Jews have lived in virtually every corner of the world, interacting in rich and creative ways with the peoples and cultures in which they have found themselves. Jewish studies focuses not only on the religion of Judaism, but on the many dimensions of Jewish culture, including literature, the Hebrew language, history, politics, social institutions, folkways, art, music, and film. The program encompasses 3,000 years of Jewish civilization and seeks to explore the religion, culture, and history of the Jewish people.
Jewish studies is interdisciplinary in orientation and scope. At Mount Holyoke, the study of Jewish culture draws on a wide variety of disciplines, including English, German, gender studies, history, international relations, and religion. As an interdisciplinary endeavor, Jewish studies provides students with opportunities to cross intellectual boundaries and to make connections across diverse cultural phenomena. Religion and theology, Middle East politics, the history of Jews throughout the world, literature and languages, the Holocaust, contemporary American culture, the history and role of women--all these and more are bound up with the study of the Jewish people, their history and culture.