Judaic Studies

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Program Overview

Dating back nearly 4,000 years, Judaism is the world's oldest monotheistic faith and the foundation of both Christianity and Islam. Studying Judaism is thus central for understanding the roots of Western Civilization. This is especially true at Fairfield University, an institution whose rich Jesuit heritage is deeply rooted in the Catholic tradition.

‌Fairfield's interdisciplinary undergraduate program in Judaic Studies welcomes students of all backgrounds - religious and secular, Christian and non-Christian - to explore the relationship of their own traditions, values, and beliefs to the Jewish experience. The program minor offers a diverse array of courses on Jewish faith, history, and culture, all of which contribute to integrating Judaic Studies into the curriculum of the College of Arts and Sciences. The program also organizes programs and special events for the University and larger Fairfield/Bridgeport communities.

The Judaic Studies program is comprised of faculty representing the departments of Religious Studies, History, Modern Languages, English, and Visual and Performing Arts. Each semester, the program offers courses on a range of Jewish-related topics. Directed by Gavriel Rosenfeld, professor of history, the program is closely linked to the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, which annually sponsors many lectures and special events.

Student interest in our courses is consistently high, as is University attendance at such annual events as the Jewish New Year celebration, Passover Seder, and Holocaust remembrance service - all of which are co-sponsored by Judaic Studies, the Carl & Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, Campus Ministry, and KADIMA, Fairfield's undergraduate Jewish students' organization.


For a 15-credit minor in Judaic studies, students:

  • Complete five three-credit courses. At least two of these courses must be taken in the Department of Religious Studies; at least one course must be taken outside of the department.

Students may structure their own course of study in consultation with the program director, but they are expected to gain an understanding of basic Jewish religious beliefs and practices as well as those political, social, and cultural forces that have helped shape the historical experiences of the Jewish people.

Independent study and internships are encouraged and can be substituted for any course (other than the two required religious studies courses) with the approval of the program director. Students are also encouraged to apply for summer, and semester - or yearlong programs in the United States or Israel, especially those offering Hebrew language study. Students receiving credit for such programs and/or Judaic studies courses taken at another university may count up to six Hebrew language credits and three additional credits toward the Judaic studies minor.

Course Offerings

See Judaic Studies course descriptions from our catalog for more information

Religious Studies

  • RS 101: Exploring Religion (only sections taught by Harkins)
  • RS 201: Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
  • RS 205: Women in the Bible
  • RS 209: Jewish Interpretations of Scripture
  • RS 210: Introduction to Judaism
  • RS 211: History of the Jewish Experience
  • RS 213: Jews and Judaism in America
  • RS 215: Women in Judaism
  • RS 218: Faith After the Holocaust
  • RS 300: Second Temple Judaism and the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • RS 301: Religious Diversity in Early Judaism and Christianity
  • RS 315: Modern Jewish Theology



  • EN 113: Literature of the Holocaust
  • EN 134: 20th Century Jewish American Literature



  • HI 205: Anti-semitism: Medieval to Modern
  • HI 210: The Third Reich
  • HI 212: Modern Germany: From Reich to Republic
  • HI 214: Modern Jewish History: 1750-Present
  • HI 284: 20th Century Russia
  • HI 304: The Holocaust in History and Memory
  • HI 317: Religious Outsiders in Early Modern France and Europe
  • HI 342: Immigration, Ethnicity, and Race in U.S. History


Modern Languages and Literatures

  • HE 110: Elementary Hebrew I
  • HE 111: Elementary Hebrew II
  • HE 210: Intermediate Hebrew I
  • HE 211: Intermediate Hebrew II


Visual and Performing Arts

  • AH 109: Jewish Art: Moses to Modernity
  • AH 191: Art and Mythologies of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Bolshevik Russia: Comparative Systems/Outcomes
  • MU 111: The Life and Music of George Gershwin


The College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University is home to a vibrant community of engaged faculty, dedicated staff and budding scholars devoted to the process of invention and discovery and excited by the prospect of producing knowledge in the service of others. Meet the dedicated members of our Judaic Studies Program.


If you've ever wondered if a particular career is a good fit for you, internships are a terrific way to find out. Academic credit and noncredit internships are available to Fairfield students in every field and offer hands-on, professional experience at leading companies throughout the region.

Life After Fairfield

Independent study and research internship opportunities are available and you may incorporate them into the minor with the approval of the program director. You are also urged to apply for summer, semester, or yearlong programs in the United States or Israel, especially those offering Hebrew language study.

Learn about how Fairfield's Internship Program can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

Carl & Dorothy Bennett Center For Judaic Studies

The Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies was founded in 1994 with a goal is to enrich the intellectual, cultural and spiritual life at Fairfield University through lectures, programs and other special events including monthly Shabbat services and dinners.

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