Jewish studies is an inherently multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field. At Ithaca College, a minor in Jewish studies focuses on Jewish communities worldwide, not just those in the United States and Israel. We strive to teach students about Jewish cultural diversity, approaching the history and culture of the Jewish people from a variety of perspectives, with attention to different theoretical frameworks and with reference to other cultural groups and sociopolitical systems among which Jews have lived.
The study of Jewish cultures includes analysis of religious beliefs and practices, philosophy, literature, folklore, visual arts, music, and the media. A comparative approach, which emphasizes the interaction and comparison of Jews with other peoples who have lived as minorities in diverse cultural contexts, can shed light on larger issues of ethnicity, race, gender, social inequality, and multiple constructions of cultural identity.
In addition to those interested in the Jewish community, a minor in Jewish studies is useful for students majoring in philosophy and religion, anthropology, sociology, or culture and communications; it can give students a broader base of knowledge for comparisons among cultures, a better understanding of one of the world's major religions, and a solid basis in the fields of history, literature, politics, and religion.
Beyond the Classroom
The Jewish studies program offers interesting and engaging public events, from lectures and art exhibitions to film screenings and concerts. These events complement the program’s cultural and intellectual focus.
Student grants specific to the Jewish studies program are available each semester providing students with the opportunity to travel and conduct their own research related to the subject matter. Students can also intern at institutions such as local synagogue schools and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
After graduation, some of our graduates will go on to earn advanced degrees while others begin their professional careers. Our graduates have worked in the banking industry in New York City, at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., and in the Office of Jewish Student Life at the University of North Carolina.
Faculty and Steering Committee
Led by a faculty coordinator and steering committee, the Jewish studies program at Ithaca College boasts a team of faculty from several different departments, including politics, anthropology, English, art history, music, religious studies, history, and modern languages.