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Undergraduate Bulletin 2007-2008
Bulletin Homepage |College of Arts & Sciences | Bulletin Information

Department of Judaic Studies


Professor Emeritae/i

Judith R. Baskin. Ph.D.
Yale University

Jerome Eckstein, Ph.D.
Columbia University


Stanley J. Isser, Ph.D.
Columbia University

Associate Professors Emeritae/i

Daniel Grossberg, Ph.D.
New York University

Associate Professors

Joel Berkowitz, Ph.D.
City University of New York Graduate Center

Olga Litvak, Ph.D.
Columbia University

Assistant Professors

Barry Trachtenberg, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles


Rachel S. Harris,
Department of Judaic Studies

Affiliated Faculty

Donald Birn, Ph.D.
Department of History

Robert J. Gluck, M.H.L., M.S.W., M.F.A.
Department of Music

Martha Rozett, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow)
Department of English

Edward L. Schwarzschild, Ph.D.
Department of English

Sharona R. Wachs, M.A., M.L.S.
University Libraries

Dan S. White, Ph.D.
Harvard University

The Department of Judaic Studies offers courses in Hebrew language and literature, Yiddish literature, and Jewish history and civilization.

The department offers both a major and a minor in Judaic Studies, with the expectation that majors will acquire a good command of the Hebrew language and an extensive knowledge of Jewish history, philosophy, literature, and culture.



Many recipients of the B.A. in Judaic Studies pursue careers in social welfare, Jewish communal administration, or education, often after appropriate graduate training. Others undertake Rabbinic or Cantorial studies or enter Ph.D. programs leading to careers in college teaching.

Many students find Judaic Studies to be a broad-based liberal arts major, leading to a variety of careers, including law, medicine, journalism, library science, and business.


Special Programs or Opportunities

The State University system has arrangements with the University of Haifa, the Hebrew University, Ben-Gurion University, Tel Aviv University, and Bar-Ilan University for students who desire to spend a semester or an academic year studying in Israel; credits toward the major or minor in Judaic Studies, or minor in Hebrew will be awarded for suitable courses. This program is administered from the Albany campus and is available for majors and nonmajors.

Degree Requirements for the Major in Judaic Studies

General Program B.A.: 36 credits with at least 12 credits at the 300 level or above, to include:

Hebrew Language and Literature: a minimum of 6 credits inHebrew beyond A Heb 102, pluseither 3 credts at he 300 level or above from courses with an A Heb rubic (excluding a Heb 450 nd 497) or one of the following: A Jst 372, 372Z, 373, 373Z, 374, 374Z.

Judaic Life and Thought: a minimum of 18 credits from the following categories:

Judaic Studies Survey: 3 credits (1 course)
A Jst 150 Jewish Civilization
A Jst 155 Traditions and Practices

Foundations, Ancient and Medieval: 6 credits (2 courses) representing two of the three areas: Biblical, Hellenistic and Rabbinic, Medieval


A Jst 240 Archaeology, Biblical
A Jst 242 Bible as Literature
A Jst 251 Biblical History
A Jst 281 Prophets
A Jst 285 Hero and Antihero in Jewish and Christian Scripture
A Heb 390 Biblical Readings

Hellenistic and Rabbinic

A Jst 241 Archaeology, Greece-Rome
A Jst 252 Hellenistic History
A Jst 285 Hero and Antihero in Jewish and Christian Scripture
A Jst 325 Rabbinic Literature


A Jst 253 Medieval History
A Jst 285 Hero and Antihero in Jewish and Christian Scripture
A Jst 325 Rabbinic Literature

Modern Jewish Experience: 6 credits (2 courses) representing two of the three areas: America, Israel, and Europe:

-The Americas
A Jst 165 Jews & Conversos in Latin America
A Jst 221 American Jewish Experience
A Jst 225 American Cinema and the Jews
A Jst 254 Modern Jewish History

A Jst 244 Zionism, Palestine, and Israel in Historical Perspective
A Jst 245, Imagining the Jewish Nation: Jews in the Modern World
A Jst 272 Modern Hebrew Lit in Translation
A Jst 373 Arab in Israeli Literature
A Heb 308 Readings in Hebrew Literature
A Heb 309 20th Century Hebrew Literature
A Heb 310 Contemporary Narrative
A Jst 359 Israeli Politics

A Jst 244 Zionism, Palestine, and Israel in Historical Perspective
A Jst 245, Imagining the Jewish Nation: Jews in the Modern World
A Jst 250 Holocaust in History
A Jst 254 Modern Jewish History
A Jst 265 Modern Yiddish Culture
A Jst 357 West Europe Jewry
A Jst 358 East Europe Jewry

Themes and Issues: 3 credits (1 course)
A Jst 215 Music of the Jewish People
A Jst 245 Imagining the Jewish Nation
A Jst 248 Women in Jewish History and Literature
A Jst 256 World Jewry since Holocaust
A Jst 265, Modern Yiddish Culture
A Jst 275 Antisemitism in Historical Perspective
A Jst 286 Jerusalem: City and Idea
A Jst 291 Messiah and Messianism in Judaism and Christianity
A Jst 331 Modern Jewish Thought
A Jst 360 Autobiographies
A Jst 367 Jewish Literary Imagination
A Jst 374 Love and Sex in Hebrew Literature

Electives: 9 credits from any category.

No more than a total of 4 credits from among A Heb 450, A Jst 450, and A Jst 490 may be applied toward the major.

Credit from Independent Study courses (A Heb 497, A Jst 497), the Honors Colloquium (A Jst 495) and Topics courses (A Jst 299, 499) may be applied to categories appropriate to their subject matter as determined by the Judaic Studies chair or major adviser. Relevant courses offered by other departments or transferred from other institutions may also be approved for credit toward the major by the chair or the Judaic Studies major adviser.


Honors Program

Students may file an application for admission to the honors program in the department office in the second semester of the sophomore year or in the junior year. Junior transfers may apply at the time of their admission to the University.

The minimum requirements for admission include completion of at least 12 credits of course work applicable to the major, a minimum overall grade point average of 3.25, and a minimum 3.50 grade point average for all courses applicable toward the major.

Students in the program are required to complete all of the requirements for the major in Judaic studies. During the fall semester (preferably in the senior year,) students need to complete A Jst 495, Colloquium in Judaic Studies. In addition, 612 credits of intensive work culminating in a major project must be satisfactorily completed. This project will begin as a research paper in a 300- or 400-level course, including the colloquium, and will be completed through 3 or 4 credits of independent study. The honors committee will rule on the acceptability of the project at the end of the initial course (for which a grade of I is unacceptable) and will assign a faculty member, usually one selected by the student, to supervise the completion of the project. The project will be formally evaluated by the end of the third quarter of the senior year and will be submitted in final form by the end of the fourth quarter before the examination period.

Students in the honors program are required to maintain overall grade point averages of 3.25 or higher during the junior and senior years and overall grade point averages of 3.50 or higher for all courses applicable toward the major. Students not meeting the above standards may be precluded from continuing in the program.

After completion of the above requirements, the records of the candidate will be reviewed by the department, which will recommend candidates for the degree with honors in Judaic studies.