Jewish Studies

Professor: Dion, Elman, Haus (Director), Petrey

The Jewish Studies Concentration at Kalamazoo College seeks to advance the knowledge of the rich history, religion, and culture of the Jewish people.  Exploring these subjects enables students of all backgrounds to deepen their understanding of basic human questions.  Studying the Jewish experience engages students in important intellectual and ethical issues such as majority/minority relations, identity formation, and the relationship between the religious and the secular.  Jewish Studies courses also train students in textual traditions, teaching them to read beyond the page and to consider the broader impact of the written word. As an interdisciplinary field, Jewish Studies provides the opportunity for students to make connections between different areas of the liberal arts.

Outside of the classroom, the Jewish Studies Concentration can act as an academic catalyst for students developing service learning and social justice projects in conjunction with the new Arcus Center and with existing Service Learning programs at the College.  In this manner, the Jewish Studies Concentration encourages students to become thoughtful scholars as well as morally aware and socially engaged human beings.

Requirements for the Concentration in Jewish Studies

Number of Units
Six units are required.

Required Course
HIST/RELG 107, Introduction to Jewish Traditions

5 additional courses from the following list:
CLAS/RELG 261 Judaism in Antiquity
HEBR 101 Beginning Hebrew
HEBR 102 Beginning Hebrew II
HEBR 201 Intermediate Hebrew
HIST/RELG 218 The American Jewish Experience
HIST/RELG 263 Jews in a Changing Europe, 1750-1880
HIST/RELG  264 Jewish Revolutions, 1881-1967
HIST/RELG 265 Zionism: from Idea to State
HIST/RELG 267 Women and Judaism
POLS 330 Politics of the Holocaust
RELG 110 Hebrew Bible

Hebrew studies are recommended, but not required, for the concentration.

Study Abroad
Concentrators are encouraged (but not required) to consider Study Abroad programs that will expand their knowledge in Jewish Studies.  These include programs at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, as well as several European sites.  The Israel programs provide opportunities to study Middle Eastern affairs as well as aspects of Jewish culture that complement the course offerings at the College.  Students are encouraged to discuss their academic plans with the director in advance of studying abroad, as certain courses may count toward the concentration.

Hebrew Language courses

HEBR101Beginning HebrewAn introduction to the Modern Israeli Hebrew language. Learning the Aleph-Bet, with beginning reading, writing and speaking skills emphasized.
HEBR102Beginning Hebrew IIThis course follows Beginning Hebrew I, focusing on the continued development of basic speaking, reading, and writing skills in modern Israeli Hebrew.Prerequisite: HEBR-101
HEBR201Intermediate HebrewThis course follows HEBR 102, building on the basics already learned as well as improving vocabulary and verb conjugation skills.Prerequisite: HEBR-102