Jewish Studies

University of California, Berkeley


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)

Above photo courtesy of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

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Jewish Studies

Faculty and Instructors


Kenneth A. Bamberger, Professor.

Karen Barkey, 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

Ethan Katz, Associate Professor.

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

Francesco Spagnolo, Adjunct Associate Professor.


Rutie Adler, Lecturer.

Yael Chaver, Lecturer.

Visiting Faculty

Tomer Persico, 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

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

Contact Information

Center for Jewish Studies

4401 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-664-4154

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Faculty Director, Center for Jewish Studies

Benjamin Brinner, PhD (Department of Music)

4401 Dwinelle Hall

Graduate Advisor, DE in Jewish Studies

John Efron, PhD (Department of History)

Executive Director

Etta Heber

4401 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-664-4154

Program Coordinator

Shawna Vesco

4401 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-664-4138

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