What We Do

The Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania is driven by the mission to deepen and broaden the understanding of Jewish history, texts, cultures, ideas, and experiences. The research it supports spans all periods of Jewish history, from distant antiquity through to the present day; it reaches into every part of the globe where Jews have lived, and it is grounded in a wide range of disciplines and approaches. Over the decades, after supporting hundreds of scholars and untold numbers of discoveries and publications, it has earned a reputation as the nation’s preeminent research center in the study of Jewish history and culture.

It did not secure this status overnight. The Katz Center is heir to an intellectual legacy that is more than 110 years old, developing out of an earlier institution known as the Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning, founded in 1907 as the first secular institution to grant PhDs in Jewish studies. From Dropsie, the Katz Center has inherited some of the features that define its success such as the core of its Judaica library and the Jewish Quarterly Review, but in the quarter-century since it merged into the University of Pennsylvania, it has come to reflect Penn’s strengths and has advanced its mission in key ways. Especially relevant is Penn’s commitment to “integrated knowledge,” its investment in bringing different disciplines and approaches together in ways that lead scholarship in new directions. The Katz Center is organized around this idea of integrated knowledge, using its fellowship program and other activities to bring scholars from different fields and disciplines together to pursue research in a collaborative setting.

As a scholarly institution striving for diversity and inclusivity, the Katz Center is committed to creating an intellectual space welcoming to all scholars regardless of nationality, religious orientation, racial or ethnic identity, gender identity and expression, professional rank, or institutional affiliation.

The Katz Center is...

A Center for Scholarship

A residential fellowship program supports innovative, interdisciplinary research into all aspects of Jewish history, thought, and culture structured around an annual theme.

A Publishing House

From the flagship journal the Jewish Quarterly Review to the Jewish Culture and Contexts book series published with the University of Pennsylvania Press, the Katz Center spreads ideas and insights by supporting the publication of outstanding scholarship.

A Library

The Library at the Katz Center maintains extraordinary rare book and Judaica holdings, and its visionary librarians are on the forefront of open-access, digital, and collaborative efforts.

A Mobile Classroom

Promoting learning for its own sake, the Center partners with a variety of institutions and uses digital media to make the best scholarship available and meaningful beyond the academy.

A Global Hub

The Katz Center fosters collaborative partnerships within and beyond our walls, and these relationships are amplified by a wide network of over 500 alumni across the world, contributing to a vibrant exchange of ideas and opportunities across borders.

A Field Builder

Through mentorship, graduate programs, and support for early-career scholars, the Center is committed to advancing scholarship across generations and securing a solid foundation for the future of Judaic studies.