Jewish Studies

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program


The Jewish Studies minor is open to all UC Berkeley students and is designed to give students an overview of some of the major themes in Jewish Studies.   Students may choose offerings from a large number of disciplines including arts and humanities, social sciences, and law. After completing an introductory survey course, participants in the minor may take classes, seminars, and language courses (Hebrew in the Near Eastern Studies Department, and Yiddish in the German Department), engage in hands-on experiential learning through the Magnes Collection for Jewish Art and Life, and take relevant courses offered in various departments including Jewish Studies, Comparative Literature, History, Music, Near Eastern Studies, Political Science, and Sociology. The program allows students to work closely with members of the faculty, to be mentored by graduate students, and to participate in the intellectual life of the broader Jewish Studies community on campus. Application instructions for the minor.

Declaring the Minor

For information on declaring the minor, please contact the Center for Jewish Studies here

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Minor Requirements

Students who have a strong interest in an area of study outside their major often decide to complete a minor program. These programs have set requirements and are noted officially on the transcript in the memoranda section, as well as on diplomas.

General Guidelines

  1. All minors must be declared no later than one semester before a student's Expected Graduation Term (EGT). If the semester before EGT is fall or spring, the deadline is the last day of RRR week. If the semester before EGT is summer, the deadline is the final Friday of Summer Sessions. To declare a minor, contact the department advisor for information on requirements, and the declaration process.
  2. Five relevant upper division courses (including JEWISH 100 core course), minimum 3 units each, are required to complete the undergraduate minor.
  3. All courses taken to fulfill minor requirements below must be taken for graded credit.
  4. A minimum of three of the upper division courses taken to fulfill the minor requirements must be completed at UC Berkeley.
  5. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 is required for courses used to fulfill the minor requirements.
  6. Courses used to fulfill the minor requirements may be applied toward the Seven-Course Breadth requirement, for Letters & Science students.
  7. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs.
  8. All minor requirements must be completed within the unit ceiling. (For further information regarding the unit ceiling, please see the College Requirements tab.)

The study of Modern Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew, or Yiddish is encouraged and is essential for some but not all of the courses. However, there is no language requirement for the Jewish Studies minor and only advanced language courses are applicable to the minor.


JEWISH 100Introduction to Jewish Religion, Culture, and People4
Select four upper division elective courses (consult academic adviser)

To Declare Jewish Studies Minor

Students must meet with the JS minor adviser to declare the minor. Bring your complete application to the meeting. This includes:

  • A completed Jewish Studies Minor Application Form.
  • A current copy of your UCB transcript printed from your student portal with your name printed on the document. Please highlight all courses that apply to the minor, including courses in progress and transferable credits from other institutions (community colleges, study abroad). Also, indicate which course (if any) will overlap between the JS minor and your major.
  • Copies of transcripts from colleges other than UC Berkeley if course work is to be counted towards the minor. Transcripts may be unofficial. We do not have access to transcripts in the Registrar's Office. Students must request copies themselves and submit them with their applications. Please highlight all courses to be applied to the minor.
  • Minors are added as plans in Campus Solutions, and must be declared in advance of verification of completion; therefore, all undergraduate minors must be declared no later than one semester prior to a student’s Estimated Graduation Term (EGT). The deadline is the last day of RRR week. 

Once admitted, minors are required to contact the JS minor adviser at least once each semester to get approval for any changes to their program.

To Complete Jewish Studies Minor

Fill out the following two forms: "Completion of L&S Minor" and "Major-Minor Overlap Check form" and submit both forms to JS Minor adviser before the final semester prior to anticipated graduation term. Forms can be found here: The College of Letters & Science will be notified of minor completion approximately four weeks after the final minor course has been completed for inclusion in student's diploma.


Jewish Studies

Faculty and Instructors


Lila Balint, Assistant Professor. Contemporary German literature and media, theories of the Contemporary, aesthetics and politics, transnationalism and translation, digital writing, European Jewish literatures, literary and cultural theory, theories of the novel.
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Kenneth A. Bamberger, Professor. Technology, government regulations, corporate compliance.
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Karen Barkey, Professor. Comparative historical sociology, religion and politics, the politics of shared sacred sites .
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Isaac Bleaman, Assistant Professor. Sociolinguistics, language variation and change, sociophonetics, sociosyntax, corpus methods, language contact, multilingualism, language planning, language and ethnicity, Yiddish, Jewish language varieties.
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Isaac L. Bleaman, Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics.
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Robert Braun, Assistant Professor. Altruism and social solidarity, comparative historical sociology, peace, war, and social conflict, political sociology, sociology of religion, social movements and collective behavior .
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Benjamin Brinner, Professor. Indonesia, Java, Bali, Israel, musical memory, situated musical cognition, musical interaction, improvisation, gamelan, music and oral narrative.
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John M. Efron, Professor. Cultural and social history of German Jewry.
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Ronald Hendel, Professor. Textual criticism, Hebrew bible, ancient Near Eastern religion and mythology, Northwest Semitic linguistics.
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Ethan Katz, Associate Professor. Jewish history, modern France, empire, Jewish-Muslim relations, secularism.
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Chana Kronfeld, Professor. Comparative literature, modernism, Hebrew, Yiddish, modern poetry, minor literatures, politics of literary history, feminist stylistics, intertextuality, translation studies.
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Francesco Spagnolo, Adjunct Associate Professor.

Ronit Stahl, Assistant Professor, Department of History. Faculty affiliate of the religious diversity cluster of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.
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Rutie Adler, Lecturer.

Yael Chaver, Lecturer.

Sarah Levin, Lecturer.
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Visiting Faculty

Tomer Persico, Visiting Assistant Professor.

Stephanie Rotem, 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.
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Joan Bieder, Senior Lecturer SOE Emeritus. History of Jewish communities in South East Asia.
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George Breslauer, Faculty Director of the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life.
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Claude S. Fischer, Professor Emeritus. Social networks, American social history, technology, urban sociology, sociology.
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Ann Swidler, Professor Emeritus. Religion, culture, Africa, AIDS, political sociology, theory, development, NGOs.
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Contact Information

Center for Jewish Studies

4401 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-664-4154

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Faculty Director, Center for Jewish Studies

John Efron, PhD (Department of History)

4401 Dwinelle Hall

Executive Director

Etta Heber

4401 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-664-4154

Program Coordinator

Kimmie Szeto

4401 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-664-4138

Undergraduate Advisor, Minor in Jewish Studies (Department of History)

Ethan Katz, PhD

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