College of Letters & Science
Center for Jewish Studies
Requirements for the Major
Major in Jewish Studies: Track in Modern Hebrew Language, Literature, and Israeli Culture
Honors in the Major
Undergraduate Certificate in Jewish Studies
Major in Jewish Studies: Track in Education
Professors Bernard-Donals, Bernstein, Brenner, Card, Casid, Ermakoff, Gamoran, Goldberg, Guyer, Louden, Nadler, Rosenberg, Rosenmeyer, Swack, Vardi; Associate Professors Dobbs, Michels, Rosenblum, Schweber, Troxel; Assistant Professors Hollander, Hutton, Shelef, Lecturers Blakely, Mirkin, Yuchtman
Director: Michael Bernard-Donals, firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate director: Laurie Silverberg, email@example.com
Undergraduate advisor: Laurie Silverberg, 4223 Mosse Humanities Building, 608-265-4763, firstname.lastname@example.org
Founded in 1991, the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies brings together a variety of disciplines to study and interpret Jewish and ancient Israelite history, religion, literature, politics, society, and culture. The Center offers a broad selection of courses at all levels, which are cross-listed with other departments, including classics, curriculum and instruction, English, gender and women's studies, German, Hebrew and Semitic studies, history, music, philosophy, political science, religious studies, Slavic languages, and sociology.
The Jewish studies major offers students an in-depth study of 3,500 years of Jewish civilization. The program is interdisciplinary in nature and aims to provide students with a broadly based, rigorous liberal arts education in Jewish studies. While learning about Jewish history, religion, language, and culture, students also develop skills in critical thinking, reading, writing, and research—skills that are valuable to a range of career paths. Students with a particular interest in Modern Hebrew and Israel are encouraged to follow a specialized track in Modern Hebrew language, literature, and Israeli culture.
The Jewish studies major requires a minimum of 31 credits and proficiency in the Hebrew language to enable students to deal with Hebrew texts in the classroom and for research purposes. The credits are divided among several clusters that focus on Hebrew texts; literature, philosophy, and the arts; and history and social science. In addition, students must complete a two-course capstone sequence. Together, these courses support the acquisition of an integrated and coherent body of knowledge.
A certificate in Jewish studies is also available. Its aim is to acquaint students with a number of significant aspects of Jewish civilization and to introduce them to tools required for its study; it requires a minimum of 21 credits in seven courses.
The major has an education track that includes coursework in the School of Education. It requires a total of 34 credits—25 in Jewish studies and 9 in education (curriculum & instruction and educational policy studies). This track provides a series of courses that define the role that education has played in Jewish civilization; Jewish ideas concerning the nature and aims of education; and philosophical, curricular, and pedagogical issues relating to education in Jewish studies in a pluralistic, democratic society. This track does not lead to teacher certification.
Prospective majors in Jewish studies should make an appointment with the undergraduate advisor (email@example.com) to discuss requirements and courses.
Language Requirement: The major includes a language requirement of Hebrew proficiency equal to four semesters of Modern Hebrew (101, 102, 201, 202). These first four semesters of Hebrew do not count toward the 31 credits for the major. The Center for Jewish Studies, 4223 Mosse Humanities Building, administers placement examinations.
Note on Directed Study: With prior consent of the undergraduate advisor in Jewish studies and the relevant instructor, students may use one Directed Study course (699) to satisfy a requirement for the major.
Completion of the major requires a minimum of 31 credits in Jewish studies, distributed as follows:
1. Introduction to Judaism (Jewish 211)
2. Hebrew Texts: 2 courses
Two courses in Hebrew texts at the level above 202 in Modern Hebrew (Hebrew 301, 302, 401, 402, 533, 534).
3. Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts: 3 courses
Three courses in Jewish literature, philosophy, and the arts, at least one of which must deal with the Jewish experience in Diaspora written in a language other than Hebrew—e.g., English, French, German, Russian, Yiddish. (Courses taken to satisfy the requirement in Hebrew texts cannot be used to satisfy this requirement.) Courses fulfilling the Diaspora requirement are indicated with an asterisk (*). Depending on the semester, select topics courses may also fulfill the Diaspora requirement.
225 The Jew In Russian Literature (in Translation)*
227 Introduction to Biblical Literature (in English)
228 Survey (in English) of Hebrew Literature: Medieval to Modern Periods
230 Elementary Topics in Jewish Literature
232 Elementary Topics in Philosophy and the Arts
236 Bascom Courses***
237 Biblical Poetry in Translation
269 Yiddish Literature and Culture in Europe*
278 Food in Rabbinic Judaism*
279 Yiddish Literature and Culture in America (in Translation)*
301/302 Introduction to Hebrew
318 Modern Jewish Literature*
319 Yiddish Song and the Jewish Experience*
328 Classical Rabbinic Literature in Translation
332 Prophets of the Bible
346 Jewish Literature of the Greco-Roman Period
355 Representations of Women in 20th Century Jewish Literature*
356 Zionism in Thought, Culture, and Literature
367 Israeli Fiction in Translation
368 Bible in the Middle Ages
371 Topics in Jewish Civilization
376 Ancient Jewish Philosophy and Ethics
401/402 Survey of Modern Hebrew Literature
410 Holocaust Theme in Western Drama*
417 History-telling in the Bible
430 Intermediate Topics in Jewish Literature
432 Intermediate Topics in Jewish Philosophy and the Arts
435 Jewish Philosophy from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century*
446 Holy Places and Sacred Times in Rabbinic Literature
448 Classical Rabbinic Texts
450 Undergraduate Seminar in Judaism and the Arts*
460 Medieval Hebrew Biblical Commentaries
510 German-Jewish Culture since the 18th Century*
513/514 Biblical Texts, Poetry
533/534 Readings in Contemporary Hebrew Literature
539 Jewish Literatures in Diaspora
591 Jewish Fictions from 19th-Century London to Early 20th-Century New York*
593 Literature of Jewish Identity in America*
630 Advanced Topics in Jewish Literature
632 Advanced Topics in Jewish Philosophy and the Arts
***Bascom Courses are small (20 students or fewer) and generally focus on one particular topic that would generate substantial in-depth papers throughout the semester. Recent topics include: Jewish Composers: Early Modern to Modern; Modern American Jewish Fiction; and Writing (and) the Holocaust.
4. History and Social Science: 3 courses
Three courses in Jewish history or social science, at least one of which must deal with the experience of Jews in America. Students are strongly encouraged to take at least one course offered by the History department. Courses fulfilling the American requirement are indicated with an asterisk (*). Depending on the semester, select topics courses may also fulfill the American requirement.
219 The American Jewish Experience: From Shtetl to Suburb*
220 Introduction to Modern Jewish History
231 Elementary Topics in Jewish History
233 Elementary Topics in Jewish Studies: Social Sciences
241 Introduction to Biblical Archaeology
258 The Jews, States, and Citizenship: A Sociological Perspective
278 Food in Rabbinic Judaism
371 Topics in Jewish Civilization
372 Jews of Central and Eastern Europe
373 Modern Political History of the Jews, 1655–1919
374 Modern Political History of the Jews, 1870–1970
377 Jewish Cultural History
378 Jewish Cultural History
416 Eastern European Jews in the United States, 1800s–1930s*
431 Intermediate Topics in Jewish History
433 Intermediate Topics in Jewish Studies: Social Sciences
451 Biblical Archaeology
452 Biblical Archaeology
473 Jewish Civilization in Medieval Spain
475 Education and Jewish Civilization
515 Holocaust: History, Memory and Education
518 Anti-Semitism in European Culture 1700–1945
529 Intellectual and Religious History of European Jewry 1648–1939
613 Jewish Law and Ethics in Comparative Perspective
625 The Holocaust: Facts, Trials, Verdicts, Post Verdicts
631 Advanced Topics in Jewish History
633 Advanced Topics in Jewish Studies: Social Sciences
665 Israeli Politics and Society
Poli Sci 631 The Arab-Israeli Conflict
5. Capstone: 2 courses
The capstone sequence is intended for students nearing the end of their coursework and consists of two courses, which are taken concurrently:
Jewish 675 Research Colloquium for Majors (1 credit)
Jewish 677 Independent Research for Majors (3 credits)
Students majoring in Jewish studies may choose to focus their Jewish studies coursework on Modern Hebrew literature and the culture, history, and politics of Israel. This track follows the general requirements of the Jewish studies major, with the following modifications:
- The diaspora requirement in the Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts category is eliminated.
- The American requirement for the History and Social Science category is eliminated.
- Students in this track must take Hebrew 401 and Hebrew 402 (repeatable for credit). These courses can be used to fulfill either the Hebrew Texts requirement or the Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts requirement.
- In the event that a student uses Hebrew 401–402 to fulfill the Hebrew Texts requirement, the student must repeat Hebrew 402. The second time the student takes Hebrew 402, it will count toward the Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts requirement.
- In the six courses taken across the “Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts” and “History and Social Science” clusters, four courses must deal in some way with Israel. Some courses (see list below) are preapproved for this track; other courses may be eligible for the track with approval from the undergraduate advisor.
History 309 Crusades: Christianity, Judaism and Islam
Jewish 220 Modern Jewish History
Jewish 227 Introduction to Biblical Literature
Jewish 228 Survey of Hebrew Literature: Medieval to Modern
Jewish 237 Biblical Poetry in Translation
Jewish 241 Intro to Biblical Archaeology
Jewish 258 Jews, State, and Citizenship
Jewish 278 Food in Rabbinic Judaism
Jewish 318 Modern Jewish Literature
Jewish 328 Classical Rabbinic Literature in Translation
Jewish 332 Prophets of the Bible
Jewish 356 Zionism in Thought, Culture and Literature
Jewish 367 Israeli Fiction in Translation
Jewish 374 Modern Political History of the Jews
Jewish 401 Topics in Modern Hebrew
Jewish 402 Topics in Modern Hebrew
Jewish 417 History-telling in the Bible
Jewish 665 Israeli Politics and Society
LCA 266 Introduction to the Middle East
Poli Sci 333 International Politics of the Middle East
Poli Sci 631 Arab-Israeli Conflict
Poli Sci 650 Comparative Politics of the Middle East
Honors in the Major in both Jewish Studies and the separate track, Education and Jewish Studies, is intended for students who are interested in original research and who wish to graduate with the best possible undergraduate training in the discipline. Honors in the Major is especially appropriate for students who are considering graduate work in the area of Jewish studies, or who want an especially rigorous training in research, reasoning, and writing skills useful to a wide range of career choices. Students should consult the undergraduate advisor to determine the best way to fulfill honors requirements and how to make the most of the Honors in the Major experience.
To earn the B.A. or B.S. with Honors in the Major in Jewish Studies or the separate track in Education and Jewish Studies, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major and the following additional requirements:
- Achieve a GPA of 3.5 out of 4.0 in all requirements within the major at the time of graduation.
- Achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 in all courses taken at UW–Madison at the time of graduation.
- Complete at least two honors courses in the major while in residence at UW–Madison.
- Complete a two-semester capstone project called a senior honors thesis, a piece of original research composition, in 681 and 682, for a total of 6 credits.
The certificate in Jewish studies aims to acquaint students with a number of significant aspects of Jewish civilization and to introduce them to some of the tools required for its study In addition to a two-semester language requirement, students must complete coursework in literature, philosophy, and the arts; history and social sciences; and the pre-modern area. The certificate complements a major in any subject in the College of Letters & Science. It also strengthens the applications of those students who intend to pursue careers or graduate study in a field related to Jewish studies.
Students interested in a certificate in Jewish studies should make an appointment with the undergraduate advisor (firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss requirements and courses.
Students are required to take at least two semesters of Modern Hebrew. Students with a prior knowledge of the language are also required to take one year of instruction at the appropriate level. Students whose prior knowledge is equivalent to four semesters or more of Hebrew language instruction are required to take two courses in Hebrew texts. The Center for Jewish Studies, 4223 Mosse Humanities Building, administers placement examinations.
Note: Lower-division Hebrew language courses (Hebrew Studies 101, 102, 103, 104, 201, 202) can be used to satisfy the language requirement, but because they are not cross-listed with Jewish studies, they cannot be used to satisfy any other requirements for the certificate. In contrast, Hebrew literature courses (301 and above), since they are cross-listed with Jewish studies, can be used to satisfy other requirements for the certificate.
Certificate students must take 21 credits in seven courses, distributed as follows:
a. Two semesters of Hebrew language (see above)
b. One course in each of the following three clusters:
- Cluster One: Literature, Philosophy and the Arts
- Cluster Two: History and Social Science
- Cluster Three: Pre-modern Jewish history, culture, or literature
c. Two elective courses
Notes: Jewish studies courses taken abroad may also satisfy the certificate requirements. Students who have taken such courses should consult with the certificate advisor. A directed study course (699) used to satisfy a cluster requirement must be approved in advance by the undergraduate advisor.
(Degree awarded in College of Letters & Science)
A total of 34 credits—19 in Jewish studies, 9 in education, and 6 in education and Jewish studies. Students electing the education track are responsible for reaching the level of fourth-semester proficiency in Hebrew necessary for required courses in Hebrew texts.
1. Jewish Studies Requirements: 19 credits
a. Introduction to Judaism (Jewish 211): 4 credits
b. Jewish literature: 3 credits
c. Jewish history: 6 credits
d. Hebrew texts: 6 credits
Two courses in Hebrew texts at the level above 202 in Modern Hebrew (Hebrew 301, 302, 401, 402, 533, 534).
2. Education Requirements: 9 credits
a. Developing a philosophical stance: 3 credits
Ed Pol 540 Modern Philosophies of Education
Ed Pol 545 Philosophical Conceptions of Teaching and Learning
Ed Pol 550 Philosophy of Moral Education
b. Education in Jewish studies in a democratic, pluralistic society: 3 credits
Ed Pol 460 Cultural Pluralism and Education
Curric/Ed Pol/Relig St 516 Religion and Public Education
c. Pedagogical/curricular issues pertinent to education in Jewish studies: 3 credits
Curric 359 teaching of History and the Other Social Studies
Curric 431 Young Adult Literature
Curric/Jewish 515 The Holocaust: History, Memory, and Education
3. Education and Jewish Studies Requirements: 6 credits
Capstone sequence (Jewish 675 and 677)
This page was revised 1/6/16.