism. Our courses introduce students to crucial debates within the field of Jewish Studies, and to the critical study of classical and contemporary Jewish texts. Our students gain broad expertise in the areas of Jewish religion, literature, thought, language, and experience. Above all, they are challenged to grow as readers, thinkers, and writers, and learn to develop and pursue their own intellectual interests, through both thoughtful teaching and opportunities for independent research.
Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York
Muhlenberg students have the unique opportunity to spend a spring semester studying at List College, the undergraduate program at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) in New York. Students will be accommodated in the JTS student housing, situated in the heart of the Upper West Side of Manhattan. This program offers a wide range of courses in all areas of Jewish studies, including the opportunity for more advanced offerings in Hebrew language and text study.
Jewish Studies Abroad
Up to three courses completed during a study abroad experience or through courses offered through the Philip and Muriel Berman Center for Jewish Studies at Lehigh University or Lafayette College may be applied toward program requirements.
Opportunities to explore Jewish studies abroad are available through programs with four major Israeli universities (Ben Gurion University, Haifa University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University) as well as the CET Jewish Studies program in Prague. Individual courses taken with any of the colleges’ other study abroad programs may also be approved by the program director.
The Jewish Studies major consists of nine courses, taken in at least three different departments or programs across the humanities, arts, and social sciences. All students will pursue an individualized program of study in consultation with their major advisor.
All majors must be familiar with Hebrew or another Jewish language. Students are required to take two semesters of Hebrew, or another Jewish language approved by their advisor, or complete Hebrew 204. Students may be exempted from this requirement on the basis of demonstrated proficiency. Not more than two of the nine credits required for the major can be fulfilled with language classes.
All majors must take both of the following required courses::
All majors must take at least two courses in the area of Jewish Religion, Literature, and Thought. The following courses fulfill this requirement:
All majors must take at least two courses in the area of Jewish History, Experience, and Culture. The following courses fulfill this requirement:
Senior Capstone Seminar:
All majors must take the senior seminar and produce a culminating research project during the final semester of the major. This course will carry the “W”.
Courses taken abroad, as well as through the College’s exchange program with the Jewish Theological Seminary, can be counted towards the major, including the Hebrew requirement. All transfer courses must be approved to apply toward the major by the program director.
List of Courses
In addition to the courses listed below, each semester “Special Topic” courses are given in many departments. Some of these may count toward the Jewish Studies major or minor. Questions about specific courses should be discussed with your advisor.