Touro College’s Graduate School of Jewish Studies (GSJS) will launch a Ph.D. program in Jewish Studies in September 2018, Touro’s first doctoral course of study in the arts and sciences. GSJS Dean Michael A. Shmidman has spent a decade developing the program.
Dean Shmidman, an ordained rabbi and scholar of Jewish Studies, holds a Ph.D. from Harvard in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and an MA from Hebrew University in Jewish Philosophy. He described the program as “the beginning of a new phase in Touro’s contribution to knowledge about the intellectual, social and political history of the Jewish people.”
“Touro’s mission is to transmit and enrich the Jewish heritage and its tradition of intellectual inquiry,” said Dr. Alan Kadish, President of Touro College. “This program is an important step towards fulfilling that vision.”
Kadish also announced the appointment of Dr. Shnayer Leiman, a leading scholar in Jewish studies, to the faculty of GSJS. Dr. Leiman is Professor Emeritus of Jewish History and Literature in the Department of Judaic Studies at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, and teaches at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University. Prior to that, he served as Professor of Jewish History and Literature at Yale. Dr. Leiman earned his rabbinic ordination from the Mirrer Yeshiva in New York.
“It is a privilege to have this esteemed scholar and teacher join our faculty and work side by side with our students as they embark on their doctoral studies and research,” said Kadish.
“It is Touro’s commitment to academic excellence in Jewish Studies that attracted me and I am honored to become a member of its faculty,” said Leiman. “I look forward to working together with the graduate faculty, and to mentoring doctoral students while learning from them in the process.”
Touro’s program will offer a specialization in modern Jewish studies — sixteenth century to the present day. Specialization in medieval Jewish studies will soon be offered as well.
Since the school’s founding in 1981, more than 1,500 students have graduated from various branches of the Graduate School of Jewish Studies.