SUNY Cortland Opportunities for Jewish Students

Welcome to the Web page of the Jewish Studies Committee. Let us start by telling you that there are a number of opportunities for Jewish students, faculty and staff at SUNY Cortland, for the entire campus and for the wider community.

We welcome all inquiries, but we especially invite families and students to visit us when on campus, and we are delighted to answer questions by phone or e-mail.

Ellen Newman, Childhood and Early Childhood Education Department and Professor Henry Steck, Political Science Department, are co-coordinators of the Jewish Studies Committee. Feel free to contact Professor Steck with any questions. He may be reached at 607-753-4807 or Information is also available from the Chair of the Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies (MGS), Associate Professor Sheila Cohen, Literacy Department, at 607-753-2464 or

The Jewish chaplain at SUNY Cortland is Professor Sanford Gutman, currently chair of the History Department. Professor Gutman’s knowledge of Judaism is extensive, and he is well prepared to represent Jewish interests at the College in general. Feel free to contact him with questions about Jewish life on campus at 607-753-2065 or

Jewish students may be interested in joining Hillel at SUNY Cortland or in attending the events that Hillel sponsors throughout the year. For current information on Hillel, contact Professor Steck. Hillel seeks to bring Jewish students together for both casual get tog ethers and for holiday events. It also seeks to meet the cultural and other interests of Jewish students. 

The religious needs of Jewish students are likely to be met by Temple Brith Sholom, the synagogue in Cortland. Hillel maintains a membership in the synagogue, and students are welcome to attend services throughout the year as well as for the High Holy Days. Contact professors Steck or Cohen for the name and number of the current president of Temple Brith Sholom.

Cortland has a small Jewish Studies program that offers a Jewish Studies minor. The history faculty teaches courses in ancient, medieval and modern Jewish history, on the Holocaust and on modern Israel. The English Department offers a course on American Jewish literature. The College also offers an introductory interdisciplinary course, Basic Judaism. The offering of these courses is dependent on enrollment and some are offered every other year. Please contact professors Steck or Gutman for further information.

Events during the year include an annual Holocaust Memorial Program, a campus Passover Seder, a Hanukkah party for children and adults of all ages, as well as a variety of lectures and programs. In addition, there are many cultural events of interest that are sponsored by the Jewish Studies Committee, the Interfaith Center, MGS and other campus organizations.