JS Course

JS Course

  • Advanced Modern Hebrew

    hebrew 150px01:563:210 and 01:563:211
    (cross-listed with 01:013:352 and 01:013:353)

    Improve your proficiency in reading and writing skills by reading short essays, newspaper, and magazine articles.

    This course is designed to develop fluency and increase proficiency in reading and writing skills. The course 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.

    01:563:210 Prerequisites: 01:563:132 / 01:013:253 or Hebrew placement test.


    Click to learn more about the Hebrew Placement Exam

    PLACEMENT EXAM

  • Advanced Modern Hebrew

    hebrew 150pxAdvanced Modern Hebrew, Part 1

    01:563:210
    (cross-listed with 01:013:352)

    Improve your proficiency in reading and writing skills by reading short essays, newspaper, and magazine articles.

    This course is designed to develop fluency and increase proficiency in reading and writing skills. The course 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.

    Prerequisites: 01:563:132 / 01:013:253 or Hebrew placement test.

    Click to learn more about the Hebrew Placement Exam

    PLACEMENT EXAM


    Fall 2020 taught by Orna Goldman synchronously.

    Fall 2020 Syllabus

    Have questions? You can email Orna Goldman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


    Instructions for Remote Learning Fall 2020

  • American Jewish Culture

    jazz-singer01:563:332
    (cross-listed with 01:050:332)

    American Jewish Culture reflects the tension between tradition and acculturation in the American Jewish experience. This course also explores the remarkable influence that Jews have had on American writing, film, and television and on our nation’s social and cultural mores. 

  • American Jewish History

    American Jewish History01:563:231
    (cross-listed with 01:512:231)

    This course traces the dynamics of a religious and ethnic minority in North America from the colonial period to the present. In so doing, it surveys crucial events and developments in the Jews’ encounter with North America and explores what these have meant for both Jewish and American cultures. Topics to be covered include: migration, communal and religious innovation, acculturation, ethnicity, and politics. The course will also explore the ways in which Jews have been represented by popular American cultural forms, including fiction and films.

    This course fulfills Core requirement HST.

  • Ancient Egypt (mini-course)

    Ancient Egypt01:563:266 - 1.5 credits
    (cross-listed with 01:013:302)

    Introduction into ancient Egypt. Topics include a historical overview, religion, art, archaeology, interconnections between ancient Egypt and ancient Israel, and Hieroglyphic Egyptian language and literature.

  • Ancient Egypt (mini-course)

    Ancient Egypt01:563:266 - 1.5 credits
    (cross-listed with 01:013:302)

    Introduction into ancient Egypt. Topics include a historical overview, religion, art, archaeology, interconnections between ancient Egypt and ancient Israel, and Hieroglyphic Egyptian language and literature.


    Fall 2020 taught by Prof. Gary Rendsburg mainly asynchronously, with a synchronous meeting once every two weeks.

    Course will run October 21 – December 10

    Fall 2020 Syllabus

    Have questions? You can email Prof. Gary Rendsburg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


    Instructions for Remote Learning Fall 2020

  • Ancient Near Eastern Religions

    Ancient Near East Religion01:563:324
    (cross-listed with 01:840:301)

    Religious patterns in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Canaan, Israel, and Egypt from texts in translation; their impact on cultural development of the Near East.

  • Antisemitism

    document01:563:269
    (cross-listed with 01:510:269)

    This course invites students to think deeply about contemporary discourses of and about antisemitism in light of their historical precedents and resonances. Throughout, attention will be devoted to the wide-ranging contexts and content of antisemitism; the functions that anti-Jewish animus has served in different societies; the roles of religion, science, and politics in anti-Jewish ideologies and actions; factors that have intensified and mitigated anti-Jewish ideologies and their expressions; and the relationships that have existed between hatred of Jews and other forms of prejudice. Students will ponder continuities and turning points in the history of antisemitism as well as the significance of antisemitism as an analytic category. They will also consider the dangers of focusing on antisemitism at the expense of other dynamics in Jewish history. Addressing urgent questions in historical perspective, students will emerge better equipped to navigate the challenges of the contemporary world.

    This course fulfills Core requirements CCD and HST.

  • Arab-Israeli Conflict

    Arab Israeli Conflict01:563:282
    (cross-listed with 01:508:212 and 01:685:282)

    This course is an overview of the hundred-year old Arab-Israeli conflict, the controversies it has generated, the attempts to resolve it, and how we as outsiders to the conflict learn about it and experience it. During the first unit of the course, we will work to understand key historical moments of the conflict through multiple perspectives and interpretations. In the second unit, we will evaluate attempts for peace. Throughout these units, we will seek to analyze conflicting claims of truth, justice, history, and ownership. During the third unit, we will examine media coverage of the conflict so as to evaluate how the media shapes our perception of the stakes, the players, and the history. At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to discuss events in the last century that have contributed to the conflict, analyze different narratives among Israelis and Palestinians, evaluate attempts for peace, and engage in sophisticated, critical debates about the conflict both in and outside the classroom.

    This course fulfills Core requirements CCD and HST.


    Fall 2020 taught by Prof. Michal Raucher asynchronously.

    Fall 2020 Syllabus

    Have questions? You can email Prof. Michal Raucher at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


    Instructions for Remote Learning Fall 2020

  • Between Nazism and Communism

    Exile under Nazism and Communism01:563:270
    (cross-listed with 01:510:263)

    This course will examine the experience of several minority groups in Poland: Jews, Ukrainians, and ethnic Polish peasants under Nazi and Communist rule in the modern period through primary historical documents, memoir literature, poetry, and film. These populations were part of a historically rich multicultural, multifaith, and multilinguistic region that was homogenized in the 20th century due to war, genocide, political nationalism, and population transfers. 

    In order to understand the complexity of Nazi and Soviet control over Polish territory in the 20th century, and the experiences of Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians—including their sense of belonging, their reactions to dislocations, and the memory of their extermination—this course will introduce students to the history of Poland, beginning in its “Golden Age,” which saw the expansion of Jewish settlement throughout the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth—which included Ukrainian lands—and continuing to the effects of the partitions in the late eighteenth century, in which Poland and its peoples became subjects of the Russian, Habsburg, and Austrian Empires. In the “long” nineteenth century, the “national” principle prevailed in East Central Europe, affecting Polish, Ukrainian, and Jewish national aspirations in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The course will investigate the dislocations caused by World War I, the exhilaration of the reestablishment of Polish statehood in the interwar period, and then focus on the catastrophic invasion and occupation of western Poland by the Nazi Third Reich in 1939 (and then of Soviet-occupied eastern Poland in 1941), and the subsuming of Polish sovereignty under Communism in 1946. 

    Jews lived in Polish lands for a millennium and by the eighteenth century comprised 10% of Poland’s urban population. However, the almost total destruction of Polish Jewry in World War II made the Jews a ‘phantom limb,’ a shadowy non-presence, in the post-war period. Post-war Poles and Ukrainians also experienced devastating dislocations due to the war and to the Communist takeover. All three peoples have produced a wealth of memoir literature and fiction that explores the meanings of home, exile, longing, and the human need for connection to place that is shared, in this case study, by Poles, Jews, and Ukrainians. The paradox of this literature is that these nations appear unaware of the similar themes that their memoirs employ and evoke. 

    Students are required to read the materials in advance of our sessions. We will pay careful attention to the primary sources—all of which are available on Canvas—in class. Additional readings, in the form of articles and book chapters, have also been uploaded on Canvas. The secondary sources will allow you to a) deepen your understanding of the history we’re engaging and b) enter into the contemporary scholarly conversation about the meaning of that history. Films, a bi-lingual reading by a Polish poet exiled in 1969, and two guest lectures (one on Nazi architecture, the second on an Israeli graphic novelist’s exploration of the memory of Poland) will enhance students’ understanding of the intertwined histories of the assault on minority groups in the Polish borderlands under the Nazis and the Soviets. 

    This course fulfills Core requirement HST-1.

  • Between Nazism and Communism

    Exile under Nazism and Communism01:563:270
    (cross-listed with 01:510:263)

    This course will examine the experience of several minority groups in Poland: Jews, Ukrainians, and ethnic Polish peasants under Nazi and Communist rule in the modern period through primary historical documents, memoir literature, poetry, and film. These populations were part of a historically rich multicultural, multifaith, and multilinguistic region that was homogenized in the 20th century due to war, genocide, political nationalism, and population transfers. 

    In order to understand the complexity of Nazi and Soviet control over Polish territory in the 20th century, and the experiences of Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians—including their sense of belonging, their reactions to dislocations, and the memory of their extermination—this course will introduce students to the history of Poland, beginning in its “Golden Age,” which saw the expansion of Jewish settlement throughout the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth—which included Ukrainian lands—and continuing to the effects of the partitions in the late eighteenth century, in which Poland and its peoples became subjects of the Russian, Habsburg, and Austrian Empires. In the “long” nineteenth century, the “national” principle prevailed in East Central Europe, affecting Polish, Ukrainian, and Jewish national aspirations in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The course will investigate the dislocations caused by World War I, the exhilaration of the reestablishment of Polish statehood in the interwar period, and then focus on the catastrophic invasion and occupation of western Poland by the Nazi Third Reich in 1939 (and then of Soviet-occupied eastern Poland in 1941), and the subsuming of Polish sovereignty under Communism in 1946. 

    Jews lived in Polish lands for a millennium and by the eighteenth century comprised 10% of Poland’s urban population. However, the almost total destruction of Polish Jewry in World War II made the Jews a ‘phantom limb,’ a shadowy non-presence, in the post-war period. Post-war Poles and Ukrainians also experienced devastating dislocations due to the war and to the Communist takeover. All three peoples have produced a wealth of memoir literature and fiction that explores the meanings of home, exile, longing, and the human need for connection to place that is shared, in this case study, by Poles, Jews, and Ukrainians. The paradox of this literature is that these nations appear unaware of the similar themes that their memoirs employ and evoke. 

    Students are required to read the materials in advance of our sessions. We will pay careful attention to the primary sources—all of which are available on Canvas—in class. Additional readings, in the form of articles and book chapters, have also been uploaded on Canvas. The secondary sources will allow you to a) deepen your understanding of the history we’re engaging and b) enter into the contemporary scholarly conversation about the meaning of that history. Films, a bi-lingual reading by a Polish poet exiled in 1969, and two guest lectures (one on Nazi architecture, the second on an Israeli graphic novelist’s exploration of the memory of Poland) will enhance students’ understanding of the intertwined histories of the assault on minority groups in the Polish borderlands under the Nazis and the Soviets. 

    This course fulfills Core requirement HST-1.


    Fall 2022 taught by Prof. Nancy Sinkoff face-to-face.

    Tuesdays and Thursdays @ 3:50 PM - 5:10 PM

    Have questions? You can email Prof. Nancy Sinkoff at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


    Return to Course Schedule page

  • Bible and Archaeology

    DeadSeaScrollsTopics Course
    01:563:396

    (cross-listed as 01:840:302)

    Analysis of material evidence, such as archeological remains of monuments and inscriptions, from ancient Israel and Judah, as well as the broader ancient Near East, in order to develop a fuller reconstruction of biblical society and cult.


    Fall 2022 taught by Prof. Debra Ballentine face-to-face.

    Mondays and Thursdays @ 10:20 AM - 11:40 AM

    Have questions? You can email Prof. Debra Ballentine at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


    Return to Course Schedule page

  • Bible in Aramaic, The

    Bible in Aramaic01:563:146
    (cross-listed with 01:013:111)

    Introduction to Aramaic through biblical literature, including Aramaic Bible passages and vernacular translations into various Aramaic dialects, with a focus on Syriac version.

  • Biblical Hebrew

    Biblical Hebrew01:563:141 and 01:563:142
    (cross-listed with 01:013:154 and 01:013:155)


    Part I - 01:563:141

    The aim of this course is to introduce students to Biblical Hebrew, especially the variety known as Standard Biblical Hebrew, used to write the narrative prose texts of the Bible during the period of the 10th-7th centuries B.C.E. These prose texts are to be found most prominently in Genesis, Exodus, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, and Kings.


    Part II - 01:563:142

    This course serves as a continuation of Biblical Hebrew I. This course maintains the same goals and structure of the previous semester. In addition to providing students with basic knowledge of Standard Biblical Hebrew (that is, the language of narrative prose), this course will introduce students to the working of biblical poetry. In addition to continuing with the reading of prose texts, students also will read and analyze some basic poetry as found in the books of Psalms and Proverbs, as well as in the various prophetic books.

  • Biblical Hebrew

    Biblical HebrewBiblical Hebrew I

    01:563:141
    (cross-listed with 01:013:154)

    The aim of this course is to introduce students to Biblical Hebrew, especially the variety known as Standard Biblical Hebrew, used to write the narrative prose texts of the Bible during the period of the 10th-7th centuries B.C.E. These prose texts are to be found most prominently in Genesis, Exodus, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, and Kings.


    Fall 2020 taught by Prof. Gary Rendsburg synchronously.

    Fall 2020 Syllabus

    Have questions? You can email Prof. Gary Rendsburg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


    Instructions for Remote Learning Fall 2020

  • Binding of Isaac (mini-course)

    01:563:382 - 1.5 creditsEnglish Course

    This course offers a close study of the biblical story of the Binding of Isaac and the later development of the biblical story. Our course is completely online, in keeping with the public health concerns surrounding the coronavirus. Along with the obvious health issues, this situation means we are all adjusting to new situations in our personal lives and in our classroom, so I urge everyone to communicate with me if you are experiencing difficulty either with the material/format of the class or with life outside the classroom.

  • Classical Jewish Philosophy

    Maimonides01:563:311
    (cross-listed as 01:730:311)

    Did you know that the first Jewish theology was written in Arabic? That medieval Jewish philosophers wrestled with the same questions about evil, ethics and God’s existence as we do today? In this course, we examine some great works of philosophy in their historical settings. We will do a select reading of four fascinating thinkers: Philo of Alexandria, Saadya Gaon, Judah Halevi, and Moses Maimonides. We will address the “meaning of life,” of the nature of God, and the problems of suffering and injustice. We will also see how Jewish thinkers were in conversation and conflict with the Christian and Islamic cultures of their days, how politics influences philosophy, and how philosophy was used as a practical tool for “virtuous living.” You don’t have to be Jewish—or a philosopher!—to appreciate classical Jewish philosophy.

  • Contemporary Politics in the Middle East

    God and the Gods01:563:351
    (cross-listed with 01:685:351 or 01:790:351)

    Contemporary politics of the Middle East through scholarly literature and documentary-type films dealing with socioeconomic and cultural influences on politics.

  • Culture of Ladino: An Introduction

    Ladino01:563:289
    (cross-listed with 01:013:289, 01:617:289, and 01:940:289)

    Introduction to Ladino language and culture, with reference to the unique Spanish variety used by Sephardic Jews (Jews from Iberia and across their Mediterranean diaspora their expulsion from Spain in 1492), along with its parallel culture.

    This course fulfills Core requirement AHQ.

  • Culture of Yiddish: An Introduction

    OY01:563:245
    (cross-listed as 01:470:280:01)

    Did you know
    •    There were once 11 million Yiddish speakers worldwide?
    •    There are neighborhoods in Brooklyn where the ATMs offer a Yiddish option?
    •    There are 300-year-old alternate prayers especially for women written in Yiddish?
    •    There was a Jewish Autonomous Region, with Yiddish as its official language, established in the Soviet Union
          in the 1930s?
    •    There are more than a dozen different words for “Christmas” in Yiddish?
    •    You can visit an organic farm in upstate New York where only Yiddish is spoken? 
    •    You can watch online videos in Yiddish produced in New York, Montreal, and Stockholm?

    Explore the thousand-year history of Yiddish, key to centuries of Jewish folklore and politics, great works of modern literature and traditional spirituality.  Learn how a language thrives in diaspora and endures a genocide, and how it has enriched the lives of fundamentalists, revolutionaries, avant-garde performers, and others—including many people who aren’t Jewish—around the world. 

    This course fulfills Core requirement AHq.
    No prerequisites.  All readings are in English. 
    No prior knowledge of Yiddish or other languages required.