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Jewish Studies

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The Major in Jewish Studies

Advisers: Ernest Benz, Justin Cammy, Lois Dubin, Joel Kaminsky, Ellen Kaplan, Jocelyne Kolb


The major in Jewish Studies comprises 12 semester courses:

A. Basic Requirements

  1. Basis:   JUD 125 (formerly 225)  Jewish Civilization, normally taken in a student’s first or second year.
  2.  Language:  JUD 100y  Elementary Modern Hebrew, counting as two semester courses.  Students who arrive at Smith with the equivalent of a year of college-level Hebrew may petition for exemption from this requirement; in such cases, they are strongly encouraged to continue their study of Hebrew language.


B. Breadth

Eight courses from the categories Language, Classical Texts, History Politics and Thought, and Literature and the Arts.  Of these eight, at least one course must fall within Classical Texts, at least one course within History Politics and Thought, and at least one course within Literature and the Arts.
Students can expect advisers to work closely with them to select courses that cover the chronological sweep of Jewish civilization. 

C. Seminar and/or Advanced Special Studies

One seminar from the Program’s approved list of courses (for example, JUD 362, REL 310, REL 320, GOV 323) or a research-intensive JUD 400 Special Studies. 

Additional Guidelines

  1. No course counting toward the major shall be taken for an S/U grade
  2. In addition to JUD 100y and JUD 125, no more than two courses at the 100-level shall count toward the major. 
  3. Although JUD 100y is the minimum language requirement for the major, the Program strongly encourages students to continue study of Hebrew, and to do so at Smith, when appropriate courses are available:  JUD 200 Intermediate Modern Hebrew or JUD 201 Readings in Modern Hebrew Language; special studies in language.  A student may continue her study of Hebrew, or of another Jewish language such as Yiddish, within the Five-College consortium or at an approved program elsewhere.
  4. Courses on Junior Year Abroad Programs or on other approved programs for study away may count toward the major.  A student’s petition to count such a course must be approved by the major adviser and the Jewish Studies Program after the course has been completed.  Normally, at least seven of the courses toward the major shall be taken at Smith College.
  5. With the approval of her adviser, a student may count up to two Smith College courses that are not part of the approved list of Jewish Studies courses toward the major, when such courses offer a broader comparative framework for Jewish Studies.  In such cases, the student writes at least one of her assignments for the course on a Jewish Studies topic.
  6. Jewish Studies is an interdisciplinary major; normally no more than seven of a major’s courses shall be from the same academic department.


Smith Courses counting toward the Jewish Studies major and minor

I.  Basis

II. Language

III.  Classical Texts

 IV.  History, Politics and Thought

V.  Literature and the Arts

VI.  Special Studies

JUD 400   Advanced research or language study, conducted by a faculty member appointed in Jewish studies.
The following are examples of courses that touch on Jewish studies and that may count as an elective toward the major with the prior approval of an adviser. Students must write one of their assignments for such courses on an appropriate Jewish studies topic. Please consult the offerings of other programs and departments, and an adviser, for additional possibilities: