signboard saying shalom, Hebrew for welcome or hello

Welcome to SJSU Jewish Studies

The Jewish Studies Program, a minor program within the History Department, welcomes SJSU students and community members into a study of Jewish ethnicity, history, literature, ethics, religion, and culture. The program features classes, both on campus and in the community (see Yiddish).

We work together with the SJSU Jewish Faculty & Staff Association, Hillel of Silicon Valley, and the Jewish Student Association to offer book discussions, public lectures, film screenings, and other cultural programming throughout the year. 

Check back here for dates and times of events.

Jewish star hanging from a branch; blurry spring bloom in background

Spring 2024 SJSU courses 

ENGL 115 Bible as Literature, MW 3-4:15 TBA, hybrid synchronous online and in person (4 units), Mary Warner

ENGL 126 Holocaust Literature, including service learning component (3 units, V Cultures and Global Understanding) MW 1:30-2:45 in person, Linda Landau

HEBR 10a Elementary Hebrew CANCELED because of under-enrollment

HIST 100W, section 2 History Writers' Workshop (3 units, Writing in the Discipline), TR 12-1:15, in person, Gregory Tomlinson 

HIST 112 Ancient West to 500 BCE, MW 10:30-11:45, in person, Jonathan Roth

HIST 131 Military History from 1500, MW 12-1:125, in person, Jonathan Roth

HIST 136 World Jewish History (3 units, V Cultures and Global Understanding), TR 1:30-2:45 in person, Gregory Tomlinson

HIST 145 Europe and the World since 1945 (4 units) MW 9-10:15 in person, Allison Katsev

MUSC 10C Pop and Rock in the U.S. (3 units, C1 Arts) TR 2-3:15 in person; MW 11:30-12:45 synchronous online, Thomas Langan

RELS 70 Gods, Guns, Gurus, Grails–World Religion (3 units, C2 Humanities), TR 9-10:15 in person, Arthur Zarate

RELS 90 Bible History and Literature (3 units, C2 Humanities), TR 3-4:15 in person, Todd Perreira; asynchronous online, Marianne Delaporte Kabir 

RELS 99 Death, Dying and Religions (3 units, E: Human Understanding & Development) TR 9-10:15 in person; MW 1:30-2:45 synchronous online, Todd Perreira

RELS 191 Religion in America (3 units: SJSU Studies S: Self, Society & Equality in U.S.) asynchronous online, Marianne Delaporte Kabir

WGSS 189 Feminist Perspectives on Religion & Gender (3 units), MW 1:30-2:45 in person, Susana Gallardo

Please contact the JS coordinator to discuss opportunities for independent study and community engaged learning. Also, see the "about us" and "program" pages for lots of info about classes and the minor.

Please see the SJSU Course Catalog for prerequisites for the courses listed here.


Holocaust Literature class announcement

Featured Class

Holocaust Literature (satisfies Area V) adds a Service Learning component this year! 

This course analyzes the Jewish literary response to slavery, genocide, and the attempted annihilation of world Jewry before, during, and after World War II, with a special focus on antisemitism as a clear and present danger to democracies today.

The course has an on-campus creative service learning component: students will design slide presentations on the Holocaust and antisemitism for use in K-12 programs in San Jose schools, tech company DEI outreach events, Santa Clara County interfaith projects, and the “Chaim” Holocaust Exhibit. The project is coordinated by the professor with community partners meeting students on campus when necessary.

Peter Williams standing on a boat in Venice, with another boater in the rear

Featured Student

Outstanding Jewish Studies minor students may be selected to receive a scholarship for their studies. Peter J. Williams, double French and History major and double Middle East Studies and Jewish Studies minor, was the 2022 recipient, on the strength of his range and depth of study in contemporary and historical Jewish Studies. You will find an interview he did with me on the People page. 

Will you be the 2023-24 recipient? The Jewish Studies minor is now accepting new students into the program.  

back of a man head's shows a kippah with the words Jew Got Questions

Jewish news, issues, questions

Peruse the Jewish News, Issues, Questions page if you're wondering about Jewish news here in the Bay Area, or about musings in Jewish thought. I welcome guest contributors to this page! Please email me with your interest.

The organization Amcha issued a report on the significant threat to students' Jewish identity, in the face of anti-Semitism on college campuses. If you or someone you know is a victim of identity-based aggression or micro-aggression at SJSU, please let's talk to explore your/their options. Email me so we can meet? 

Vicki Harrison, coordinator, profile picture

Message from the coordinator

Welcome–I’m glad you’ve stopped by. I’m Vicki Harrison, the Jewish Studies Program coordinator. My career path has been that of a wandering Jew–a PhD in English at Rutgers in New Jersey, a professorship in English at UC Santa Barbara, founding member of Kehillah Jewish High School’s faculty, and most recently, chair of Notre Dame High School’s English department. In between and again, I coordinated Jewish Studies here at San Jose State and served as faculty advisor to the Jewish Students Association. Returning home to this minor program, almost 50 years old but always in start-up mode, I welcome you: Are you a student considering an interdisciplinary, flexible minor that will challenge you as a critical thinker and as a human exploring the diversity of our world? Are you a community member considering the potentials of lifelong learning? Are you a language lover, seeking to learn another (or two) languages (Hebrew and Yiddish)? Please return to the Jewish Studies website often, as I update it whenever I have something new to show you! Email me with any questions/comments.