What We Do

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. We sponsor (and co-sponsor) conferences, lectures and seminars; host Visiting Professors and research scholars; support undergraduate and graduate student research and study in the field of Jewish studies, language programs in modern Hebrew and Yiddish, and a number of other special projects.

In addition to running our own conferences, lectures and seminars, we cosponsor many seminars and lectures with departments across the Harvard campus, including series with the Center for European Studies, the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, and the Mahindra Center for the Humanities.  

Every year, the Center also brings Visiting Professors to Harvard to supplement our regular course offerings in Jewish studies, and we host visiting research scholars who come to Harvard from around the world to conduct independent research in the many fields of Jewish studies. These include our Harry Starr Fellows in Judaica and our Daniel Jeremy Silver Rabbinic Fellow who all participate in a weekly research seminar held in the spring semester every year on a given theme or period of Jewish history.

We support undergraduate and graduate student research and supplemental study over the summer and J-term (January), and we work closely with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) to provide funding to graduate students during the academic year.  On top of all this, we support a number of other special projects, including modern Hebrew and Yiddish language programs, graduate student workshop groups in Jewish studies, a Jewish studies reading room in Widener Library, a Jewish studies graduate student exchange program with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Emet, an undergraduate journal of Jewish studies.

Faculty, courses, and other academic programs in Jewish studies at the University are located in a wide variety of departments within the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences, as well as Harvard Divinity School, and Harvard Law School.  The Judaica Division at 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.