The Center for Jewish Studies

The Eastern Michigan University Center for Jewish Studies was formally introduced at a ceremony involving Senator Carl Levin on February 23, 2012. Since that time, the Center has grown and developed significantly. The Center for Jewish Studies provides exceptional curricular and travel opportunities for EMU students and offers accessible and engaging programming to enrich both the EMU and Southeast Michigan communities. The center operates with a combination of university and community support.  

For EMU Students, the Center for Jewish Studies provides excellent educational opportunities including travel courses with excellent faculty to places like New York, Poland, and Israel; high quality programming that brings the richness of Jewish cultural, intellectual, and religious life to campus and the community; and a Jewish Studies minor. 

The EMU Center for Jewish Studies brings a range of excellent programming—some cultural like musical acts or comedians, and others more academic—to the Southeast Michigan Community. All our programs, which are free and open to the public, aspire to be timely and relevant to contemporary discussions as well as accessible and engaging for non-academic audiences.


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.  

About the director: 

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.

He 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.