Carolyn Lipson-Walker

Global & International Studies, 4-E (working remotely during Fall 2020)
Jewish Studies

When to visit

Know you want to be a Jewish Studies major, certificate, minor, or Hebrew minor? Call the Jewish Studies Program (812) 855-0453 to schedule to meet with Carolyn Lipson-Walker or to arrange a Zoom meeting with her - email:


All students wishing to pursue the Jewish Studies major or the Jewish Studies certificate are encouraged to meet with Dr. Lipson-Walker as early in their IU careers as possible. She offers advising for:

  • Jewish Studies major
  • Jewish Studies certificate
  • Jewish Studies minor
  • Jewish Studies Hebrew minor
  • Jewish Studies doctoral minor
  • Jewish Studies honors students

Carolyn Lipson-Walker, the Assistant Director of the Borns Jewish Studies Program, received her Ph.D. in Folklore and American Studies from Indiana University. As a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, she completed her dissertation "Shalom Y'all': The Folklore and Culture of Southern Jews," and has written a number of articles about southern Jewish culture and traditions. She has taught courses on Jewish folklore and American Jewish culture at IU. She received her M.A. in American Civilization from the George Washington University and her undergraduate degree from Tulane University. She has served on a number of university committees: The College’s Strategic Planning committee on engagement; as the liaison to Bloomington Advisors’ Council for the College of Arts and Sciences; and she serves on the Jerusalem Committee for IU Overseas Study. She served as a member of the IU Racial Incidents Team. She was a governing board member of IU's Hillel for 19 years and served as the vice president, long range planning chair, and as a member of the accreditation committee. She is now on the national advisory board for IU Hillel. She advises the Jewish Studies Student Association. She was the inaugural College of Arts and Sciences Advisor of the Year 2000 and in 2017 was awarded IU’s Professional Staff Merit Award. In her honor in 2018, the Dr. Carolyn Lipson-Walker Outstanding Senior Scholarship in Jewish Studies was created.

Away from Indiana University, Carolyn often serves as chazanit (cantor) at Congregation Beth Shalom and the leadership team of Bloomington United. She has served on the selection committee for the National Jewish Book Award anthologies category. She has headed the Bloomington United Jewish Communities campaign and served on the board of the Monroe County Community School Corporation Foundation where she helped to create the Thank-A-Teacher program. She has also served as co-president of Bloomington Hadassah and as vice president of Congregation Beth Shalom. Before coming to Indiana University's Jewish Studies Program, she served as administrator of Congregation Beth Shalom for seven years. She takes great pleasure in having advised and mentored students for more than 29 years.

Ten Reasons To Study Jewish Studies. We welcome all students into the major and certificate programs. No background or prior knowledge is necessary.

  1. Judaism, in addition to being a vibrant religion in its own right, is the parent religion of both Christianity and Islam. One cannot understand the origins of these religions without understanding their roots in Judaism.
  2. Israel is the only country on earth with a Jewish majority. The country has revived the Hebrew language, taken in immigrants from all over the world, and boasts a rich and varied culture. Students who study at our program at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in their junior year rave about their time in Israel. Take some of our courses on Israel and find out why.
  3. The murder of 6 million Jews is not just of concern to the millions of victims. The Holocaust represents the total collapse of Western civilization and thus is central to the concerns of all people. Study of the Holocaust exposes students to a range of troubling but unavoidable questions. We offer courses in the history of the Holocaust, the literature of the Holocaust, and on philosophic and religious responses to the Holocaust, and more.
  4. The story of Creation, the Exodus from Egypt, and the Ten Commandments were all written in Hebrew. The prophets thundered in it and modern day Israelis have brought this ancient language of the Bible to life, using it as their daily tongue. Learn it!
  5. Yiddish was the most widely spoken Jewish language ever. Expressive and lyrical, Yiddish was the spoken and literary language for most Jews in Europe for nearly 800 years and was also the language of Jewish immigrants to the United States. Isaac Bashevis Singer and Shalom Aleichem are much better in the original. Study Yiddish!
  6. Jewish philosophers and Jewish thinkers have sought to understand Judaism at moments of urgency and danger and within the context of Western intellectual life. Our courses explore that interaction, trying to discern what Judaism has drawn from Western philosophy and culture and what Western culture can learn from its engagement with Judaism.
  7. Spinoza, the Baal Shem Tov, Herzl and even Einstein. Just four among many modern Jewish thinkers who have pondered what it means to be Jewish. The array of responses to the question reflects the diversity of the Jewish people.
  8. Jews have played a formative role in some of the most important developments in modernity, from physics to psychoanalysis to post-modernism.
  9. Jewish culture is multilingual and multicultural, developing in dialogue with cultures from eastern and western Europe, Asia, North Africa, North America, even the Amazon.
  10. Get a good liberal arts education. Because of its inherently interdisciplinary nature, Jewish Studies offers an almost perfect microcosm of the humanities and social sciences.