The University of Manchester has recently announced the decision to close language provision in modern Hebrew, Persian and Turkish at degree level, along with the withdrawal of ten Middle Eastern Studies degree programmes. In addition to losing this valuable provision of Jewish Studies and related degrees, there are also associated staffing changes namely termination of two temporary contracts, in Persian and Turkish, and the ending (through retirement or otherwise) of two permanent contracts in modern Hebrew.

At the request of colleagues in Manchester, the committee have written to the management at the University of Manchester in protest, highlighting the responsibility that universities have to protect so-called ‘minority’ subjects and ensure their continued intellectual vitality, especially when they remain central to the wider advancement of knowledge and understanding of global challenges. We also raised that the closure of such programmes will have serious implications for the future development of the academic field of Jewish Studies in the UK. You can read the full letter on the BAJS website.

We write now to ask for your support in this protest. We have set up a petition and we need our members to sign it and encourage others across the wider academic community to do so. We hope to reach all those with an interest in protecting Jewish Studies, or indeed other small subject areas, so we would be hugely grateful if you could circulate this petition as widely as possible.

The petition will be open until the end of January and the full text is: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-manchester-protect-modern-hebrew-and-middle-eastern-studies-at-the-university-of-manchester

You can sign it here: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-manchester-protect-modern-hebrew-and-middle-eastern-studies-at-the-university-of-manchester

The Committee and colleagues at the University of Manchester are most grateful for your support in this action to protect teaching in Jewish Studies.

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