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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

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.

RELIGIOUS LITERACY, RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY: Click here to learn more about this important NEW PROJECT 

Click here to read the 10.29.18 Denver Post op-ed from Drs. Pessin, Hashemi, and Stanton calling for increased religious literacy and support for religious diversity, or click here for the pdf version.

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.

CURRENT CJS FLIERS, Readings & Things to do

Upcoming  Events:

2019 Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture, Sneak-Preview of the Documentary Holy Silence with Talkback by Filmmaker Steven Pressman

New Courses:

The American Jewish Experience (ANTH/JUST/RLGS 2070)

 Ongoing Projects:

DU Words of Healing Nomination Form (Ongoing); click here for more information.

Self-Guided Walking Tour of CJS, HAI & RMJHS Exhibits & Spaces

DU Hebrew Program (CJS & Languages and Literatures)

RMJHS & Beck Archives Research Fellowship Program

[For more information on these and other events, see our full calendar .]


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


Congratulations to new CJS Director, Adam Rovner, associate professor, Center for Judaic Studies, who received a Dean's Award for Excellence (DAFE) award to support travel and research for his book manuscript, Savage Invasions: The Shipwrecked Jew, the Zulu King, and the Invention of Empire.


The critically acclaimed documentary about a group of empowered Hasidic women creating the first all-female ambulance corps in the U.S. will be out on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play and DVD, starting September 6th.  



Click to view past CJS Spotlights
Cook-In Students
A huge thank-you to all who donated to CJS' Intercultural Cook-In, as part of One Day for DU!

This year, CJS' Graduate Student Intercultural Cook-In Series was
chosen to participate in One Day for DU, a 24-hour crowd-sourced funding campaign held in Sprig 2017.

The Graduate Student Intercultural Cook-In is a diversity-enhancing, community-building, interdisciplinary project of the Center for Judaic Studies, The Office of Graduate Education & the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management (with a number of other campus co-sponsors). Piloted with 3 events in 2016-17, this exciting project brings together grad students from across DU for an afternoon of intercultural cooking lessons with Knoebel Teaching Chefs followed by a reception open to the entire community where the culturally diverse foods they have prepared are enjoyed by all!

In addition to featuring delicious graduate-student-prepared foods, the community-wide reception also includes slides about the featured foods and cultures as well as conversation prompts to help get people talking about food-memories connected to their own cultural identities and experiences.

Our 3 pilot events – featuring Sephardic+Latino, Indigenous Southwestern, and Middle Eastern foods – have been a huge success. Graduate students appreciate how much the events have gotten them thinking about other cultures AND how effectively the events have gotten them meeting and talking with more interdisciplinary graduate students from across campus than in any other context during their time at DU.

The project truly enhances campus-wide diversity and inclusivity outcomes while helping graduate students build community around an evening of interdisciplinary and intercultural learning and conversation. The reception opens up the event even further to undergraduates, faculty, staff, and community members near and far!

For a 90-second video featuring student quotes about what this series has meant for students across campus, as well as photographs from past cook-in events, please click here.






Day in the Dirt
Course Highlight: "A Day in the Dirt" and CJS' new course Creation & Humanity!

On May 17, students from Prof. Amy Balogh's new Judaic Studies course Creation & Humanity (cross-listed with Religious Studies) spent their class period working in the DU Bridge Community Garden, while learning about permaculture and sustainability with Prof. Julie Morris from the Department of Biology.

After watching our campus bee-hive, weeding, and planting, the students spoke about the effects of the work on their stress level, and how connecting to nature, even in a small way, was of great benefit to their general sense of health and well-being.

"The students loved a day in the dirt, and so did I! In addition to their diverse academic interests and majors, students bring a wide-variety of experiences to this course — from growing up on a farm, to never having potted a plant — and so to see them all equally excited to get their hands dirty was a delight. It was also great to work cross-campus with the Dept. of Biology and the Sustainability Program toward increasing student awareness of our innate connection to nature." —Prof. Balogh







Sara Moses at Veterans Affairs

HAI Highlight: New partnership with Veterans Affairs

Thanks to a new partnership, HAI and Veterans Affairs (VA) have worked together to bring Holocaust education to the clients of the VA Office of Community Care. In addition to curating and loaning a trunk of materials for a month-long exhibit on Holocaust history during the month of April, centered on the question "How can life go on?," HAI also donated 26 books in the areas of Holocaust and Judaic Studies to the VA's Diversity Library.

VA and HAI also worked together through the HAI Survivors Speakers Bureau to bring the powerful story of Ms. Sara Moses to an audience of veterans and relatives of veterans. Liberated from Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp by U.S. troops at the young age of 7, Ms. Moses has a special place in her heart for our veterans — and thanked each of them individually as people lined up after the event.

For information about our HAI Survivors Speakers Bureau, or how HAI can support your school's or organization's Holocaust education goals, email us at [email protected].





Moses Among the Idols

Congratulations, Dr. Amy Balogh
CJS Program Manager & Adjunct Lecturer!

Congratulations to Dr. Amy Balogh on the debut of her first book, Moses among the Idols: Mediators of the Divine in the Ancient Near East (Lexington/Fortress).

In Moses among the Idols, Amy draws from the fields of Assyriology, Archaeology, Biblical Studies, and Comparative Religion to make the argument that when it comes to understanding the special status of Moses as YHWH's mediator, the best analogy the ancient Near East provides is that of the idol — the most common form of mediation between divinity and humanity for most of religious history.

In Winter Quarter 2019, Amy will teach a new cross-listed (Judaic & Religious Studies) course titled The Moses Traditions in which students explore traditions about Moses from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and from antiquity to the modern age.

For more information on Moses among the Idols and
Amy's other work, visit






 Sciarcon, Educational Oases in the Desert
Congratulations to Prof. Sciarcon on receiving tenure & on the publication of his new book!

CJS congratulates Prof. Jonathan Sciarcon, Associate Professor of Jewish History, on two recent accomplishments! First, congratulations to Prof. Sciarcon on his recent promotion to the tenured position of Associate Professor of Jewish History.

Second, congratulations to Prof. Sciarcon on the publication of his new book Educational Oases in the Desert: The Alliance Israelite Universelle's Girls' School in Ottoman Iraq, 1895-1915 (SUNY Press, Aug 2017), a history of the French schools that pioneered female education in Ottoman Iraq's Jewish communities. Click here for more information and to order Educational Oases today.

Congratulations, Prof. Sciarcon!



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