Situated in a great world Jewish city, The UCLA Center for Jewish Studies endeavors to grasp the Jewish experience in its broadest contours-indeed, as a great world civilization that has endured for millennia and interacted with other great world cultures. The Center sponsors nearly seventy courses a year in Jewish studies at UCLA, as well as some 50 lectures, symposia, and conferences on far-reaching topics in the field of Jewish studies (all of which are free and open to the general public). Our mandate is to serve the UCLA community and the broader public, exposing both to the riches of a great world culture, as well as to the values of diversity and tolerance that accompany its study.
In the summer of 1948, Max Weinreich brought the world of Yiddish culture to UCLA. He was the leading figure in Yiddish scholarship in the postwar period, and the two courses he taught at UCLA appear to be first instance of Jewish Studies at the university. His courses gave new direction to his students’ careers and to the academic study of Yiddish. From these courses there emerged six prominent Yiddish scholars (and at least three marriages) and evidence that Yiddish culture was a subject suitable for American research universities.