Jewish Studies – Cultural Immersion for Future Jewish Leaders and Educators

AJU College’s Jewish Studies program readies students for professions in Jewish education, the rabbinate, cantorial studies and higher Jewish academic study while providing an engaging curriculum for curious spiritual seekers on the road to discovering their professional paths.

With internationally renowned Jewish educators, rabbis and scholars on its faculty, AJU College is uniquely suited as a place to study Judaism.

Our students pluralistically engage in Jewish life through courses in Jewish philosophy, history, tradition and social sciences. AJU College’s Curriculum of Purpose teaches students to apply Jewish ethics and Talmud toward self-actualization, service and community-building.

On-campus and in nearby culturally rich neighborhoods, students participate in and become a vital part of Los Angeles’ vibrant Jewish community.

AJU College’s strong network sets a foundation for our graduates to competitively pursue vocational programs, post-graduate education and career placement.

Jewish Studies professors connect our students with top organizations for internships, higher education and career positions. Local Hebrew schools and after-school programs recruit AJU Jewish Studies students for teaching positions. Post-graduates hold leadership positions at Valley Beth Shalom synagogue, and others.

Our graduates go on to work as influential community-builders for Jewish social justice and sustainability movements in the greater Los Angeles area and beyond.

For more information, please contact department chair:

DEPARTMENT CHAIR & ADVISOR

Pinchas Giller Ph.D
Phone // 310.476.9777 x550
Email // pgiller@aju.edu

 

The Jewish Studies Department is dedicated to the study of the broad spectrum of Jewish life and culture on a serious academic level.  It is designed to introduce students to all aspects of Jewish Studies across a variety of disciplines, historical periods, and intellectual traditions.

As a field, Jewish Studies covers a wide number of time periods and can be approached through many different academic disciplines, including history, literary analysis, philosophy and the social sciences.

Jewish Studies students take advantage of the university's rich resources, as well as the spiritual environment provided by the concentration of important scholars in the university community.

The department provides for the needs of students interested in the rabbinate, Jewish education and cantorial studies, as well as open-minded “spiritual seekers.”

We have the pleasure of seeing many of our graduates in Jewish Studies assume leadership positions in the Jewish community. Hence, the Jewish Studies major can be used both as a preparation for a career and as enrichment in cultural awareness and participation in the Jewish community.

 

DEPARTMENT CHAIR & ADVISOR

Pinchas Giller, Ph.D.
pgiller@aju.edu
310-476-9777 x550

 

B.A., Columbia College, New York, (Hebrew & Linguistics) 1973
M.S., Education, Yeshiva University, New York, 1980
Rabbinical Ordination, Yeshiva University, New York, 1980
Fellow, Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem, 1980-1982
Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, (Jewish Thought) 1990

 

Dr. Pinchas Giller is Chair of the Jewish Studies Department and Professor in Medieval Jewish Thought in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Following his ordination, in 1980, Dr. Giller taught high school in Israel. He came back to the U.S. to earn his Ph.D., then returned to Israel to participate in the Hebrew University Zohar Project. After stints at Concordia University in Montreal and Washington University in St. Louis, he joined the AJU faculty in 1998 and became department chair in 2009.

He is the author of The Enlightened Will Shine: Symbolization and Theurgy in the Later Strata of the Zohar. (1993), Reading the Zohar: The Sacred Text of the Kabbalah (2000)
Shalom Shar’abi and the Kabbalists of Beit El (2009) and
Kabbalah: a Guide for the Perplexed is forthcoming.

An inclusive
jewish environment

While the majority of our students are Jewish, we appreciate and value differences in observance, lifestyle, and thought. Here, everyone’s story and experiences add to the mosaic of our community. As we consider what it means to be human and part of a wider society, we employ an ethical framework informed by Jewish culture and philosophy to prepare all students for success both in civic life and their chosen profession.

  • L.A.’s vibrant Jewish life provides a wealth of opportunities to explore your relationship with Judaism, both on and off campus.
  • Whether observant or secular, we all enjoy celebrations that mark seasonal changes (Sukkot), major historical events like the establishment of the State of Israel (Yom Ha’atzmaut), and biblical legends (Purim).
  • Welcoming Shabbat dinners bring our community together in celebration of Jewish identity and rituals.

ADVISORS AND MENTORS
WHO KNOW YOU

Traveling down a road alone can be hard. But traveling with someone who knows that road well—who can tell you interesting places to stop or where there’s a sharp turn—is a very different experience. Since your academic and personal success is our highest priority, at AJU College you are assigned an academic advisor and a personal mentor from day one to guide you in making smart decisions for your future.

  • Traveling down a road alone can be hard. But traveling with someone who knows that road well—who can tell you interesting places to stop or where there’s a sharp turn—is a very different experience. Since your academic and personal success is our highest priority, at AJU College you are assigned an academic advisor and a personal mentor from day one to guide you in making smart decisions for your future.
  • Your faculty advisor helps with everything from choosing class schedules to recommending courses to help you reach the next phase of your story—whether that’s graduate school, law or medical school, or an entry-level position in your field.
  • All students are also assigned a personal mentor who helps guide you through the social and interpersonal aspects of your college experience.

learn by
serving others

By participating in community-based projects you gain perspective on the challenges facing our human family. Serving others broadens your horizons, engages your ideals, and cements within you the Jewish tradition of civic responsibility. These attributes combine to make you a fuller human being as you move forward on your chosen track.

  • All AJU College students take part in hands-on service projects, part of the Sid B. Levine Service Learning Program.
  • Students have led projects to raise awareness of social injustices like human trafficking, hunger, and gender inequality.
  • Faculty and students annually host middle school students for the Prejudice Awareness Summit, where such topics as bullying and discrimination are discussed and conflict-resolution skills are taught.
  • AJU College participates in the international service projects of the American Jewish World Service, which takes students on study-volunteer trips to El Salvador, Ghana, and India.