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Judaic and Israel Studies

Our monthly JuSt Lunch Brown Bag Lectures gather scholars from OU and the metro to discuss ongoing research across the full range of Judaic & Israel Studies. Bring your lunch. Coffee, tea, and rugelach provided!

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The Schusterman Center hosts or co-sponsors a variety of special events every year. From special guest lectures, to discussion panels and conferences, there is always an engaging Judaic & Israel Studies event around the corner!

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Our annual film screenings bring works of cinema into a Judaic & Israel Studies context. Each screening is precedeed by pizza and introduced by a faculty member who also moderates a post-screening Q&A.

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Established in 1999 to honor the beloved teacher and world-renowned scholar for whom it is named, following her passing in February 1998, the Yedida Kalfon Stillman Memorial Lecture is held annually in the spring.

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The Schusterman Center offers a variety of awards across two main types. Schusterman Center Domestic Scholarships are geared toward undergraduate and graduate students studying on OU's Norman Campus. Schusterman Center Study in Israel Scholarships allow undergraduate and graduate students to travel to Israel in pursuit of a variety of fields: everything from coursework at the Rothberg International School, to dance collectives, to archaeological digs coordinated by Center faculty!

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Welcome to the Schusterman Center for Judaic and Israel Studies

What are Judaic and Israel Studies?

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The Schusterman Center for Judaic and Israel Studies at the University of Oklahoma is the largest home for its fields in the region. With six core faculty members and eighteen associated faculty members, it offers more than sixty courses as well undergraduate and graduate degrees. The center holds at least a dozen academic events every year, and awards thousands of dollars of scholarships to OU students studying in Norman and through Education Abroad.

Judaic Studies explores the history and culture of the Jewish people over a period of four millennia in the Land of Israel and in the Diaspora (Dispersion) through the tools of the humanities and the social sciences. The field began as an academic discipline in Europe during the nineteenth century and developed within universities and research centers the world over during the twentieth and twenty-first. Israel Studies is a much more recent field dedicated to interpreting the culture, politics and society of the modern State of Israel.

Five Common Misconceptions About Judaic & Israel Studies

Judaic/Israel Studies is only for Jews. Our biggest stumbling-block! Not only are most of our students not Jewish, many of our faculty are not either. Our field is an academic one: if the subject interests you, that’s good enough. (Jewish life at OU happens to be warm & friendly and there’s an active Hillel for all who wish to get involved).

Judaic/Israel Studies requires Hebrew. We encourage students to take Hebrew, but the overwhelming majority of our students do not. No language requirements, unless you want to Major/Minor

Judaic/Israel Studies is too old. Yes, Jewry is an ancient civilization. But the computer chips that you use in your cellphone were developed in today’s Israel and quite a few of the movies you like (especially the comedies) were made by American Jewish writers or directors.

Judaic/Israel Studies is too narrow. Every Schusterman Center student scholarship is open to every OU student. Go on an archaeological dig, learn fashion design, study music composition, explore security studies, take university classes in mysticism. We’ve funded all these interests and more. 

Judaic/ Israel Studies classes sound hard. Like any good Humanities or Social Science unit, we are rigorous. After all, you want a degree that prepares you for the working world by cultivating your reading, speaking and writing skills. But our teachers are committed and caring, our classes are small, usually capped at 40, and you will get to know us – and we’ll get to know you too.

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