Jewish Studies

University of California, Berkeley

Overview

UC Berkeley has long been a national leader in Jewish Studies, especially notable for the innovative scholarship promoted in its graduate program. The Center for Jewish Studies provides a strong new focus and a vivid presence for the many varied activities associated with Jewish Studies on the Berkeley campus. It oversees the Designated Emphasis in Jewish Studies for graduate students and the undergraduate Minor in Jewish Studies. Additionally, the center is home to UC Berkeley's two annual endowed-lecture series; sponsors conferences and public lectures; offers a congenial setting for graduate student colloquia; and serves as an attractive meeting place for the many visiting scholars in the field who come to UC Berkeley each year.

Campus Partners

The Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society is an interdisciplinary initiative to expand Jewish and Israel Studies offerings at UC Berkeley coordinated by faculty in Political Science, Sociology, Economics, Comparative Literature, History, and Music, as well in the Law, Journalism, and Business Schools.

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Life and Art was established in 2010 at the Bancroft Library after the transfer of the Judah L. Magnes Museum to UC Berkeley. The Magnes is one of the world's preeminent Jewish collections in a university setting. It offers highly innovative and accessible resources to researchers on campus, enables hands-on learning for students interested in Jewish Studies students, offers a venue for important programming, and provides fellowships for students working on Jewish culture.

The UC Berkeley Judaica collection supports the research of students involved in the graduate Jewish Studies Designated Emphasis and the undergraduate minor, and the instructional activities of faculty and students in a number of interdisciplinary fields. These fields include Near Eastern languages and literature; Talmudic studies, including the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds and subsequent texts and commentaries; rabbinic, medieval, and modern Jewish history throughout the world; modern Jewish thought; and comparative literature, including works in Hebrew, Yiddish, English, and other languages.

Undergraduate Program

Jewish Studies: Minor

Graduate Program

Jewish Studies: Designated Emphasis (DE)

The University no longer accepts students to a doctoral Joint Degree Program (with the Graduate Theological Union) in Jewish Studies. Students currently in the program are continuing to work with faculty from both institutions in order to complete their degrees.

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Courses

Jewish Studies

JEWISH 39 Freshman and Sophomore Seminar 2 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017
Freshman and sophomore seminars offer lower division students the opportunity to explore an intellectual topic with a faculty member and a group of peers in a small-seminar setting. These seminars are offered in all campus departments; topics vary from department to department and from semester to semester.

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JEWISH 39O Freshman and Sophomore Seminar 1.5 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016
Freshman and sophomore seminars offer lower division students the opportunity to explore an intellectual topic with a faculty member and a group of peers in a small-seminar setting. These seminars are offered in all campus departments; topics vary from department to department and from semester to semester.

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JEWISH 39P Freshman and Sophomore Seminar 1.5 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017
Freshman and sophomore seminars offer lower division students the opportunity to explore an intellectual topic with a faculty member and a group of peers in a small-seminar setting. These seminars are offered in all campus departments; topics vary from department to department and from semester to semester.

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JEWISH 39Q Freshman and Sophomore Seminar 1.5 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017
Freshman and sophomore seminars offer lower division students the opportunity to explore an intellectual topic with a faculty member and a group of peers in a small-seminar setting. These seminars are offered in all campus departments; topics vary from department to department and from semester to semester.

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JEWISH 98 Directed Group Study 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2014, Fall 2012
Organized group study on topics selected by upper division students under the sponsorship and direction of the Jewish Studies faculty.

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JEWISH 101 The Cultural Legacies of the Jews 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2016, Spring 2015
The course is intended to give Jewish studies minors a general introduction to the field through a survey of eight major phases of Jewish cultural experiences. Considered in chronological order and embracing several different relevant disciplines (history, literature, language, popular culture) covering major themes, phases, or periods, the course offers subject matter from the Bible to the modern period. Each of the lecturers will have selected
one or two articles or chapters from books relevant to his/her subject for students to read.
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JEWISH 120 Special Topics in Jewish Studies 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Course will focus on specific areas or topics in Jewish studies through a combination of lectures, term papers, and examinations. Instructors and topics to vary from semester to semester. Consult Jewish Studies website for updated course descriptions.

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JEWISH 121 Topics in Jewish Music 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017
This course will address topics related to Jewish music, with a format that includes lecture and lab hours.

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JEWISH 122 Topics in Contemporary Judaism 3 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2017 First 6 Week Session
A course on current trends in Jewish religious, cultural, and social life. The course will study innovative and conservative aspects of thought, ritual, and belief in relation to contemporary life and traditional Jewish values.

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JEWISH 123 Israeli Society: Social Structure, Inequality, and Political Cleavages 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017
This course will map Israel’s social structure, identify its implications for social and economic inequality, and shed light on its role in structuring political loyalty, conflict and action. It will introduce students to relevant concepts and theories from sociology and political science, and findings from comparative research, that aid understanding of the Israeli case and place it in a broader perspective.

Israeli Society: Social Structure, Inequality, and Political Cleavages: Read More [+]

JEWISH 198 Directed Group Study 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
Organized group study on topics selected by upper division students under the sponsorship and direction of the Jewish Studies faculty.

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JEWISH 200 Advanced Topics in Jewish Studies 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Spring 2016, Spring 2015
Graduate seminar will focus on specific areas or topics in Jewish studies through a combination of close reading of texts, student presentation, and informal lectures. Instructors and topics to vary semester to semester. Consult department website for updated course descriptions.

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JEWISH 290 Modern Jewish Scholarship: History and Practice 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2015, Spring 2014
This seminar, specifically designed as the ‘integrative course’ for students pursuing the Designated Emphasis in Jewish Studies, will offer an in-depth introduction to some of the central trends and personalities in modern Jewish historiography. We will read (and read about) the founders of modern Jewish historiography, and then explore some contemporary trends in Jewish scholarship, according to the disciplinary affiliations of the students
in the class.

In addition to weekly assignments, students will write a 7000-word paper suitable for publication in a scholarly journal. Course topic may change when faculty from different disciplines within Jewish Studies teach the course.


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JEWISH 296 Jewish Studies DE Dissertation Research and Writing Credit 1 - 12 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2011, Fall 2010, Spring 2010
The course is offered to graduate students in the Designated Emphasis (DE) in Jewish studies to provide course credit for conducting dissertation research and dissertation writing, only after the student has successfully advanced to candidacy.

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JEWISH 299 Individual Study and Research - Jewish Studies 1 - 5 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2014, Fall 2012, Fall 2011
Topics and instructors will vary depending upon area of study. Special individual study for qualified graduate students only. Individual study and research, including fieldwork, in consultation with instructor on subject matter not covered in scheduled course offerings.

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JEWISH 602 Jewish Studies DE Exam Preparation 1 - 8 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2012, Fall 2011, Spring 2011
The course is offered to graduate students in the Designated Emphasis (DE) in Jewish studies to provide opportunities for directed qualifying exam preparation prior to advancement to candidacy.

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Faculty and Instructors

Faculty

Kenneth A. Bamberger, Professor.

Benjamin Brinner, Professor. Indonesia, Java, Bali, Israel, musical memory, situated musical cognition, musical interaction, improvisation, gamelan, music and oral narrative.
Research Profile

John M. Efron, Professor. Cultural and social history of German Jewry.
Research Profile

Ronald Hendel, Professor. Textual criticism, Hebrew bible, ancient Near Eastern religion and mythology, Northwest Semitic linguistics.
Research Profile

Chana Kronfeld, Professor. Comparative literature, modernism, Hebrew, Yiddish, modern poetry, minor literatures, politics of literary history, feminist stylistics, intertextuality, translation studies.
Research Profile

Jill H. Stoner, Professor. Architecture, architecture as fiction, derivation of spatial words, Jewish ghettos in Italy.
Research Profile

Ann Swidler, Professor. Religion, culture, Africa, AIDS, political sociology, theory, development, NGOs.
Research Profile

Lecturers

Rutie Adler, Lecturer.

Yael Chaver, Lecturer.

Visiting Faculty

Andrea A. Sinn, Visiting Assistant Professor.

Emeritus Faculty

Robert B. Alter, Professor Emeritus. Comparative literature, Near Eastern studies, 19th-century European and American novel, modernism, literary aspects of the bible, modern and biblical Hebrew literature.
Research Profile

Joan Bieder, Senior Lecturer SOE Emeritus. History of Jewish communities in South East Asia.
Research Profile

Claude S. Fischer, Professor Emeritus. Social networks, American social history, technology, urban sociology, sociology.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Center for Jewish Studies

4401 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-664-4154

jewishstudies@berkeley.edu

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Faculty Director, Center for Jewish Studies

Benjamin Brinner, PhD (Department of Music)

4401 Dwinelle Hall

brinner@berkeley.edu

Graduate Group in Jewish Studies Chair

Chana Kronfeld, PhD (Departments of Near Eastern Studies and Comparative Literature)

4401 Dwinelle Hall

kronfeld@berkeley.edu

Graduate Adviser, DE in Jewish Studies

Ronald Hendel, PhD (Department of Near Eastern Studies)

4401 Dwinelle Hall

hendel@berkeley.edu

Executive Director

Etta Heber

4401 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-664-4154

eheber@berkeley.edu

Student Affairs Officer

Erica Roberts

4401 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-664-4138

cjsprograms@berkeley.edu

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