JTS/AJL Certificate in Judaica and Hebraica Librarianship

JTS and the Association of Jewish Libraries are pleased to offer a certificate program in Judaica and Hebraica Librarianship.

Certification is awarded on completion of six modules: five online courses, taught by experts in their fields, and an internship at a local AJL member institution.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant RE-254902-OLS-23

How It Works

The certificate will be offered online as a 12-month series of modules, repeated in three cycles, consisting of remote online courses, taught by world experts in their fields.

Required Courses for Certification

Introduction to Judaica Cataloging

The Judaica Cataloging class is team taught and includes and introduction to cataloging and overview of Judaica cataloging; ALA/LC romanization; descriptive cataloging; Hebraica access points and authority files; subject cataloging and LCSH; LC classification; current trends in Hebraica and Judaica cataloging; and an opportunity for an interactive whole-book cataloging session. Hebrew grammar and ability to romanize from Hebrew is required.

Collection Development for Judaic Studies

This course is designed for librarians, library staff, and students of librarianship to learn about the many facets of collection development for Judaic studies. It will examine both the theoretical and practical aspects of evaluation and selection, Judaic publishing and the book trade, considerations for special collections, the writing and implementation of collection development policies, as well as various related management processes. The course consists of six classes (2 hours each) which will include discussions, a lecture, and activities. Discussions will center on challenges in collection development, such as donor relations or ethical issues.

Judaica Reference

This required course will cover major aspects of Judaica reference and research. Taught by four instructors, this course will cover the question “What is Jewish Studies?”; Jewish Periodicals and Databases; Jewish Graphics, Arts, and Ephemera; Rabbinics; Area Studies and Jewish Studies; Jewish Languages and Literature; and Jewish History 

  • Internships for North American participants must be at an AJL-member library 
  • All internships must be supervised by a professional librarian. 
  • The required time for an internship is 100 hours. This includes work on the actual project and meeting time. 
  • The internship can take longer than the general six- to seven-week timeframe of the modules. 
  • Participants must successfully complete the three required classes and any relevant modules (ie. Archives for an archival internship) prior to the internship.     
  • The parameters of the internship are as follows:
    • Action plan (intern, supervisor and librarianship team) 
    • Mid-point review (intern and member of the librarianship team) 
    • Final project and review (intern, supervisor and signed off by librarianship team) 
  • Internships must be a finite project such as cataloging a collection, processing an archive, creating a collection development policy or weeding policy, etc. 

Two electives are required for certification. Choose from the options below.


Two electives are required for certification. Choose from the options below.

Electives (Two required for certification)

Special Collections (Judaica Manuscripts, Early Prints, and Ephemera)

The Special Collections class is team taught. It will include identifying what is rare; a history of Judaica collecting; provenance; dealers and auctions; gifts collections; Judaica special collections cataloging; Judaica in a general special collection; and conservation and preservation of Judaica and digitization and copyright. This is an elective class.

Judaica Archives

In this elective course, we will discuss the broad spectrum of organizations that house Jewish archival and special collections, including synagogues, historical societies, private organizations, and academic institutions. The various types of collections (personal papers, organizational records, etc.) as well as the growing array of formats found in both contemporary and older records and how to steward these materials properly will be covered, as will evaluation and acquisition of materials. Topics such as access, processing, and identifying funding sources to support the work of making materials available will also be discussed.  

Digital Scholarship and E-resources in Jewish Studies

This course will focus on Judaica digital scholarship: acquiring and evaluating e-resources, identifying major initiatives in Jewish digital humanities (DH), creating a DH project, digital preservation, and sustainability.

Intro to Judaic Paleography and Codicology

This elective course will provide an introduction to Judaic paleography, codicology, and bibliographic collation. Sessions will focus on medieval and early modern hands and identifying non-Hebrew languages in Hebrew script.

Jewish Libraries in Historical and Contemporary Contexts

In this elective course, we aim to equip Judaica librarians to serve and advocate for their specific Jewish studies collections by understanding the institutional contexts of these  collections.  Ranging from the development of Wissenschaft des Judentums in nineteenth-century Europe through the institutional complexities of contemporary universities and research institutions, we will seek to understand how the politics and structures of these organizations impact the scholars who work in them, and by building awareness of these factors support librarians in working with their diverse institutional constituencies. 

Optional Courses

Please note that basic Hebrew reading comprehension and grammar are necessary for certain courses (cataloging, paleography) and sessions. An assessment test will be provided to assist with course placement.

Hebrew for Judaica Librarians I

This optional course will teach the practical application of the fundamental principles of Hebrew phonology and morphology: the vowel system, the vocalization of articles and prepositions, an overview of the verb system, and common forms of nouns and their pronominal suffixes. 

Hebrew for Judaica Librarians II

This optional course will cover the verb system including strong and weak verbs, pronominal suffixes of the verb, select topics in syntax, and the use of dictionaries, grammars, and other resources. Prerequisite: Hebrew for Judaica Librarians I or permission of the instructor.  


$50 non-refundable registration fee (for the program) 
Most applicants, based on country of residence, will be exempt from tuition and fees or be eligible for scholarships. The program is free with zero charge to participants in US and Europe.

$350 per course for those living outside of the United States and Europe.

For more information, contact librarianship@jtsa.edu

Current and upcoming courses

Collection Development
Tuesdays, May 14–July 2, 11:00 am–1:00 pm Eastern (no class on May 21 or June 25)
Instructor: Rebecca Jefferson
Curator of the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica and a Joint Faculty member of the Bud Shorstein Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Florida

Introduction to Judaic Paleography and Codicology
Mondays, June 3–July 15, 1:00–3:00 pm Eastern (no class on June 24)
Instructor: Alexander Gordin
Public services coordinator for special collections at the National Library of Israel and a postdoctoral research associate in medieval Hebrew palaeography at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris Sciences & Lettres University)

Fall 2024 courses will be announced soon!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long are the classes?

The classes take place once a week, for six to eight weeks, and are between 90 minutes and two hours long.

When in the day will the courses take place?

To accommodate our global membership, we will be offering courses in the middle of the day Eastern Time.

What do you mean by modules?

Modules are all of the elements of a program—this includes courses as well as the internship.

How many courses are required to complete the program?

Four required courses (including the internship) and two electives, for a total of six.

Are scholarships available? Is there a separate application process for scholarships?

Scholarships are available for participants outside the US and Europe. Tuition is free for participants in the US and Europe.

What does “a la carte” mean?

“A la carte” means you can take individual courses without committing to the whole certification. However, we expect there will be limited space in the courses, and priority will be given to students working on certification.

Can you explain the internship a bit more?

One registers for the internship like a course – the internship will vary based on the student’s location and interests. For North American participants, the internship must be at an AJL member institution and/or supervised by an AJL member. While we recommend that students take their internships in a location other than the one that they are currently working in, it must be with a discrete project that is supervised and evaluated by a professional librarian. 

JTS is grateful to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for their generous support.