About the Center for Jewish Studies

Eastern Michigan University's Interdisciplinary Jewish Studies program offers courses concerned with the history of the Jewish people, a story of survival under extraordinary circumstances. It considers the cultural and intellectual gifts Jews have given the world. It also focuses on the Jewish faith, its richness, its intricacy, its demands, as well as its complex and fascinating relationships with other religions.

This program draws on faculty expertise from throughout university. It engages students in a wide realm of co-curricular activities including lectures and study abroad opportunities. EMU's program in Jewish Studies provides a gathering place for EMU's numerous ethnic communities to learn more about Jews and Judaism, a space to build bridges, to open and engage in discourse, to create new understandings between Jews and the many other groups that comprise the diverse culture of southeast Michigan.

About the Director

Robert Erlewine
Robert Erlewine


Robert Erlewine is Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of History & Philosophy and Director for the Eastern Michigan University Center for Jewish Studies. Erlewine is a scholar of German Jewish thought and its afterlives in North America and beyond with a particular interest in Jewish responses to such issues as religious diversity and climate change.

Director's Publications

Robert Erlewine is the author of Monotheism and Tolerance: Recovering a Religion of Reason (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2010) and Judaism and the West: From Hermann Cohen to Joseph Soloveitchik (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2016), and the editor of Thunder in the Soul: To Be Known by God: Abraham Joshua Heschel (Walden, NY: Plough Publishing House, 2021). Erlewine has published essays in a variety of peer-reviewed Journals including Journal of Religion, Association for Jewish Studies Review, Harvard Theological Review, Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, and Modern Judaism.

Founding Director

Professor Emeritus Martin Shichtman was the founding director of the Center for Jewish Studies, leading it from its inception in 2012 until his retirement in August 2022. Since August 2022, Professor Robert Erlewine serves in the role of director for the Center. 

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