The Jewish Studies Program
The study of Jewish civilization is intellectually rewarding and personally compelling for all students, regardless of background and college specialization. With an unbroken ethnic, religious, and cultural heritage spanning three thousand years, having interacted with most every significant civilization in world history, the Jews have enriched humanity with extraordinary bursts of spiritual, literary, and cultural creativity that have resonated widely from ancient to contemporary times.
Their dramatic history is, therefore, not only of intrinsic academic interest, but also helps illuminate critical cultural issues so important to understanding today's multicultural, multiethnic, and globally interconnected world. Jewish studies courses have much to teach about how culture is produced, shaped, transmitted, and how a minority group can adapt to survive within a majority host society far different from itself.
The Jewish Studies Program at Queens College is an interdisciplinary undergraduate unit dedicated to the unrestricted inquiry into all aspects of the Jewish experience. It seeks to familiarize students with past and present Jewish civilization in the broadest context of world affairs, and appeals to those with a particular attachment or professional interest in the field, as well as to those students just exploring a culture not their own as part of an enriched liberal arts education.
Program courses, therefore, are of compelling appeal to a broad spectrum of students of disparate ethnic and religious background and age bracket. This diversity of student population enriches class discussions by ensuring the airing of multiple perspectives.
The Program offers a B.A. major degree and a minor, and some of its courses fulfill the College's requirements; all courses may be taken as free electives. The Program's curriculum features a splendid array of introductory and advanced courses representing the spectrum of Jewish imagination and experience, including courses in Bible, rabbinic literature, Jewish history, Jewish philosophy and thought, Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Muslim relations, Holocaust studies, Zionism and modern Israel, Jewish literature, Sephardic studies, Hebrew and Yiddish language and literature, Jewish music, and Jewish sociology.
The Jewish Studies Program prides itself on honing the critical thinking and writing skills of its students, enhancing their readiness for post-graduate work and/or a fulfilling career upon graduation. Moreover, Jewish studies faculty and the Program director stand ready to advise students about career options and to help them structure a course of study most beneficial and congenial to their career goals.
Students intending to pursue graduate education in fields relating to Jewish studies may consider careers in academic scholarship, Jewish education and educational administration, Jewish communal service, Jewish journalism, and the rabbinate. Those selecting careers not linked to Jewish studies may enter graduate programs or professional schools and pursue careers open to all graduates with a general humanistic education, including law, business, medicine, dentistry, education, social work, government and civil service.