The Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (NEJS) was established in 1953, five years after the establishment of the university. At the time, the program offered courses mainly in Jewish thought, history, and literature, including several courses in the Hebrew Bible. At its founding, the department aimed to teach undergraduate, graduate and PhD students in different areas of Jewish education. Over the past 50 years the department has grown to house faculty and classes that cross-list with other departments at Brandeis, such as the Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Department, and Hebrew Language Department. Throughout its tenure the department has hosted a number of guest lecturers, visiting scholars and scholarly exhibits.