Jewish Studies Majors Research Skills

What Should Jewish Studies Majors Know?

Upon graduation, majors in Jewish Studies should:

  1. understand the broad contours of Jewish civilization, from its origins to the present;
  2. have advanced knowledge in a specific area within Jewish Studies as a result of a concentration within the major;
  3. have a working facility in modern Hebrew;
  4. understand how scholars of Jewish Studies conduct research and access information.

The Program in Jewish Studies maintains an up-to-date website (http://www.smith.edu/jud) with links to search engines, libraries, archives, institutes, and other information literacy resources. Students of Jewish Studies should familiarize themselves with its contents and gradually work their way through its various links in order to introduce themselves to the wide body of resources available to scholars in the field.

Writing Intensive Classes

Students who have fulfilled the writing intensive requirement should already have learned basic information literacy skills prior to entering the major in Jewish Studies. Such skills are likely to include:

  • the ability to know how and when to acknowledge and cite a source in the proper scholarly format;
  • the ability to evaluate with confidence the reliability of a source;
  • a familiarity with the reference resources of the library;
  • an understanding of how scholars identify the kinds of information they need and where to find it.

For a description of basic information literacy skills required of all students before entering the major, click here.

Language

Modern Hebrew

Students completing JUD 100y, our required course in Elementary Modern Hebrew, should be able to:

  • consult standard reference works, such as a modern Hebrew-English dictionary and a thesaurus. These may include:
    Title Call Number
    Oxford Dictionary: English-Hebrew/Hebrew-English ref PJ 4833 .O9 1996
    Zilberman, The Up-To-Date English-Hebrew Hebrew-English Dictionary ref PJ 4833 .Z552 2001
    Alcalay, The Complete Hebrew-English and English-Hebrew Dictionary ref PJ 4833 .A4 1981
  • consult basic grammars of the language, such as:
    Title Call Number
    Hebrew Verb Tables/Luhot Pealim, ed. Tarmon-Uval ref PJ 4645 .Y3 1998

    Bolozky, 501 Hebrew Verbs

    ref PJ 4645 .B56 2008

Biblical (Classical Hebrew)

Students studying Biblical (classical) Hebrew will incrementally familiarize themselves with:

Title Call Number
Lambdin, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Oversize/A Core:
PJ 4567 .L3 1971
Brettler, Biblical Hebrew for Students of Modern Israeli Hebrew Oversize/A Core:
PJ 4567.3 .B74 2002
Marcus Jastrow, A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature ref PJ 5205 .J3 1950
Brown, Driver, Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon ref PJ 4833 .B67 1962

Yiddish

Students studying Yiddish will incrementally familiarize themselves with the following dictionaries and grammars:

Dictionaries Call Number
Uriel Weinreich, Modern English-Yiddish Yiddish-English Dictionary ref PJ 5117 .W4 1977
Alexander Harkavy, Yiddish - English – Hebrew Dictionary ref PJ 5117 .H54 2006
Niborski, Yidish-frantseyzish verterbukh PJ 5117 .V34 2002
Grammars Call Number
Weinreich, College Yiddish (Elementary) 892.49 W433c 1965
Bordin, Vort bay vort (Elementary) PF 5155 .B67 1996
Estraikh, Intensive Yiddish (Elementary) PJ 5115 .E88 1996
Zucker, Yiddish I (Elementary) PJ 5116 .Z83 1994
Zucker, Yiddish II (Intermediate)  
Schaechter, Yiddish II (Intermediate/Advanced)  
Rockowitz, 201 Yiddish Verbs ref PJ 5116 .R6 1979
History Call Number
Weinreich, A History of the Yiddish Language PJ 5113 .W3813 2008
Jacobs, Yiddish: A Linguistic Introduction PJ 5116 .J33 2005

Basis Course (JUD/REL 225) in Jewish Civilization

Students completing the required basis of the major able to:

  • understand varying methodologies through which scholars approach the study of Jews and Judaism;
  • identify canonical texts and major figures and thinkers of Jewish civilization, from the ancient period until today;
  • understand the central tenets of Judaism as a religion;
  • appreciate major historical transformations within Jewish civilization;
  • identify the ways in which contacts with other empires, peoples, nations, religions, and civilizations have transformed the course of Jewish civilization.

Students in the basis course are not expected to conduct extensive outside research. Emphasis is placed on learning to establish skills in close reading and critical thinking.

Students in JUD/REL 225 will familiarize themselves with the following basic resources:

Title Call Number
Eli Barnavi, A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People ref DS 117 .J8513 2002
Encyclopedia Judaica (2nd edition) online

Students of Jewish Civilization might also find helpful the following general works and surveys as they progress in their studies:

On Jewish Studies as a Field Call Number
Goodman, The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies BM 70 .O95 2002
On Judaism Call Number
Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews DS 112 .B3152 1952
Finkelstein, The Jews 296 F495je 2
Holtz, Back to the Sources BM 496.5 .B33 1992
Fine, Judaism in Practice BM 180 .J82 2001
Neusner and Avery-Peck, The Routledge Dictionary of Judaism ref BM 50 .N47 2004
Wigoder, The New Encyclopedia of Judaism ref BM 50 .E63 2002
Werblowsky and Wigoder, The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion ref BM 50 .O94 1997
Jacobs, The Jewish Religion: A Companion online
de Lange and Freud-Kandel, Modern Judaism: An Oxford Guide BM 42 .M63 2005
On Jewish History and Culture Call Number
Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews DS112 .B3152 1952
Roth, Medieval Jewish Civilization: An Encyclopedia ref DS 124 .M386 2003
Ehrlich, Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora ref DS 115 .E47 2009
Biale, Cultures of the Jews (I: Mediterranean Origins; II: Diversities of Diaspora; III: Modern Encounters) DS 102.95 .C85 2002
Visotzky and Fishman, From Mesopotamia to Modernity DS 117 .F77 1999
Davies and Finkelsetin, The Cambridge History of Judaism, vol 1 (The Persian Period) click here
Davies and Finkelstein, The Cambridge History of Judaism, vol 2 (The Hellenistic Age) click here
Horbury, Davies, Sturdy, The Cambridge History of Judaism, vol 3 (Early Roman Period) click here
Katz, The Cambridge History of Judaism, vol. 4 (Late Roman-Rabbinic Period) click here
Saperstein, Essential Papers on Messianic Movements and Personalities in Jewish History BM 615 .E87 1992

Intermediate and Advanced Courses

Students in intermediate and advanced Jewish Studies courses are expected to familiarize themselves with relevant scholarly journals of Jewish Studies. Examples of interdisciplinary journals in Jewish studies include:

Interdisciplinary Journals Per Call Number/Access
AJS Review (published by the Association for Jewish Studies) online
Jewish Culture and History per DS 101 .J43
Jewish Quarterly Review (JQR) online
Jewish Social Studies: History, Society, Culture online
Jewish Studies Quarterly online
Journal of Jewish Studies Amherst College BM 1 .J63
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies online
Tarbiz: Quarterly for Jewish Studies (in Hebrew) online
Zion (in Hebrew) per DS 101 .T74 / online
Leading journals with a more specific focus Per Call Number/Access
American Jewish History Per E 184 .J5 A5 / online
Biblical Interpretation online
East European Jewish Affairs Per DS 135 .R92 S65 / online
History and Memory online
Israel Studies online
Jewish Bible Quarterly Per BS 410 .D66 / online
Jewish History online
Jewish Political Studies Review online
Journal of Israeli History Umass DS 149 .A1 S78
Journal of Modern Jewish Studies online
Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy Per BM 1 .J64 / online
Judaism Per BM 1 .J8 / online
Modern Judaism online
Nashim: Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues online
Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History online

Students in Intermediate and Advanced Jewish Studies courses will gradually learn to use the following search engines:

Database Description
RAMBI: Index of Articles on Jewish Studies 1960+ Standard index to scholarship in several languages on all areas of Jewish studies.
Index to Jewish Periodicals 1988+ English-language articles, book reviews, and feature stories in journals devoted to Jewish affairs.
Jewish Studies Source [EBSCO] Covers all facets of Judaism, drawing from areas of study including archaeology, anthropology, area studies, ethnic studies, history, languages, philosophy, political science, religious studies and women's studies.

Students in Intermediate and Advanced Jewish Studies courses will familiarize themselves with reference works specifically tailored to the focus of their course. Individual instructors will provide students with relevant reference works. Examples of these might include:

Bible and Classical Jewish Literature Call Number
Even-Shoshan, Konkordatsia hadasha ref BS 1121 .E93 1997
Sasson, Civilizations of the Ancient Near East ref DS 57 .C55 1995
The Jewish Study Bible BS 895 .J4 2004
Anchor Bible Dictionary ref BS 440 .A54 1992
Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia ref BS 715 1977
Individual commentaries on specific books of the Bible in such series as the JPS Bible Commentaries, Anchor Bible Series, Old Testament Literature Series Consult the Five College Library Catalog for series holdings.
Fonrobert and Jaffee, The Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature BM 504 .C36 2007 / online
Chernick, Essential Papers on the Talmud BM 504.2 .E78 1994
Jewish Thought Call Number
Frank, History of Jewish Philosophy B 154 .H57 1997
Nadler and Rudavsky, The Cambridge History of Jewish Philosophy vol.1: online
vol.2: online
Frank and Leaman, The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Jewish Philosophy B 755 .C36 2003
or click here
Morgan and Gordon, The Cambridge Companion to Modern Jewish Philosophy B 755 .M67 2007
or click here
The Cambridge Companion to Maimonides BM 755 .M6 C36 2005
or click here
The Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature BM 504 .C36 2007
or click here
Fine, Essential Papers on Kabbalah BM 526 .E83 1995
Modern Jewish Studies Call Number
Abramson, Encyclopedia of Modern-Jewish Culture ref DS 102.8 .E56 2005
Hyman and Moore, Jewish Women in America ref DS 115.2 .J49 1998
Gilman and Zipes, Yale Companion to Jewish Writing and Thought in German Culture, 1096-1996 DS 135 .G3 Y35 1997
The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History DS 102 .J43 1995
Kaplan, Cambridge Companion to American Judaism BM 205 .C35 2005
or click here
Kramer, Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature PS 153 .J4 C36 2003
or click here
Kugelmass, Key Texts in American Jewish Culture E 184.35 .K49 2003
Diner, The Jews of the United States E 184.35 .D55 2004
Sarna, American Judaism BM 205 .S26 2004
Yiddish Literature and Culture Call Number
The Yivo Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe ref DS 135 .E8 Y578 2008
Dictionary of Literary Biography 333: Writers in Yiddish online
Leksikon fun der nayer yidisher literature ref PJ 5121 .L4 1956
Polin (annual) DS 135 .P6 P56
Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Call Number
Encyclopedia of the Holocaust ref D 804.3 .E53 1990
Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust ref DS 135 .E8 E45 2001
Levy, Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia ref DS 146 .E8 A58 2005
United States Holocaust Museum Encyclopedia of Camps & Ghettos 1933-1945 ref D 805 .A2 U55 2009
Israel Studies Call Number
New Encyclopedia of Zionism and Israel ref DS 149 .N56 1994
Historical Dictionary of Zionism ref DS 149 .M375 2008
The Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict ref DS 119.7 .E5653 2008
Avineri, The Making of Modern Zionism ref DS 149 .A874 1981
Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea DS 149 .Z675 1997
Sachar, A History of Israel DS 126.5 .S155 2007
Laqueur, A History of Zionism DS 149 .L256 1976
Reinharz and Shapira, Essential Papers on Zionism DS 149 .E76 1996

300 Level Courses and Research-Based Special Studies

Students in advanced research courses should be able to:

  • Identify a compelling research topic that forces them to engage with primary and secondary materials at an advanced level;
  • locate and effectively use scholarly sources that allow them to demonstrate a familiarity with the secondary literature and stake out a position in relation to it.

General Information Literacy

The Jacobson Center offers guidance on proper methods of scholarly citation. Students should also consult the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholary Publishing and The Chicago Manual of Style, both of which can be found on the Libraries' Citation Guides page.

The library offers students a great deal of guidance in how to find information and conduct research. Though the information above highlights some of the general resources in Jewish Studies, our students would also benefit greatly from familiarizing themselves with general search engines that often include articles of interest to Jewish Studies. These include:

Database Description
ATLA Religion Database 1949+
Covers religious and theological scholarship in 1,400 international journals and 14,000 books. Includes citations and some full text.
Humanities International Index Citations and abstracts for articles, essays, and original works (poems, fiction, photographs, paintings and illustrations) from books and journals.
Web of Knowledge 1980+ Extensive Index to 1,300 journals in all arts and humanities disciplines.
Historical Abstracts 1956+ Covers history after 1450, excluding U.S. and Canada; lists articles, books, collections, and dissertations.
Humanities Abstracts 1984+ Abstracts of articles, book reviews, interviews, obituaries, fiction, drama, poetry, and reviews of plays, television, and radio from 465+ sources.
Humanities and Social Sciences Index Retrospective 1907-1984 Indexes nearly 1,200 English-language scholarly journals and specialized magazines in the social sciences and humanities; also includes citations to book reviews
Index Islamicus - 1906+ Indexes 1,200 scholarly journals and specialized magazines in the social sciences and humanities; with citations to book reviews.
International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) 1951+ Indexes 2,600+ international journals in economics, political science, sociology, and anthropology. From the British Library of Political & Economic Science.
MLA Bibliography 1926+ Extensive index to literature, language, linguistics and folklore in journal articles, books, dissertations, proceedings, and more. From the Modern Language Association of America.
Periodicals Archive Online (PAO) 1802 to 1995  Full text archive of hundreds of periodicals in the arts, humanities and social sciences from their first issues to 1995. For complete indexing use the Periodicals Index Online.
Periodicals Index Online (PIO) 1665-1995 Index to thousands of periodicals in the arts, humanities and social sciences from their first issues to 1995. Full text of selected titles can be found in Periodicals Archive Online database.

In What Classes Will Students Learn These Skills?

Although students will encounter the need throughout their academic studies, those taking JUD 125 and JUD 225 may find it especially useful to work with library staff and faculty to develop the research skills described in this document.

Ethical Issues

A central tenet of responsible research is the ethical use of information. This requires you to always cite your sources accurately, whether you are quoting directly or paraphrasing a document. Jewish Studies professors expect students to be able to cite their sources clearly, using one of the accepted scholarly methods (MLA, Chicago).  

Students are reminded not to deface library books or to remove pages from books.

For more information on ethical use of information, see the Statement on Academic Honor Code Infractions in the college’s student handbook.

May 4, 2009