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Department of Jewish Studies

Welcome to Jewish Studies
at Tulane University

Michael Cohen, Chair, Jewish Studies Department

Chair's Message

Nationally recognized for its vitality and vibrancy, the Department of Jewish Studies provides Jews with connections to their values and heritage, introduces Jews and non-Jews to the vibrancy of the Jewish experience, and ultimately builds bridges with the non-Jewish world that further tolerance for all people. Prioritizing teaching excellence, ground-breaking research, innovative programming, and unparalleled student enrichment opportunities, we provide tools for individuals, Jewish and non, to ground contemporary issues within their historical contexts.



Our Impact

Tulane Jewish Studies is nationally recognized for its vitality and vibrancy. In an era where enrollments across the nation are declining, our department stands well above peers. A remarkable one out of every four 2018 graduates enrolled in a Jewish Studies course during their time at Tulane. Moreover, over 750 students enrolled in Jewish Studies and Hebrew courses in the 2017-18 academic year, many of whom also studied abroad in Israel and across the globe. Our impact extends beyond Tulane, as our majors and minors excel in medicine, law, aviation, technology, business, and other competitive fields.


Jewish Studies Department founder Joseph Cohen with student

Our Story

Tulane Jewish Studies began in the 1970s, offering a limited number of courses in Hebrew language and American Jewish literature. As the Soviet Jewry movement gained traction around the nation, Jewish Studies gained a more prominent place on campus, and its growth continued into the 1990s. The program was transformed by a major gift in 2003 from the Sizeler family, and in the ensuing decade, Tulane received significant gifts from generous donors and national foundations. In 2013, Tulane Jewish Studies become a standalone department in the School of Liberal Arts, and we now stand poised to become a global leader in the field of Jewish Studies.


Sarah Cramsey with students at WWII museum

Our Mission

Jewish Studies represents an interdisciplinary approach to thinking and learning, exploring the evolution of Judaism, Jewish culture, and Jewish nationalism from biblical times to the present. Through the specific study of the Jewish people from multiple perspectives, we offer insight into the universality of the human experience. We provide tools for individuals, Jewish and non, to ground contemporary issues within their historical contexts. We emphasize skills of communication, inquiry, critical thinking, and writing, equipping our graduates with the skills to be competitive and successful in myriad careers.


Jewish Studies; Our Vision

Our Vision

As Tulane University embarks upon its Only the Audacious campaign, our vision is for a world-class Jewish Studies department that will, through knowledge, familiarize people of all faiths and backgrounds with the richness of the Jewish experience. Building upon the university’s strengths and its place in New Orleans, we will strengthen Tulane’s standing as one of the top schools in North America for Jewish undergraduates, become a thriving center of Jewish knowledge for all people, and strengthen our position as a global hub for Jewish Studies.