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Jewish Studies

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"Born Into Fire" by Alan Kaufman

Alan Kaufman, “Born into Fire,” 2007.

Special Collections, University of Delaware.​

Jewish Studies at Delaware is an intellectually compelling, interdisciplinary program that offers a broad range of courses in Jewish culture, especially its literature, language, and history, as well as its ethics, politics, and philosophy. The program’s courses allow you to explore two thousand years of a rich heritage and civilization, from its ancient origins to contemporary forms in the United States, Israel and in communities around the world. The study of Jewish history and culture provides a window for engaging with profound questions about modernity, including the impact of modernization on traditional Jewish life and the critical contributions that Jews have made to the modern world.

Jewish Studies is a uniquely interdisciplinary field at Delaware. Our courses are cross-listed and taught by faculty in the departments of History, English, Sociology, Philosophy, Political Science, Foreign Languages, and others. This diverse range of disciplines allows the Jewish Studies Minor to enrich many majors at the University. Courses range from small, intimate seminars to large lecture courses. Our curriculum is enriched by cultural events and lectures that bring innovative scholars and artists to campus to share their work and participate in the intellectual life of the university. The University’s Special Collections at Morris Library also provides students and faculty with rare access to the papers of world-famous American Jewish writers, including Allen Ginsberg, Arthur Miller, Philip Roth, and Gertrude Stein.

 The Program is housed in the Frank and Yetta Chaiken Center for Jewish Studies and was endowed with a generous gift by the Chaikens.

2017-2018 Jewish Studies Research and Conference Funds Program

​2017-2018 Call for proposals

The Yetta and Frank Chaiken Center for Jewish Studies is pleased to offer awards of up to $400 per academic year to support research and conference attendance in any area of Jewish Studies. All faculty and graduate students at the University of Delaware are eligible.

The subject of research or conference presentations may address any aspect of Jewish culture in the Diaspora or Israel, including history, religion, language, literature, politics, economics, demography, philosophy, and/or art. The award period runs from September1, 2017 to September 1, 2018.

Funds may be used to offset the cost of research or conference travel and attendance. Salary, stipends and equipment are not eligible for funding.

Grant recipients may be asked to present their research results as part of the Issues in Jewish Studies (JWST201) spring public lecture series, as a guest lecturer in a Jewish Studies course, or in another public forum.

To apply, send the following items in one single document to Kathleen Capallo

1) Brief description of the funding request.

2) Brief explanation of how the research or conference relates to the applicant's research goals or professional activities.

3) Line-item budget, including any available sources of support either requested or already granted for the research or conference.

4) One-page CV.

Requests will be considered on a rolling basis, but should be submitted at least 30 days before the intended research or conference travel commences.

Program Curriculum
graphic of writing

The courses in the Jewish Studies program encompass the range of modern Jewish Studies, including European Jewish life, classical and modern Jewish thought, contemporary Israel, the Holocaust, American Jewish culture, as well as modern Hebrew language and literature. Our program curriculum emphasizes the varieties of modern Jewish experience around the world today. In addition to our core curriculum in modern Jewish history and culture, we also offer courses in Biblical and Rabbinic literature, as well as medieval Jewish thought and history.


The interdisciplinary minor in Jewish Studies requires 16 credits.

  • Students must take a minimum of 16 credits from the selection of Jewish Studies courses offered by the Jewish Studies Program (JWST) or cross-listed with another department.
  • The one credit course, JWST201: Issues and Ideas in Jewish Studies, is the only course required for the minor. Offered every Spring
  • Jewish Studies courses are cross-listed with a number of departments including Anthropology, English, Foreign Languages and literatures, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology and Women's Studies.
  • Only 3 credits of Hebrew language and only 3 credits from study abroad courses can count toward the minor. Exceptions can be made by only with approval from the Director of the Jewish Studies Program.
  • Three credits of independent course credit can be counted, with approval of the Director of the Jewish Studies Program.


The interdisciplinary minor in Jewish Studies with Language requires 16 credits.

  • Students must take a minimum of 16 credits from the selection of Jewish Studies courses offered by the Jewish Studies Program (JWST) or cross-listed with another department.
  • Students must take at least 3 credits of Hebrew at the Intermediate level at UD; to qualify for that course, students may have to take the earlier courses in Hebrew language or test our of them, although those courses below 107 will not count toward the new minor.
  • Students who are exempted from Hebrew 107 through the proficiency examination must take a 200 level Hebrew course at UD. 
  •  In addition, all students must take the one-credit course, JWST 201: Issues and Ideas in Jewish Studies.
  • Jewish Studies courses are cross-listed with a number of departments including philosophy, English, sociology, history, political science, anthropology and foreign languages. Three credits of independent study can be counted, with approval of the Director of the Jewish Studies Program. 

Students who wish to create their own concentration within Jewish Studies may do so with the permission of the program director. Examples of possible concentrations include, but are not limited to: Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Modern Jewish Culture, Diaspora and Transnationalism within Jewish History. ​​

For more information about the Jewish Studies Program, contact Polly Zavadivker at 302-831-6467, or​ 

Faculty Director
​Professor Polly Zavadivker

University of Delaware ​

​30 West Delaware Avenue

Newark, DE 19716 ​

Phone: (302) 831-6467​​ 
Jewish Studies Program Executive Committee and Faculty

Faculty who are teaching courses in the Jewish Studies Program are designated by *

Executive Committee Members for the Jewish Studies Program are designated by **

Polly Zavadivker *

Director, Frank and Yetta Chaiken Center for Jewish Studies
Assistant Professor, History
Munroe Hall 
(302) 831-6467

Polly Zavadivker specializes in Modern Jewish History and teaches courses on the Holocaust, antisemitism, and modern Jewish history.

Peter Cole * **

Professor, Linguistics Department
46 East Delaware Avenue (302) 831-6806

Peter Cole is the co-author and series editor of the Hebrew textbook series "Israeli Hebrew for Speakers of English." He is also the author of many scholarly articles on the syntax of Modern Hebrew, as well as works on a variety of other languages. Professor Cole has had numerous grants from the Hebrew Culture Foundation and many published articles on the Hebrew language.

Diane Isaacs *
Adjunct Professor, English Department
212 Memorial Hall 

Diane Isaacs specializes in Holocaust and WWII studies as well as African American literature, memoir and literature by and about women.

Micah Becker Klein*
Adjunct Professor, Temple Beth El
301 Possum Park Rd. 
(302) 366-8330

Micah Becker-Klein teaches the History of Jewish Music

Eynat Gutman* **
Assistant Professor, Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures
308 Jastak-Burgess Hall 
(302) 831-3393

Eynat Gutman teaches all levels of Hebrew and is especially interested in language for communication. In addition, she teaches Israeli film, history and literature.

James Brophy * **
Francis H. Squire Professor of History, Department of History
210 Munroe Hall (302) 831-0795

James Brophy specializes in nineteenth-century German history and teaches courses in modern Europe, nationalism, and the Holocaust.

Rebecca Davis * **
Associate Professor, Department of History
207 Munroe Hall 
(302) 831-6148

Rebecca Davis teaches courses that cover immigration, ethnicity, and religion in the United States, including the history of American Jews.

Mark Miller * 

Emma Smith Morris Professor, Political Science & Int Relations
466 Smith Hall (302) 831-1926

Mark Miller teaches courses that specialize in international migration studies, comparative politics and European politics.

George Miller * 
Professor, Department of English
114 Memorial Hall (302) 831-1972

George Miller teaches Biblical and Classical Literature.

Eliezer Sneiderman*
Adjunct Professor, Chabad Center for Jewish Life
262 S. College Avenue 
(302) 465-5032

Eliezer Sneiderman teaches Introduction to Jewish Philosophy.

Michael Frasetto*
Supplemental Faculty, Department of History
Munroe Hall (302) 831-2379

Marian Palley **
Professor, Political Science and International Relations Department
460 Smith Hall (302) 831-1938

Leslie Reidel*
Professor, Theatre Department
413 Academy Street (302) 831-6584

Leslie Reidel teaches courses in theatre from a Jewish perspective.

Bruno Thibault*
Professor, Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures
255 Jastak-Burgess Hall 
(302) 831-6880

Bruno Thibault teaches 20th Century Jewish/French Literature.

Stuart Kaufman*
Professor, Political Science & International Relations Department
465 Smith Hall 
(302) 831-1941

Stuart Kaufman specializes in ethnic conflict, international security affairs and international relations theory.

Alan Fox*
Professor, Philosophy Department
15 Kent Way (302) 831-1173

Alan Fox teaches world religions.

Rudi Matthee*
Distinguished Professor, Department of History
223 Munroe Hall 
(302) 831-4544

Rudi Matthee teaches Islam and the West: History of Mutual Perceptions.

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Jewish Studies
  • Center for Global and Area Studies
  • 309 McKinly Lab
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3202