Jewish Culture

  • IMG - Lang Jewish Culture

    All Lang students can take courses in Jewish Culture to supplement their major course of study. Undergraduate students from any school in the university can elect to minor in Jewish Culture. Those wishing to pursue deeper study of this subject area can explore Jewish Culture through the self-designed major (BA or BS, Liberal Arts). 

    Study classic Jewish texts, both sacred (the Hebrew Bible and Talmud) and secular, and examine Jewish history from biblical times to the present. Drawing on courses from across the university, Lang’s interdisciplinary Jewish Culture minor considers Jews and Judaism as rich case studies for

    • Questioning the meaning of concepts like nation, state, religion, ethnicity, exile, and diaspora
    • Grasping how modernity was born of antiquity
    • Understanding how texts can transform the world

    Lang’s approach to the subject of Jewish culture builds on The New School’s historic role as a haven for leading European Jewish intellectuals in the 1930s and 1940s. Some of them (Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss, for example) have become major figures in modern Jewish culture. Like them, we see the study of Jewish culture not as a means of affirming identity but as a way of understanding the world at large.

    Individual Jewish Culture courses can be taken as electives to supplement any major or incorporated into the self-designed Liberal Arts major. Those majoring in Liberal Arts can explore Jewish Culture as a guided area of study; all others may elect to minor in Jewish Culture. Those majoring in Liberal Arts may also complete an optional senior capstone project guided by a Jewish Culture advisor.

    The University and New York City

    When you pursue a minor in Jewish Culture, you’ll benefit from The New School’s diverse course offerings and from the richness of Jewish life and institutions in New York City.

    Students in the course Oral Histories of The Lower East Side: New Paths to Old Stories, for example, are trained in oral history interviewing techniques, transcription, and the evaluation of oral evidence at the Museum at Eldridge Street. Field trips in other Jewish Culture courses have included the Second Cemetery of Congregation Shearith Israel, the oldest Jewish congregation in North America, established in 1654.

    Students can enrich their studies and pursue internships at organizations such as

    • YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
    • Center for Jewish History
    • Lower East Side Tenement Museum
    • Museum of Jewish Heritage

    Career Paths

    The interdisciplinary minor in Jewish Culture provides an academic foundation for career paths including nonprofit agencies, NGOs, and writing, and for graduate study in fields such as religion, international relations, law, history, literature, social work, social science, and education.