The Institute of Jewish Thought and Heritage
Inaugurated in 2008, the Institute of Jewish Thought and Heritage is a multidisciplinary research and academic degree-granting program focused on teaching and scholarship related to the contributions of the Jewish tradition in the development of Western civilization. Highly interdisciplinary, the mission of the Institute is to foster knowledge, inquiry and scholarly excellence to better understand Judaism.
A full-fledged Department of Jewish Thought is anticipated to begin in fall 2014. At present, students can take a variety of courses in Jewish Studies and Modern Hebrew, as well as sign up for a Minor or earn a B.A. in Jewish Studies. In addition, the program is the first of its kind within the SUNY system planning to establish master and doctoral degree programs in the field of Jewish Studies. (See "News" for details).
Because Jewish civilization is as old as human history it includes all things human. A central and unifying feature throughout its long and diverse history is Judaism's emphasis on ethics, on the biblically inspired teachings of morality and the prophetic call to justice. Attention to ethics will therefore serve to give definition and direction to Jewish Studies at UB. This common thread allows the program to relate ancient and medieval learning to contemporary issues, as it also facilitates the integration of its program within the entire university curriculum.
Nourished by the enormous spiritual, intellectual and cultural contributions of a long and productive history, of a pluralist tradition which remains alive and vibrant in today's world, aligned with the Institute's focus on excellence in scholarship, research, and teaching, the IJTH aims to become a world-class center of scholarly activity — a legitimate "Focus of Excellence."