About Judaic Studies at PSU

Judaic Studies employs the critical methodologies of university scholarship to examine all aspects of the history, religion, culture, and social and political formations of the Jewish people.

Judaic Studies enhances our understanding of world history, and allows critical insight into a vital strand in the tapestry of world culture. It offers the opportunity for students of all backgrounds to explore a rich civilization that is both nourished by ancient traditions, and shaped through creative encounters and ongoing interactions with other cultures. At the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University, this enterprise is conducted through a variety of academic courses and summer programming, lectures and research symposia, scholarly conferences and cultural events.

We offer both an undergraduate major and minor degree. Judaic Studies does not at present offer post-graduate degrees, but our faculty often advise MA students in the History Department who focus on Jewish history.

We work closely with the Department of World Languages and Literatures to support Hebrew language instructionThanks to the generosity of the Aspen Mitzvah Fund, we offer scholarships to qualified students taking third-year Hebrew. Judaic Studies majors and minors are eligible to apply for additional scholarship opportunities to support their study.

Our program has a special, though not exclusive, focus on the modern period. By exploring the encounter of Jews and Judaism with modernity, we pose fundamental questions about the nature of tradition and change in the modern world, questions with which all groups and individuals must contend. At the same time, our program seeks to provide a broad exposure to the study of Jews and Judaism in multiple historical and geographical contexts, from ancient Israel to twenty-first century America.

The motto of Portland State University is "Let Knowledge Serve the City." This reflects a university mission of urban and community engagement, which we practice in the Judaic Studies program through a range of community partnerships and hands-on learning opportunities for students. Students pursuing a degree in Judaic Studies at PSU may apply for the Sara Glasgow Cogan Scholarship, which provides support for students undertaking credit-bearing internships at Jewish community and cultural organizations, such as the Oregon Jewish Museum.

Portland is a wonderful city in which to study. Widely recognized for its quality of life and cultural attractions, the city is a diverse and dynamic urban environment in a state known for its exceptional beauty.