About the Centre

The Centre for Jewish Studies at York University is Canada's first interdisciplinary research centre in Jewish Studies, bringing together a vibrant community of scholars and teachers to promote cutting-edge research in the field.

Jewish Studies encompasses the study of the texts, histories, and cultures of the Jewish people, which developed alongside and within Western and non-Western civilizations.  Uniquely Jewish intellectual, philosophical, literary, theological and social traditions developed from the Biblical period onward - distinct from but in steady interaction with the traditions of countries in which Jewish life flourished, contributing to and absorbing from the cultures they touched.  As an academic field, Jewish studies concentrates on its own inner continuities and ruptures, as well as on the ways it has affected and been affected by other cultures.  To study Jewish thought and history, then, is to gain a richer and more complex  understanding of the underpinnings of Jewish culture specifically, and Western and non-Western cultures more broadly, as well as the mutual influences which helped shape each.   A multidisciplinary nexus, Jewish Studies draws upon many methodologies and disciplines, and also contributes its insights to those disciplines.

Since its inception in 1989, CJS has seen its mission as encompassing not only fostering Jewish Studies research, but also enhancing of teaching, outreach to community, and service to the profession.  CJS supports a variety of initiatives that help our students learn about the Jewish people promote the understanding of Jewish culture among the larger public.  CJS activities include visiting professorships, guest lectures, student scholarships and prizes, symposia, and acquisition of library materials. administers York's Jewish Teacher Education Program and works collaboratively with York's B.A. Program in Jewish Studies. The Jewish Teacher Education Program lasts for three to four years and combines a BA with a BEd.