The New School Continuing Education

Jewish Cultural Studies

What does it mean to be a Jew? Is there a difference between Jewish culture and the religion of Judaism? How have Jewish cultural traditions - food, music, humor, and intellectual inquiry—influenced the city of New York, the country, and the world at large? Come to The New School and find out. The Jewish Cultural Studies program explores Jewish cultural life, with a particular focus on secularism in Jewish communities and the contributions of Jewish thinkers to secular intellectual traditions. This program has been made possible by a generous grant from the Posen Foundation.

Jewish intellectual life has deep roots at The New School. Between the world wars, many prominent Jewish scholars lectured at the university in the social sciences, humanities, and the arts. In 1933, The New School demonstrated its commitment to academic freedom by establishing the University in Exile to provide a safe haven for persecuted Jewish scholars including Leo Strauss and Max Wertheimer; in subsequent decades, they were joined by such luminaries as Hans Jonas and Hannah Arendt.

Among the seminal scholars who helped form the interdisciplinary outlines for a "New School education" today was Horace Kallen, philosopher and founding faculty member. Committed to a secular, cultural Judaism, Kallen invented the term "cultural pluralism" to describe the coexistence of cultural groups unified by a secular national culture as a crucial characteristic of democratic society. Students in the Jewish Cultural Studies program continue this line of inquiry, exploring the legacies of individuals who questioned, engaged, or adopted a secular stance.

Upcoming Event

Jewish Cuisines: The Local and the Global
Tuesday, April 24, 6:00 p.m.
Theresa Lang Center, Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor
Admission: $5; free to all students and New School faculty, staff, and alumni with ID.
Tickets: 212.229.5488, or get them online.

Jewish cuisine, based on biblical traditions and customs developed over centuries of history, has found new homes in different parts of the globe. The creativity and distinctiveness of this truly global cuisine is a testament to the resilience of religious and secular Jewish culture. This panel explores the richness of Jewish culinary practices, as speakers share food memories and recipes ranging from eastern European to Jewish-Italian, from the New York deli to contemporary Israeli.

Panelists: June Feiss Hersh, author of Recipes Remembered: A Celebration of Survival; Michele Scicolone, author of The French Slow Cooker and 17 other cookbooks; Ted Merwin, professor of religion and Judaic studies, Dickinson College; and Naama Shefi, Israeli cuisine specialist and food writer.

Val Vinokur, director of Jewish Studies at Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, moderates. Co-sponsored by the Food Studies and Jewish Cultural Studies programs of The New School for Public Engagement and the Israeli consulate.

For more information, please visit The New School's Event Calendar.

Connect with the New School