Table of Contents

Jewish Studies

Download PDF

College of Humanities

Program Committee

  • Jeffrey Auerbach (History)
  • Dorothy G. Clark (English)
  • Terry Hatkoff (Sociology)
  • Jody Myers
  • Coordinator (Religious Studies)
  • Cheryl Spector (English)

Programs

Undergraduate:

  • B.A., Modern Jewish Studies
  • Minor in Jewish Studies

The Major

The Bachelor of Arts in Modern Jewish Studies provides an interdisciplinary examination of Jews and Judaism in terms of the interactions of culture, history, and religion in the last 300 years. The courses in the Major explore the modern Jewish experience in multiple geographical settings and include language study.

The Minor

The Minor in Jewish Studies offers courses in the culture and history of the Jewish people. The approach is interdisciplinary and examines Jewish literature, art, religious thought, history, and social attitudes and behavior. Many courses in the program satisfy General Education requirements or may be used as electives in several majors.

Scholarships and Awards

The Jewish Studies Major and Minor Awards, Northridge Achievement Awards, and the Jewish Studies Essay Contest Prize.

Careers

The Jewish Studies Major and Minor are particularly suitable for those preparing to enter the fields of education, administration, psychology, and counseling. Completion of the Minor and Major will be advantageous for acceptance to graduate schools offering advanced academic training (Ph.D. programs in Jewish Studies and allied areas), as well as for acceptance to graduate programs offering professional degrees that are necessary for advanced positions in Jewish education, social-welfare agencies, and administration. Completion of the Major and Minor will offer a hiring advantage for positions in the Jewish community in the area of teaching, administration, and social-welfare agencies.

Academic Advisement

Advisement is available from the Jewish Studies Coordinator or from members of the Program Committee.

Student Learning Outcomes of the Undergraduate Program

Students majoring in Modern Jewish Studies will have an appreciation and understanding of the major events and cultural features of Jewish life in different international settings from 1600 to the present. Students will be able to:

  • 1. define and analyze significant Jewish religious beliefs, ethics, religious practices, philosophies, and cultural expressions;
  • 2. demonstrate an ability to speak, comprehend, and write Modern Hebrew at an elementary level;
  • 3. identify the major events of modern Jewish history and articulate the internal (within the Jewish community) and external (outside of the Jewish community) forces that lead up to and shaped these events;
  • 4. describe the principal social contours of modern Jewish communities and families, and give examples of the complex and multifaceted forms of modern Jewish identity.

Student Learning Outcomes for the Minor:

Students minoring in Jewish Studies will be able to identify major themes, characters, literary works, and events of Jewish life in different international settings and in different historical periods. A Jewish Studies Minor will be able to articulate the significant interactions between Jewish culture and the surrounding cultures over time, as well as the changes within the Jewish community, and describe Jewish cultural developments as a function of a dynamic created by political, economic, and cultural forces.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree

A course may be used only once within the Major.

1. Required Courses

Introductory Course (3 units)
  • JS 200 Introduction to Judaism (3)

This course will count towards 3 units of the General Education requirement in Arts and Humanities.

Language Area (4 units)
  • HEBR 102 Elementary Hebrew II (4)
Culture and Society Area (9 units)
  • JS/GWS 330 Women in the Jewish Experience (3)
  • SOC 306 Jewish Communal and Family Structure (3)
  • SOC 335 Jewish Identity in America (3)
  • RS 476 Modern Jewish Thought (3)
History Area (9 units)
  • HIST/JS 210 History of the Jewish People (3)
  • HIST 356 Antisemitism in Europe (3)
  • HIST 357 History of the Holocaust (3)
  • HIST 406 Jews in the Ancient World (3)
  • HIST/JS 409 Jews in the Modern Era (3)
  • RS 378 American Jewish Experience (3)
Religion and Thought Area (9 units)
  • RS 377 The Holocaust: Religious Responses (3)
  • RS 379 Zionism: Religious and Secular (3)
  • RS 320 Hebrew Bible (3)
  • or RS 375 Classical Judaic Texts (3)
  • RS 476 Modern Jewish Thought (3)
  • RS 356 Contemporary Religious Thought (Jewish Studies section) (3)
Capstone Course (3 units)
  • JS 499C Independent Study (3)

2. Electives (6 units)

Students may take courses on another campus only if they are not offered on the home campus.

  • JS/GWS 330 Women in the Jewish Experience (3)
  • JS 300 Humanities in Jewish Society: Ancient and Medieval (3)
  • JS 390CS Service Learning in the Jewish Community (3)
  • JS 499C Independent Study (3)
  • ENGL 371 Issues in Jewish American Writing (3)
  • HEBR 101 Elementary Hebrew I (4)
  • RS 310 Religion and Literature (Jewish Studies section) (3)
  • RS 320 Hebrew Bible (3)
  • RS 375 Classical Judaic Texts (3)
  • SOC 335 Jewish Identity in the U.S. (3)
  • Total Units Required for the Degree
  • 120

Minor in Jewish Studies

1. Required courses

Judaism (3 Units)
  • JS 200 Introduction to Judaism (3)
Ancient and Medieval Era (3 Units)
  • JS 300 Humanities in Jewish Society: Ancient and Medieval (3)
Modern Era (3 Units)
  • RS 476 Modern Jewish Thought (3)
American Jewish Life (3 Units)
Choose one of the following courses
  • ENGL 371 Issues in Jewish-American Writing (3)
  • SOC 335 Jewish Identity in the United States (3)
  • RS 378 American Jewish Experience (3)

2. Lower Division Elective (3 Units)

Choose one of the following courses:
  • HEBR 102 Elementary Hebrew II and Lab (4)
  • HIST/JS 210 History of the Jewish People (3)
  • RS 101 The Bible (3)

HEBR 101 is prerequisite to HEBR 102, but students with a background in Hebrew may be admitted to HEBR 102 with instructor consent.

3. Upper Division Electives (6 Units)

Choose two of the following courses:
  • HIST 356 Antisemitism in Europe (3)
  • HIST 406 Jews in the Ancient World (3)
  • JS/GWS 330 Women in the Jewish Experience (3)
  • JS 390CS Service Learning in the Jewish Community (3)
  • RS 310 Religion and Literature (Jewish Studies section) (3)
  • RS 320 The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) (3)
  • RS 375 Classical Judaic Texts (3)
  • RS 377 The Holocaust: Religious Responses (3)
  • RS 379 Zionism: Religious and Secular (3)
  • SOC 306 Jewish Family and Social Structure (3)

Independent study or another course with prior approval of Coordinator.

  • Total Units in the Minor
  • 21-22

Course List

JS 151. Natural Environment in Judaism (1)
An examination of teachings on the natural environment found in Jewish literature and oral teachings, with an emphasis on values and practices related to respect for natural life and environmental conservation. Students who take this course must also take the specific section of RTM 151F (Survival) linked to it. Arranged wilderness field trips are required.
JS 200. Introduction to Judaism (3)
Preparatory: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Study of the elements of religion—especially myth, ritual, concepts of the sacred and profane, types of religious authority—and how these are expressed within Judaism. Judaism’s concepts and practices are examined historically, with a focus on their interaction with other religions and with the secular, pluralistic culture of the modern world. Regular written assignments are required. (Available for General Education, Arts and Humanities)
JS 210. History of the Jewish People (3)
Study of the Jewish people from their beginning in the ancient Near East to the establishment of the modern state of Israel. (Crosslisted with HIST 210) (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies)
JS 300. Humanities in Jewish Society: Ancient and Medieval (3)
Preparatory: Completion of lower division writing requirement. Study of ancient and medieval Jewish culture examining literature, art and architecture, law, music, philosophy and science. Their distinctive genres, styles, methods of inquiry, and creative processes are examined, as are the links between these areas of Jewish culture, and their contribution to and dependence on similar expressions in non-Jewish cultures. Regular written assignments are required. (Available for General Education, Arts and Humanities) (IC)
JS 330. Women in the Jewish Experience (3)
Preparatory: Completion of lower division writing requirement. Examines a minority culture: women in Jewish communities from antiquity to the present. Course perspective is international, with significant focus on Mediterranean, West Asian and African Jewish societies. Contemporary topics such as sexuality, creative ritual, Israeli/Palestinian politics, and body image is also discussed. (Crosslisted with GWS 330) (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies)
JS 390CS. Service Learning in the Jewish Community (3)
Prerequisite: Instructor consent. Preparatory: Completion of lower division writing requirement. Work experience in Jewish schools, synagogues, social welfare or political organizations. Faculty supervisor assists students in obtaining appropriate work placements. Work experience is complemented by academic study and written assignments offers a community service opportunity with service learning activities relating to concepts and theories presented. (Available for General Education, Lifelong Learning)
JS 409. History of the Jews in the Modern Era (3)
A history of the Jewish people from the 17th century until the present. Principal themes include the transformation of the traditional community, the changes in Jews’ political status, the emergence of modern antisemitism, and ethnic and gender distinctions within Jewry. (Crosslisted with HIST 409)
JS 486J. History of the Jews in the United States (3)
Explores the social, cultural, economic and political history of Jewish people in the United States from the colonial era to the present, and the relevance of this history to American culture today. Available for graduate credit. (Crosslisted with HIST 486J)
JS 495A-Z. Selected Topics in Jewish Studies (3)
In-depth study of a selected theme or issue in Jewish Studies. Topics will change from semester. Critical writing and reading is required. This course may serve as the capstone experience for the B.A. in Modern Jewish Studies. Available for graduate credit.
JS 496A-Z. Experimental Topics Courses in Jewish Studies (3)
Experimental courses may be found in the schedule of classes.
JS 499A-C. Independent Study (1-3)
Graduate
JS 546. The Holocaust and Genocide for Educators (3)
An overview of the Holocaust and the concept of genocide, with a focus on the analysis and evaluation of varied resources for educators, including film, photographs, literature, art, music, documents, and other primary source materials. (Crosslisted with HIST 546)
JS 699A-C. Independent Study (1- 3)
Investigation of a significant problem in Jewish Studies. Project selected in conference with faculty sponsor and with approval of the Program Coordinator.