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Fall 2018 Courses

Department of Jewish Studies
Fall 2012 Courses

NOTE: the following codes indicate which elective courses fulfill distribution requirements for the Jewish Studies major:

[CT] = Classical Text course   [ML] = Modern Literature course         [SS]= Social Science course


Elementary Modern Hebrew – Part 1                        (AMESALL, 013:152)
563:101:01; Index #04151; MWTh2; Ruben                                              Murray 208
563:101:02; Index #04163; MWTh3; Moshenberg                                      Scott 205
Prerequisite: Placement test

This course develops primary language skills through reading and writing. Emphasis is put on the sentence as a unit of language and students are engaged from the very beginning in creative writing and speech. Basic competence in grammar and comprehensive reading is achieved as well. Communication skills are enhanced by engaging in conversations based on everyday situations covering a variety of cultural topics. No previous knowledge of Hebrew required.

Elementary Modern Yiddish
563:103; Index #04152; MWTh3; Portnoy                                              Miller Hall 210

An introduction to speaking, reading, and writing Yiddish, focusing on acquiring the fundamentals of grammar and basic vocabulary. Class activities include Yiddish songs and Yiddish films. No previous knowledge of Yiddish required.

Hebrew Review and Continuation                       (AMESALL, 013:156)
563:121:01; Index #17371; MWTh 2; Moshenberg                   MTh Murray 115, W Murray 207
Prerequisite: 563:101 or placement test

This course is designed for students with previous exposure to Hebrew (e.g. heritage speakers, Jewish day school students, etc.), who are in need of a thorough review in order to enhance their basic language skills.

Upon completion of this course, students will be placed into Intermediate Hebrew (01:563:131). The course emphasizes cognitive academic language proficiency as well as communication skills. Competence in the four areas of language (comprehensive reading, creative writing, grammar, and speech) is acquired through practice of grammar, reading of various Hebrew texts, class discussions, and composition writing.

Intermediate Modern Hebrew – Part 1                  (AMESALL, 013:252)
563:131:01; Index #04153; MWTh2; Bryn Noiman                               Scott 220
Prerequisite: 563:102 or placement test

The objectives of this course are twofold: development of language skills and preparing students to approach Hebrew literature in an analytical and comprehensive manner. Students develop conversational skills by regular participation in class presentations and discussions of current events and cultural issues. Advanced grammatical forms are integrated into the reading material, based on a variety of modern Israeli literature.

Advanced Modern Hebrew – Part 2                       (AMESALL, 013:353)
563:211:01; Index #16472; MW4; Bryn-Noiman                    12 College Avenue, Room 206
Prerequisite: 563:132 or placement test

This course is designed to increase proficiency in reading and writing skills. It provides an intensive training in Hebrew Grammar and syntax through the reading and analysis of short essays, and newspaper and magazine articles. Reading and writing assignments as well as creative writing and oral presentations are part of the course work.

Israeli Literature and Society (in Hebrew) [ML]           (AMESALL, 013:455)
563:485:01; Index #16476; MTh3; Bryn-Noiman                   12 College Avenue, Room 206
Prerequisite: 563:372 or placement test

This course traces the development of modern Israeli literature, from the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 to the present day. Of special interest will be the manner in which these stories define the quintessential Israeli hero and contend with the question of Israeli identity.


Jewish Society and Culture I: From Antiquity to the Middle Ages  (required course)
(History, 506:271; Middle Eastern Studies, 685:208)
563:201:01; Index #04154; MW4; Yadin-Israel                         Hardenberg A7

This course examines the social, economic, religious, and political experiences of the Jewish people from the crystallization of their national-religious consciousness in the Biblical period until the 15th century C.E. The religion and culture of the Jews will be discussed within the broader context of their environment. In the study of the ancient period, the course will survey the people of ancient Israel against the backdrop of ancient Near Eastern history and culture, starting with the emergence of the Israel in the land of Canaan c. 1200 B.C.E. through the compilation of the Mishna c. 220 C.E. Special areas of investigation will include the Babylonian Exile, the Second Temple period, the challenge of Hellenism, the Maccabean dynasty, the Jewish sects of late antiquity (Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes), the Dead Sea Scrolls as a new source for Jewish historical and religious inquiry, the rise of Christianity, the Jewish revolts against Rome, and the importance of the Mishna as a code of law. In the study of the medieval era, the course will explore the consolidation and expansion of Rabbinic Judaism, the rise of Karaism as a challenge to the rabbis, the history of the Jews in both the Christian and Muslim spheres, theological debates between Judaism and Christianity, the joint cultural heritage of Jews and Muslims in the areas of poetry, philosophy, and science, the enterprise of biblical commentary, and the rise of Kabbalah.

The course is required for majors and minors in Jewish Studies.

Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) [CT]                       (Religion, 840:201)
563:220:01; Index #10845; MTh 9:15-10:35; Wallace                                Hickman 211
563:220:02; Index #10846; MTh 12:35-1:55; Wallace                                RAB 204
563:220:03; Index #10847; TF, 9:15-10:35; Ballentine                               RAB 208

This course is an introduction to the literature of the Hebrew Bible and the world of ancient Israel, with an emphasis on literary, historical, and theological issues.  In addition to the Bible, students are introduced to archaeological discoveries from Israel and elsewhere, which shed important light on the biblical text and the history and culture of ancient Israel.  All texts are read in English translation.

New Testament [CT]                                              (Religion, 840:202)
563:223:01; Index #10838; TTh 5:35-6:55; Wasserman                            RAB 110A
563:223:02; Index #11465; MTh 10:55-12:15; Darden                              Hickman 205

Interpretation of basic Christian scriptures in translation; influence of Jesus and Paul on the early Christian community.

History of Jewish Art                                         (Art History, 082:255)
563:226:01; Index #16166; W2&3; Shandler                        12 College Ave, Room 107

An overview of Jewish engagements with art from ancient times to the present in communities around the world, including synagogue architecture, ritual objects, fine art, museums, graphic design, photography, monuments.  Course activities will include a museum visit and a curatorial project.

History of the Holocaust                                    (History, 510:261:01)
563:261:01; Index #08332; MW 6; Hanebrink                                           Murray 211

This course is a detailed examination of the programs of persecution and mass murder carried out by the Nazi German regime between 1933 and 1945. Several themes will be prominent throughout the semester. First, we will examine when and how policies of exclusion can be transformed into a systematic program of murder. In this regard, we will examine not only the development of Nazi Germany as a "racial state," but also the role of ideologies, such as anti-Semitism, nationalism, and racism, in shaping policies of exclusion in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Second, we will focus on the place of the Holocaust in European, and not only German, history. The events we associate with the Holocaust took place across the continent of Europe and were shaped by local histories; throughout the course we will pay close attention to the interaction between Germans, Jews, and non-German native populations. The mass murder of European Jews will be the central focus of this course. We will, however, also discuss programs of discrimination and murder carried out against other groups (e.g. Roma, the disabled, homosexuals, and Poles) and attempt to place these phenomena within the context of Nazi German racial policy.

Arab-Israeli Conflict                                          (History, 508:300, Middle Eastern Studies, 685:300)
563:300:01; Index #13452; MW5; Jones                                         Frelinghuysen A5

This course will examine the conflict between Arabs and Jews over Palestine/Israel from the late 19th through the late 20th centuries. It will provide an introduction to the origins of the conflict by considering the social, ideological, religious, and political forces that shaped it, including the rise of Israeli, Arab, and Palestinian nationalisms, European anti-Semitism, global war, and imperialism. It will also examine the evolution of the conflict over the course of the 20th century by surveying the impact of local, regional, and global politics.

Jews in the Islamic World                   (History, 508:391:01; Middle Eastern Studies, 685:395:02)
563:308:01; Index #13462; MTh3; Gribetz                                                  Murray 115

This course offers students an introduction to the cultural, religious, and political history of Jews in the lands of Islam.  Jews have lived among Muslims since the days of Muhammad in the seventh century; indeed, the Jews and their traditions are central in the Qur'an itself.  Because the course covers more than thirteen centuries of interaction, cohabitation, and (at times) conflict, it necessarily paints in broad strokes, but it pauses along the way to consider a number of important case studies.  The end of the course explores the impact of Zionism and the Arab-Israeli conflict on the Jews of the Middle East.

Israeli Culture                          (History, 508:310:01; Middle Eastern Studies, 685:310)
563:310:01; Index #16473; MW5, Zerubavel                                              Scott 206

This course explores the role of the land in modern Israeli culture from the Zionist pioneering period to the present. Topics include: Zionist memory and ideology; visual representations of the land; gender, landscape and literary representations; songs of the land and the performance of identity; archeology and historical sites; the politics of settlement; the desert in Israeli culture; hiking and touring the land; natural parks and ecological discourse. Through the discussion of these topics, the course will address the diversity of attitudes toward the land and their historical transformations through the review of historical, sociological, and anthropological studies and the examination of literary texts, popular cultural expressions and artistic forms.

Classical Jewish Philosophy [CT]                      (Philosophy, 730:311)
563:311:01; Index #04155; TTh6; Mann                                                    Hardenberg A5

This course provides an introduction to the classical Jewish philosophers - Sa'adia Gaon, Judah Halevi, Maimonides and others – and will briefly touch on philosophical issues surrounding Kabbalah as well.  By focusing on the tension between traditional Jewish faith and rational models of inquiry (Athens vs. Jerusalem), students will gain an appreciation of the intellectual range and diversity that characterized Jewish thought in late antiquity and the Middle Ages, and how classical Jewish philosophy set the stage for modern Jewish thought.  In addition to studying individual thinkers, we will address broad thematic questions about the nature and task of Jewish philosophy and the circumstances that give rise to it.

Topics in Rabbinic Literature: Midrash and Literary Theory [CT]
(Religion, 840:394:01, Comparative Literature, 195:318)
563:315:01; Index #16478; MW6; Yadin-Israel                                          Miller Hall, Rm 210

The course will examine the intersection of midrash and literary criticism. We will begin with a historical and literary introduction to rabbinic and classical (Greek and Roman) literature, then proceed to examine theories of language and literature in the classical world, and some rabbinic equivalents. Though there are no rabbinic sources devoted to these topics explicitly, there are a number of areas that provide insight into rabbinic positions, including the debate over allegorical interpretation, interpretive techniques applied to the Bible, discussions of the status of Hebrew versus other languages and more. We will pay particular attention to the importance of divine authorship in rabbinic interpretation, and suggest a number of parallels with the changing role of the author and authorial intent in more recent literary theory. Of the ancients we will read selections from Plato, Aristotle, and Longinus alongside an array of rabbinic midrash; of the moderns Roman Jakobson, Barthes, Croce, and others. As noted, the course includes an introduction to rabbinic and classical sources, and all readings are in English--students with no previous exposure to this material are welcome. 

Ancient Near Eastern Religions              (Religion, 840:301:01)
563:324:01; Index #    ; TF3; Ballentine                                       Ruth Adams Building, 110AReligious patterns in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Canaan, Israel, and Egypt from texts in translation; their impact on cultural development of the Near East.  (not open to freshmen)

The Jewish Graphic Novel [ML]                         (Comp Lit, 195:395:01; Art History, 082:291:01)
563:338:01; Index #15847; MW5; Portnoy                                                 Frelinghuysen A4

This course examines graphic novels created by Jewish authors and artists since the emergence of this genre during the latter half of the twentieth century. In addition to focusing on the role of graphic novels in Jewish popular culture and as a medium for Jewish storytelling, the course will situate these works within the larger history of the genre of graphic novels and of cartooning generally. These works will be analyzed from an interdisciplinary perspective, including the study of literature, art, and popular culture, as well as the new field of comic studies. After tracing the history of the genre's origins in newspaper comics, comic books, satirical cartoons, and underground comics, the course will examine key works by graphic novel pioneers Will Eisner and Art Spiegelman, as well as examples created by other American Jewish artists and works produced by Jewish cartoonists working in French, Hebrew, and Yiddish. All readings will be in English.

Sephardic Jewish History and Culture              (History, 506:391:01)
563:344:01; Index #17373; TTh4; Surowitz                                              Hardenberg A1

This course will explore the history, religion, and culture of Sephardic Jews from the fifteenth century to the present. Following the development of mercantile networks and colonial expansion we will examine the development of Sephardic community and identity in Europe and the Americas. Our study will include a survey of key events and figures, as well as other topics, such as diaspora, economics, social networks, and religious identity.

Introduction to the Modern Middle East             (Middle Eastern Studies, 685:350)
563:350:01; Index #07475; MTh 10:20-11:40; Bashi                                  Beck 111
563:350:02; Index #10972; TTh 1:40-3:00; Haghani                                  Tillett 123

This course explores various aspects of the modern Middle East, including art and architecture, ethnic diversity, literature, modern history, music, religion, and writing systems. It will encourage participants to analyze what they have learned about the region through education, family ties, travel, print and electronic media, etc. The course will strive to foster common understanding and break down stereotypes through collegial in-class activities.

Israeli Politics                      (Political Science, 790:352; Middle Eastern Studies; 685:352)
563:352; Index #10039; TTh4; Peleg                                                Scott 214

This course surveys the current structure of Israeli politics and the processes that led to its formation. The course begins by examining the ideological premises upon which Israel was established and the state-building strategies that had issued from them, followed by an examination of the main features of Israeli politics from 1967 to the present.

Politics, Race and Culture: Blacks and Jews in America (American St, 050:300:01; Africana St 014:359)
563:359; Index #16479; Th 10:55-1:55; Fishbein                                       RAB 018

The course explores the complexities of how black and Jewish political and cultural identities have evolved in relationship to one another via an examination of social and political history, literature, and film. Readings will include works by Philip Roth, Alice Walker, James Baldwin, Anna Deveare Smith, and Jane Lazarre. Several films also will be screened.

Jewish Christian Relations through the Ages          (History, 510:388)
563:388:01; Index #16474; TTh7; Fishkin                                        Murray 211

This course introduces students to the history of Jewish-Christian relations from the first century of the Common Era through to the start of the twenty-first century. It focuses both on the history of interactions between Jews and Christians – persecutions, collaborations, conversions, etc. – and also on the history of theological stances and popular attitudes. The goals of the course are three-fold: first, to acquaint students with the general outlines of the history of Jewish-Christian relations; second, to help students hone some of the skills of the historian (especially the critical analysis of primary sources); and third, to encourage students to grapple with questions that confront Jews and Christians in the present, questions about history, memory, theological differences, and the potential for dialogue.

Topics: Jewish Nationalism                       (History, 508:391:02)
563:342:01; Index #08337; TTh5; Gribetz                                            Scott 215

This course examines the varieties of Jewish nationalisms that arose in Europe at the end of the 19th century. It begins by examining the phenomenon of nationalism generally and then turns to understanding the causes of the development of Jewish national thinking in this period, considering the broader political and intellectual context within which the Jews lived. Though, in retrospect, Zionism (itself far from a monolithic movement) is the best-known and arguably had the most lasting impact on subsequent Jewish history, the 'return' to the Holy Land was hardly the only nationalist option explored by Jews. We will consider a variety of such options and ultimately seek to comprehend what about Zionism and about the 20th century made this particular, rather implausible idea so successful.

Topics: Jews and Revolution in Modern Russia      (History, 510:378)
563:396:01; Index #11385; TTh7; Galili                                        Hardenberg A7

Starting with a broad review of Jews in the revolutions of modern times, the course will focus on Jews and the Russian Revolution, and through it, on the place of nationalism and socialism in modern Jewish politics. Topics will include: Jews in the French Revolution, the revolutions of 1848, and European socialism; Jews in the revolutionary movements of tsarist Russia; Jewish responses to the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917; the pogroms that accompanied the Russian Civil War and foreign intervention in the aftermath of the Bolshevik seizure of power; Jewish participation in the Communist Party and its Jewish Section; Soviet policies on Hebrew culture and Zionism; early Soviet policies on anti-Semitism; the Jewish romance with Soviet Communism; Jewish agricultural settlement; Yiddish culture in the Soviet Union; Soviet Jews in the Second World War and the Holocaust; Stalin's anti-Jewish campaign of the postwar years; Soviet Jews in the dissident movement and the turn to Zionism.

Jewish Studies Internship
563:460:01; Index #05951; by arrangement; Staff   (special permission required)

Open only to junior and senior Jewish Studies majors and minors. Supervised work in a historical society, archive, museum, communal agency, etc.; 112 hours required. Advisor will supervise and evaluate the student's project/paper and the sponsor's assessment.

Independent Study and Research
563:491:01; Index #04665; by arrangement; Staff   (special permission required)

Students (juniors and seniors only) can pursue an independent study project beyond the department's normal offerings with a faculty member who has expertise in the student's area of interest, subject to the approval of the Department's Undergraduate Advisor. An independent study should be the equivalent of a one-semester course and can include guided research, field work, or an internship along with directed reading. A research paper or written report is required for all independent study projects.

Senior Honors
563:496:01; Index #04768; by arrangement; Staff  (Prerequisite: Permission of the Department Chair)

The honors program offers qualified students the opportunity to pursue a research project in depth for the entire senior year under the supervision of a faculty advisor.  To be considered, students must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better, and 3.4 or better in Jewish Studies courses. Jewish Studies majors who wish to pursue an honors project are encouraged to meet with the Department's Undergraduate Advisor during the second term of their junior year in order to plan their project, and they should submit the formal application to the Department's office by the end of their junior year. Approval of the honors project is required for admission to the honors program. Honors students enroll in Jewish Studies honors courses 01:563:496 and 01:563:497 and, upon the completion of their honors project, should pass an oral examination given by the department.

Standard Periods (80 min each):

1                    8:10-9:30 a.m.       3    11:30-12:50 p.m.   5        2:50-4:10 p.m.    7   6:10 – 7:30 p.m.
9:50-11:10 a.m.     4    1:10-2:30 p.m.       6        4:30-5:50 p.m.    8   7:40 – 9:00 p

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Dept of Jewish Studies
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