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Overview Jewish Studies allows students to focus on the history, languages, and literature of the Jewish people; the beliefs and practices of Judaism; and the enduring contributions of Jewish wisdom to human civilization. These contributions range from Biblical monotheism and ethics; to Rabbinic traditions of text study and interpretation; to Jewish literary responses to marginality, oppression, and suffering in modern times; and to monuments of the twentieth-century Jewish experience, including the revival of Hebrew as a living language, the establishment of Israel as an independent political state, and the thriving of diverse forms of Jewish community throughout the world. Students can take courses in Biblical and Modern Hebrew, Yiddish, Bible, Rabbinic literature, Jewish ancient and modern history, Jewish literature and culture, Holocaust studies, Jewish theology, and Jewish communities and cultures worldwide. Jewish Studies students are encouraged to study abroad in Israel or in other centers of Jewry beyond America. The UVa program in Jewish Studies also reflects the unique strengths and interests of the UVa faculty, generating such areas of interdisciplinary inquiry as “Jewish Culture and History in Eastern Europe,” “Yiddish Language and Culture,” “Politics of the Holocaust,” and “Jewish Material Culture,” “Jewish Musical Traditions,” and “German Jewish Culture and History.” Additional information may be found at www.virginia.edu/jewishstudies.
Faculty The interdisciplinary program includes faculty members drawn from many academic departments: The ever-growing list of faculty members who offer courses that count for the Jewish Studies major and minor or who serve as advising members of the Jewish Studies faculty include: Gabriel Finder (Director of Jewish Studies; German); Alon Confino, Phyllis Leffler, James Loeffler (History); Elizabeth Shanks Alexander, Asher Biemann, Jennifer Geddes, Peter Ochs, Vanessa Ochs, Martien Halverson-Taylor (Religious Studies), Gregory Goering (Religious Studies); Jeffrey Grossman (German); Daniel Lefkowitz (Anthropology and MESALC); Gerard Alexander (Politics); Caroline Rody (English); Joel Rubin, Judith Shatin (Music), and Zvi Gilboa (Hebrew).
Students who major and minor in Jewish Studies go on to a variety of careers, becoming educators, writers, community leaders, family-educators, healthcare professionals, chaplains, ethicists, rabbis, cantors, clergy, lawyers; some go into media, non-profit organizations, urban planning, museum work, foreign affairs, publishing and social services.