Jewish Studies is an interdisciplinary field that crosses traditional boundaries between academic fields and departments. Courses in Jewish Studies allow students to study Judaism as it has evolved from an ancient set of shared religious practices into the pluralistic religion and culture that it is today. In both the humanities and social sciences, Jewish Studies broadly examines the texts, history, languages, philosophy, literature, and culture of the Jewish people from the ancient to the modern. The study of Jewish life and culture provides an opportunity to explore the continuities and diversity of Judaism as it has been lived and practiced for over three millennia all over the world.
Diversity of thought is a hallmark of Jewish culture dating back to the earliest Jewish texts, and we strive to follow this model in our courses. The diverse and interdisciplinary nature of the Program in Jewish Studies allows undergraduates the opportunity to enrich their major fields of study with a specific focus on Judaism and Jewish culture. The Program in Jewish Studies at Rice also forms an important bridge to the community, making use of the rich resources available in Houston, engaging with local institutions, and participating in timely public discussions.
The study of Judaism and Jewish culture offers all of our students an opportunity to learn about important cultural, historical and religious traditions and experiences. In particular, the study of the Jewish diaspora experience will complement emerging strength at Rice in studying the experience of other groups dispersed across national borders, and how tradition and identity are preserved and absorbed as populations migrate. Our Jewish Studies program immerses students in this important story at a time when effective leadership demands understanding exactly this interplay among traditions and identity. We hope these additional opportunities will attract and nourish an ever more diverse community at Rice.
David W. Leebron
President of Rice University