About the Department

From the Department Head

Are you interested in Israel? The current situation in the Middle East? Modern Jewish History? Kabala and Mysticism? Ancient Near Eastern civilizations? Modern and Biblical Hebrew or other Jewish Languages? Welcome to the Judaic Studies Department at the University of Cincinnati.

The Department of Judaic Studies within the College of Arts and Sciences is dedicated to the promotion of all aspects of Jewish scholarship and civilization at the highest level of academic excellence. After three decades in existence, we continue to educate through a broad and integrative curriculum placing Judaic studies within the larger field of the humanities, and to stimulate excellence in scholarship through all available resources at the University of Cincinnati. We reach every section of the Jewish community and the interested non-Jewish public and collaborate with academic institutions in the Cincinnati area, throughout the US, and abroad.

Our award winning faculty is committed to rigorous, critical and serious teaching and research about the Jewish civilization born in the ancient Middle East that has flourished in a variety of forms in many places for more than three thousand years. Our course work and programs reflect the chronological scope and geographic diversity of the Jewish experience, with particular strength in the fields of intellectual, religious and social history, founded on analytic study of primary sources. We offer a unique scholarly experience to our undergraduate students interested in getting their BA in Judaic Studies, seminarians from other institutions, or community members interested in expanding their knowledge of Jewish civilization and the Hebrew language.

For the past several years we have worked to build additional strength in Israel studies and modern history, brought in new affiliate faculty, and visiting lecturers. We initiated experiential and service-learning to students as a part of their undergraduate program and included specializations in areas such as Israel and Diaspora, Judaism and cosmopolitanism, Jewish-Christian relations and Biblical studies.

In 2010, we launched a Center for Jewish Cultures and Ideas housed in the Judaic Studies Department within the College of Arts & Sciences. The Center endeavors to explore the complexity of the Jewish experience in its broadest contours - as a multifaceted study of a great world civilization that has endured for millennia and has interacted with other great world cultures. A complex network of scholarly, teaching, professional and community undertakings, the Center will act as a unifying force, fostering mutual respect and understanding within the academic, the general communities, and in the field of inter-community relations. The Center will sponsor lectures, symposia, and conferences on far-reaching topics in the field of Jewish studies, all of which are free and open to the general public in an effort to serve the UC community and the broader public, exposing both to the riches of a great world culture, and to the values of diversity and tolerance that accompany its study.

The department remains committed to keeping in touch with alumni and friends. I invite you to attend our lectures and events. Contact me to tell me what you think and need, and we will do our best to deliver. We are delighted to hear from you.

Matthew Kraus

Professor and Department Head