Hebrew Studies is an integral component of a liberal arts degree. The student studies Hebrew or Jewish culture in relation to other relevant disciplines in the field of humanities. A degree in Hebrew Studies enables the student to explore, learn, and appreciate Jewish history, literature, language, heritage, and traditions from Biblical time right down to the 21st century.
The Hebrew Studies graduate is taught the broad scope of the Jewish culture’s role within the context of world civilization and present society. While some people might think that Hebrew Studies is exclusive and limited to those who are Jewish, this notion undermines the significant number of gentiles, or non-Jewish people, in campuses all over the U.S. who are currently enrolled in the program.
It may be difficult to believe that a degree in Hebrew Studies can be useful because “Hebrew” has always been associated with antiquity or irrelevance in the non-sectarian world even by Jewish people. Hebrew Studies, however, have trained graduates for careers in Jewish education and communities, public service, environmental planning, international relations, law, politics, and museum curating, among others.
Additionally, a degree in Hebrew Studies is not at all like obtaining instructions at a yeshiva or religious school for rabbinical training; it is more than that. The thrust of Hebrew Studies is to study the Jewish culture from historical, sociological, literary, philosophical, legal, political, and religious perspectives.
How Your Hebrew Studies Degree Can Land You a Job
Like the other majors in a liberal arts curriculum, Hebrew Studies can prepare the students for a wide variety of careers that may include social work, nonprofit administration, teaching, sociology, research, archaeology, journalism, policy advocacy, law, publishing, business, tourism, consulting, psychology, finance, graphic design, diplomacy, public relations, and hotel and restaurant management.
Some students go on to take further studies in theology, divinity, cantorial or rabbinical school while others often take additional courses in Aramaic, the modern equivalent of the ancient Hebrew language, which has been used as a vernacular in Israel, as well as in Yiddish, the Jewish language which evolved into Medieval German and is still spoken by around three million Jews in New York City alone.
Schools that Offer Hebrew Studies
The Hebrew College located in Newton Center, Massachusetts is one of the best schools from which you can obtain a degree in Hebrew Studies, as well as the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. Because of the large Jewish population in the five boroughs, it isn’t surprising that Hebrew Studies is offered by several prestigious institutions in the state such as Cornell and Columbia Universities.
Other state and private universities and colleges also offer Hebrew Studies as a major or minor for a bachelor’s degree as well as a field of concentration for master’s degrees and doctorates. Some of these universities include Tulane University (New Orleans), Wesleyan University (Middletown, Connecticut), Smith College (Northampton, Massachusetts), Stanford University, and Oberlin College (Ohio).
The University of Wisconsin-Madison, a trail blazer in foreign language education, offers Hebrew as a language course cognate to Semitic languages, Hebrew cultural history, Jewish archaeology, and scholarly investigation methodology. The Chicago and Evanston campuses of Northwestern University in Illinois offer Hebrew Studies both as a major and a minor.