"The riches of Jewish Tradition to all and everyone."

Department of Jewish Thought

On December 15, 2015, Bruce Pitman, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UB, announced the official formation of the Department of Jewish Thought.   (Please see “News” for details)

Following from the Institute of Jewish Thought and Heritage, inaugurated in 2008, the Department of Jewish Thought is a multidisciplinary research and academic degree-granting program focused on teaching and scholarship related to the contributions of the Jewish tradition in the development of Western civilization.  The mission of the IJTH and the Department of Jewish Thought is to foster knowledge, inquiry and scholarly excellence to better understand Judaism.

A variety of courses in Jewish studies, Modern Hebrew, as well as a Major and Minor for a B.A. in Jewish Studies are offered.  UB’s Department of Jewish Thought is the first of its kind within the SUNY system – indeed the only one of its kind in the United States – and plans to establish master and doctoral degree programs.   

Jewish civilization is as old as human history.  A central and unifying feature throughout its long and diverse history is Judaism’s emphasis on ethics, on biblical and rabbinic teachings of morality and the prophetic call to justice.  Attention to ethics serves to unify and give direction to the Department of Jewish Thought and the IJTH at UB, relating ancient and medieval learning to contemporary issues, as it also facilitates contribution to and integration with the entire university curriculum.

Nourished by the enormous spiritual, intellectual and cultural contributions of a long and productive history, of a pluralist tradition which remains alive and vibrant in today’s world, the IJTH and the Department of Jewish Thought together aim to become a world-class center of scholarly activity — a legitimate “Focus of Excellence.”

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