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Jewish Studies BA

(HEGIS: 03.00 AREA STUDIES UNCLASSIFID, CIP: 38.0206 Jewish/ Judaic Studies)

Department of Jewish Thought

712 Clemens Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14261-0026

Noam Pines

Alexandra Zirkle
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Associated Programs

Associated Subjects

Why study Jewish Studies BA at UB?

The Jewish Studies BA program is devoted to critically examining some of the central questions of human identity through the resources of the Jewish tradition. By putting Greek philosophy, Roman law and Biblical ethics in conversation with one another, we will address the following questions: Where does ethics come from? What is God? What does a just society look like? What makes us human? Can science and religion be reconciled? What is the impact of the Holocaust? What is American Jewish identity? Students learn to combine the latest theoretical approaches with the millennia-long tradition of Jewish Thought in order to address challenges of modern society. Our department fosters a strong, nurturing sense of community where faculty members mentor students and encourage them to develop their course of study according to their individual interests. By providing a comprehensive humanities education, the Jewish Studies BA prepares the student for a wide range of graduate programs and professional careers.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of all requirements, the student will be able to:

  • Develop critical thinking and abilities to read and analyze complex written texts -- a set of skills to help become more competitive on professional job markets.
  • Discuss Judaism in a wide range of interdisciplinary contexts, including philosophy, history, literature, ethics, language, comparative religion, and critical theory
  • Understand and apply key concepts, theories, and methods in the academic study of Judaism
  • Conduct research: pose questions, obtain evidence, analyze sources, assess information, and construct an argument
  • Understand critical methods of inquiry and use critical reading skills
  • Hone effective written communication skills in academic writing: to engage primary and secondary sources, to access critically the methods these sources use, and to express a point of view on a subject and support it with evidence
  • Cultivate oral communication: present research findings clearly, analyze primary and secondary sources in class discussion
  • Engage in thinking collectively within a group through group projects, including but not limited to using theatrical, cinematic and other ways of expression to develop and display an ability to think critically and independently about a problem at hand.
  • Develop language skills in Modern modern Hebrew for conversation and to read classical and modern Hebrew texts in their original language (if taking Hebrew language for four semesters).

The Learning Environment

The Jewish Studies BA fosters a strong sense of community, in which students feel nurtured and supported. Faculty know students by name and are uniquely able to help them develop intellectually and to craft a program of study suited to their particular interests. The Department of Jewish Thought regularly hosts lectures, conferences and events, with twice-yearly departmental dinners and receptions. These offer unique opportunities to learn about specific aspects of Jewish studies, and, often, the chance to meet famous scholars in the field.

About Our Facilities

Many of our classes and event are held in the Samuel Friedman Library in 708 Clemens. This is the geographical heart of our department, featuring books related to all areas of the Jewish experience that foster the passion for inquiry that is central to the Jewish tradition. This provides an intimate setting for students to get to know each other and their professors. That distinguishes Jewish Studies courses from those in other departments.

About Our Faculty

The Department of Jewish Thought is a leading program of its kind and the only Department of Jewish Thought in all of the United States. The faculty consists of nationally and internationally prominent scholars who are also devoted teachers. Their interests include philosophy, literature, Bible and Talmud, ethics, mysticism, and gender and sexuality studies, and much more.

We encourage students to see professors whose research and area of expertise is of potential interest for them and establish working research relationships with the professor.

We recommend that students speak to the director of undergraduate studies (708 Clemens Hall, email Dr. Zirkle), to plan their individualized course of study.

Faculty List Directory

Please visit the Department of Jewish Thought department website for additional information about our faculty.

Career Outlook

Career Choices:

  • Advocate
  • Archivist
  • Author
  • Broadcaster
  • Conservationist 
  • Consultant
  • Cultural or charitable organization president
  • Editor and publisher
  • Historian
  • Film/art critic
  • Fundraiser
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Paralegal
  • Physician, health care worker, health sciences researcher
  • Politician or Public official
  • Researcher
  • Social Worker
  • Screenwriter
  • Teacher
  • University administrator
  • Urban Planner
  • Writer

Work settings include:

  • Advertising agencies
  • Book publishers
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Educational institutions
  • Government agencies
  • Health and human service organizations
  • Large companies
  • Law firms
  • Literary agencies
  • Magazines
  • Museums
  • Newspapers
  • Non-profit sector
  • Political offices
  • Printing firms
  • Public interest organizations
  • Public libraries
  • Radio/television stations
  • Research institutions
  • Schools
  • Social Sciences
  • Theaters
  • Tutoring services

Opportunities for Post-Baccalaureate Study include:

  • Brandeis University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Harvard University
  • Hebrew Union College
  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Indiana University
  • Jewish Theological Seminary
  • McGill University
  • New York University
  • Rice University
  • Stanford University
  • Tel-Aviv University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Chicago
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Virginia
  • Yale University
  • Yeshiva University

Academic Advising

We recommend that students speak to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (703 Clemens Hall, email), to develop an individualized program for completing their degree. We are happy to tailor the course of study to any student’s specific academic and personal interests. We can discuss over email or in person.

Academic Advising Contact Information

Alexandra Zirkle
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Email Alexandra Zirkle

Scholarships and Financial Support

We offer several merit-based awards, including the Harold J. and Arlyne G. Levy Award in Jewish Studies, Irving M. and Marilyn C. Shuman Scholarship, and the Ruth and Isadore Bob Endowed Fellowship for graduate students.

Associated Programs

Associated Subjects

Published: Feb 01, 2023 08:50:25