Jun 13, 2024  
2023/2024 University Catalog 
2023/2024 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Jewish Studies

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OFFICE: Arts and Letters 662A
TELEPHONE: 619-594-5327 / FAX: 619-594-8696
E-MAIL: jewishstudiesprogram@sdsu.edu
WEBSITE: http://jewishstudies.sdsu.edu


Jewish Studies is administered by the Modern Jewish Studies Executive Board of San Diego State University. Faculty assigned to teach courses in modern Jewish Studies are drawn from the Departments of English and Comparative Literature; European Studies; History; Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages; and Religious Studies.

Director and Undergraduate Adviser: Levitt, Risa, Professor of Religious Studies (B.A., York University, Canada; M.A., University of Toronto, Canada; M.A., Ph.D., University of California, San Diego)

The Major

Modern Jewish Studies is a multidisciplinary major which provides an understanding of Jewish civilizations as the result of the interactions of Jewish culture, history, politics, and religion with other civilizations in societies where Jews have been the dominant majority population (the first two Jewish commonwealths and the modern state of Israel) and in those of the diaspora Jewish communities where Jews have been a minority group.

Students will be expected to obtain proficiency in Hebrew. They will develop an understanding of the major events in Jewish history starting with the biblical period through the centuries of diaspora to the Holocaust and the creation of the modern state of Israel. Students will be exposed to main Jewish beliefs, ideas, and traditions which have arisen in these different historical contexts. They will also become familiar with Jewish visual and literary expressions of culture. It is hoped that the study of Jewish civilizations will foster an awareness of how the Jewish experience reflects the universal dynamic of how ethnic, religious, or racial minorities interact with majority societies (i.e., discrimination and persecution, acculturation, integration, syncretism, and resistance to assimilation).

Those completing the major will be prepared for careers or further graduate training in the foreign service, overseas business, education, social services, multi-media productions, visual and literary arts, advocacy organizations, museum work, and the ministry.


All College of Arts and Letters majors are urged to consult with their department adviser as soon as possible. Students must receive major advising in the first semester they declare Modern Jewish Studies as their major and must do so no later than the first semester of their junior year.


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