Jewish Studies

Professor:  Dion, Elman, Haus (Director), Petrey

The Jewish Studies Concentration at Kalamazoo College immerses students in the history, religion, and culture of the Jewish people.  Exploring these subjects engages students of all backgrounds in important intellectual and ethical issues, such as:

  • majority/minority relations
  • identity formation
  • the relationship between the religious and the secular

Students receive training in textual traditions, teaching them to read beyond the page and to consider the broader impact of the written word. As an interdisciplinary field, Jewish Studies intersects with different areas of the liberal arts.

Outside of the classroom, the Concentration enables students to develop service learning and social justice projects. In this manner, Jewish Studies concentrators become morally aware and socially engaged scholars.

Requirements for the Concentration in Jewish Studies

Number of Units
Six units are required.

Required Course
HIST/RELG 107, Introduction to Jewish Traditions


5 additional courses from the following list:
CLAS 261/RELG 260 Judaism in Antiquity
HEBR 101 Beginning Hebrew
HEBR 102 Beginning Hebrew II
HEBR 201 Intermediate Hebrew
HIST/RELG 218 The American Jewish Experience
HIST/RELG 263 Jews in a Changing Europe, 1750-1880
HIST/RELG 264 Jewish Revolutions, 1881-1967
HIST/RELG 265 Zionism: from Idea to State
HIST/RELG 267 Women and Judaism
HIST/RELG/SEMN 268 Jews on Film
POLS 295 Israeli Politics
POLS 330 Politics of the Holocaust
RELG 160 Hebrew Bible
RELG 210 Sex and the Bible
RELG 211/CLAS 255 Religion from Alexander to Constantine

Hebrew studies are recommended, but not required, for the concentration.

Study Abroad
Concentrators are encouraged (but not required) to consider Study Abroad programs that will expand their knowledge in Jewish Studies.  These include programs at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, as well as several European sites.  The Israel programs provide opportunities to study Middle Eastern affairs as well as aspects of Jewish culture that complement the course offerings at the College.  Students are encouraged to discuss their academic plans with the director in advance of studying abroad, as certain courses may count toward the concentration.

Hebrew Language courses

HEBR101Beginning Hebrew First in a three course sequence of study. This course is an introduction to the Modern Israeli Hebrew language. Hebrew alphabet in both print and script, pronunciation of unique sounds within the language, vocabulary and fundamental grammar structures will be introduced. Beginning reading, writing and speaking skills emphasized. Prerequisite: Placement exam if student has had prior experience with Hebrew.
HEBR102Beginning Hebrew II Second in a three course sequence, this course follows Beginning Hebrew I, focusing on the continued development of basic comprehension and communication skills. By the end of this course students should able to respond to simple questions, to understand simple statements and to participate in simple conversations. Students will also be able to write short paragraphs about themselves and some limited topics. Prerequisite: HEBR-101 or language placement exam.Prerequisite: HEBR-101
HEBR103Beginning Hebrew III Third in a three course sequence, this course follows HEBR 102, building on the basics already learned as well as improving vocabulary, language nuance and verb conjugation skills. By the end of this course students will have reached the intermediate level and should be able to participate in more complex conversations, be able to read short stories and express themselves more clearly. Prerequisite: HEBR-102 or language placement exam.Prerequisite: HEBR-102
This Academic Catalog is current as of May 26, 2019

An official catalog is produced each summer for the following academic year and stored in the Archives section of this site. These versions are used for degree audits. Throughout the year, approved changes are incorporated immediately. Updates that have been submitted and approved by early summer will be included in the archival catalog for the next academic year in mid-summer.