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Gratz College Launches America’s First Master’s Degree in Antisemitism Studies

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Gratz College is launching the first Master of Arts degree program in Antisemitism Studies in the United States in Fall 2024.  This ground-breaking program will help fill the vacuum of knowledge about antisemitism across Jewish, non-Jewish, and governmental organizations responsible for generating policy to combat prejudice at a time of unprecedented Jew hatred. 

It will:

  • Provide an academic home for those seeking to develop both a deep theoretical and practical understanding of antisemitism; 

  • Help generate new and impactful research on the factors that contribute to growing antisemitism and test interventions that can successfully combat it; and 

  • Arm educators and practitioners with the most effective antisemitism pedagogy and programming. 

  • Through degree concentrations in teaching, advocacy and research, graduates of this program will be uniquely qualified for prominent careers in education, think tanks, government relations, public policy, and community organizations (Jewish and non-Jewish).  

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro is eager to see this program take shape:  

“We’re seeing a dangerous rise in antisemitism, hatred, and bigotry across our country – and it’s more important than ever that Pennsylvanians be equipped with a thorough knowledge of our shared history and the skills to discern fact from fiction. Gratz College is already renowned for its Holocaust and Genocide Studies programs, and I am encouraged the College is expanding upon that work with a new Master’s degree in Antisemitism Studies. I wish the faculty, staff, and especially the inaugural class of Antisemitism Studies students, great success in their work.” 

The program is directed by Dr. Ayal Feinberg, antisemitism studies expert and Director of the Center for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights at Gratz College. The program boasts a distinguished interdisciplinary faculty from academia and leading public advocacy organizations. Despite its infancy, the degree has been endorsed by nearly one hundred scholars and public policy experts from around the world. Professor of Political Science at Kalamazoo College R. Amy Elman asserts, “With an emphasis on operationalizing knowledge, informed teaching and ethical advocacy, Gratz’s innovative graduate program fulfills a deep need in countering antisemitism.” 

Gratz’s Antisemitism Studies program is also establishing ground-breaking partnerships with the world’s most prominent Jewish organizations and programs to combat antisemitism in the classroom, on campus, and in professional workspaces.  In the first such partnership, Gratz and The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History have joined forces to launch the National Education Fellowship on Antisemitism. The aim of this fellowship is to generate and assess paradigm-shifting middle and high school curriculum to reduce Jew-hatred and prejudice more broadly. 

As an early adopter of online education, a 128-year history of Jewish learning, and home to the world’s largest graduate program in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Gratz is uniquely qualified to take on this necessary and overdue program.  

On March 4, 2024, the master’s degree program will kick-off with a series of public lectures, including by scholars serving as affiliate faculty for the program. On April 2, 2024, Dr. Avinoam Patt, inaugural director of NYU’s Center for Study of Antisemitism and the Maurice Greenberg Professor of Holocaust Studies, will deliver a keynote lecture, titled, "Awake My People": Jewish Responses to Antisemitism in the Modern Period.” Additional talks will take place before the program officially begins in August. 

Prospective students eager to start may apply now and take courses as early as March 2024 with electives in Antisemitism Studies already developed as a preview to the program. 

Gratz College is grateful to the Isidore and Penny Myers Foundation for generously supporting the launch of the Antisemitism Studies program. Jay Myers, Board Chair, shared: “The Isidore and Penny Myers Foundation, a family foundation guided by Jewish American values, sees great worth in educating future generations about the roots of Antisemitism, and by doing so, working to combat it. This degree program will create scholars who can devote their talent to meet this challenge. Our Foundation is proud to support this work and by so doing, meet our obligation to help repair the world.”