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Center for Judaic Studies

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Center for Judaic Studies

Advancing knowledge of Jewish history, thought and culture through learning, intercultural dialogue, and social action.

The Center for Judaic Studies (CJS) is a vibrant source of in-depth Jewish learning on campus and across Colorado.

Our faculty are research and teaching experts in a wide range of interdisciplinary areas of Judaic Studies. Their work is internationally recognized, and they offer an impressive annual lineup of undergraduate and graduate courses in fields of Jewish history, religion, language, literature, philosophy, film, and culture.

In addition to being home to our own faculty experts , CJS hosts annual visiting scholars, performing artists, authors, poets and filmmakers from around the world.

We offer a minor in Judaic Studies, and a number of joint MA and PhD degrees with programs across campus. We are home to the Holocaust Awareness Institute , the Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site and The Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society . We also serve the broader community through many annual events and co-sponsored activities across Colorado.


We honor the memory of Sandy Vinnik, an inspiring leader, a committed volunteer, and a dedicated learner. Sandy was deeply involved with the Center for Judaic Studies (CJS), the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society (RMJHS), and the Holocaust Awareness Institute (HAI) for decades, bringing a profound blend of mind and heart to everything she did. Sandy was the thoughtful founder of and outspoken advocate for the Dr. Irwin E. Vinnik Fellowship for Advanced Study in Israel which she and her family founded in honor of the late Dr. Irwin Vinnik.

To make a donation in memory of Sandy Vinnik to the Dr. Irwin E. Vinnik Fellowship for Advanced Study in Israel:

  • Make your check out to 'Center for Judaic Studies'
  • Indicate 'Vinnik Fellowship' on the check memo line
  • Mail checks to:
Center for Judaic Studies
University of Denver
2000 E Asbury Ave., Suite 157
Denver, CO 80208-0911

Also to share: We are creating a special webpage with an alphabetical list of all the people who donate to the Vinnik fund in Sandy's memory over the coming months; if you want to donate, but do not want your name included on this special tribute page, please just let us know; otherwise, we will add your name to the special tribute page.

If you would like further help, please contact the Center for Judaic Studies (CJS) at 303.871.3021 or email


New Course: "Great Thinkers: Levinas" (Winter Quarter, 2016)

New Course: "Forgiveness" at Iliff School of Theology (Winter Quarter, 2016)
with Prof. Edward Antonio & Prof. Sarah Pessin 

"Music & Hope: The Life of Alice Herz-Sommer" 14th Annual Marcus Lecture (Fall, 2016)


Click on the text to read more about CJS events and happenings!


Recipients Announced for the 2015 Dr. Irwin E. Vinnik Fellowship for Advanced Study in Israel

Join us in congratulating this year's recipients of the Vinnik Fellowship! Stay tuned for more information about their upcoming educational adventures, and for the 2016 call for proposals. In the meantime, check out the biographies of this year's winners, plus links to past projects by clicking here.






DU powwow

CJS Sponsors the DU Native American Student Alliance Pow-wow!

As part of our commitment to celebrating diversity across campus and in the greater Denver community, CJS continues to co-sponsor the DU Native American Student Alliance annual Pow-wow! This year's pow-wow took place on May 3, 2015, marking the 5th anniversary of the annual New Beginnings Spring Powwow. The event has become a campus-wide event with support from the Chancellor's office, DU Programming Board and the Center for Multicultural Excellence.

In Native American communities, a powwow is a social gathering, a time when dance and music honor the resilient cultural history of Native American people and tradition. A pow-wow encompasses a variety of educational experiences including history and art. This cultural celebration will enable our university and community to foster fellowship with the city of Denver and Native Peoples of the North and Southwest. For this reason, we wish to share this stunning and unique culture experience with our peers and community.

The vibrant display of American Indian culture is offered free and open to the University of Denver community and the city of Denver. The beauty of a pow-wow resides in its overreaching unity and sanctity. People of all tribal affiliations and races can participate in a powwow. Also during the powwow a brief history and information of each performance was be presented.





Hebr 1003 Cooking

Hebrew Students Learn to Cook Israeli Food!

This spring, Prof. Sari Havis' Hebrew classes visited DU's Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management where they learned to cook traditional Israeli food. Here are Shira, Yaakov, and Alex preparing to make a beautiful Israeli salad! 





Judaic Studies Spring internship with Hazon for its annual Food Festival 

This Judaic Studies Spring Internship with Hazon will explore food, sustainability, and spirituality through hands-on projects and select readings. Work with Hazon 

Colorado to produce their annual food festival on May 17, 2015. Interns will earn college credit & gain valuable on-the-job experience while working 10-15 flexible hours a week.

Off-campus internship requirements:
• Support the production of fun and innovative programming.
• Create foodie/environmental “activity kits” for exhibitors.
• Research and recruit food vendors.
• Help coordinate event volunteers.
• Disseminate marketing material.
• Assist with event set-up and cleanup.

On-campus internship requirements:
• Read Jewish texts on food/sustainability/spirituality.
• Discuss readings with Prof. Sarah Pessin (faculty in Philosophy and Judaic Studies)
• Write 5-page paper synthesizing readings with off-campus experience

Download the internship description, complete with how to apply.

Learn more Hazon (Colorado).




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CJS in the community
  • Dr. Jeanne Abrams, CJS Faculty and Director of the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society and Beck Archives, was interviewed on "How tuberculosis fueled Colorado's growth" for Colorado Matters on Colorado Public Radio . Listen to the interview here: How tuberculosis fueled Colorado's growth
  • As part of University College’s Enrichment Program, Dr. Jonathan Sciarcon, Assistant Professor of History and Judaic Studies, will teach the two session evening course (Wed., 6:30-8:30 p.m., Mar. 25, Apr. 1, 2015), The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Israeli Perspectives . Click here to find out more and register for the course.
  • RMJHS co-sponsors B'nai B'rith conversation with John Rosengren, author of Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes . Find out details of the event here .
  • CJS director, Dr. Sarah Pessin, gave the following three talks in March 2015, in Milwaukee:
    • Levinas and the Paradoxes of Justice , for the Milwaukee Jewish Studies Colloquium, The Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies, UW-Milwaukee
    • Love in the Jewish Philosophical Tradition , for Philosophy in Support of Religion in the Abrahamic Traditions in the Middle Ages, Marquette University
    • Participant in the Averroes-Maimonides Roundtable, Marquette University


Click here for upcoming CJS events!

Click here for past CJS events!

PAT Video Conference

Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions Conference, July 8-10, 2015