Old Dominion University
A to Z Index  |  Directories

College of Arts and Letters

Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding

Torah finials, central and western Iran, 20th century, cut and engraved silver. Gross family Collection, Tel Aviv


The Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding, an interdisciplinary academic program at Old Dominion University, fosters knowledge of Jewish history, thought, cultures, and languages through education, scholarship, and community outreach. The Institute offers courses in the Jewish religion and literature, the Hebrew language, the history of modern Israel and its role in shaping global Jewish identity, the cultures of the Jewish diaspora throughout the ages, and the ethical and philosophical role of Judaism in influencing other world religions and civilizations.

News & Events

Bioethics Lecture Series, Thursday, March 19, 2015, 7 pm. ODU Chandler Recital Hall

Sarah Lightman will speak at the Literary Festival, Tuesday, October 7, 4:00 pm, ODU Theater

Topic: Food, Family and Feelings in the Book Of Sarah: The Visual Autobiography of Sarah Lightman.


The visual autobiography of Sarah Lightman. September 27-October 26

The Gordon Galleries

This exhibition is in cooperation with the 37th Annual Literary Festival: “The Hungry Heart is Telling You”. The Book of Sarah is an autobiographical text/image project. Begun in 1995, The Book of Sarah also references the Biblical silence of her namesake, the Matriarch Sarah, and her unpreserved voice. The Book of Sarah transforms Jewish history into contemporary visual herstory. The exquisite, meticulous and often fragmentary pencil drawings that form the majority of The Book of Sarah transform unhappy experiences into something beautiful. It seeks to distill time and experience into art that, though based on her personal experience, can also have universal appeal and resonance. The Book of Sarah will be published as a graphic novel in 2015 by Myriad Editions.

Click here for Sarah Lightman's biography


The Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding is housed in the College of Arts and Letters, Old Dominion University. Its office is located in the Cooper Room, BAL 2024, in the Batten Arts and Letters Building, Hampton Blvd.

For further information on the Institute's Programs and Activities contact:
Farideh Dayanim Goldin, IJIU Academic Director
Phone: (USA) 757-683-6816
E-mail: fgoldin@odu.edu