The Robert M. Beren Department of Jewish Studies

Academic Jewish Studies are at the heart of Yeshiva University's mission and identity. The highest form of the Torah u-Madda ideal is a level of integration in which each enriches the other, and this is nowhere as intimate and rewarding as in the use of the tools of the academy to enhance one's understanding of the Jewish heritage itself. Jewish Studies at Yeshiva College are taught with a reverence for tradition combined with the rigorous application of the methodology of the relevant academic disciplines.

This explains the substantial Jewish Studies requirement in the college curriculum, and it also explains why many of our best and most engaged students choose to major or minor in Jewish Studies.

The Robert M. Beren Department of Jewish Studies includes programs in Bible, Hebrew, Jewish History, and Jewish Philosophy and Thought. A student majoring in Jewish Studies may choose a concentration in any of these programs. Please click here for a list of courses offered during the Fall 2018 semester.

Our department works partners with with the Revel Graduate School, Stern College Department of Judaic Studies, the YU Museum, the Gottesman Library of Hebraica/Judaica, the Center for Israel Studies, the Center for Jewish Law and Civilization at the Cardozo School of Law, and the Straus Center for Torah and Western Civilization, to design courses and programs across Yeshiva Univeristy.

Mission Statement

The Robert M. Beren Department of Jewish Studies serves two main sets of stakeholders: the general Yeshiva College student population and majors in the department.  Its mission to all Yeshiva College students is to educate them regarding Jewish civilization from biblical times through the present, to develop their knowledge of and appreciation for the Hebrew language as a vehicle for Jewish culture throughout the ages, and to develop their appreciation for the contexts in which Judaism arose and developed.  For majors, its mission is to develop their facility with primary and secondary sources and their independent research skills, and thus prepare them to pursue graduate-level degrees in Jewish Studies.

Student learning goals:

  1. Students will be broadly familiar with the sweep of Jewish history.
  2. Students will be able to value context as relevant to studying Jewish texts and cultures.
  3. Students will be able to appreciate the validity and value of modern academic approaches to Jewish civilization alongside traditional Jewish approaches to the same subjects.
  4. Students will have basic facility with the Hebrew language, especially in its classical form in biblical and rabbinic texts.