Center for Judaic & Middle Eastern Studies, UCONN Stamford
Contact: Dr. Nehama Aschkenasy, Director
Rhonna W. Rogol, Esq.
Director of Programming & Community Outreach
Phone: (203) 251-8533
Judith Rudikoff, Program Associate
Phone: (203) 251-9525
Since its inception in 1981, the Center for Judaic & Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Connecticut, Stamford, has exposed the school’s undergraduate students to the wealth of Jewish civilization and historical experience and to knowledge of Israel and Middle Eastern culture and society. The Center has also made major contributions to the intellectual and cultural life of the local Jewish community and the larger Interfaith community. Unparalleled by any other educational program in Fairfield County in its range of offerings and the religious and ethnic groups it has reached, the Center has been broadly recognized as a bastion of academic excellence and intellectual integrity, fostering a climate of intellectual fairness and objectivity.
The Center offers credit courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences in all areas of Judaic and Middle Eastern history and culture, from antiquity to modern times. Courses on Israel, international relations and politics of the Middle East, Israeli and Palestinian literature and the study of religion are also offered. Through the use of rich and varied literary and scholarly sources, the Center’s courses have integrated the Jewish experience into the undergraduate curriculum, providing an understanding of the uniqueness of the Judaic tradition and the significance of the Jewish contribution to Western civilization. The Center has thus been able to counteract popular stereotypes and engender goodwill among the school’s non-Jewish students while creating in its Jewish students a deeper identification with and pride in their Jewish heritage. Our Certificate track, an interdisciplinary concentration, attracts Jewish, Christian and Muslim students, both from UConn’s undergraduate student body and the general community. The Certificate also serves as a tool for training adults from the community in Judaic and Middle Eastern Studies, thus enhancing the knowledge of current educators and creating a needed source of teachers for area religious schools of different faiths.
The Center’s non-credit outreach programming, renowned for its impressive speakers and innovative themes, has enriched the community’s knowledge of Israel, the Middle East, Jewish heritage and other religions. Our annual full-day conferences and semi-annual “Lunch & Learn” series, featuring some of the most eminent personalities of our times, have attracted large, diverse audiences. The Center is also the major provider of Interfaith programs for both our traditional and community students. Our well-attended conferences and seminars have exposed the non-Jewish community to Judaic scholarship and vice versa, providing an informed setting for Interfaith dialogue, mutual understanding, and tolerance.
The Center has been recognized for its innovative programs in the areas of traditional academic education and particularly outreach projects. Since its inception, the Center has enjoyed broad community support and has been financially supported by individual community members, foundations, corporate gifts, and matching grants. The Center is a recipient agency of the UJF.