Mini-Courses

These are some of the mini-courses that we offer. Courses are offered for the first or second seven weeks of the semester. 

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.

Holocaust Life Stories

HolocaustmemoryTOPICS COURSE - 1.5 credits

This 1.5-credit course examines different ways that Holocaust survivors have told their life stories, or have had their stories told by others, in various media, from the immediate postwar years to the early 21st century.  Examples include works of visual art, film, graphic novel, and video.

If you have any questions about the course, please contact Prof. Shandler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Note: This course is not open to senior citizen auditors.

Holocaust Memory

HolocaustmemoryTOPICS COURSE - 1.5 credits

This course examines different ways that the Holocaust has been recalled, from the immediate postwar years to the present, in film, television, visual art, audio and video recordings, monuments, and museums.

If you have any questions about the course, please contact Prof. Shandler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Note: This course is not open to senior citizen auditors.

Jewish Historical Fiction (mini-course)

The World To Come by Dara Horn01:563:336 - 1.5 credits

This course will explore the genre of Jewish historical fiction and its relationship to the historical periods the novels purport to represent, starting from the medieval period and continuing into contemporary times. The course will investigate the differences and similarities between two kinds of writing: historical and fictional narrative. Readings will include primary and secondary historical sources, as well as several novels. Topics to be covered include: Medieval Jewish life--particularly marriage, sexuality, and economics; mysticism and heretical Sabbatianism; revolution and art in the Soviet Union.

Jewish Messiahs (mini-course)

TOPICS COURSE - 1.5 creditsMessiah Course

The course examines the concept of the messiah from its biblical roots through various historical figures identified as Jewish messiahs. These include Jesus of Nazareth, Shimon bar Kokhba, Shabbtai Zevi, and Menahem Mendel Schneerson, as well as messianic elements in Zionism. No prior knowledge is required or assumed.

Jews and Medicine

JewsandMedicineTOPICS COURSE - 1.5 credits

Course Description: This course will thematically explore the engagement of Jews with medicine, public health, and bioethics. Over the course of the semester we will look at the ways that Jews imagined health, illness, and the body, as well as the way that non-Jews imagined the Jewish body and health. Of particular interest are those moments and places where ideas of Jewishness, and Judaism are relevant to the question of medicine, conceptualizations of health and wellness, nutrition, and the idea of the Jewish body.

Some of the topics to be explored are Jewish folk medicine, Jewish involvement in tenement reform, race science, and Jewish responses to bioethics questions such as abortion and euthanasia.

Jews in the Islamic World

Jew and Muslim playing chess01:563:308
TOPICS COURSE - 01:563:381 (1.5 credit course)

This course will survey the main lines and themes of the history of the Jews living in the Muslim world, from the rise of Islam in the 7th century to the present day.

Modern Jewish Politics

TOPICS COURSE - 1.5 creditsModern Jewish Politics

This mini-course will examine the political relationship of the Jewish community to the gentile authorities among whom they lived (and live), to the internal authority structures within the Jewish community, and to the modern Jewish state. We will examine how Jews rebelled against and accommodated to structures of power in varying historical contexts. Topics to be discussed include: The Birth of Modern Jewish Politics; The Russian State and the Jews (conscription, revolution, and liberalism); Communism and Socialism in the Interwar Years; Jewish Liberalism and its Discontents; Zionist Empowerment; and the challenge of the Holocaust. Primary and secondary sources, as well as fiction, poetry and films, will be used.

No prerequisites. 

Women in the Bible (mini-course)

BibleIintro01:563:265 - 1.5 credits

The role of women in the Jewish Bible/Old Testament stories; also addresses the question of the role of women in ancient Israelite society.

Zionist Idea

ZionismTOPICS COURSE - 1.5 credits

No movement in modern Jewish history has had a greater impact on Jewish life than Zionism. This course examines the origins of Zionism in the mid-19th century and traces its development to the present day. Topics addressed include Zionism's political and social contexts, how other ideologies shaped Zionism, critics of Zionism, and the effect of Zionism on Jews' relationship to each other and to their surrounding societies.