Photograph of Hebrew texts by Jeremy Mura

Why Jewish Studies?

Jewish Studies is about more than just religion. It’s about history, culture, politics, language, literature, and people. Then and now. From biblical times to the present.

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Learn about Jewish Studies

Take a course. Minor in it. Major in it.

This is liberal arts education at its best—interdisciplinary, thought-provoking, relevant.

College is about more than just training for a career. It’s a time to expand your mind. Learn from the past. Explore new ways of thinking. Jewish Studies gives you that opportunity.

Sure, Jewish Studies makes sense for those pursuing a career in the Jewish community, but it also has relevance in fields you might not expect, like journalism, psychiatry, education, and computer science.

Taught by leading scholars from departments across the University, our courses are offered on the undergraduate and graduate level. Guest lectures, conferences, and symposia enhance your learning. 

Learn more about the minor here

It’s more useful than you might think.

Learn Hebrew to explore the Middle East.

Take Yiddish to examine the history of radical socialism. Study the Holocaust to understand the threat of genocide today. Learn about Judaism and Jewish religious texts--a classic focus for the study of religion. Consider how Jews disrupt categories like race, ethnicity, diaspora, and nationality. When you pursue a unique passion or interest, it actually makes you stand out!

Take a courseattend an event, and open your mind.

Knowing that there is a place on campus for students of all backgrounds to learn more about Jewish history and ideology as well as to investigate contemporary applications of Jewish thought has been so important to my educational and personal growth...

Meet a Minor

Ben Liad Schwartz 

Class of 2018

As a freshman, I enrolled in a Jewish Studies course with Charlotte Fonrobert. The intimacy of the class was enhanced by Charlotte's personal dedication to her students, a combination which I came to see was emphasized and actualized by the actions of the Taube Center.  As the recipient of the Bernard Kaufman Research award, I was fortunate to have my independent research funded and facilitated by the Center, as well as to have Charlotte's expertise while conducting my research. My research currently deals with LGBTQ+ reform within Orthodox Jewish communities in the United States. Knowing that there is a place on campus for students of all backgrounds to learn more about Jewish history and ideology as well as to investigate contemporary applications of Jewish thought has been so important to my educational and personal growth, and I am immensely grateful to the staff and supporters of the Taube Center who made my Stanford experience what it is today.

Ben double majored in Religious Studies and Biology and minored in Jewish Studies.

Alumni Spotlight

Jarrod Marks

Class of 2012

My name is Jarrod Marks and I graduated from Stanford in 2012 with an Individually Designed Major in Jewish Studies. After graduating I moved to New York City to attend The Mount Sinai School of Medicine and recently graduated there. I currently live in Boston and am a resident psychiatrist at Tufts Medical Center.

When I was a sophomore at Stanford, I applied to Mount Sinai’s Humanities and Medicine program which was designed for students like myself who are interested in the humanities, but also know they want to become physicians. The program was perfect for me because it gave me the time and space to explore my humanities interest as an undergraduate without being overly burdened with the pre-medical requirements.

At Stanford I had so many different majors to choose from, but I knew from the beginning that the Jewish Studies major was the perfect major for me. I had great interest in Jewish history, biblical scholarship, Hebrew language, and historical linguistics—through the Jewish Studies major I was able to tailor my courses to meet my interests, which lead me to take courses in several different departments, but all under the umbrella of the Jewish Studies program. I truly believe that a background in Jewish Studies, the humanities, and literature helped prepare me both for medical school and for psychiatry. So much of psychiatry is about narrative—the narrative that one tells oneself about the world around him. My training in Jewish Studies has helped me with the skills I need to interpret those narratives and ultimately help people with various issues.

There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of all the wonderful times I had during my years at Stanford. The faculty in the Jewish Studies Program truly went above and beyond to help me with my academic goals. I remember telling Professor Fonrobert that I wanted to study biblical Hebrew in Israel at the Hebrew University with one of the world experts and I was able to get funding through the program to go and do so. I also had the opportunity to get private biblical Hebrew tutoring on campus by a visiting Hebrew scholar, Tamar Zewi, and was even lucky enough to take a class on Israeli law and security by Daphne Barak-Erez who is now a justice on the Supreme Court of Israel! My fondest memories were studying Talmud with Professor Fonrobert in her home and the wonderful going away party that the program put together for myself and other students in the program. I am so grateful for all the time and effort put into making my undergraduate education so unique and meaningful.