A Statement from the Faculty of the University of Virginia’s Jewish Studies Program

We, the faculty affiliated with the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Virginia, condemn in the strongest possible terms the antisemitic, racist, homophobic, and xenophobic intimidation, hate speech, and violence promoted and perpetrated by neo-Nazis and self-proclaimed white supremacists on August 11 and 12, 2017, in Charlottesville and on the grounds of the University of Virginia. We deeply mourn the tragic deaths of Heather Heyer, who dedicated her life to the creation of a just society, and Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates of the Virginia State Police, who were acting to contain these groups and protect those who oppose their odious views and acts of violence.

We who teach and study Jewish civilization, history, and culture, are acutely aware of the dangerous ramifications—both for democratic societies and for innocent individuals and communities—of the ideas and actions of the hate-inspired groups that besieged Charlottesville. In light of these acts of violence and horrific expressions of ignorance, intolerance, and hatred, we rededicate ourselves as educators to fostering learning environments in which all students—regardless of skin color, place of birth, faith, gender, sexual orientation, political views, or heritage—feel welcome and able to engage in civil and productive discourse in a spirit of mutual respect. 

Manuela Achilles

Elizabeth Alexander

Gerard Alexander

Jessica Andruss

Asher Biemann

Gabriel Finder

Blaire French

Jennifer Geddes

Robert Geraci

Zvi Gilboa

Jeffrey Grossman

Martien Halvorson-Taylor

Michelle Kisliuk

Daniel Lefkowitz 

James Loeffler

Charles Mathewes

William McDonald

Peter Ochs

Vanessa Ochs

Caroline Rody

Joel Rubin

Gregory Schmidt-Goering



Jewish Studies at the University of Virginia

We are an interdisciplinary program drawing on more than thirty affiliated scholars from religious studies, history, anthropology, sociology, literature, music and other fields.​ With courses in the history, languages and literatures of the Jewish people in the Diaspora and in Israel, the beliefs, thought and practices of Judaism, the interaction between Jews and other peoples and Israeli history and memory.  

We offer a Jewish Studies Minor and Major in a thriving undergraduate environment as well as master and doctoral degrees in Jewish Textuality, Practice and Modern Thought through the Department of Religious Studies.