Modern Jewish Studies

Professors

David Fishman, Jewish History

Alan Mintz, Jewish Literature

Alan Mittleman, Jewish Thought, MA Program Advisor

David G. Roskies, Jewish Literature

Jack Wertheimer, Jewish History; BA Program Advisor

Associate Professors

Barbara Mann, Jewish Literature

Shuly Rubin Schwartz

Assistant Professor
Shira Kohn

Visiting Professor of Israel Studies
Yosi Klein Halevi (fall 2013)

Postdoctoral Fellow
Devi Mays

The program in Modern Jewish Studies is designed to provide the student with multidisciplinary training in the study of the modern Jewish experience (approximately 1750–1980), with an emphasis on religion and culture. Students take courses in a variety of fields, but focus on either history or literature.

Degrees

Bachelor of Arts

Admission Requirements
Visit the List College Admissions page.

Degree Requirements

From the core: 
At least one Jewish Literature course and at least one Jewish Thought course must cover the modern period. 

For the Modern Jewish Studies major:

  • One course (3 credits) HIS 1012: Modern Jewish History
  • One course (3 credits) of a modern Jewish language
  • One course (3 credits) of Modern Jewish History
  • One course (3 credits) of Modern Jewish Thought
  • One course (3 credits) of Modern Jewish Literature
  • Four courses (12 credits) of electives chosen in consultation with the advisor (one of these courses may be on the 1000 level)
  • One course (3 credits) senior/capstone seminar

Master of Arts

Admission Requirements
See The Graduate School Admissions page.

Degree Requirements

The Modern Jewish Studies program consists of three fields: Modern Jewish History, Modern Jewish Literature, and Modern Jewish Thought. The master's degree requires 30 credits in addition to courses required of all students in The Graduate School, distributed as below. Students must also select a major and minor field, on which they will be examined in their comprehensive exams.

Students in the Modern Jewish Studies MA program are also eligible to enroll in the Israel Studies track, in which they will spend the fall semester of their second year at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) under the auspices of the Israel Studies International Program (ISIP) based at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism. All JTS Israel Studies track students are guaranteed housing in Sde Boker, and must abide by all rules and policies set forth by BGU while they are in Israel. Only students in good academic standing after their first year of study have the opportunity to participate in the Israel Studies track. While in Israel, students will take courses in Hebrew Language and Israel Studies, totaling 12 credits that will be used toward their MA degrees.

I. Required Courses: Five courses (15 credits)

  • One course (3 credits) First Year Seminar
  • Two courses (6 credits) surveying Modern Jewish History and American Jewish history
  • One course (3 credits)in Modern Jewish Literature
  • One course (3 credits)in Modern Jewish Thought

II. Jewish Language: Two courses (6 credits)

  • Two courses (6 credits) of modern Jewish language beyond requirements of The Graduate School, such as Advanced Hebrew (HEB 5301 or HEB 5303) or Introduction to Yiddish (LIT 1051 or LIT 1052). Literature courses taught in Hebrew or Yiddish may satisfy this requirement.

III. Electives in Modern Jewish Studies: Three courses (9 credits)

  • Two courses (6 credits) in the student's major field
  • One course (3 credits) in the student's minor field

Students in the Israel Studies track will count three of the Israel Studies courses taken at BGU as their elective courses within the Modern Jewish Studies MA. Hebrew Language taken in Israel will count toward either students' prerequisites or the additional required Jewish language study.

Comprehensive Examination
Students must take a comprehensive examination, which tests their understanding of a list of required readings and their ability to place the readings in the broader contexts covered in course work.

Students may apply to the Committee on Modern Jewish Studies to write an MA thesis in lieu of a comprehensive exam.

Doctor of Hebrew Literature

Admission Requirements
See The Graduate School Admissions page.

Degree Requirements
Language
Students must demonstrate satisfactory reading comprehension of Hebrew prior to matriculation.

Courses
In addition to courses required of all students in The Graduate School, 30 graduate credits beyond the MA are required as follows:

  • Five courses (15 credits) in the major discipline (Modern Jewish History, Modern Jewish Literature, Modern Jewish Thought)
  • Two courses (6 credits) in the nonmajor discipline (Modern Jewish History, Modern Jewish Literature, Modern Jewish Thought)
  • One course (3 credits) in a third area
  • Two courses (6 credits) of electives

Comprehensive Examination
Upon satisfactory completion of all course work, students must take a comprehensive examination (with both a written and an oral component), which tests their understanding of a list of required readings and their ability to place the readings in the broader contexts covered in course work.

Dissertation
An original monograph-length dissertation on a topic in Modern Jewish Studies, to be approved by a faculty committee.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements
See The Graduate School Admissions page.

Degree Requirements
Languages
In addition to languages required of all students in The Graduate School, students must demonstrate satisfactory reading comprehension of Hebrew prior to matriculation. Students must also demonstrate satisfactory knowledge of German and either French or Yiddish prior to taking the comprehensive exam. Additional languages may be required depending upon research needs.

Courses
In addition to courses required of all students in The Graduate School, 30 graduate credits beyond the MA are required as follows:

  • Five courses (15 credits) in the major discipline (Modern Jewish History or Modern Jewish Literature)
  • Two courses (6 credits) in the nonmajor discipline (Modern Jewish History or Modern Jewish Literature)
  • One course (3 credits) in a third area
  • Two courses (6 credits) of electives

A course in Medieval Jewish History must be among the courses selected. All PhD students doing course work must register for the departmental seminar. Each student will develop a coherent concentration with the advisor, focusing on a particular geographic area, and will be required to take cognate courses through the consortium.

Comprehensive Examinations
Upon satisfactory completion of all course work, students will take a written and an oral examination. The written exam consists of four essays, one from each field (i.e., one from each examiner). The student will select one out of two questions submitted by each examiner. The student will have a two day period to complete the essays. The oral exam picks up on the written answers and explores other topics as well, such as the essays not chosen by the student.

Dissertation
An original monograph-length dissertation on a topic in Modern Jewish Studies that demonstrates the ability to pursue original research in at least two disciplines, to be approved by a faculty committee.

Search the Course Catalog for MJS courses.