The Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies is highly unusual as an academic unit at a flagship public university that bridges the study of Jewish civilizations and cultures and the study of the Middle East and North Africa.  We offer majors and minors in Judaic studies, Middle Eastern studies, Arabic, and Hebrew. The faculty in our unit are trained in diverse fields and undertake cutting-edge research and teaching within and across the two broad areas of focus in the department.

Our areas of expertise include Arabic and Hebrew languages, the cultural experiences of Sephardic Jews, early Islamic history, Jewish philosophy, the Ottoman Empire, Israeli film, the history of science in the Middle East, the Holocaust in a global perspective, and contemporary Arab legal and political ideas. Whatever we study, we are committed to our students’ learning needs and an open, diverse research and outreach agenda that serves the public interest. As the central place on the UMass campus for the intellectual exploration of both the Middle East and the Jewish experience, the department welcomes your interest and engagement.

Professor David Mednicoff,

Department Chair