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Temple Israel, on 600 Columbus Avenue, was built in 1885 and is today’s Columbus Avenue AME Zion Church, just a few blocks from our offices. The photograph is courtesy of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center.


The mission of the Jewish Studies Program at Northeastern University is to advance the academic study of all aspects of the Jewish experience in history and today. The Jewish Studies Program supports a lively intellectual life for students, faculty, and the broader Northeastern and Boston community interested in Jewish studies and related fields through its courses, public programming, and scholarships.

A strongly interdisciplinary field, Jewish studies crosses into history, music, literature, political science, international affairs, sociology, women’s studies, religion, philosophy, and modern languages. The Jewish Studies Program at Northeastern University offers exciting classes in both Israel studies and the history, art, music, and literature of Jewish communities around the world. Undergraduate students can choose from a number of different tracks through which to explore Jewish studies: as a Jewish studies minor, a combined major in Jewish studies and religion, or in other individualized combined majors with Jewish studies. Graduate students from a range of disciplines within the University can affiliate with the program and participate in its academic life. Experiential education in the Jewish Studies Program includes study abroad options in Israel and internships and co-ops both abroad and in the United States at a variety of organizations.

Jewish studies also offers scholarships to outstanding students and sponsors frequent public lectures, performances, and exhibitions both on campus and in the Greater Boston area. One of our most important events each year is the Morton E. Ruderman Memorial Lecture, which brings internationally renowned speakers to campus for a public lecture and a master class offered to select undergraduate and graduate students. The series honors the legacy of alumnus Morton Ruderman and is funded by the Ruderman Family Foundation.


The Jewish Studies Program is for everyone, but it is also worth noting Northeastern University’s longstanding history of providing opportunities to Jewish students. In the 1920s and 1930s, an estimated 20 percent of the student body was comprised of Jewish students, often the children of working-class or immigrant families who relied upon co-ops and scholarship support to afford the cost of a higher education. Northeastern was, for many years, the most popular college and graduate school for Boston-area Jewish students, many of whom grew up in the surrounding neighborhoods of Roxbury, Mattapan, and Dorchester.

The Jewish Studies minor at Northeastern University was created in 1994-95 as an interdisciplinary program using existing courses in the departments of History, English, Sociology, Music, and Philosophy and Religion. Over the past several years, the program has expanded considerably, thanks in no small part to the generosity of the Ruderman Family Foundation, established by Mort Ruderman ’59 and his wife Marcia, who also made possible the Ruderman Family Professorship, held by Director Lori Lefkovitz. After 25 years, the Northeastern University Jewish Studies Program is a well-established and internationally respected program with a still expanding curriculum, expert core and affiliated faculty, and strong co-curricular programs, including visits from preeminent scholars and public figures from around the globe.

The Jewish Studies Program welcomes all students at Northeastern University to take our classes, attend our public lectures, and participate in our co-curricular programming.