Jewish Studies is an Interdisciplinary Program offered by the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Kentucky.
We are a dynamic group of 12 core affiliated faculty drawn from four colleges (Arts and Sciences, Fine Arts, Education, and Engineering). First established in 1996, the Jewish Studies Program and interdisciplinary minor has enjoyed a long history at the University of Kentucky. Our courses reflect the disciplinary training of our core affiliate faculty, most of whom have been housed in philosophy or history, but recent faculty hires have resulted in new course offerings which reflect the interdisciplinary and transnational shift of Jewish and Israel Studies on the whole. Currently, the program offers a two-course, year-long sequence in Jewish culture and civilization, HJS 324-325 along with courses on the history of the Holocaust, Jewish philosophy, Jews in America, Jewish Graphic Novels, Bible as Literature, Women in Judaism, the Jewish musical tradition, and Writing Jewish Kentucky. We are proud to be the only Jewish Studies program in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to offer language courses in Yiddish, Ladino, and modern Hebrew.
In addition to offering a minimum of 4-5 courses each semester, we also sponsor the Annual Zantker Lecture Series with a minimum of five invited speakers (this year we'll have five plus we're hosting a two-day symposium focused on Kentucky Jewish History April 12-13, 2018), and the Luckens graduate essay competition and prize. In collaboration with the local Jewish community, Hillel, and the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass, we also sponsor annual "signature" events. Additionally, the University has agreements of collaboration with Haifa and Ben Gurion Universities. As we look toward our 25th anniversary in 2021, we are excited about new directions for growth and development.
The minor in Jewish Studies familiarizes students with the historical and contemporary diversity of Jewish culture, language, literature, religion, history, and philosophy. In addition to specific courses offered by the program, students may also obtain approval from the program director to take courses from other fields provided the course subject matter is significantly relevant to the area of Jewish Studies.
Jewish Studies offers its undergraduates several opportunities to futher their research and language skills with Undergraduate Research Awards. In 2014, students used these awards to travel to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to conduct archival research and to attend Yiddish Farm, an immersive Yiddish language program. In addition to the research awards, students who wish to further their study of the Holocaust with experiential travel abroad may apply to the Caller-Zolondek Holocaust ScholarshipTravel Award. We also offer a limited number of scholarships to support student participation in our faculty-led, summer Education abroad trip to Israel.