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Jewish Studies


  • Jewish Studies Program

    Pamela Nadell

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  • Michael Brenner

    Joins AU

    Michael Brenner joins the
    Department of History and will
    direct the Center for Israel Studies.

  • Jerusalem's western wall

    Study Abroad

    AU Abroad offers multiple
    opportunities to study in Israel

  • US Holocaust Memorial  Museum

    DC Resources

    Students take advantage of local resources like the
    Holocaust Memorial Museum while pursuing a degree

  • Washington Monument

    Networking in Washington

    Check out Jewish Studies related jobs and internships in the Washington, DC area.

  • Roosevelt Neither Villain nor Hero

    Roosevelt Neither
    Villain nor Hero

    New book coauthored by history department
    profs Breitman and Lichtman reveals
    FDR's true strengths and failings.

American University's Jewish Studies Program emphasizes the rich tradition of Jewish heritage in Western Civilization. The interdisciplinary Jewish Studies Program encompasses more than a dozen award-winning faculty from a variety of departments across the University. AU's Jewish Studies professors and scholars include prize-winning authors; internationally-renowned experts in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts; and several recipients of the Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award, AU's highest faculty honor. In addition to spending time in the classroom, these faculty make frequent media appearances and work with a wide range of scholarly and cultural institutions in our nation's capital and beyond dedicated to advancing knowledge of Jewish civilization to a wider public. Internships and other opportunities enable AU students to join with the faculty as they reach out to the wider community. A degree in Jewish Studies enables students to analyze the civilizations of the Jewish people and their various cultural and religious expressions from the antiquity to the present. The Jewish Studies Program offers a major in Jewish Studies, and minors in Jewish Studies and in Israel Studies.

Why Take a Course in Jewish Studies?

Through the Jewish Studies Program, students may train for a career in the Jewish community or in Jewish education, learn about Jewish issues and opportunities for Jewish public service, and develop a deeper understanding of American and world Jewry. Moreover, since dynamic contact with many other religions and cultures influenced the development of Jewish civilization, students study Jews and Judaism within the broader context of dominant societies and the spectrum of the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Faculty News

Boaz Atzili, School of International Service (SIS), published “Triadic Deterrence: Coercing Strength, Beaten by Weakness,” in Security Studies (Vol. 21, No. 2) (June 2012).

Richard Breitman and Allan J. Lichtman, Distinguished Professors in the Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), published FDR and the Jews (Belknap/Harvard University).

Michael Brenner, Department of History, Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies (CAS), was elected International President of the Leo Baeck Institute.

Erran Carmel, Department of Information Technology, Kogod School of Business (KSB), presented a paper, “Time-Zone Challenged Workplace: What We Know & What We Don’t,” at the Israel Association of Information Systems conference in Haifa.

Calvin Goldscheider, scholar in residence for the Center for Israel Studies (CIS) and the Jewish Studies Program, is completing the book Emergent Israeli Society: Nation Building and Ethnic Transformation.

Gerhson Greenberg, Department of Philosophy and Religion (CAS), has been appointed the Dorsett Fellow in Jewish Religious Thought at Oxford University for the Trinity Term 2013 and visiting professor to the Department of Jewish Thought at Hebrew University of Jerusalem for Spring 2014.

Alan Kraut, Department of History (CAS), President of the Organization of American Historians, taught at Northeast Normal University in Changchun, China in June 2013.

Lisa Leff, Department of History and Jewish Studies Program (CAS), published “Rescue or Theft? Zosa Szajkowski and the Salvaging of French Jewish History” in Jewish Social Studies (Vol. 18, No. 2) (Winter 2012).

Robert I. Lerman, Professor of Economics (CAS), presented a seminar on “Why Israel Should Expand Apprenticeship” at the Brookdale Institute in Jerusalem on May 21, 2013.

Alan Levine, Department of Government, School of Public Affairs (SPA), directs AU’s Political Theory Institute, whose mission is to bring the ideas and insights of political theorists to bear on contemporary issues and events.

Richard Linowes, Department of Management (KSB), directs Kogod’s Sustainability Management program, which builds upon CIS’s successful 2012 conference "Israeli Innovation in Greentech".

Gail Humphries Mardirosian, Department of Performing Arts (CAS), directed American University’s students and alumni in “Signs of Life,” a new drama (book by Peter Ullian, lyrics by Len Schiff and Music by Joel Derfner) about the Terezin ghetto. Performances occurred on campus during May and then in Prague during July as part of the International Psychoanalytical Association’s annual conference.

Pamela S. Nadell, Patrick Clendenen Chair in Women’s and Gender History (CAS), published, with Kate Haulman, Making Women’s Histories: Beyond National Perspectives (New York University Press).

Saul Newman, Department of Government (SPA), published "Between Optimism and Pessimism: Israeli Attitudes Toward Conflict Resolution in the Post-Oslo Era," in Nationalism and Ethnic Politics (Vol. 18, No. 4) (Winter 2012).

Herman Schwartz, Washington College of Law (WCL), founded and continues to oversee the Israel-U.S. Civil Liberties Law program, now named the Herman Schwartz Human Rights Law Fellowship Program.

Maina Singh, SIS, delivered the keynote address on “Being Indian, Being Israeli: Indian Jews in Israel” at the JSIA and Middle-East Institute (MEI) Delhi Conference.

Myra Sklarew, professor emerita, Department of Literature (CAS), wrote the introduction to The New Promised Land: An Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poets (Continuum Press).

Jeffrey K. Sosland, School of Professional and Extended Studies (SPExS), taught International Politics of Water and focused on shared Israeli-Palestinian water resources.

Howard M. Wachtel, professor emeritus, Department of Economics (CAS), chairs the Association for Israel Studies Task Force on Israel Studies Centers & Professors.

Guy Ziv, SIS, directs the SIS Summer Abroad in Israel Program, and has launched the Israel National Security Project (INSP).

Student News

Congratulations to our scholarship winners!


Zach Belinsky, Greenfield Family Scholarship
Arielle Finegold, Everett and Marian Gordon Scholarship
Daniel Hammerman, Estelle Seldowitz Endowed Scholarship
Liran Shriki, Estelle Seldowitz Endowed Scholarship
Natalie Ohayon, Estelle Seldowitz Endowed Scholarship
Eliza Burbank, Judaic Arts and Studies Scholarship

Yediaut Newsletter


Yediaut, the newletter from the Center for Israel Studies and the Jewish Studies Program.

Read Yediaut

Keynote Video: Leon Wieseltier

Leon Wieseltier at American University

See Leon Wieseltier keynote, "Israel Studies, Jewish Studies: Same but Different," from conference on March 3, 2013.

See Video