The Jewish Studies Program is an academic interdisciplinary minor program designed to study and explore Jewish history, culture, faith and practice. Housed within the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts and deriving its faculty and courses from several other departments at the university, the Jewish Studies minor can easily be incorporated into any curriculum a student wishes to pursue at Loyola Marymount University. However, this minor offers so much more than simple integration. Students who choose to partake in the Jewish Studies minor will find themselves immersed in the rich culture of the Jewish people and prevalent history of modern Israel.
Jewish Studies Minors become citizens of the global community and have a chance to travel and study abroad through the excursion opportunities offered by the program. Many students have participated in the Birthright Program, which allows students of Jewish descent to travel back to Israel. Others choose to study for a semester in Poland to learn more about Jewish life in Poland before World War II. Similarly, the Jewish Studies Program offers a course in Israel over the winter break. Through a team taught course entitled Holocaust and/in Poland, students will engage in conversations via video-conferencing with students from California State University, Northridge. Then, they will travel to Krakow, Poland to continue their studies during a summer course. Of course, these excursions are exciting, but coupled with that excitement are intense educational experiences that will shape the way a graduate of the Jewish Studies Program looks at the world.
As was noted by Holli Levitsky, the founder and current director of the Jewish Studies Program, “Jewish Studies is half of the Judeo-Christian tradition that shapes much of Western culture.” With this in mind, it is easy to see why the understanding provided to a Jewish Studies Minor is critical to the future success of any graduate of Loyola Marymount University.