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Jewish Studies

The Major in Jewish Studies

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

Jewish Studies Major Requirements 2017


The major in Jewish Studies comprises 10 semester courses:

A. Basic Requirements

1. Basis: JUD 125 Jewish Civilization (same as REL 125, formerly 225), normally taken in a student’s first or second year.

2. Language: JUD 101 and 102 (formerly JUD 110y) 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 Jewish languages. Exemption from JUD 101 and 102 does not reduce the requirement to take ten semester courses for the major.

B. Breadth Requirement: Six further courses from the categories Language, The Bible and Classical Judaism, Religion and Thought, History and Politics, and Literature and the Arts.
In keeping with the multidisciplinary character of Jewish Studies, these six courses must be drawn from at least three of the following four categories: The Bible and Classical Judaism, Religion and Thought, History and Politics, and Literature and the Arts. Students can expect advisers to work closely with them to select courses that cover the chronological sweep of Jewish civilization from biblical times to the present.

C. Capstone Requirement: seminar or research-intensive 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, in which a student investigates an advanced topic under the direction of a faculty supervisor.

Additional Guidelines

1. No course counting toward the major shall be taken for an S/U grade.

2. In addition to JUD 101 and 102 and JUD 125, no more than two courses at the 100 level shall count toward the major.

3. Although JUD 101 and 102 are 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 courses must be approved by the major adviser and the Jewish Studies Program after the course has been completed.

5. With the approval of her adviser, a student may count one Smith College course from outside the approved list of Jewish Studies courses toward the major, when that course offers a broader comparative framework for Jewish Studies. In such a case, the student writes at least one of her assignments for the course on a Jewish Studies topic.



Smith Courses counting toward the Jewish Studies major and minor

I.  Basis

II. Language

III. Bible and Classical Judaism

 IV.  Religion and Thought

V. History and Politics

VI.  Literature and the Arts

VII.  Special Studies

JUD 400   Advanced research or language study, supervised 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: