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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. 


Click on the drop-down title of each item to read more about CJS events and happenings!

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    CJS Joins Stanford, NYU, and others in National Association for Professors of Hebrew
    The National Association for Professors of Hebrew (NAPH) is the professional organization of professors and instructors in colleges, universities and seminaries who specialize in Hebrew language and literature of the ancient, medieval, and modern periods. CJS recently joined the NAPH and is honored to be part of the organization and benefit from the networking and resources the NAPH has to offer.

    CJS Professor and Director of the Hebrew Program at DU, Sari Havis, will be representing CJS at the Annual conference this year. Professor Havis notes, "By joining the organization, the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Denver has not only joined a long list of top-ranked academic institutes supporting Jewish and Hebrew studies world-wide, but it has also created a new platform for the kind of intellectual exchanges and events that are so central to CJS," says Professor Havis. Learn more about the NAPH.

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    Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society's Object of the Month: Torah cover from the The 10th St. Shul

    Object: The above photo shows a crimson velvet brocade Torah mantle (cover). The mantle is trimmed with gold fringe, sequins and gold ribbon. There is a white and gold design on the front consisting of a crown, two lions, Hebrew letters standing for "'the crown of the Torah," the Ten Commandments in Hebrew and the date in Hebrew (5663). The mantle was used in the Congregation Shearith Israel (Tenth Street Shul) in Denver.

    Shearith Israel (Remnant of Israel) synagogue was located in...

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CJS Visiting Scholar, Karin Nisenbaum
Karin Nisenbaum is a 2012-13 Leo Baeck Fellow from the University of Toronto's Department of Philosophy and Centre for Jewish Studies. She holds degrees in Continental Philosophy from University College Dublin and in Philosophy from the University of Chicago.

Karin taught PHIL/JUST 3701: "Special Topics: Kant, Maimon, Cohen, and Rosenzweig: Perfectionism and Idealism in German and Jewish Philosophy," this Winter on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00pm-5:50pm.

Karin: "The course that I will teach will be devoted to two interrelated tasks. First, we will study the conception of selfhood and the account of moral judgment that Hermann Cohen and Franz Rosenzweig provide. To do so, we will consider how these two thinkers appropriated or criticized central aspects of Kant's philosophy of religion, and we will situate their thought within the tradition of Moral Perfectionism. Second, I will offer an interpretation of Kant's transcendental idealism that is informed by Salomon Maimon's critique of Kant's central arguments in the Critique of Pure Reason. What will emerge will be a clearer view on the performative and first-personal nature of Kant's method of philosophical argumentation—the method of transcendental argumentation.

In addition to teaching, I am working on two research projects: one draws on German Idealism, Phenomenology, and Existentialism to offer a response to recent Anglophone objections to the method of transcendental argumentation; the other develops a conception of selfhood, and provides an account of moral judgment, informed by Kant, Schelling, Rosenzweig, and Cavell." Karin is also the founder of The University of Toronto Journal of Jewish Thought.
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      DU Junior, Taryn Kaufman, Reflects on Time at DU as a Judaic Studies Minor

      Taryn's Reflections on her Judaic Studies minor with an emphasis in Hebrew at DU:

      "Because I have taken almost every course offered by Professor Havis, it is hard for me to put into words everything I have gained. Growing up studying Hebrew, I have always found comfort in the language. Coming to the University of Denver, I had to acclimate to my new surroundings and taking a Hebrew class made me feel a connection to my roots. My Hebrew has greatly improved but importantly, my perception of Israeli society and issues Israelis face day to day have provided me with a stark contrast between life in Israel and my life in the United States. In these courses, my classmates and I have been able to explore and better understand together the meanings of identity, culture, and religion, each one of us with varying opinions on those topics. I have learned a great deal and I know the lessons and knowledge I have acquired will continue to be relevant throughout my life.

      Being a Judaic Studies minor with an emphasis in Hebrew has allowed me to strive to be better academically. Professor Havis asks a lot from her students but she gives even more. I have also made close, personal friendships with my small class of students, which has allowed me to have great experiences in all of my courses."

      Taryn was recently tapped for the Mortar Board, one of only a few select students on DU's campus to join this premier national honor society recognizing college students for superior achievement in scholarship, leadership and service.

      (Ilana) Taryn Kaufman, International Studies Major, Art and Judaic Studies minor '15

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      Faculty Spotlight: CJS Faculty Elizabeth Campbell Karlsgodt
      DU History Professor and CJS faculty Prof. Elizabeth Karlsgodt is the author of  Defending National Treasures: French Art and Heritage under Vichy (Stanford University Press, 2011). She is currently writing a book with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities on the recovery of art looted by the Nazis, comparing restitution practices in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

      Read about Prof. Beth Karlsgodt's research and insights regarding Nazi art looting, the subject of her new book and recent articles:

      *US News and World Report: The Real 'Monuments Men' (and Women)

      *DU Magazine: History professor tells the real story behind Clooney's 'Monuments Men' 

      *Beth Karlsgodt's blog entries about her recent travel to Nazi camps in Europe.

      Read more about Prof. Karlsgodt's work and upcoming events here.

    • Elizabeth Karlsgodt
      Third Thursdays-An Experiment in Transdisciplinarity

      Edward Soja's notion of thirdspace offers a place where the differences of disciplinary boundaries no longer protect and compartmentalize, but rather, provide the very conditions of possibility for meaningful dialogue. Thirdspace articulates a transdisciplinary approach to inquiry that not only crosses disciplinary boundaries, but encourages the rich and complex interdependency of fields of study that often operate as islands. I can think of no space better suited to explore the complex intermingling of spatiality, historicality and sociality of thirdspace than the Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site (HMSAS) at DU. Together, the vision of the HMSAS and the pedagogical values of the graduate programs at DU and the Center for Judaic Studies provide a unique collaborative opportunity to practice a kind of thirdspace...



Click here for upcoming CJS events!

Click here for past CJS events!

Philosophy Abrahamic Traditions

Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions Conference, July 10-12, 2013