The Jewish Studies Certificate Program

The Jewish Studies Certificate Program (JSCP), approved in Fall 2012, enables Fresno State and Continuing Education students to explore the long history, rich culture, diverse communities, and distinctive religious practices of this global minority group from ancient times to the present. Students enrolled in certificate courses learn about the many dimensions of Jewish heritage and also issues of contemporary concern for Jews of the diaspora, including the United States, and in Israel. Housed in the Department of History, the JSCP provides educational opportunities for people of all backgrounds with an interest in this field of study, and heightens awareness of the local Jewish community's contribution to the wonderful diversity of California's Central Valley. Specific requirements for earning a certificate are available in the Fresno State catalog

The Jewish Studies Certificate Program is affiliated with the Fresno State student club, the Jewish Studies Association.  For more information, please find JSA on Facebook and on the JSA website.

Spring 2015 Events

Tuesday, March 10, 6 pm, Madden Library 3212.   A screening of Black Swan with comment by Hannah Schwadron, Ph.D. (Dance History, Florida State University),“Jewish Swans in American Film: Fanny Brice, Barbra Streisand, and Natalie Portman.” Sponsored by the Jewish Studies Certificate Program and the Jewish Studies Association. A Women's History Month Event.

StreisandNatalie Portman


Wednesday, February 18, 6-8 pm, PHS 102. Tony Michels, George L. Mosse Associate Professor of American Jewish History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, "From Visibility to Invisibility and Back: Jews in American Film." Sponsored by the Jewish Studies Certificate Program and the Jewish Studies Association.

Theda BaraPaul Newman

Fall 2014 Events

Thursday December 4, 4 pm, FFS 213.  Michelle Denbeste, Ph.D. (Fresno State), “Birobidzhan: The Soviet Zion.” Sponsored by the Jewish Studies Association and Phi Alpha Theta.

Birobidzhan poster

Thursday, November 20, 4 pm FFS 213. Melissa Jordine, Ph.D. (Fresno State), "The Transformation of Society and the Persecution of the Jews in Germany, 1933-1938."  Sponsored by the Jewish Studies Association and Phi Alpha Theta.

nazis standing before a sign

Friday, Sept. 26, 5:30 pm, Cineculture co-sponsored screening of Dancing in Jaffa, Peter’s Education Center Auditorium (west of Save-Mart Center in the Student Recreation Center Building).  Over a ten-week period, Pierre Dulaine teaches Jewish and Palestinian Israeli children to dance and compete together. The film demonstrates the powerful role that the arts, and dance in particular, can play in enabling children to overcome prejudice and build strong personal ties with one another. Discussant: director Hilla Medalia. Click here for trailer..

Friday, Sept. 19, 5:30 pm, Cineculture co-sponsored screening of Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa, Peter’s Education Center Auditorium (west of Save-Mart Center in the Student Recreation Center Building). Albie Sachs, a Jewish South African who fought against apartheid and was disabled by a car bomb, lived to help create the post-apartheid government. Discussant: director Abby Ginzburg.  Click here for trailer.

Friday, Aug. 29, 5:30 pm, Cineculture co-sponsored screening of Besa,Peter’s Education Center Auditorium (west of Save-Mart Center in the Student Recreation Center Building). Amazing and beautifully told account of the Albanian Muslims who rescued Jews during the Holocaust.  Discussant: Besa producer/editor Christine Romero.  Click here for trailer

Getting Involved

To become involved with the Jewish Studies Association, please log in via your orgsync account. To find out about enrolling in the certificate program, please visit or contact Jill Fields. Jill's office is located at Social Sciences 123, phone (559) 278-5414, and email jfields@csufresno.eduYou can also call the Department of History at (559) 278-2153. Please begin by reviewing the Certificate Checklist.

JSCP in the News! 

Thanks to the Collegian at Fresno State for a nice piece on the Jewish Studies Certificate Program. Please take a moment to read "Jewish Studies Explores History, Culture, Religionfor some background and context for the new program.

The Collegian reported on the 2013-2014 Jewish Studies Lecture Series.  "Art used to help understand Holocaust" details the November  talk given by Andrea Pappas (Art History at Santa Clara University) on "Artists Respond to the Holocaust."  Co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Central California, which has provided community funding for the JSCP in 2012 and 2013.  Todah rabah (thank you) JFCC and the Collegian.

In March 2013, Fresno State hosted a well-attended reception for the newly appointed Israeli Consul General of the Pacific Northwest, Andy David.  Andy was welcomed by (former) President Welty, (former) Provost Corvino, and College of Social Sciences Dean Gonzalez. Read about the event in the Collegian.

Past Events

April 24, 2014:  Lori Clune, Ph.D. (History, Fresno State), "The Rosenbergs: Executing Jews in the Early Cold War." Sponsored by the Jewish Studies Association. Social Sciences 110.

February 11, 2014:Godwin Boswell's bookCow without Tail explores connections between the Igbo peoples of Nigeria and ancient Israel.  Co-sponsored by Africana Studies and the Jewish Studies Certificate Program for Africana Peoples History Month. Madden Library 2206.

January 31, 2014: Cineculture co-sponsored screening of The Great Dictator -- the first Hollywood film to openly portray Jewish ghettos and Nazi persecution of Jews -- with discussant Steve Ross, Professor of History, University of Southern California.  Steve's most recent book is Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics.  He is working on a new book, Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews and Their Spies Foiled Nazi and Fascist Plots Against America. Peter’s Education Center Auditorium

The Jewish Studies Association co-sponsored with Phi Alpha Theta a lecture by Fresno State historian Dan Cady on "Jewish American Popular Culture,"  Dec. 3, 2013, 5 pm, Social Sciences 110.

This academic year's Phebe McClatchy Conley Classics Lecture explored a Jewish Studies topic. Oct. 3, 2013, McLane 121, Erich Gruen (UC Berkeley) presented, “Religious Pluralism in the Roman Empire: Did Judaism Test the Limits of Roman Tolerance?” to an SRO audience.

Dr. Bradley Hart spoke about his research “Reevaluating Nazi Sympathizers in Britainduring Appeasement and World War II” on Oct. 22, 2013 to a full Social Science classroom. The lecture was sponsored by the Jewish Studies Association and Phi Alpha Theta The lecture can be viewed on YouTube.

Last spring, the Jewish Studies Certificate Program held its first lecture seriesdesigned to explore the vibrant history and rich culture of the Jewish peopleDr. Leandra Zarnow of Stanford University presented the first lecture in the series February 12, 2013. Please check back for a link to a videocast of “The Making of a ‘People’s’ Politician: Jewish Congresswoman Bella Abzug’s First Career as an Early Civil Rights Lawyer.”

In April 2013, Josh Moss presented "Woody the Gentile: Comedy, Nostalgia, and Christian-Jewish Interplay in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris" followed by a screening of the film.

JSCP Lecture Series Autors