The area of Jewish Studies at Berkeley is notable for both its chronological and disciplinary scope. Jewish Studiesfaculty cover fields from Hebrew Bible and Talmud and Midrash through medieval Jewish history to modern Jewish history, modern Hebrew and Yiddish literature and modern Jewish thought.
Students receive thorough grounding in traditional philological and historical methods, but the program has also distinguished itself by fostering a variety of innovative approaches-applying literary and anthropological perspectives to the Bible, looking at Midrash through a folkloristic lens, bringing the concerns of cultural studies to the investigation of the world of the early rabbis, approaching Hebrew and Yiddish literature in the broad context of comparative literature, exploring issues of gender and national identity.
As a matter of course, Berkeley faculty has represented Jewish Studies not as a parochial undertaking but as a set of intellectual interests constantly in a mutually productive dialogue with other disciplines in the humanities. Graduate training in various fields of Jewish Studies is conducted in the Departments of History, Comparative Literature, Near Eastern Studies, and in the Joint Doctoral Program with the Graduate Theological Union.
Students emerging from the Jewish Studies program at UC Berkeley occupy positions nationwide in institutions such as Princeton, Stanford, Yale, Rutgers, UCLA, Columbia, the University of Maryland, and the University of Florida as well as at the Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, Haifa University, and Ben Gurion University.