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.