Jewish Studies

Explore over three millennia of Jewish culture, from ancient Israel to the present.  

Uncover the many dimensions of Jewish life, religion, and culture throughout history. Through research opportunities, lectures, conferences, and courses taught by professors in other disciplines, you’ll examine cultures and civilizations in which thinking about Jews and Judaism played an important role, for instance, Christianity and Islam. You’ll have unique access to our special collections, including the Mordkhe and Charne Schaechter Collection, Zionist Archives and Library and the Wyman Institute Collection, and the library at the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.


Story, Song, Food, And Film: A Thousand Years of Jewish Culture

This First-Year Seminar will introduce you to the thousand-year history and culture of Ashkenazi Jews through their vernacular, Yiddish. In addition to studying a wide range of texts—including fiction, poetry, memoir, song, and film—you’ll learn how to read the Yiddish alphabet and explore food culture by preparing Ashkenazi Jewish dishes.

Survey Jewish History as Reelected in Responsa Literature: How Immutable Judaism Wrestles With Change

How does a religious system, which defines its ancient laws as God-given and unchangeable, apply them to radically different and changing social, political and intellectual situations? This course explores the literature of “Questions and Answers”(She’elot u-Teshuvot), the Jewish legal responsa which have struggled to match Jewish religious law to modern life for fifteen centuries. It’s a sweeping survey of Jewish history as revealed by one of its most impenetrable yet fascinating sources.

Arab-Israeli Conflict (IR)

This course focuses on the origin and development of the Arab-Israeli conflict from its beginnings when Palestine was controlled by the Ottoman Empire through the Road Map of 2003 and the periodic peace talks between Israel and Syria. We’ll analyze conflict against the background of great power intervention in the Middle East, the rise of political Islam and the dynamics of Intra-Arab politics, and will consider the impact of the Arab Spring.

Join the Club

Hopkins students are eager to pursue their interests outside the classroom. With 450+ student-led organizations, here are just a few you could join: