The Jewish Studies Minor

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.

Jewish Studies minors graduating in May!

Two accomplished students are graduating this May with minors in Jewish Studies: Sydney Brenner and Allison Salzman. Congratulations, Sydney and Allison, on all the hard work you have put into your studies at Ithaca College, and good luck with all your endeavors!

Postponed to Fall 2018 - Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli
Ted Merwin, eating an overstuffed deli sandwich

Dr. Ted Merwin was scheduled to speak on March 21, but was unable to come because of a snowstorm. We will bring him to IC in the fall. He will speak on the rise, fall, and rise again of the American Jewish deli. For more information, see Ted Merwin.

Coordinator of the Jewish Studies Program

Rebecca Lesses
Jewish Studies
413 Muller Center
(607) 274-3556
Email: rlesses@ithaca.edu

Like us on Facebook

Our Facebook page is: Jewish Studies at Ithaca College.

Call for applications for Faculty/Staff grants

The Jewish studies program invites applications from faculty and staff for funding in support of your teaching and research in any area related to Jewish history or culture, in any academic discipline. We especially encourage studies and projects which do any of the following: cross disciplinary boundaries; illuminate Jewish cultural diversity; or investigate historical and contemporary encounters and relationships between Jews and other cultural groups. For further information and an application, visit Faculty Grants.