The Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel

The Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel contributes to diversity and inclusion at MSU through all of its courses, co-curricular programming, and research. It engages in the interdisciplinary study of the history, cultures, language(s), identities, and religion of the Jewish people. While our program encompasses the historical and geographic breadth of Jewish experiences, our particular strengths are in American Jewish history, culture, and literature; European Jewish history and Holocaust Studies; Hebrew; Israel Studies; and Judaism. The Serling Institute offers an undergraduate minor in Jewish Studies that allows students to explore, in interdisciplinary and flexible ways, Jewish history, culture, and identity, to learn Hebrew, and to study Judaism. A hallmark of our program is the close interaction of faculty, students and community members. There are currently over 50 minors coming from over a half dozen colleges and departments across campus. We offer over 850 students campus wide. Students work closely with faculty mentors, who provide guidance both on academic development and professional opportunities. We have 5 core Jewish Studies faculty and 30 affiliated faculty from ten departments and colleges across the university. The Serling Institute also offers approximately 25 lectures, films, concerts, and exhibits each year that all contribute to diversity and inclusion at MSU. If you would like to learn more about our courses, co-curriculars and scholarships please visit us at or contact the Director, Professor Yael Aronoff, at

Given the rise of antisemitism globally, nationally, and on college campuses, the Serling Institute is actively engaged in spreading awareness of antisemitism on campus, and have often also collaborated with the Muslim Studies Program in spreading awareness of both antisemitism and Islamophobia. We offer courses on Jews and Antisemitism, the History of the Holocaust, American Jewish History, European Jewish History, Holocaust Memory, Holocaust Testimony in the Digital Age, and the Representability of the Holocaust. We offer symposiums and lectures on antisemitism and on the Holocaust. We also offer workshops on recognizing and combatting antisemitism to any residential hall or academic unit who requests us to do so. On Jan. 29 we collaborated with Muslim Studies to do a training for 320 Residential Advisors on Recognizing and Combatting Antisemitism and Islamophobia, and on April 12 we are doing such a workshop at James Madison College. We also collaborated with Muslim Studies in establishing an MSU Dialogues on Religion and Ethnicity, which focuses on Antisemitism and Islamophobia. We did a workshop on recognizing and combatting antisemitism at the request of the Women’s Advisory Committee for Support Staff’s Anti-Racism Insight Series on March 3 and are happy to do so for any interested party. We are also finishing a guide on understanding and combatting Antisemitism that we will distribute to the MSU Community as a resource. In addition, we have also been active in working through the DEI Committee, and in consultation with stakeholders across the university to draft a strengthened Religious Policy for MSU. It is our hope that this new policy will become effective by fall 2022. In reaction to antisemitic incidents on our campus, we issues a statement in September

Provided by Yael Arnoff, PhD

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