Graduate Theological Union

About the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies



The Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies (CJS) at the Graduate Theological Union is a premier center for the advanced study of Jewish history, literature and culture. Our programs combine rigorous text-study of primary sources with distinctive interdisciplinary approaches. Studies at CJS provide training for those preparing for academic careers, leadership positions in the Jewish community, as well as pastoral positions in congregations of many religious affiliations. Among the Center’s areas of academic focus are: modern Jewish literature and culture, Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Islamic relations from late antiquity to modernity, rabbinic Judaism, Jewish mysticism, and Jewish literary studies. The Center also hosts numerous conferences and lectures, celebrations of Jewish holidays, and other programs that attract wide participation by the public.


Mailing Address: Center for Jewish Studies, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA 94709.
Offices are located at 2465 Le Conte Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709. 

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Fellowship Opportunities

The Berkeley-Jerusalem Fellowship at the Graduate Theological Union and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies

The Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies have establised a new fellowship for students pursuing an M.A. in Jewish Studies at the GTU, with supplementary studies at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. This fellowship allows students to take full advantage of the resources at both institutions and inaugurate a collaboration for the mutual benefit of the students, faculty and community at the GTU and at Pardes.  

Fellowship Terms for 2016-2017

The Berkeley Jerusalem fellowship covers tuition for up to 24 units taken in the academic year 2016-17. The fellowship also provides funds for a term of study at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. Fellows may choose the five-week summer program or the semester program. Fellows receive additional funding for travel expenses and language study.

Berkeley-Jerusalem fellows are expected to study at CJS for the first year of their program, and to attend a summer Hebrew Ulpan in Israel (where necessary), and spend the fall semester of their second year at Pardes. Students may also choose to attend the Pardes summer program. Fellows are expected to return to Berkeley in the spring to complete their M.A. at GTU. While in Israel, students work in close consultation with faculty from both institutions, regarding their course of study and evaluation. Students can receive up to twelve units of academic credit, through GTU, for their studies in Jerusalem.

The Pardes Institute in Jerusalem engages students in the study of classic sacred texts in an open, non-denominational Jewish learning community. Students encounter the Jewish tradition while exploring its relevance to today’s most pressing issues.


Students apply for the Berkeley-Jerusalem Fellowship as part of their M.A. applications to CJS for studies beginning in the fall. To apply to the CJS MA program, please visit our Admissions website or contact Dr. Andrea Shaffer at 510-649-2465. Inquries regarding the application process should be directed to the Office of Admissions. Any questions regarding further details about areas of study should be directed to the Center for Jewish Studies office at or 510-649-2482. 

For questions about Pardes, please contact Jenny King Brill at Pardes at

CJS Language-study, Travel and Research Grant  and The CJS-Pardes Language-study Grant

CJS is delighted to offer funding for language study in the summer of 2016.  Funds are designated for intensive language study related to research; a number of grants are designated specifically for students who would like to combine summer studies at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem with intensive Hebrew language study (typically at an Ulpan in Israel) during the summer of 2016. 
Eligibility: Currently enrolled students at the M.A. or Ph.D. level at the Center for Jewish Studies, Graduate Theological Union. M.A. students who have already received summer grants are not eligible. Doctoral students may apply for funding even if they have received funding in the past. 
Criteria: Grants will help students pay expenses incurred in summer research outside the Bay Area. Such expenses include tuition for language or other study programs, travel to language programs or research sites, and accommodation at language programs or research sites. In the case of the CJS-Pardes grants, the grants will help students pay expenses incurred in their summer studies in Jerusalem. Such expenses include tuition for an Ulpan program, Pardes tuition, travel and accommodations.
Application: Students must submit a proposal, curriculum vitae, and proposed budget. The language-study proposal should explain their study in relation to ongoing academic interests. Please include letters of acceptance, and other related material. 
Students applying to the CJS-Pardes program should explain their interest in this grant in relation to ongoing academic research. Students are also expected to apply to the Pardes Summer Program, and to an Ulpan in Israel. Fluent Hebrew speakers may be exempted from this requirement. Students are also expected to file a report on completion of their summer program.
Course Credit: Students may earn up to six units of graduate credit for their summer language workshops, for Ulpan and Pardes studies. These credits may be acquired in an accredited language program, or applied retroactively in the fall semester through one or two SRC courses.
Applications due March 28th, 2016.
Applications must be submitted electronically to BOTH and
For more information contact Deena Aranoff at


Courses Required for Completion of MA in Jewish Studies

Sixteen courses are required for the completion of the program, two of which may be thesis credits. At least two courses must be from either faculty from a non-CJS faculty member or faculty at University of California at Berkeley. Among the fourteen non-thesis courses:

I. One course in a tradition other than Judaism.

II. Two courses in the history of Jewish thought covering the major periods of Jewish History.

III. One course in each of the following periods of Jewish history: Biblical, Rabbinic, Medieval and Modern.

IV. Two courses in Hebrew grammar or reading. The Hebrew Language requirement may be fufilled simultaneously with the other requirements. Thus a course in medieval Jewish history with readings in Hebrew satisfies both the medieval requirement and one of the two Hebrew requirements. 

The Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies is profoundly grateful for the generous support throughout the years of the Koret Foundation, the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture, the Osher Foundationthe Posen Foundation,  Tauber Foundation, the Hellman Foundation the Walter and Elise Haas Foundation, and all of our many friends in the community. 




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Make a donation to support CJS or give a monthly gift by contacting the Gifts Coordinator, 510/649-2531.

Monthly gifts will continue until the GTU is notified by the donor to terminate the gift.