As a broadly interdisciplinary field, Jewish studies is a particularly appropriate area of study within a liberal arts education. The history, philosophy, culture, religion and literature of Judaism and Jewish communities across the globe form a complex, yet intellectually coherent, field of concentration.
Familiarity with the Jewish tradition is required for any significant understanding of Eurasian, North African and Middle Eastern history and politics, of Christianity and Islam, of modern western philosophy and theology, and of European and American literature and culture. The Jewish tradition of reflective and persistent questioning of the most enduring human issues offers unique challenges to Earlham students, whatever their major fields and cultural or religious backgrounds.
“Despite growing up very engaged in my Jewish community, Jewish Studies at Earlham has pushed me to think differently about the Jewish history and the ways that I engage with my own Jewishness. Jewish Studies has broadened my perspectives on my own community as well as reminded me of the struggles faced by so many others. Jewish Studies has taught me to critically analyze history and religious texts as well as celebrate the joy and love within the Jewish community.”
Emma Milner-Gorvine ’21
Jewish studies minor
A tradition of reflective and persistent questioning
Earlham offers students multiple ways to engage with and learn about Jewish traditions.
Practice in community
The Jewish Student Union is a student-led religious life group on campus that offers students the ability to practice the Jewish faith in community with others.
Live in a theme house
Apply to live in Beit Kehillah (Jewish Cultural Center), one of the College’s theme houses. Residents sponsor weekly Shabbat dinners, maintain a library of resources on Jewish life and faith, and provide special events on holidays and other occasions.
Earlham’s Jewish Studies program draws on faculty insight from across the curriculum, providing students with perspectives from history, philosophy, politics, literature, gender studies and other fields.
Frequently asked questions
Students of Jewish studies develop a deep understanding of religious and cultural diversity, and this understanding often contributes to their careers. They are working in Jewish community organizations, studying in rabbinical programs and Christian divinity schools or concentrating on related subjects as they pursue doctorates in history, politics, religion, languages and literature.
Students who have recently completed minors in Jewish studies majored in a variety of disciplines including English, religion, psychology, history, computer science, philosophy, politics, and music. If you are interested in pursuing profound questions about history, literature, culture, politics and religion, the Jewish Studies minor can help you engage meaningfully and critically across disciplines and texts to deepen your understanding of world history and culture, specifically as it relates to Judaism and Jews.