The Center for Jewish Studies falls under the auspices of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. The Center concerns itself with the academic study of the historical, cultural, linguistic, ethnic, geographic, and religious diversity of the full range of peoples who identify themselves as Jewish. The vision of the Center is that academic Jewish Studies provides an important way of fulfilling the educational mission of the liberal arts: to promote critical thought, reflection on values, and analysis of sources.
The Center seeks to foster research, to encourage intellectual and creative engagement, and to stimulate professional growth for its faculty and students. As a degree-granting unit, the Center currently offers an undergraduate major and minor in Jewish Studies.
Courses are available in Hebrew language at all levels. Students may pursue courses in Jewish History, Israeli Literature in English translation or the original Hebrew. For those with an interest in the Ancient Near East, courses include Biblical Archaeology and the ancient languages, Aramaic, Syriac, Akkadian, and Sumerian. All courses may be taken for credit or no credit. By special arrangement, high school students can enroll in university courses. Classes are offered during the day and through the evening extension division.Wilson Library, located on the West Bank of the University, houses the Middle East Library, a large collection of Hebrew books and periodicals for all periods of Jewish Studies. The General Collection of the Wilson Library maintains significant holdings in Judaica in English and other languages.