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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Academics & Research

University to introduce Jewish studies minor


The University of Houston has recently introduced a Jewish studies minor, adding to several other culture-specific majors and minors already available.

A few courses with a focus on Judaism are currently offered, and there are plans to bring more Jewish courses to UH in future semesters.

“I was at a conference (in summer 2010) and two people asked me why UH didn’t have a Jewish studies program,” said Marie Theresa Hernández, UH undergraduate director of World Cultures and Literature and the Chair of the UH Jewish Studies Initiative.

“A few months later Dr. Hildegard Glass and I went to see Dean Roberts who said he was surprised we didn’t have a program. He encouraged us to proceed.”

The first steps towards UH’s Jewish studies program were taken in Oct. 2011. UH launched a Jewish studies web page on the campus website. The minor was officially approved on Feb. 24 and will start in fall 2012.

The minor will require a minimum of 15 credit hours and will focus on Jewish history, culture, languages, traditions, religion and the global Diaspora. Though the minor is in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, students of all majors are invited to participate.

“We have a number of courses that have been approved at the university level,” Hernández said.

“However we are still waiting on final approval from the Higher Education Coordinating Board.”

New courses will include Introduction to Jewish Studies, American Jewish Culture, Jewish Women Through Biography and Expulsion and Aftermath: Spain, 1492 and After.

Pending courses within the English Department include the Jewish American Novel, Jewish American Poetry and Jewish Nobel Prize Winners.

Events related to the new Jewish studies minor will happen throughout the rest of the spring semester.

Matt Goldish, the director of Jewish studies at Ohio State University, will be speaking at 4 p.m. March 22 in the Honors College Commons.

He will also present his new film on Hasidic Judaism titled “The Other Men in Black” with a discussion to follow.

Hernández will be giving a two-session course at the Jewish Community Center called “The Menorah at the Alamo?” and “Unlocking the Myths and Secrets of Jewish Identities in the Americans” at 7:30 p.m. on April 25 and May 2.

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