Jewish Studies Program

The Jewish Studies Program, in the Division of Interdisciplinary Studies, is an academic program whose core mission is to educate students in the breadth and complexities of Jewish history, religion, politics, and culture and to situate this learning in the larger context of their liberal arts education. Jewish studies courses engage students of all backgrounds in diverse aspects of Jewish civilization and address themes as divergent as identity formation, prejudice, and intercultural relations. Through the minor in Jewish studies, the program offers students an opportunity to take courses in several disciplines of the humanities and social sciences, including religious studies, history, government, French studies, and music.

As the only program of its kind in Maine, Jewish studies seeks not only to educate Colby students but also to provide public programming to members of the Maine community through its curricular and cocurricular activities. Though a major in Jewish studies is not offered, interested students are encouraged to consult the director about an independent major.


Director, Associate Professor David Freidenreich
Program Steering Committee: Professors Véronique Plesch (Art), Raffael Scheck (History), and Robert Weisbrot (History); Associate Professors David Freidenreich (Religious Studies) and John Turner (History); Assistant Professors Rachel Isaacs (Jewish Studies) and Damon Mayrl (Sociology); Faculty Fellow Sarah Emanuel (Religious Studies)

Requirements +

Requirements for the Minor in Jewish Studies

A minimum of six Jewish studies courses, including the two core courses (Religious Studies 181 and 182) and one three- or four-credit course at the 300 or 400 level. Minors may count two two-credit courses or independent studies as the equivalent of a single course toward the requirement of six Jewish studies courses. Jewish Studies 125 does not count toward the minor. Minors may petition to receive credit toward the Jewish studies minor for up to three courses taken at other colleges and universities.

Successful completion of the minor requires a 2.00 average for all requirements above. None of the required courses may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

Courses listed below are described in the appropriate department sections of this catalogue.

Other Applicable Courses +

Courses from Other Departments Approved for the Minor in Jewish Studies

French Studies

  • 323 Holocaust in French Cinema


  • 251 Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and Accommodation
  • 252 Introduction to Politics of the Middle East


  • 283 Golden Diaspora: Modern American Jewish History
  • 421 Research Seminar: Debating the Nazi Past


  • 121 Entartete (Degenerate) Musik

Religious Studies

  • 143 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
  • 144 Introduction to the New Testament
  • 152 Israeli Popular Music
  • 181 Conceptions of Jews and Judaism
  • 182 Jews, Judaism, and the Modern World
  • 219 Violence and Religion through the Centuries
  • 221 The Jews of Maine
  • 223 Religion in the Modern State of Israel
  • 285 Faith, Class, and Community
  • 298 Jews of Germany, Past and Present
  • 298B On the Eighth Day, God Laughed: The Bible and Comedy
  • 322 Food and Religious Identity
  • 384 Religious Responses to Ethical Dilemmas
  • 387 Anti-Judaism and Islamophobia in Christian/Western Thought
  • 397A Biblical Prophecy and Apocalypse
  • 298 Jews of Germany, Past and Present