Academics & Jewish Studies Program

Jewish Academics

Jewish Faculty and Staff

Wake Forest has numerous Jewish faculty and staff members throughout its various schools, departments and offices.  Students and faculty have opportunities to mingle at all Hillel events as well as at all Office of Jewish Life activities.

Jewish Studies Program

 לימוד לימודי יהדות

The Interdisciplinary Jewish Studies (JWS) program at Wake Forest requires 15 credit hours, from at least two departments with three courses numbering 200 or above.  History, German Studies, English, Political Science and the American Ethnic Studies Departments, and the Humanities Institute offer many interesting courses as part of the Jewish Studies Program, including American Jewish Culture, American Jewish Literature, History of European Jewry from the Middle Ages to the Present, Ancient Israel, and courses on the Middle East.

The following information is from the 2017-2018 Undergraduate College Bulletin

The Jewish Studies Minor emphasizes Jewish history, thought, texts, literature, the arts, and traditions, and the ways that they have evolved in the context of various civilizations from antiquity to the present.

Since Jewish civilization developed as a result of its interaction with other religions and cultures, the Minor is trans-regional/national and thereby serves to link disparate fields of study that are usually examined separately. Jews and Judaism are studied within the broader context of world civilizations and the spectrum of the arts, humanities, and social sciences. In this regard, the Minor complements already existing areas of interest in a number of majors and disciplines, (such as American Ethnic Studies, History, International Studies, Medieval Studies, Politics and International Affairs, and Religious Studies to name but a few).

The interdisciplinary approach of the Minor exposes students to a wide range of disciplines and, like other established interdisciplinary minors, gives students the opportunity for synthesizing and critically reflecting on their course of study. The Jewish Studies Minor provides interested students a grounding for graduate study in the humanities, religion, and social sciences.  Additional elective courses may have been approved since publication of this bulletin. The program director maintains a complete list of all approved elective courses. For course descriptions, see the relevant department’s listing in this bulletin.

  • Requirements. A minimum of fifteen credit hours is required to graduate with a minor in Jewish Studies. Courses for the Minor are approved by the Advisory Committee of the Jewish Studies Program.  The courses must be from at least two departments, at least three must be upper level courses (200 level or above). No more than six credit hours of Hebrew or some other Jewish language can be counted toward the minimum number of courses required for the minor as determined by the program director.
  • Course List
    COM 339. Practices of Citizenship.*
    ENG 377. Studies in American Jewish Literature.*
    371. American Ethnic Literatures.*
    364. Studies in Literary Criticism.*
    GER 350. German-Jewish Literature and Culture.
    GES 350. Jewish-German Literature and Culture.
    392. Jewish Voices and German Thought.
    HST 235. The History of European Jewry from the Middle Ages to the Present.
    (note: this is the renumbered HST 313)
    236. The Nazi Holocaust (to 1941):
    Rise of Nazism, Jewish Responses, Global Reaction
    237. The Nazi Holocaust (from 1941): War, Genocide, and Aftermath
    239. American Jewish History
    305. Medieval and Modern Iberia.
    310. 20th-Century Eastern Europe.*
    311. Write and Record! Diaries and Memoirs of the Nazi Holocaust
    312. Jews, Greeks, and Romans.
    313. History of European Jewry from Middle Ages to the Present.
    320. Write and Record! Diaries & Memoirs of the Nazi Holocaust
    321. Zionism, Palestine, and Israel in Historical Perspective
    360. Jewish Migrations in the Americas.
    POL 259. Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
    242. Special Topics: The Politics of Exile or The Politics of Exile and Diaspora.*
    REL 113. Introduction to Jewish Traditions.
    308. Sacred Scripture in the Traditions of Abraham.
    310. The Prophetic Literature.
    311. Aramaic.
    312. The Critical Study of the Pentateuch.
    315. 316 Field Research in Biblical Archaeology.
    317. Wisdom Literature.*
    328. Jewish-Christian Relations and the New Testament.
    355. Jewish Identities: Religion, Race, and Rights.
    356. Modern Jewish Movements.
    357. Jews in the United States.
    111, 112. Elementary Hebrew.
    153. Intermediate Hebrew.
    211, 212. Hebrew Literature I and II.
    314. Readings from the Rabbis.
    SPA 331. Medieval Spain: A Cultural and Literary Perspective.*

    *Indicates the course must be approved by the instructor and the Jewish Studies director

The Process for Jewish Studies Program at WFU:

  • Apply for acceptance into the JWS program
  • Meet with an advisor to map out your program
  • Take classes in a wide variety of departments and disciplines
  • Take a minimum of 15 credit hours
  • Enjoy your classes and learn a lot
  • Complete the paperwork to receive the Jewish Studies Program classification status at graduation

For more information about The Jewish Studies Program, please contact:

Barry Trachtenberg, PhD
Director, WFU Jewish Studies Minor
B101 Tribble Hall

Study Abroad, and in Israel

Contact The Center for Global Programs and Studies for more information.

Read about our Study Abroad in Jewish Venice here.

Look at our flyer

Department for the Study of Religions & The School of Divinity

The Department for the Study of Religions (  and the School of Divinity ( offer courses in the Hebrew Bible and Comparative Judaism courses, with additional courses being planned for the future. They also offer Biblical Hebrew, which meets the language requirement for Wake Forest students.


History, German Studies, English, Political Science and the American Ethnic Studies Departments as well the Humanities Institute offer courses in American Jewish Culture, American Jewish Literature, a survey of Jewish history, Ancient Israel and courses on the Middle East.

Guest Lecturers and Discussions

Wake Forest has hosted distinguished Jewish Studies faculty from other institutions who have lectured on Anti-Semitism, Jewish identity and other subjects.

Office of Jewish Life

Staff from the Office of Jewish Life, within the Office of the Chaplain, offers informal classes on prayer,  on Torah, and on Judaism.  Students are encouraged to ask questions and are given opportunities to learn one on one.

Graduate Studies

Wake Forest boasts a graduate population of approximately 2,500 students, including the School of Business, the School of Law, and the School of Medicine.  We welcome all graduate students to all our events.

Contact Us

Jewish Life Office

Dr. Gail Bretan
Program Director, Jewish Life
The Office of the Chaplain
Wake Forest University
Benson Center 321, PO Box 7204
Winston-Salem, NC 27109

Jewish Studies

Dr. Barry Trachtenberg
Director, Jewish Studies
B101, Tribble Hall


Gabriel Frank Benzecry
Hillel President


Noah Soofer
AEPi President

SSI – Students Supporting Israel

Phillip Yurchenko
SSI President

Office of the Chaplain

Peggy Beckman
Administrative Coordinator
8D, Reynolda Hall

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