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 in 2003 by a major gift from the Sizeler family, and in the ensuing decade, Tulane received significant gifts from generous donors and national foundations. We now feature some of the strongest enrollments in the nation, and in 2019, a major gift from Stuart and Suzanne Grant created the Grant Center for the American Jewish Experience.
Here at Tulane, we are positioned to achieve even greater heights. We are already home to a strong community of Jewish fraternities and sororities, a thriving Hillel, and a popular Chabad Student Center. Within this conducive environment, Tulane’s Department of Jewish Studies has prided itself on the fact that our classes have high attendance among both Jewish and non-Jewish students. Our impact reaches well beyond campus, as we provide our students with a critical liberal arts education foundation, including the tools to be leaders in medicine, law, technology, business and other competitive fields.
Representing an interdisciplinary approach to thinking and learning, the field of Jewish Studies explores 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-Jewish, 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.