Explore Jewish cultures across centuries and continents.
An Interdisciplinary and Open-Ended Major
Jewish History and Travel
From Jerusalem or Tel Aviv to Paris or Berlin, Oberlin students have the opportunity to spend a semester or academic year at partner universities abroad. The Office of Study Away works closely with interested students to select the right program for their global educational goals.
Oberlin’s Jewish Community
Oberlin’s students have access to a number of extracurricular opportunities for exploring Jewish identities. Those who elect to live in the Hebrew Heritage House, which is overseen by Jewish studies faculty, share a space where they can create community, whether around a film, a Havdalah ritual, or a bagel brunch.
This course focuses on Jewish communities of the Near East and North Africa from the conquest of Constantinople to World War I. It examines the experiences of Jews as one of many minorities, with special attention to the permeability of social boundaries within a multiethnic, multireligious, and multicultural empire. Emphasis will be placed on the history of Jewish-Muslim relations, specifically in contrast to the experiences of Jewish communities within Christendom.
- Taught by
- Laura Herron
The desire to seek spiritual fulfillment in a far-away place is a hallmark of many religious traditions, including Judaism. In this course we will trace the ancient and medieval roots of pilgrimage and various Jewish pilgrimage practices that have emerged in the modern period, in Israel as well as in Europe, North Africa, and the United States. Together, we will ask, what has motivated Jewish travelers? Have they found what they were looking for? How have their travels shaped—and been shaped by—the histories of their places of origin and of destination?
- Taught by
- Shari Rabin
This course introduces students to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as represented in literature and film. We’ll proceed chronologically, beginning with the rise of Jewish and Palestinian nationalisms through the present day, focusing on the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, the Six-Day War or Naksa, and the first and second intifadas. In doing so, we’ll complicate the notion of dual narratives by considering the experiences of people of marginalized and hybrid identities.
- Taught by
- Sheera Talpaz
From “White Lives Matter” to “Jews will not replace us,” America has recently witnessed a resurgence of white supremacist and antisemitic political activity under the rubric of “white nationalism.” This course offers a U.S.-focused, comparative exploration of anti-Jewish and white supremacist ideology and politics. It examines their shared roots in European Christian societies; the different ways they were transposed to North America through conquest, colonization, and slavery; and their subsequent evolutions, intersections, and organized manifestations.
- Taught by
- Matthew Berkman
Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Fellow
At Oberlin, Jesse Gamoran ’16 majored in history, German studies, and Jewish studies. After graduation he was selected to participate in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) fellowship program.
A Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan
A psychology major with a minor in Jewish studies, Talia Greenberg ’15 performed with CHALLaH cappella, a Jewish music a cappella group she and Lyz Glickman ’13 founded in 2012. After graduation, Talia was awarded a 10-month Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in Taiwan.
Gaining Hands-on Research Experience
As part of the Oberlin Stories Project, Anna Band ’13, a double-major in history and Jewish studies, reflects on the value of friendship and her experience researching primary documents for a sourcebook of Early Modern Jewish History.