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Jewish Studies at AU

Archival photo: a man digs through rubble

American University's Jewish Studies Program emphasizes the rich tradition of Jewish heritage in Western Civilization. The interdisciplinary Jewish Studies Program encompasses more than a dozen award-winning faculty from a variety of departments across the University. AU's Jewish Studies professors and scholars include prize-winning authors; internationally-renowned experts in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts; and several recipients of the Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award, AU's highest faculty honor. In addition to spending time in the classroom, these faculty make frequent media appearances and work with a wide range of scholarly and cultural institutions in our nation's capital and beyond dedicated to advancing knowledge of Jewish civilization to a wider public. Internships and other opportunities enable AU students to join with the faculty as they reach out to the wider community. A degree in Jewish Studies enables students to analyze the civilizations of the Jewish people and their various cultural and religious expressions from the antiquity to the present. The Jewish Studies Program offers a major in Jewish Studies, and minors in Jewish Studies and in Israel Studies.

Why Take a Course in Jewish Studies?

Through the Jewish Studies Program, students may train for a career in the Jewish community or in Jewish education, learn about Jewish issues and opportunities for Jewish public service, and develop a deeper understanding of American and world Jewry. Moreover, since dynamic contact with many other religions and cultures influenced the development of Jewish civilization, students study Jews and Judaism within the broader context of dominant societies and the spectrum of the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Even after a course ends, students continue to apply their classroom knowledge in a variety of experiential learning settings:

"Dear Professor [Nadell],

[We] had the chance to visit the Jerusalem exhibit at the Met. Not only was it an absolutely wonderful exhibit, but it was such a treat to have your class as an amazing amount of background knowledge for viewing it."

-Lena Sibony and Amalia Rangel, Fall '16 JWST-205 (Ancient & Medieval Jewish Civilization) students

Students visit the Met exhibit, "Jerusalem 1000-1400: Every People Under Heaven"

Student News

Congratulations to our 2017-18 scholarship winners!

Summer Boucher-Robinson, Estelle Seldowitz Endowed Scholarship

Jamie Gottlieb, Estelle Seldowitz Endowed Scholarship

Rose Haas, Estelle Seldowitz Endowed Scholarship 

Elysia Martin, Judaic Arts and Studies Scholarship, Estelle Seldowitz Endowed Scholarship

Aaron Torop, Estelle Seldowtiz Endowed Scholarship, Judaic Arts and Studies Scholarship


Avital Ingber, Jewish Federation of Greater Houston

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Assaf Gavron

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Faculty News

Pamela Nadell (director of AU's Jewish Studies Program) spoke to WAMU-FM about a new report on the growing Jewish population in Washington D.C. Nadell said, "Jews in Washington, according to this report, are younger on average than Jews in other communities- and that portends excitement for the future."

Michael Brenner (History, Israel Studies), is elected International President of the Leo Baeck Institute, the foremost research institute on the history and culture of German-speaking Jewry with centers in New York, London and Jerusalem, and an office in Berlin.