About the Program

The Jewish Studies minor introduces students to Jewish history, thought, and lifeways, through the millennia and around the globe. Students take courses introducing them to the basic tenets of Judaism, to fundamentals of Jewish languages (Aramaic, Biblical Hebrew, Modern Hebrew, and Yiddish), and to major strands in European, American, and Middle Eastern Jewish thought. JewishStudies offers a broad interdisciplinary context of coursework that can complement most programs of study. Explore the program requirements.

History of the Program

It began very small, with Jacob Adler teaching Hebrew. Over the years, more faculty arrived on campus with an interest in teaching Jewish Literatures, Jewish languages, Jewish histories, cultural theory, etc. We came together and realized we could create a centralized program that introduced students to the area of study that is largely unknown in this region, and about which we are all passionate! The program should have basic information in Jewishthought, history, and languages, and lead into interdisciplinary upper-division courses that dig into the complexities of iterations of the basics.


Dr. Hoyer, Dr. Adler, and Dr. Sonn, with a lot of support from numerous other people, began to work together on the nuts and bolts of such a program, and did several years’ worth of raising awareness among the university administrators. The receipt of national grants from the Legacy Heritage Foundation and the Association for Jewish Studies made it possible to develop awareness and gather interest and support among students and faculty, as well as in the larger community, through a series of events that showcased what Jewish Studies can mean, and how it relates in particular to our region. Local support from the Jewish Federation and collaboration make it possible to have events, outreach, and now also courses offered on a regular basis. In 2014, we filed the paperwork to establish an Area Studies Program and a Jewish Studies minor, and it began in Fall 2015!

Each semester, we offer several courses, ranging from history and philosophy to languages, literatures, and current issues.

Our affiliated faculty come from History, English, Philosophy, French, German, Russian, Classics, and Middle East Studies.


We are the only Jewish Studies program in the state of Arkansas.