Honors Program

Develop your scholarly talents. Enhance your writing and research skills. Engage in energetic conversations with faculty and other Honors colleagues. Apply to the Judaic Studies Honors Program!

The Honors Program in Judaic Studies includes both a two-credit fall Honors Research Seminar and a four-credit spring Judaic Studies Honors Thesis. The program is open to seniors majoring in Judaic Studies who carry a GPA in the major of 3.5 or higher. Admission to the program is by application, including a personal statement, brief writing sample, and résumé. For more information, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the Department Chair.

I. Two (2)-Credit Research Seminar

The Honors Research Seminar, taught by Professor Friedman, will educate students in important aspects of research methods and thesis writing. Department faculty will present on research methods and topics, including gender, orientalism, historicism, and the study of religion. Additional topics will include plagiarism, primary and secondary sources, thesis construction, interpretation, and originality.

Students will be required to make three presentations: one on the thesis topic, a second on research methods and plan, and finally a prospectus of approximately 500 - 1250 words (2 - 5 pages).

At the end of the semester, students will have developed and refined a thesis statement, abstract, and bibliography. At this point, students will be assigned a faculty advisor to guide them through the writing process for the spring course Judaic Studies Honors Thesis. The fall Honors Research Seminar will meet weekly on Wednesday from 1:10 - 2:40 in the Judaic Studies Department Seminar Room.

II Four (4)-Credit Honors Thesis

Students will research and write a substantial thesis under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Complete drafts of the thesis will be due in early April. A final, revised thesis is due late April. Students will meet bi-weekly to review progress, present on theses, and workshop issues that arise in writing.

Students will present conference-length paper versions of their theses in late April at a Judaic Studies Department Conference, open to the public.  


Honors Students


Academic Year 2019/2020

Allison Abrams: “Defense Mechanism: Class and the Black-Jewish Relationship in the Early 1900s”

Advisor: Professor Jonathan Karp
Allison Abrams is a Judaic studies major. During her time at Binghamton, she was a soprano in Kaskeset, Binghamton's Jewish A Cappella group, and the president of Keshet, Binghamton's LGBTQ Jewish community. She also volunteered with the Food Co-op and several student and community organizations surrounding climate justice and mass incarceration in the local community.


Violeta Bangiyev: “Mental Health Stigma and Awareness Within the Ultra-Orthodox Community”

Advisor: Professor Assaf Harel
Violeta Bangiyev is a double major in Psychology and Judaic Studies, and part of the Jewish Foundation for the Education of Woman (JFEW) in International Relations and Global Affairs. Her main passions this year have been this honors thesis, The Couple Adjustment to Stress and Trauma (CAST) Lab where she worked, and had the opportunity to create and present a research poster titled, “Associations Amongst Internalized Homonegativity, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and Religiosity in a Community Sample of Sexual Minority Individuals.” She also volunteered at the Support. Empathy. Empowerment. Kindness. (SEEK) Helpline as a Crisis Call handler. 


Hannah Bartell: “Reinventing the Wheels: A Look at Informal Jewish Education”

Advisor: Professor Beth Burch
Hannah Bartell is a Judaic Studies major and Education minor. This past year she was the President of Hillel and in the past held other leadership roles within the organization including Freshman Program Director. She has sat on the Education Minor Steering Committee for the past two years. This year she took on leadership within the student association as a congress representative. Hannah is also a sister of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi sorority on campus. 


Julia Lustig: “The Modern Orthodox Feminist: A Losing Battle?”

Advisor: Professor Michael Kelly
Julia Lustig is double majoring in English and Judaic Studies. She has been involved in Jewish life on campus through Chabad and Hillel and has held various leadership roles in both organizations throughout her time at Binghamton, most notably as an E-Board member of Bearcats for Israel. Julia was part of the Johnson City Mentor Program and volunteered at Binghamton High School, both of which contributed to her interest in pursuing a career in education. She is also part of Greek Life as a member of the Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority.


Shiraz Otani: “Worlds Apart: American Jews Against a Jewish State”

Advisor: Professor Allan Arkush 
Shiraz Otani is a senior double-majoring in Judaic Studies and Political science, and minoring in Global Studies. She has served as the President of the Binghamton University Zionist Organization and the Major Programs Coordinator for Chabad of Binghamton.