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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 a new book, Good Fences, Bad Neighbors: Border Fixity and International Conflict. He also published, with Wendy Pearlman, “Triadic Deterrence: Coercing Strength, Beaten by Weakness,” in Security Studies. His op-ed, "Attack Iran or More Sanctions? A Third Option: Israel and Iran Forsake Nukes," appeared in the Christian Science Monitor in March 2012.

Richard Breitman, Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), completed work on FDR and the Jews, co-authored with Allan J. Lichtman. Harvard University Press will publish it in the spring of 2013. He also published "The United States and the Holocaust in Hungary” in the collection The Auschwitz Reports and the Holocaust in Hungary. He continues as editor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, published by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Erran Carmel, Department of Information Technology, Kogod School of Business (KSB), organized and co-chaired the "Greener, Cleaner, Better: Israeli Innovation in Greentech" conference at American University in February 2012.

Calvin Goldscheider, scholar in residence for the Center for Israel Studies (CIS) and the Jewish Studies Program, presented two papers at conferences, “Ethnicity and Religion in Israeli Society: Why it matters to America” and “Immigration and Population Changes in Israel: Ethnicity, Religion and Family Values.” He also continues his research project with two colleagues at Hebrew University, Dov Friedlander and Barbara Okun, on educational change.

Gerhson Greenberg, Department of Philosophy and Religion (CAS), has served as visiting professor in the departments of Jewish thought and philosophy at Hebrew, Bar Ilan, Haifa and Tel Aviv Universities and is a consultant to the International Archives Division of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Alan Kraut, Department of History (CAS), is now President-elect of the Organization of American Historians. He also continues to chair the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation's History Advisory Committee. His co-edited volume, Ethnic Historians and the Mainstream: Shaping America's Immigration Story is forthcoming.

Lisa Leff, Department of History and Jewish Studies Program (CAS), is publishing an article, “Rescue or Theft? Zosa Szajkowski and the Salvaging of French Jewish History” in Jewish Social Studies. She is also working on a book about the same subject.

Alan Levine, Department of Government, School of Public Affairs (SPA), founded and is Director of the Political Theory Institute, whose mission is to bring the ideas and insights of political theorists to bear on contemporary issues and events. He published a book chapter on “The Idea of Commerce in Enlightenment Political Thought”.

Allan Lichtman, Department of History (CAS), taught an Honors course, “FDR, the Jews, and the Holocaust,” based on his forthcoming book coauthored with Richard Breitman.

Richard Linowes, Department of Management (KSB), continues to teach Global Entrepreneurship. He supervised a student research team which created displays on the most innovative Israeli green technology companies for the "Israeli Innovation in Greentech" symposium.

Eric Lohr, Department of History (CAS), published his book, Russian Citizenship: From Empire to Soviet Union, which includes chapters about policies toward Jewish emigration and denaturalization.

Gail Humphries Mardirosian, Department of Performing Arts (CAS), continues to teach about the Holocaust through performing arts. She published a book chapter entitled “Giving Voice to the Silenced through Theatre,” in The Power of Witnessing: Reflections, Reverberations and Traces of the Holocaust.

Pamela S. Nadell, Department of History (CAS), continues as Chair of the Department of History. This year she published “A Tale of Two Stories: The Hadassah Century," in Hadassah Magazines centennial issue; was named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Association for Jewish Studies; lectured in both Austria and Germany, and moderated the panel of the first woman rabbis at the National Museum of American Jewish History. 

Saul Newman, Department of Government (SPA), will have an article, "Between Optimism and Pessimism: Israeli Attitudes Toward Conflict Resolution in the Post-Oslo Era," published in Nationalism and Ethnic Politics. He was recently elected to his second term as President of the Board of Directors of AU Hillel.

Herman Schwartz, Washington College of Law (WCL), continues to oversee the Israel-U.S. Civil Liberties Law program, jointly sponsored bythe New Israel Fund, at the Washington College of Law’s Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law.

Maina Singh, SIS, published “Indians and Israelis: A Strategic Perspective” in the Israel Studies Journal.

Myra Sklarew, professor emerita, Department of Literature (CAS), published "Leiser's Song," a chapter in The Power of Witnessing and co-taught "Poetry as Midrash," at the Jewish Folk Arts Festival workshop with Merrill Leffler.

Howard M. Wachtel, professor emeritus, Department of Economics (CAS), chairs the Association for Israel Studies Task Force on Israel Studies Centers & Professors. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise’s Israel Scholar Development Fund.

Guy Ziv,SIS, director of the SIS Summer Abroad in Israel Program, published “Simple vs Complex Learning Revisited: Israeli Prime Ministers and the Question of a Palestinian State” in Foreign Policy Analysis. He continues to write a blog for the Huffington Post about Arab-Israeli peacemaking.

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