About

The mission of the Center is to gather faculty, students, and visiting academics for research and debate across the wide scholarly landscape of Jewish Studies. The Center builds upon Berkeley’s long tradition and exemplary reputation in the field, and looks forward to fruitful exchanges with other institutions and with the Bay Area Jewish community.

The faculty of the Center includes professors from departments and schools of Comparative Literature, Near Eastern Studies, History, Sociology, Law, Political Science, Journalism, Rhetoric, and Music. These internationally distinguished scholars, alongside Berkeley’s superb graduate students, continue our long-standing reputation as a leading center of Jewish Studies scholarship. Several generous endowments support annual colloquia, conferences, and other special events that enhance the Center’s core academic degree programs.

The Center is a diverse and interdisciplinary campus unit administered through the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. Both the graduate and undergraduate academic programs emphasize this interdisciplinary agenda. PhD students can apply to the faculty committee to pursue a ‘Designated Emphasis in Jewish Studies’ in addition to their primary doctoral subject. Undergraduates in any department can choose a ‘Minor in Jewish Studies’ in addition to their major field of study. The Center also sponsors an annual series of Endowed Lectures, and hosts post-doctoral visiting scholars and visiting faculty who augment both course offerings and public lectures. Close collaboration with several affiliated institutions serves to enhance programming through co-sponsorship and outreach to a broad audience around the Bay Area.     

The Center for Jewish Studies is governed by a five-member Executive Committee (EC), each of whom serves a term of three years. The faculty director of the Center is also the chair of the Executive Committee. The EC appoints standing committees to administer extracurricular programs and lectures, the Designated Emphasis, and the Undergraduate Minor. The EC is responsible for coordinating with the Office of University Relations on fundraising initiatives, and convenes ad hoc committees as necessary. The committee meets regularly and reports to the office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.