Jewish Gender and Women's Studies


Judith Hauptman, Talmud and Rabbinics

David Kraemer, Talmud and Rabbinics

Burton L. Visotzky, Midrash

Associate Professors

Barbara Mann, Modern Jewish Studies, Jewish Literature

Shuly Rubin Schwartz, Modern Jewish Studies, Jewish History

Stefanie B. Siegmund, Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Studies, Jewish History; Program Advisor

Assistant Professors

Shira Epstein, Jewish Education

Amy Kalmanofsky, Bible

Anne Lerner, Emerita, Jewish Literature

The Program in Jewish Gender and Women's Studies offers an interdisciplinary array of courses that allow students to examine the history, literature, image, and culture of Jewish women and men through the perspective of gender. A rich array of course offerings by the regular faculty and visiting professors focuses on Jewish women's history, Yiddish and Hebrew literature, women in the Bible, and other women or gender-centered subjects. In addition, our gender studies seminar teaches students to apply a gender studies approach to all the biblical and rabbinic texts they will encounter, and to raise gender-focused questions in any of the classes they may choose to take in the course of their studies.

Students in the program ordinarily focus on one historical period or discipline while choosing courses from among the many areas of study taught at The Jewish Theological Seminary. They will also take complementary courses in women's studies, feminist studies, or queer studies at neighboring institutions.

The Program in Jewish Gender and Women's Studies (JGW) prides itself on its commitment to combining feminist and Jewish perspectives. It encourages students to bring their creativity into their work, supports women's scholarship, and aims to teach and promote a gendered understanding of all areas of Judaic studies. Student learning is supported by the many feminist and gender-focused activities and organizations associated with the larger nearby colleges and universities of New York City.

Degrees Available

Bachelor of Arts Admission Requirements

View the List College Admissions page.

BA Degree Requirements for the Major in Jewish Gender and Women's Studies

30 credits chosen in consultation with the program advisor, distributed as follows:        

  • Six courses (18 elective credits) in Jewish Gender and Women's Studies, chosen from at least three different fields or disciplines (e.g., Jewish History, Jewish Literature, Talmud and Rabbinics, Midrash, Ethics, Bible, Education). Courses that do not have the JGW prefix may sometimes, with prior approval of the instructor and the program advisor, be adapted for credit toward the major.    
  • Two courses (6 credits) in feminist studies, queer studies, or women's studies, which may be taken at Columbia University or Barnard College, to be chosen in consultation with the advisor. Credit is not given for courses taken outside of JTS when a similar course is offered at JTS.        
  • One cognate course (3 credits), to be taken in a discipline and subject directly related to the student's chosen JGW focus, with approval of the advisor.         
  • One course (3 credits) that is a senior/capstone seminar (or Senior Honors Thesis, for those admitted).

Master of Arts Admission Requirements

See the Graduate School Admissions page.

MA Degree Requirements in Jewish Gender and Women's Studies

In addition to prerequisite courses and language courses required of all students in The Graduate School, 30 graduate credits are required as follows:

  • A First Year Seminar (3 credits)
  • A program seminar required of all students, preferably during their first year of study. This course (3 credits) will ordinarily be Readings in Jewish Gender Studies.
  • One course in feminist theory or queer theory (3 credits), which may be taken at any of the graduate schools in the Consortium Program
  • Four elective courses (12 credits) in Jewish Gender and Women's Studies
  • Three additional courses (9 credits) in a related area of concentration selected by each student, in consultation with the advisor, from any one disciplinary approach, area, or program. Courses cross-listed with Jewish Gender and Women's Studies may be counted toward this cognate requirement.

Note: For cross-listed courses taken to fulfill the 12 credits of elective JGW courses, where a syllabus is not fully dedicated to a women's studies or gender studies approach, students are expected to fulfill their assignments and papers by choosing gender and women's studies themes, and to submit them to the JGW program advisor.

Master's Thesis, Project, or Examination

The master's thesis (40 to 60 pages), ordinarily on a topic in the area of the cognate concentration, is written in consultation with the program advisor and under the supervision of an approved faculty member. An alternative path may be permitted for creative artists who design a project (e.g., creative writing, visual, musical, or performance arts) and enlist an appropriate JTS faculty member as co-advisor. For students who intend to teach, in consultation with the program advisor and two JGW faculty members, a comprehensive examination may be individually designed and taken to fulfill the capstone requirement.

Search the Course Catalog for JGW courses.