University of Minnesota
Center for Jewish Studies

Center for Jewish Studies

Center for Jewish Studies

About Us

At the Center for Jewish Studies, we are dedicated to exploring the important questions about Jewish history and culture from antiquity to the modern age. Our acclaimed faculty, path-breaking research, expanding undergraduate program, and focus on deepening ties within the University attest to the success and ongoing promise of our mission: to foster a new understanding of Jewish culture and history.

We support the academic study of the historical, cultural, linguistic, ethnic, geographic, and religious diversity of the full range of peoples who identify themselves as Jewish, while fulfilling the educational mission of the liberal arts to promote critical thought, reflection on values, and analysis of sources.


Three Compelling Speakers Coming This Fall

We are particularly excited about the three speakers that will be participating in our fall Community Lecture and on-campus Colloquium Series.

On October 9th, Ethan Katz (History, University of Cincinnati) will speak about his new book:

The Burdens of Brotherhood: Jews and Muslims from North Africa to France

Burden of Brotherhood

October 9, 2015, 2:00pm, 1210 Heller Hall (UMN Eeast Bank)



Headlines from France suggest that Muslims have renewed an age-old struggle against Jews and that the two groups are once more inevitably at odds. But the past tells a different story. The Burdens of Brotherhood is a sweeping history of Jews and Muslims in France from World War I to the present. We see how Jews and Muslims, as ethno-religious minorities, under­stood and related to one another through their respective relation­ships to the French state and society. Through their eyes, we see colonial France as a multiethnic, multireligious society more open to public displays of difference than its postcolonial successor. This book thus dramatically reconceives the meaning and history not only of Jewish-Muslim relations but ultimately of modern France itself.

Co-sponsored by the Department of History, the Center for Jewish History, and the Mediterranean Collaborative.

On October 18th, the Center for Jewish Studies, in cooperation with the St. Paul JCC, will be hosting award-winning Israeli author and translator Assaf Gavron



Gavron HilltopGavron photo

  • Contemporary Politics In Israel--Can You Avoid Politics?

  • Current Israeli novelists and writers build upon the great traditions of Modern Hebrew writing, but have broken new ground as well.
  • What are the central themes and issues of the contemporary generation of writers in Israel?
  • What are the key issues and themes of this generation's writing:
  • What role does politics play in their writing, how widely accepted is their work, and how do relations between Israel and other countries shape the experience of rhese writers?
  • October 18, 2015, 7:30 p.m. St. Paul JCC 1375 St. Paul Ave., St. Paul MN

  • On the following day, Gavron will be discussing his latest novel The Hilltop. Here's an excerpt from Amazon's blurb on the book:

  • "Hailed as the "Great Israeli Novel" (Time Out Tel Aviv) and winner of the prestigious Bernstein Prize. The Hilltop is a monumental and daring work about life in a West Bank settlement from one of Israel's most acclaimed young turns serious and satirical The Hilltop brilliantly skewers the complex, often absurd reality of life in Israel, the West Bank settlers, and the nation's relationship to the United States, and makes a startling parallel between today's settlements and the kibbutz movements of {its protagonists] youth. Rich with humor and insight, Assaf Gavron's novel is the first fiction to grapple with one of the most charged geo-political issues of our time, and he has written a masterpiece."
  • October 19, 2015 Noon, Room 325 Nicholson Hall, UMN East Bank

  • You can see an interview with Gavron on his blog: Assaf Gavron Blog
    And read more about The Hilltop at Amazon/The Hilltop

  • On November 1, The Center for Jewish Studies will present:

    Moshe Halbertal

    "Gaza, the IDF Code of Ethics, and the Morality of War"

  • Halbertal
  • What moral and legal principles should guide an army in a complex confrontaton that involves a
    tragic loss of civilian life and other major collateral damage?
    What values has the Israel Defenses Forces committed itself to uphold in times of war?
    How do we arrive at an honest account of what actually happened in Gaza, in light of competing
    moral considerations and the realities that Israel faced?
    In the wake of the Gaza war, what lessons can Israel learn, and how should Israel proceed?

  • November 1, 2015 / 7:30 p.m.
    Beth El Synagogue, 5225 Barry St. W., St. Louis Park, MN

  • cosponsored by the Department of Philosophy, Department of Political Science, Institute for Global
    Studies, Religious Studies Program

The Fall Courses are Here

There is still time to enroll in courses with our world-class faculty. Help us get the word out!



There are no upcoming events currently scheduled.