Israel Studies Track / Semester at Ben-Gurion University

Do you want to immerse yourself in Israeli society and culture?
Do you want to do it while earning a graduate degree in Israel Studies?

Beginning in fall 2014, students of The Graduate School of The Jewish Theological Seminary who are in the Modern Jewish Studies and Jewish Studies programs will have the unique opportunity to pursue an Israel Studies track at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in the first semester of their second year of studies at JTS. The program will take place at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism on BGU's Sede Boqer campus, home to the renowned David Ben-Gurion Archives. The institute is devoted to the study, documentation, and research of the Zionist movement and the history of Israel.

Live, Learn, Experience, and Grow in Israel

  • Study at BGU, a university where outstanding scholarship is integrated with community involvement, and the student body is made up of a broad cross section of Israeli society.
  • Take courses in Israel Studies, a growing subfield of Jewish Studies, while actively participating in Israeli culture and society through trips (tiyulim) and community service opportunities.
  • Strengthen your Hebrew skills through language courses and the option of spending the summer doing ulpan (intensive Hebrew study) at the Marcus Family Campus in Beersheba.
  • Conduct research in the Ben-Gurion Archives and take advantage of the opportunity of serving as a research assistant to faculty and archivists.

Students will take three Israel Studies courses (9 total credits) and one Hebrew language course (3 credits). The Israel Studies courses offered include:

  • The Israeli Mosaic consists of work in the Ben-Gurion Archive, and focuses on archival methodology and the utilization of primary source material in restructuring Israel's historical narrative.
  • Israel from an Interdisciplinary Perspective focuses on academic discourse on Israel. Students study and analyze different scholars' perspectives on Israeli history, society, geography, and culture.
  • Seminar highlights one core issue in Israeli society, such as religion and state or relations between the center and periphery in Israel, using an interdisciplinary approach. The course includes reading, lectures, experiential visits, and encounters with prominent Israeli figures.

We Make It Easy for You

  • Tuition is paid directly to JTS; any fellowship money is applied toward the semester's tuition.
  • Israeli Studies courses are built into the JTS curriculum. There is no need to worry about missing required courses while abroad.
  • This special partner program with BGU enables students to follow the US academic calendar.
  • JTS students are guaranteed dormitory housing on the Sede Boqer campus with Israeli roommates.
  • Hebrew language fluency is not required.
  • Students will have access to all student services in Israel, including an English-speaking staff person who will provide support with regard to housing, health issues, course registration, and other concerns.

Semester Program

  • Tuition is paid directly to JTS at JTS tuition rates. If you receive a JTS scholarship, your scholarship continues to apply for your semester abroad.
  • Dormitory: $1,900

Optional Summer Ulpan Program
Six-Week Option:

  • Tuition (includes activity fee and health insurance): $1,865
  • Dormitory: $525

Four-Week Option:

  • Tuition (includes activity fee and health insurance): $1,235
  • Dormitory: $350

Students are responsible for all travel costs.

How to Apply
On The Graduate School application, you may indicate your preliminary interest in this Israel Studies track and the semester at BGU. Graduate School students who have demonstrated academic success during their first semester are eligible for the program, and should schedule a meeting early in the spring semester with the assistant dean to discuss the application process.

For more information, please contact the director of admissions at (212) 678-8022 or

"I'm thrilled that students in our Israel Studies track will have the opportunity to complement their learning at JTS by spending a semester at BGU, studying with experts, immersing themselves in Israeli society, and conducting research at the renowned Ben-Gurion Archives."

-Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz, Walter and Sarah Schlesinger Dean of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies