Judaic Studies Courses
The Jewish Experience
(3 Cr.) (LER–TXT AND DIV)
This course surveys and examines the wide variety of Jewish cultures from late antiquity to the modern period in the land of Israel and the Middle East, Spain, Eastern Europe, Germany, and the United States. We will consider the multifarious religious and secular aspects of the Jewish experience, and how Jews adapted to, resisted, and contributed to the cultures around them. Spring semesters. Copulsky.
Elements of Hebrew I
The three-semester sequence begins with the basics of conversation, reading, and writing with practice. This beginning course covers the following grammatical topics: pronouns, prepositions, basic verbs, days of the week, and numbers one to 1,000. The intermediate level teaches a more advanced level of conversation, reading, writing, and grammatical usage. Students will progress in the active use of the spoken and written language, including the reading of a Hebrew newspaper. The course sequence is designed to make it possible for students to attain a high-intermediate level in oral, aural, and written Hebrew at the completion of the program. A minimum grade of C- must be attained to advance from one course to the next. Fall semester.Department.
Elements of Hebrew II
A continuation of previous elementary work with abundant oral and aural practice. The intermediate level teaches a more advanced level of conversation, reading, writing, and grammatical usage. Students will progress in the active use of the spoken and written language, including the reading of a Hebrew newspaper. Prerequisite: Hebrew I with a minimum grade of C- or permission of the instructor. Spring semester.Department.
Elements of Hebrew III
(4 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #2)(LER–FL)
A continuation of previous work. This course sequence is designed to make it possible for students to attain a high-intermediate level in oral, aural, and written Hebrewat the completion of this course. Fall semester.Department.
A comprehensive study in Jewish thought from the time of the Mishnah, Talmud, and Midrash to the emergence of the religious and secular Jewish thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries. The course will present historical and conceptual developments of Jewish thought through a study of the works of the prominent Jewish philosophers, mystics, and ethical writers who shaped the major beliefs of Judaism. An exploration of the basic philosophical methods and terminology that are used in the literary research of the history of ideas will be included in the survey. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Spring semesterDepartment.
The Hebrew Scriptures
(3 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #4 and #9)
A study of the literature of the Hebrew scriptures to discover its forms and the perceptions of reality and value it conveys. Myth, history, prophecy, poetry, wisdom, story, and their meanings in human experience. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Variable semestersCopulsky.
(3 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #4 and #9) (LER–TXT)
This course offers a general introduction to Judaism, its history, beliefs, and practices. Through an analysis of primary sources and consideration of diverse secondary materials, we will encounter Judaism as a dynamic tradition in which innovation and change emerge through a relationship and dialogue with the past. Topics of the course will include scripture and commentary, ritual and liturgy, the life cycle, and festival calendar. We will also consider some of the ways in which the Jewish tradition has responded to and been shaped by the challenges posed by the modern world. Fall semesterCopulsky.
Advanced Modern Hebrew and Israeli Culture
A continuation of JS 130, this advanced Hebrew course will focus on improving speaking, reading and writing skills as well as grammatical concepts at a higher level. The course will explore Israeli culture, through various genres of literature and media (e.g. short stories, poetry, newspaper and magazine articles, movies, music, and art).We will virtually “visit” new and historical places and “meet” the people of Israel. Prerequisite: JS 130 or permission of instructor. Spring semester.Department.
Israel in the Ancient Near East
The major literary product of Israelite civilization, the Bible is the primary vehicle for the understanding of this civilization. Critical examination of the Bible and its literature should, therefore, induce a more informed knowledge of literary form, style, and function in ancient Israel; an intelligent understanding of Israel’s culture and history during the first millennium BCE; and insight into Israel’s religious ideas, institutions, and theology that informs this great literature. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Fall semesterDepartment.
Judaism and Philosophy
For centuries Jewish thinkers have attempted to reconcile philosophy – knowledge based on human reason – with the authority of the Bible and the Jewish tradition. This course will consider of the relationship between philosophy and Judaism and illuminate the broader question of the relationship or conflict between reason and revelation. How has the dialogue between (secular) philosophy and (religious) tradition yielded new understandings of the meaning of Judaism and Jewish life? The course will probe these problems by means of a survey of the major Jewish philosophical works, from late antiquity to modern times. We will read such authors as Philo, Saadia Gaon, Judah Halevi, Moses Maimonides, Spinoza, Moses Mendelssohn, Herman Cohen, Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, Leo Strauss, and Emmanuel Levinas. Students will consider debates regarding the conflict or correspondence of reason and revelation, the creation or eternity of the world, the meaning of the law, and the problem of the particularity of the Jewish people. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Variable semesters.Copulsky.
Topics in Judiac Studies
Study of a historical period, theme, issue, or thinker in Judaic studies. Topics for a given semester are posted for registration. Courses may be repeated if the topic is different. Prerequisite: one 100- or 200-level course in Judaic studies, sophomore standing, or permission of the instructor. Variable semestersCopulsky.
Contemporary Jewish Literature
This course will provide students with an opportunity to read a wide variety of literary material by European Jewish writers from the turn of the century to the present day. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Variable semesters.Department.
A Survey of Modern Hebrew Literature
Modern Hebrew literature reflects the distinctive heritage and the turbulent recent history of the Jews, so it is markedly different from the modern American literature that we know. This course, taught in English, supplies the background needed to make Hebrew literature accessible in translation. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Variable semestersDepartment.
The Israeli Media
This course will be conducted in Hebrew and will include an analysis of Israeli media as a reflection of historic goals and cultural values in the society. Prerequisite: JS 133. Variable semesters.Department.
Israeli Film and Television
An advanced Hebrew culture course that focuses on various aspects of Israeli society as portrayed in Israeli films and TV. This course is conducted in Hebrew. Prerequisite: placement test in Hebrew. Variable semesters. Department.
The Modern Jewish Experience
(3 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #4) (LER–TXT)
Through an analysis of various forms of literature and media—autobiography, theological and philosophical writings, political treatises, fiction, and film—we will consider the ways in which secular Jewish identities and commitments in the modern world have been articulated and contested. We will work to define the meaning of “the secular,” “secularization,” and “secularism” and consider how these terms may be applied to Judaism. We will be attentive throughout to the complex dialectical relationship between Judaism as a religion and secular manifestations of Jewishness. Topics will include Spinoza and the theological-political critique of Judaism, the varieties of Jewish nationalism, and the phenomenon of “non-Jewish” Jews. Fall semesterCopulsky.
Literature and Film on the Holocaust
(3 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #9) (LER-TXT)
Beginning with the historical factors that led to the Holocaust, this course further focuses on the analysis of literary works (memoirs, diaries, poems, fiction, etc.) and films (documentaries and features) on the Holocaust within the historical context of World War II. Readings and discussions in English (films with English subtitles). Spring semester. Larkey.
Issues in Contemporary Jewish Thought
The modern world opened up vistas of possibilities for Jews, but it also posed profound problems for Judaism. The development of a modern historical consciousness and the possibility of political and social integration challenged traditional models of Jewish religiosity and identity and opened up the space for new forms of “Jewishness.” In this course, we will inquire into the nature and meaning of “Jewish modernity.” What does it mean to be a Jew and a modern at the same time? In what ways can modern Jewish commitment be understood? This course examines these issues from the writings of Moses Mendelssohn, Herman Cohen, Martin Buber, Franz Roseznweig, Abraham J. Heschel, Rav Joseph Soloveitchik, Judith Plaskow, and Rachel Adler. Spring semester.Copulsky.
This course focuses on world crisis. Each crisis is studied within a framework that uses methods and concepts in international relations theory. Topics are selected based on current world problems. Prerequisite: PSC 250. Fall semester. Honick
Jews in Germany From the Enlightenment to the Rise of the Nazi Regime
(3 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #4) (LER-TXT)
This course focuses on the history of German Jews from the period of emancipation in the late 18th and early 19th century to the end of the Weimar Republic. We will examine the role of German Jews in German politics, economic life, and culture; Jewish enlightenment (“Haskalah”); the rise of anti-Semitism in the 19th century; the rise of the Reform movement; Jewish assimilation and its discontents; and the Weimar Jewish Renaissance. Fall semester Larkey.
The Rise of American Jewry
The history of the Jews in the United States from the earliest settlements to the present. The course will focus on political, economic, religious, and cultural developments; anti-Semitism; and the rise of American Jewry to a position of leadership and responsibility in the world Jewish community. Special emphasis will be placed on comparing and contrasting the American Jewish historical experience with prior Jewish historical experiences in Europe. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Variable semesters.Department.
The Dynamics of Israeli Politics
An analysis of the institutions and processes of Israel’s government with particular emphasis on party structure, the role of religion, the position of Israeli Arabs, socioeconomic problems and ethnic cleavages, and Israeli security concerns. The course will also include a brief analysis of the development of Zionism and the Jewish community in Palestine under the British Mandate. A special analysis will be made of the 1992 elections as they reflect Israel’s domestic and foreign problems and its future direction, as well as of the ongoing Arab-Israeli peace process. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Spring semester.Department.
The Jews of Russia Under Tsars, Soviets, and in the Post-Soviet Era
A study of the development of the Jewish community in Russia from the time of Catherine the Great (1772) to the present day. Emphasis will be placed on the political history of the Jewish community and its reaction to the changing policies of Tsarist, Soviet, and post-Soviet governments. Special attention will be placed on the role of Jews in Russia’s revolutionary movements, Soviet Jewry as a factor in Soviet-American relations, the Soviet-Jewish emigration movement, and the position of the Jews in the successor states of the Soviet Union following the Russian parliamentary elections of December 1995. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Variable semesters.Fraser.
The International Politics of the Middle East
Examination of regional and international issues in the Middle East. Topics include the Arab- Israeli conflict, inter-Arab rivalries, instability in the Persian Gulf, and the crisis in Lebanon. Prerequisite: PSC 100. Spring semester. Honick.
Oral Histories of Holocaust Survivors
(3 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #4 and #10) (LER-TXT)
A community-based learning experience in which students interview Holocaust survivors and retell their stories to help these stories live on after the Holocaust generation has passed. Training in interviewing techniques and storytelling will be provided. Readings and discussion in English. Students will be expected to interview survivors, videotape sessions, and publically present the survivors' stories. Prerequisites: GER 260/HIS 229/JS 246 or JS 245. Fall semester. Larkey.
Jewish Law and Ethics
Issues of ethical and legal concern as understood by traditional Jewish legal and ethical sources and by contemporary Jewish thinkers. The basic structure and methodology of Jewish law will be introduced in the first few lectures, and understanding of the system will be refined as the different issues to be discussed are presented. Spring semesterDepartment.
Current Trends in Israeli Cinema
(3 Cr.) (LER–DIV)
This course analyzes feature and documentaries films and their reflections on the Israeli society and its culture(s). It emphasizes questions of the Israeli film aesthetics and their relations to social and ideological developments in the vibrant, and continually changing Israeli society as well as to national identity. We will approach each film from different perspectives, and examine the multiple ways in which Israeli cinema contributes to “narrating the nation.” Fall semester. Larkey.
Intensive Course Abroad
(1.5-3 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #3)
INTENSIVE COURSE ABROAD (GEN. ED. #3) Courses include a pre-departure or post-departure discussion (or both) in the fall or spring term and a three-week intensive course abroad in the winter intersession or summer. EDUCATION IN A MULTICULTURAL ISRAELI SOCIETY (1.5-3) (ED 272Y) This course will provide fieldwork experience and lectures from the faculty of Ben Gurion University of Negev in Israel concerning education for Bedouin Arabs and Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Spring semester/summer Velder.
Topics in Judaic Studies
Advanced study in a historical period, theme, issue, or thinker in Judaic studies. Topics for a given semester are posted for registration. Course may be repeated with a different topic. Courses may include: The Jewish Political Tradition, The Problem of Evil in Jewish Thought, or American Jewish Literature. Prerequisite: one 100- or 200-level course in Judaic studies, sophomore standing, or permission of the instructor. Spring semester.Department.
Advanced Independent Work