About Us

Mission

The Center for Jewish Studies serves as an umbrella organization, encompassing and coordinating the many academic and extra-curricular programs in Jewish Studies at Harvard University.   Faculty, courses and other academic programs at the university are located in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Divinity School, and the Harvard Law School. We sponsor our own conferences, lectures and seminars. We also cosponsor other seminars and lectures with departments across the Harvard campus, including lecture series with the Mahindra Center for the Humanities, the Center for European Studies and the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. The Judaica Division of Widener Library boasts one of the world’s greatest library collections in the world. Taken together, Harvard offers students and scholars resources in Jewish Studies virtually unparalleled anywhere in the world.

Vision

The hope of the Harvard alumni, faculty and administration involved in this project was that the new Center would not only satisfy an unmistakable need for further growth within the University itself but would also benefit the study and teaching of Judaica throughout the country.

Friends of the Center for Jewish Studies

In December 1984, Peter Solomon (AB ’60, MBA ’63), then a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers, announced the establishment of the Friends of the Center for Jewish Studies.  This organization seeks to provide an ongoing base of support for the Center and to enable it to expand its present areas of activity.  Annual support from the Friends helps shape the future of Jewish Studies and sustain the Center as an influential, multi-faceted enterprise at Harvard.

Some of the specific projects the Friends of the Center for Jewish Studies include:

  • student research projects (both undergraduate and graduate, school year
    and summer);
  • graduate student fellowships;
  • research-related expenses for visiting scholars;
  • public lectures and class presentations by distinguished scholars;
  • doctoral dissertation advising by specialized scholars from outside Harvard;
  • group discussions of research in progress for Harvard faculty and students in Jewish studies

Upcoming Events

  • Sunny Yudkoff: The Bacterial Turn in Yiddish Literature: Two Case Studies February 20, 2020 at 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm Harvard University, Adolphus Busch Hall, Hoffman Room, 27 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA Sunny Yudkoff is an Assistant Professor in the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic and the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her first book, Tubercular Capital: Illness and the Conditions of Modern Jewish Writing (Stanford University Press, 2019), was awarded the Salon Wittmayer Baron Prize. Her work has appeared in Jewish Social Studies, Prooftexts, and Literature…
  • Conference: Beyond Translation: Vernacular Jewish Bibles, from Antiquity to Modernity February 24, 2020 at 9:00 am – 6:00 pm Harvard Faculty Club, East Dining Room, 20 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA Panel I: TheAncient PeriodPaul Kosmin, Harvard University (Chair)Annette Yoshiko Reed, New York University Steven Fraade, Yale UniversityPanel II: The Medieval PeriodNicholas Watson, Harvard University (Chair)Meira Polliack, Tel Aviv UniversityLuis Giron-Negron, Harvard UniversityPanel III: The Early Modern and Modern PeriodsJon Levenson, Harvard Divinity School (Chair)MarionAptroot, Heinrich-Heine-Universität DüsseldorfAbigail Gillman, Boston UniversityPanel IV: The Twentieth CenturySandra Naddaff, Harvard University (Chair) Naomi Seidman,…
  • Vivian Liska: The Jew as Migrant: From Theory to Poetry February 25, 2020 at 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm Harvard Divinity School, CSWR Common Room, 42 Francis Ave, Cambridge MA 02138 Annual List Lecture in Jewish StudiesVivian Liska is Professor of German literature and director of the Institute of Jewish Studies at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Since 2013, she is Distinguished Visiting Professor in the GermanDivision of the Faculty of the Humanities at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has published extensively on literary theory,…