The Jewish Studies Program at Penn reflects the full range and many dimensions of the Jewish experience as well as different approaches to studying Jewish life and culture. Because of its inherently interdisciplinary nature, Jewish Studies offers an almost perfect microcosm of the humanities and social sciences, and will interest any student who wishes to explore the Jewish component in world civilization. The Program sponsors full language tracks in Hebrew and Yiddish that can satisfy the language requirement, and offers introductory courses for students with little or no background in Jewish Studies as well as advanced courses for students who come to Penn with prior training in Jewish subjects. By training students to understand different societies and cultures and the interactions among various religious and ethnic groups, the major and the minor in Jewish Studies prepare students for any career, enabling them to meet the needs of an increasingly global and multicultural society.
Faculty and methodologies are drawn from a wide range of University departments, including Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Religious Studies, History, Folklore and Folklife, Political Science, English, Communications, Sociology, Comparative Literature, and Germanic Languages and Literatures. Courses cover the culture and experience of the Jews from ancient to modern times, and relate Jewish life and culture to the surrounding world.