The Israel & Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University is Canada's first interdisciplinary research centre in Jewish Studies. It brings together a vibrant community of scholars, teachers, and advanced students to promote cutting-edge research in the field.
Jewish Studies encompasses the study of the texts, history, and culture of the Jewish people in all of its diversity. Jewish intellectual, philosophical, literary, theological, and social traditions developed from the Biblical period onward alongside and within both Western and non-Western civilizations. While distinct in their own right, Jewish traditions have also been in steady interaction with the traditions of countries in which Jewish communities have lived through the ages. As an academic field, Jewish studies concentrates on both the continuities and ruptures in Jewish civilization, 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 both Jewish and non-Jewish cultures and societies through the millenniums. A multidisciplinary nexus, Jewish Studies naturally draws upon many methodologies and disciplines, and also contributes its insights to those disciplines.
Since its inception in 1989, CJS has pursued a mission of not only fostering Jewish Studies research within the university but also enhancing the teaching of Jewish Studies. It is also committed to engaging the broader community and helping to prepare individuals for careers of service in professions related to Jewish Studies. CJS supports a variety of initiatives that help our students learn about the Jewish people in order to promote understanding of Jewish culture among the larger public. Its activities include visiting professorships, guest lectures, research workshops, academic symposia, public cultural events, student scholarships and prizes, and the building of a Jewish Studies reference and research collection. It also administers York's Graduate Diploma in Jewish Studies and the Jewish Teacher Education Program, which combines a BA with a BEd, as well as works collaboratively with York's B.A. Program in Jewish Studies.