Master’s links arts, Judaism

The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences will launch a first-of-its-kind master’s program in Jewish cultural arts next fall.

The program will combine existing arts administration and Judaic studies.

“GW’s initiative is not only the first to combine the two disciplines, but is also distinctive in its emphasis on Jewish culture in all of its manifestations,” Jenna Weissman Joselit, director of the Judaic Studies Program, said.

While undergraduate classes in Judaic studies attract more than 1,000 students each year, the master’s program expects to start out admitting only five to seven students per year.

“Although quite a number of our undergraduate courses incorporate film, music, photography and theater, the MA stands out in its strong focus and concentration on the arts,” Weissman Joselit said. “Critical engagement with the arts is central to the vitality of the human spirit.”

The 36-credit program will include six core courses taught by four to six professors – in Judaic studies, museum studies, public policy and administration and marketing – as well as electives, six credit hours of internships and a final project in which students will put together an art event.

Weissman Joselit cited GW’s partnerships with the Smithsonian, the Phillips Collection and the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center as starting points for internships and collaboration projects.

“This new program offers its students the dual opportunity to think lofty thoughts about Jewish culture and to ground those thoughts in and to apply them to the day-to-day realities of running an organization,” Weissman Joselit said.

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