Jewish Studies Program


409 White Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853-2502
Phone: (607) 255-6275
FAX: (607) 255-6450

Program Director and Undergraduate Advisor:

Ross Brann
413 White Hall

Administrator: Julie Graham
Administrative Assistants:

Chris Capalongo Danielle Smith


Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.


The Jewish Studies Program was founded as an extension of the Department of Semitic Languages and Literatures, now the Department of Near Eastern Studies, in 1973 and attained status as an intercollegiate program in 1976.

The program has grown out of the conviction that Judaic civilization merits its own comprehensive and thorough treatment and that proper understanding of any culture is inconceivable without adequate knowledge of the language, literature, and history of the people that created it. Accordingly, over the years the offerings in the areas of Jewish languages and literatures were considerably expanded, and courses in ancient, medieval, and especially modern Jewish history and culture were added to the program.

The Jewish Studies Program is a broadly based, interdisciplinary program, bringing together faculty from various Cornell departments and colleges.

The scope of the Jewish Studies curriculum covers Jewish civilization from its ancient Near Eastern origins through its contemporary history and culture in Israel and the diaspora communities around the world. It is a secular, academic program, the interests of which are diverse and cross-cultural. The program recognizes its special relationship to teaching and research in classical Judaica and Hebraica pursued by the members of the Department of Near Eastern Studies.

The Jewish Studies Program presently enables students to obtain basic instruction and specialization in the fields of Semitic languages; the Hebrew Bible; medieval and modern Hebrew literature; ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish history; and Holocaust studies. In some of these fields students may take courses on both graduate and undergraduate levels. Faculty throughout the university provide breadth to the program by offering courses in related areas of study.

Throughout the academic year the program also sponsors lectures and events to support and enrich its academic mission.


The Jewish Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in Jewish Studies. The requirement for the Jewish Studies minor are as follows:

  1. Introductory Survey in Jewish Studies: JWST 2644 "Introduction to Judaism," or JWST 2651 "Holy War, Crusade, and Jihad," or an equivalent introductory survey in Jewish Studies approved by the director.
  2. Historical Breadth Requirement: Two Jewish Studies courses at the 2000-level or above, one course whose chronological parameters fall within the period 3000BCE to 600 CE, and one course who chronological parameters fall within the period 600 CE to the present.
  3. Upper-level course: One Jewish Studies course at the 3000-level or above. Topical courses taught in Hebrew or other languages may be used to fulfill this requirement.

No course may be used to satisfy two requirements. S/U option not permitted.

Students declaring a minor in Jewish Studies need to complete these three steps:

  1. Request a transcript online at <>
  2. Complete a minor application form available online or in 409 White Hall.
  3. Meet with Professor Deborah Starr, Director,


Students minoring in Jewish Studies may choose to study abroad in their junior year. There are various academic programs in Europe and Israel that allow for the transfer of credit. Archaeology field work on Cornell-sponsored projects in the Near East or recognized field schools in Israel may also qualify for course credit.

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