In the Department of Literature of the Jewish People, students discover the spiritual and cultural riches of Hebrew and Jewish literature throughout history.

They gain a practical foundation rooted in theory and methodology for studying Jewish literature by those in the mainstream and those at the margins.

The program emphasizes the chronological history of Hebrew and Jewish literature as well as the textual dialogue between various historical eras and Jewish languages, viewing these as part of a single cultural tapestry.

The program emphasizes literature from diverse Jewish communities across the globe, in Israel and the Diaspora, and across different historical eras, in Hebrew and in other languages spoken by Jews.



Master’s degrees in the Department of Literature of the Jewish People are offered in two different tracks:

Track A: Research Track: Thesis required, total of 14 hours/week (28 credits)

Track B: Non-Research Track: No thesis required, total of 18 hours/week (36 credits)



The department offers master’s degrees in both research and non-research tracks in the fields of Contemporary Hebrew Literature, Medieval Literature, and Rabbinic Literature and Midrash.

In addition, students may specialize in one of the following four areas:

  1. Creative Writing (non-research track only)
  2. Ladino: Dissemination of Ladino Culture (research and non-research tracks)
  3. Hasidic Literature (research and non-research tracks)
  4. Russian-Jewish Literature (research and non-research tracks)


Institutions and Research Centers:


The Salti Institute for Ladino Studies

The Institute for Ladino Studies offers students interdisciplinary programs on Ladino literature and language throughout history and the world, including the study of oral culture as well as written texts. Students in the center work on research projects in line with their educational background and research interests, with the aim of integrating various fields in the study of Ladino language, literature, and culture. The Institute awards several unique scholarships. If students require supplementary courses, these may be provided on an individual basis. Students must have sufficient knowledge of Ladino to undertake research, and must find a research advisor before registering and interviewing for the program.


The Rena Costa Center for Yiddish Studies

The Center for Yiddish Studies prepares students to write a master’s thesis on Yiddish Literature or the connections between Hebrew and Yiddish Literature. Students who choose this track will receive language training that gives them sufficient command of the language to conduct research in Yiddish, namely to be able to read literary and scientific texts in Yiddish and write about Yiddish literature. In the course of preparing for their master’s degree, students will write research papers on the ancient Yiddish of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on modern Yiddish, and on various aspects of Yiddish literature: poetry, prose, drama and newspapers, as well as the historiography of Yiddish literature. Students must have sufficient knowledge of Yiddish to undertake research.


Prerequisites for the Master’s Program:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Jewish Literature or other field with a minimum grade point average of 76
  • Personal interview
  • Applicants may be required to complete supplementary courses as determined on an individual basis
  • Students interested in the research track must find an academic advisor before registering


Track A – Research Track (thesis required)

Hours and Courses:

14 hours/week (28 credits) as detailed below:

1 course in aesthetics (required) — 2 hours/week (4 credits)

2 seminars — 4 hours/week (8 credits)

Electives —7 hours/week (14 credits)

1 course in academic writing (required) — 1 hour/week (2 credits)



See the general guidelines for writing a thesis, in the introductory chapter of the handbook for the School of Graduate Studies.

Students must submit their research proposal by the end of the first academic year.


Knowledge of Foreign Languages:

English at a Master’s Degree level (for details regarding placement tests, course levels, and criteria for exemption, consult the introductory chapter of the handbook for the School of Graduate Studies).

Additional foreign language (for research track only): determined by academic advisor


Background in Jewish Studies:

In accordance with the general requirements for a master’s degree (see the introductory chapter of the handbook for the School of Graduate Studies).


Department Events:

Students must regularly participate in department events throughout the year, including academic colloquia, seminars, and conferences.


Track B – Non-Research Track

Hours and Courses:

18 hours/week (36 credits) as detailed below:

1 course in aesthetics (required) — 2 hours/week (4 credits)

3 seminars — 6 hours/week (12 credits)

Electives — 10 hours/week (20 credits)