Grounded in the study of modern Hebrew language and classical texts, this interdisciplinary major encourages students to engage Judaism as a living, vibrant civilization with courses in history, religion, literature, anthropology, sociology and American studies. Students explore varieties of Jewish experience in both Western and non-Western societies.
Judaic studies is an interdisciplinary major designed to foster broad comprehension of the history and development of Jewish civilization from its Ancient Near Eastern origins through present times. Course work drawn from a variety of academic departments allows students to appreciate the diversity of Jewish life and culture as it has evolved in both Western and non-Western societies, from antiquity to the present.
Judaism is a tradition with a rich and varied history that spans more than 3,000 years. To explore Judaic studies is to open a window onto a world that has influenced our own world in many important ways: Judaism's pivotal role in the development of major world religions (Christianity and Islam) and its importance for understanding the politics of the modern Middle East are among a number of important examples.
Students have the opportunity to augment their academic experience through internships with Jewish social and communal organizations in Harrisburg.
Students find ample opportunity to supplement coursework with research and special projects undertaken in close cooperation with professors. Projects have included the study of ancient Egyptian art, architecture and astronomy; advanced Hebrew training (biblical and modern); ancient Semitic civilizations and mythology; and advanced text study.
Campus and Regional Resources
Dickinson Hillel: Judaic studies frequently sponsors and supports educational programs in conjunction with the campus chapter of Hillel. Recent programs include a Tu b'shevat study session on Judaism and the environment and formal lectures by noted authors Martin Gilbert and Rodger Kamenetz.
Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life, 262 West High Street. The center was dedicated in April 2003.
Jewish Community Center, Harrisburg, hosts family programs: a home for the aged, educational programs and recreational facilities. United Jewish Community, Harrisburg; Congregation Beth Tikvah, Carlisle. The local congregation holds its services on campus with students and holds other joint activities such as annual Passover Seders and the building of a community Sukkah. Synagogues representing traditions ranging from Reconstructionism to Hasidism can be found within a half hour's drive from campus.
Graduate School Placement
In addition to attending graduate schools in Near Eastern and Judaic studies, students have also been accepted at rabbinical seminaries and Christian divinity schools. Others have completed training in law, banking and a variety of other fields.