Welcome to the Wesleyan University Center for Jewish Studies

New Spring 2021 Courses

Interview with Etgar Keret 

Etgar Keret speaks with Dalit Katz during his recent visit at Wesleyan

Wesleyan has an over forty-year history in sponsoring learning in this area. Courses in Jewish studies and in Hebrew were introduced at Wesleyan in 1967.  In its initial years, the program was a modest, though ambitious one and included mainly courses in Judaism and Hebrew language taught in the Religion Department.  Over the years the curriculum has grown significantly and courses are taught not only in the Religion Department, but also in a number of other departments.  The Hebrew program has become especially robust with classes on all levels from Introductory Hebrew through advanced courses in Israeli literature and culture. Students interested in spending their semester abroad in Israel can enroll in one of the approved programs at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion University in Be'er Sheva, and Haifa University.  

In 2014, The Center for Jewish Studies was established. The Director of the Center, advised by core faculty, is responsible for developing and maintaining the curriculum in the Center for Jewish Studies. The core faculty is joined by a number of faculty members from various departments who offer occasional courses in the field and add range to the program of studies. The curriculum has been especially enriched through the auspices of the Silverberg Distinguished Scholar in Residence that allows the Center for Jewish Studies to bring to the University a distinguished scholar as a visiting professor. Over the years the position has been held by, among others, Joshua Sobol, Etgar Keret and Israeli Film directors.  This critical mass of faculty and courses has made it possible for Wesleyan to offer a multi-disciplinary Certificate Program housed in the Center for Jewish Studies. To complete the certificate, students need to take seven courses in different departments concentrating on one of the four tracks offered. For the Certificate requirements please check https://www.wesleyan.edu/cjs/jiscertificate.html

Classroom learning has been amply supplemented by a stimulating program of extra-curricular lectures and cultural events including the presentation of academic papers in Jewish history and culture, poetry readings, art exhibits, films, and concerts all sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies.  Especially noteworthy is a lecture series, Contemporary Israeli Voices, and the annual Spring semester Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival.  For further information on these public events, and news about the Program, its faculty and students, please consult the website; https://www.wesleyan.edu/cjs/

In addition to fostering undergraduate studies, the faculty in the Center for Jewish Studies is also committed to Wesleyan’s efforts in providing continuing learning opportunities for alumni and parents.  We sponsor seminars during Family Weekend in the Fall as well as at Reunion/Graduation Weekend in the Spring.  Our faculty also enjoy visiting Alumni Clubs to make off-campus presentations.  For further information please contact Professor Dalit Katz at dkatz01@wesleyan.edu.

Event Calendar

There are no events at this time.

Students' Achievements


Benjamin Lefkowitz

Benjamin Lefkowitz '20

Adina Gitomer

Adina Gitomer '20

Andrew Schwartz

Andrew Schwarz '20

Nate Gillman

Nate Gillman '20

 The Center for Jewish Studies is delighted to announce the 2020 winners of the Needler Prize for excellence in Jewish Studies and Hebrew

Benjamin Lefkowitz '20
Adina Gitomer '20

And the 2020 winners of Scott Prize for excellence in Hebrew Studies:

Andrew Schwarz '20
Nate Gillman '20

Congratulations to all our accomplished students who always go above and beyond any expectations and impressed us with their love of study and endless enthusiasm. We will miss them tremendously but know that they will be successful in their new paths.

Shani Erdman

Shani Erdman '19

Becca Weinzimer

Becca Weinzimer '19

The Center for Jewish Studies is delighted to announce that Shani Erdman and Becca Weinzimer are the co-winners of the 2019 Needler Prize for Excellence in Jewish Studies and Hebrew. Both Becca and Shai completed successfully the Hebrew Program as well as the Certificate for Jewish and Israel Studies. Their enthusiasm, wit and commitment have been exemplary and we are very proud of their academic achievements.

Joao Pedro Pereira-Webber

Joao Pedro Pereira-Webber '18 
Winner of the 2018 Needler Prize of Excellence in Jewish Studies and Hebrew
J.P’s commitment to Jewish Studies is exemplary. J.P. took almost every course offered by Jewish Studies and its visiting faculty specializing in Israeli films. Last summer he interned with Avi Nesher, one of the most renowned Israeli film directors, and worked on the production of Nesher’s newest film. J.P is a Film major.

Rachel Alpert

Rachel Alpert '18 
Winner of the 2018 Scott Prize in Hebrew for Excellence in Modern Languages
Rachel completed the Hebrew program successfully as well as the follow up course, Advanced Hebrew Tutorial. In addition, Rachel completed all the requirements for the Certificate in Jewish and Israel Studies and wrote a thesis related to Jewish Studies titled "Two Sets of Silverware: Non-Orthodox Kashrut Observance in Israel and the United States."

Also congratulations to the other wonderful students who completed the Certificate for Jewish and Israel Studies:

Aaron Joseph '18
Talia Kaplan '18
Grace Rubin '18
Elli Scharlin '18