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Indiana University Bloomington
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Ten Reasons To Study Jewish Studies

We welcome all students into the major and certificate programs. No background or prior knowledge is necessary.

  1. Judaism, in addition to being a vibrant religion in its own right, is the parent religion of both Christianity and Islam. One cannot understand the origins of these religions without understanding their roots in Judaism.
  2. Israel is the only country on earth with a Jewish majority. The country has revived the Hebrew language, taken in immigrants from all over the world, and boasts a rich and varied culture. Students who study at our program at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in their junior year rave about their time in Israel. Take some of our courses on Israel and find out why.
  3. The murder of 6 million Jews is not just of concern to the millions of victims. The Holocaust represents the total collapse of Western civilization and thus is central to the concerns of all people. Study of the Holocaust exposes students to a range of troubling but unavoidable questions. We offer courses in the history of the Holocaust, the literature of the Holocaust, and on philosophic and religious responses to the Holocaust, and more.
  4. The story of Creation, the Exodus from Egypt, and the Ten Commandments were all written in Hebrew. The prophets thundered in it and modern day Israelis have brought this ancient language of the Bible to life, using it as their daily tongue. Learn it!
  5. Yiddish was the most widely spoken Jewish language ever. Expressive and lyrical, Yiddish was the spoken and literary language for most Jews in Europe for nearly 800 years and was also the language of Jewish immigrants to the United States. Isaac Bashevis Singer and Sholem Aleichem are much better in the original. Study Yiddish!
  6. Jewish philosophers and Jewish thinkers have sought to understand Judaism at moments of urgency and danger and within the context of Western intellectual life. Our courses explore that interaction, trying to discern what Judaism has drawn from Western philosophy and culture and what Western culture can learn from its engagement with Judaism.
  7. Spinoza, the Baal Shem Tov, Herzl and even Einstein. Just four among many modern Jewish thinkers who have pondered what it means to be Jewish. The array of responses to the question reflects the diversity of the Jewish people.
  8. Jews have played a formative role in some of the most important developments in modernity, from physics to psychoanalysis to post-modernism.
  9. Jewish culture is multilingual and multicultural, developing in dialogue with cultures from eastern and western Europe, Asia, North Africa, North America, and even the Amazon.
  10. Get a good liberal arts education. Because of its inherently interdisciplinary nature, Jewish Studies offers an almost perfect microcosm of the humanities and social sciences.