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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.

2018-2019 Jewish Studies Research and Conference Funds Program

2018-2019 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, 2018 to September 1, 2019.

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 Faculty

Polly Zavadivker

Director, Frank and Yetta Chaiken Center for Jewish Studies

Assistant Professor, History

Polly Zavadivker specializes in Modern Jewish History and teaches HIST/JWST146: Introduction to Jewish Culture and History, HIST/JWST250: Comparative Genocide, HIST/JWST254: Jewish Holocaust 1933-1945, HIST267: Imperial Russian History, HIST/WOMS/JWST303: Women in Judaism, HIST/JWST327: History of Antisemitism, HIST339: Jewish Life Before the Holocaust, and HIST/JWST350: Russian Jewish Experience in Literature and Film.

James Brophy

Francis H. Squire Professor of History, Department of History 

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 

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

Alan Fox

Professor, Philosophy Department 

Alan Fox teaches PHIL/JWST204: World Religions.

Michael Frasetto

Supplemental Faculty, Department of History 

Michael Frasetto teaches HIST/JWST398: Topics in Medieval History - Medieval Jews, Muslims and Christians, and HIST/JWST398: Topics in Medieval History - Jews Under Cross and Crescent.

Eynat Gutman

Assistant Professor, Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures 

Eynat Gutman teaches all levels of Hebrew and is especially interested in language for communication. Additionally, she teaches LLCU/JWST333: Israeli Film, LLCU/JWST335: A Land of Many Faces - Israel Through Time, and LLCU/JWST345: Modern Israel: History & Culture.

Nicholas Harris

Adjunct Professor, Philosophy Department

Nicholas Harris teaches PHIL/JWST208: Introduction to Jewish Philosophy.

Roger Horowitz

Adjunct Professor, History Department

Director, Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society - Hagley Museum & Library

Roger Horowitz teaches HIST/JWST327: Jews and Food, and HIST/JWST327: Jews, Commerce, and Business.

Stuart Kaufman

Professor, Political Science & International Relations Department 

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

Rudi Matthee

John and Dorothy Munroe Distinguished Professor of History 

Rudi Matthee teaches HIST380/JWST381: History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

George Miller

Professor, Department of English 

George Miller teaches Biblical and Classical Literature.

Toni Pitock

Adjunct Professor, History Department

Toni Pitock teaches JWST101: Introduction to Judaism and previously organized JWST201: Issues & Ideas in Jewish Studies.

Leslie Reidel

Professor, Theatre Department 

Leslie Reidel teaches THEA/JWST212: Jews & American Pop Culture".

Bruno Thibault

Professor, Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures 

Bruno Thibault teaches 20th Century Jewish/French Literature.

Sarah Wasserman

Assistant Professor, Department of English

Sarah Wasserman teaches ENGL/JWST348: Contemporary Jewish-American Literature.

Miranda Wilson

Associate Professor, Associate Chair, Department of English

Miranda Wilson teaches ENGL/JWST202: Biblical and Classical Literature.

David Winkler

Assistant Professor, Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures

David Winkler teaches ENGL/JWST350: Holocaust in Literature & Film, and ENGL/JWST350: Jewish Humor in Literature, Film, and Media.

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Jewish Studies
  • Center for Global and Area Studies
  • 309 McKinly Lab
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-7161