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. 


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.  

The Berkeley-Jerusalem fellowship provides full tuition for the M.A. in Jewish Studies at the GTU, as well as tuition at Pardes for one semester, funding for summer Hebrew language study at an Ulpan, travel to Jerusalem and a stipend for additional expenses.

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

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 grateful for the generous support of the Koret Foundation, the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture, the Osher Foundation, the Bernard Osher Jewish Philanthropies Foundation, and the Posen Foundation.




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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.