Judaic Studies Program

The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences offers an interdisciplinary program in Judaic Studies leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The program, whose purview extends from the ancient Near East to modern-day America, showcases and interprets the artistic expression, history, languages, literatures, philosophy, politics, and religion of the Jews over time and place.

The advantages of electing to major or minor in Judaic Studies are many. Our interdisciplinary nature allows students to take courses with award-winning faculty from various departments, while our traditionally small size facilitates close interaction between students and professors and fosters a sense of community and belonging. In the past, Judaic Studies’ graduates have gone on to careers as doctors, lawyers, journalists of both traditional and emergent media as well as professors and business professionals. Outside the classroom, the Judaic Studies program regularly sponsors trips to the theatre and museums in addition to hosting lectures and performances by celebrated personalities in a wide range of fields. GW is also the home of the I. Edward Kiev Collection, a wide-ranging and diverse collection of Hebraica and Judaica that spans more than five centuries and includes rare books, periodicals, Jewish graphic art, manuscripts, and archival documents.

The Program in Judaic Studies also offers two new Masters of Arts degrees, one in Jewish Cultural Arts and the other, a cooperative venture with the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, in Experiential Education and Jewish Cultural Arts. Both programs are designed to train the next generation of Jewish culture and arts professionals.     

The images on this website are drawn from GW's I. Edward Kiev Judaica Collection.

Jewish Humor and the Holocaust

last laugh

Past 2018-2019 Events

Interested in previous events hosted this year? See below!

Are American Jews Abandoning Israel?

Dov Waxman lecture flyer

On Thursday, November 1, we will have the honor of hosting Prof. Dov Waxman, Stotsky Professor of Jewish Historical and Cultural Studies atNortheastern University, an author of Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016), who will deliver the 2nd Max Ticktin Lecture. His talk is entitled: "Are American Jews Abandoning Israel?"


Please consider joining us! No need to RSVP

When: Thursday, November 1, 2018, 5:00pm - 7:00pm

Where: Elliott School of International Affairs, ESIA 212


Jews, Zionism, and Human Rights:

The year 2018 marks the seventieth anniversary of two momentous events in twentieth-century history: the birth of the State of Israel and the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Both remain tied together in the ongoing debates about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, global antisemitism, and American foreign policy. Yet the surprising connections between Zionism and the origins of international human rights are completely unknown today. Drawing on his recent book, Professor Loeffler will discuss what the human rights movement’s forgotten Jewish past reveals about the current debates about law, justice, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

James Loeffler is Jay Berkowitz Professor of Jewish History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century (2018) and The Most Musical Nation. Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire (2010), and editor of The Law of Strangers: Jewish Lawyers and International Legal Thought in Historical Perspective (forthcoming). His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Haaretz, Tablet, and Slate.

To partake in the conversation, please join on on Tuesday, October 16th in the Media Public Affairs Building (805 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20052) in room 310. The conversation will begin at 7:00 pm and end at approximately 9:00. 


Jews Zionism and Human Rights

Meet the Director

Daniel Schwartz, the director of the Program in Judaic Studies, teaches and writes about modern Jewish intellectual and cultural history. His latest book, The First Modern Jew: Spinoza and the History of an Image, appeared in 2012. It was a co-winner of the American Academy for Jewish Research’s Salo W. Baron Prize for the best first book in Judaic studies and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in History.

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