Jewish Gender and Women's Studies



Judith Hauptman, Talmud and Rabbinics

David Kraemer, Talmud and Rabbinics

Burton L. Visotzky, Midrash 

Associate Professors

Barbara Mann, Modern Jewish Studies, Jewish Literature, on leave spring 2016

Shuly Rubin Schwartz, Modern Jewish Studies, Jewish History

Stefanie B. Siegmund, Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Studies, Jewish History; Program Chair

Amy Kalmanofsky, Bible, Advisor (2015-2016)

Assistant Professors

Shira Epstein, Jewish Education


Anne Lerner, Jewish Literature

The program in Jewish Gender and Women's Studies (JGWS) at The Jewish Theological Seminary offers an interdisciplinary array of courses that allows students to examine the history, literature, image, and culture of Jewish women and men through the perspective of gender. Course offerings focus on Jewish women's history, Yiddish and Hebrew literature, women in the Bible, and other women or gender-centered subjects. In addition, our Gender Studies seminar teaches students to apply a feminist approach to all the biblical and rabbinic texts they will encounter while at JTS, and raise gender-focused questions in any of the classes they may choose to take in the course of their studies.

Students in our BA and MA programs ordinarily focus on one historical period or discipline while choosing courses from among the many areas of study taught at JTS. They will ordinarily also take complementary courses in women's, feminist, or queer studies at neighboring institutions.

The program in Jewish Gender and Women's Studies prides itself on its commitment to combining feminist and Jewish perspectives. It encourages students to bring their creativity into their work, supports women's scholarship, and aims to teach and promote a gendered understanding of all areas of Judaic studies. Student learning is supported by the many feminist and gender-focused activities and organizations associated with the larger nearby colleges and universities of New York City.

Degrees Available

Bachelor of Arts Admission Requirements

View the List College Admissions page.

Requirements for the BA in Jewish Gender and Women's Studies

30 credits chosen in consultation with the program advisor, distributed as follows:

  • Six courses (18 credits) in Jewish gender and women's studies, chosen from at least three different fields or disciplines (e.g., Jewish history, Jewish literature, Talmud and rabbinics, Midrash, ethics, Bible, education). Courses that do not have a "JGW" prefix may sometimes, with prior approval of the instructor and the advisor, be adapted for credit toward the major.    
  • Two additional courses (6 credits) in feminist, queer, or women's studies, which may be taken at Columbia University or Barnard College, to be chosen in consultation with the advisor. Credit is not given for courses taken outside JTS when a similar course is offered at JTS.        
  • One cognate course (3 credits), to be taken in any discipline or subject directly related to the student's chosen JGWS focus, with approval of the advisor         
  • Senior/capstone seminar (or Senior Honors Thesis, for those admitted) (3 credits)

Master of Arts Admission Requirements

See Gershon Kekst Graduate School Admissions page.

Requirements for the MA in Jewish Gender and Women's Studies

In addition to prerequisite courses and language courses required of all students in Gershon Kekst Graduate School, 30 graduate credits are required as follows:

  • A first-year seminar (3 credits)
  • A program seminar required of all students, preferably during their first year of study. This course (3 credits) will ordinarily be Readings in Jewish Gender Studies.
  • One course in feminist or queer theory (3 credits), which may be taken at any of the graduate schools in the Consortium Program, to be chosen in consultation with the advisor
  • Four elective courses (12 credits) in Jewish Gender and Women's Studies
  • Three additional courses (9 credits) in a related area of concentration selected by each student, in consultation with the advisor, from any one disciplinary approach, area, or program. Courses cross-listed with Jewish Gender and Women's Studies may be counted toward this cognate requirement.

Note: For cross-listed courses taken to fulfill the 12 credits of elective JGWS courses, where a syllabus is not fully dedicated to a women's or gender studies approach, students are expected to fulfill their assignments and papers by choosing gender and women's studies themes, and to submit them to the JGWS program advisor as part of the approval process.

Master's Thesis, Project, or Examination

The master's thesis (40 to 60 pages), ordinarily on a topic in the area of the cognate concentration, is written in consultation with the program chair and advisor, and under the supervision of an approved faculty member as an advisor or co-advisor. An alternative path may be permitted for creative artists who design a project (e.g., creative writing, visual, musical, or performance arts) and enlist an appropriate JTS faculty member as advisor. For students who intend to teach, in consultation with the program advisor and two JGW faculty members, a comprehensive examination may be individually designed and taken to fulfill the capstone requirement.

Search the JTS Course Catalog for JGW Courses.

Search the Columbia University / Barnard College Catalog for Women's Studies Courses