Download Jewish Studies Courses Fall 2016

This is a listing of Jewish Studies courses that will be taught in Fall 2016. The list includes both
courses directly offered through Jewish Studies, with the JWST prefix, and those offered through other
departments that Jewish Studies minors can take for minor credit.
JWST 10300 / RLST 10300 Hebrew Scriptures LA HU Rebecca Lesses
ICC course: Themes: Identities and Mind, Body, Spirit; Perspective: Humanities
MWF 10:00-10:50
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The Hebrew Bible (referred to by Christians as the Old Testament) is one
of the foundational books of both western and world culture, and serves as the basis for Judaism and
Christianity. In this course, we will read the books of the Bible critically as literature, as religious and
moral text, and as a source of sociological knowledge. This course surveys the biblical literature,
acquaints the students with critical methods for the study of the Bible, situates the Bible within the
literature and culture of the ancient Near East, and discusses the religion of ancient Israel. We will deal
with questions of history and archaeology, and with questions of meaning – what the biblical text
meant to its ancient readers, and what meanings it has today. All texts will be read in English
translation. This course is offered both as JWST 10300 and RLST 10300 – register for one or the other
course, not both. No prerequisites. 3 credits.
JWST 20100 / HIST 20400 Jews in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds LA HU Rebecca Lesses
Tuesday/Thursday 2:35-3:50
ICC application for designations as an Identities and Power and Justice course is being
This course is an introduction to Jewish history and the varieties of Jewish cultures and religious
traditions in the ancient and medieval worlds. We will explore Jewish history from the period of the
Second Temple (sixth century B.C.E.) to the Expulsion from Spain in 1492. The first part of the course
will cover ancient Jewish culture and civilization in Palestine, the Mediterranean basin, and
Mesopotamia, exploring such issues as Jewish responses to foreign domination (by the Persian, Greek,
and Roman empires), Jews and other cultures (Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Persian), Judaism and
Christianity, the rise of rabbinic Judaism and rabbinic culture. In the second part of the course, we will
discuss the development of Jewish civilization in Spain, Italy, and northern Europe, Jews under Islamic
rule, Jews under Christian rule, medieval Jewish philosophy and mysticism, medieval anti-semitism
and expulsions from Western Europe and Spain. This course is offered both as JWST 20100 and HIST
20400 – register for one or the other course, not both. Prerequisites: one course in social sciences or
humanities or permission of instructor. 3 credits.
JWST 27501 Outsiders as Insiders: Strange Cultures of American Judaism LA SS Jonathan
MWF 2:00-2:50
ICC application for designation as a Diversity course is being submitted
In this course, we explore the varied and sometimes strange cultural forms of Judaism as an American
religion. Our guiding question is as follows: How do various communities and individuals within
American Jewry balance the needs of assimilation with the demands of inherited ideas of who and how
Jews should properly be? The first pole, assimilation, is the demand that cultural outsiders such as
Jews participate in the "melting pot model" of a multi-cultural society. It contains ideas such as:
immigration, racial politics, the secular public domain, and acceptable forms of religious ritual and
practice. The second pole, authenticity, deals with the fascinating realm of cultural memory and
interpretation. Ideas that it encompasses include: how Jews negotiate need to be different, strange,
unique—contrary to the demands of assimilation--and thereby true to remembered cultural roots. This
push-and-pull system produces fascinating contradictions and new cultural forms for individuals and
their communities. Prerequisites: sophomore standing or permission of instructor. 3 credits.
HEBR 10100 Elementary Hebrew Mirit Hadar
MWF 10:00-10:50
Beginning course. Practice in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing simple idiomatic Hebrew.
Emphasis is placed on culture, participation, and self-expression. Open to students with no previous
Hebrew, or by placement examination. 3 credits
HEBR 20100 Intermediate Hebrew Mirit Hadar
MWF 11:00-11:50
Develops intermediate-level proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing Hebrew. Special
emphasis is given to Hebrew culture. Prerequisites: HEBR 10200 with a grade of C- or better. 3 credits.
POLT 23000 Holocaust Don Beachler
Tuesday/Thursday 4:00-5:15
This course is an introductory survey of major issues related to the Holocaust. We will examine the
role of anti-Semitism in Western Culture and the rise of the racial anti-Semitism that animated Nazi
hatred of the Jews. Among the topics to be covered are: The rise of Hitler to power; the initial policies
of persecution and dispossession of the Jews and Jewish responses to these policies; the evolution of
Nazi policy from expulsion of the Jews to extermination; the role of Jewish community leadership in
attempting to cope with a murderous onslaught by establishing Jews in vital industries; the cooperation
of many German bureaucrats in the final solution; the relationship of the Holocaust to the Nazis’
overall racial views and their war of racial supremacy in eastern Europe; the ongoing controversy over
whether more Jews could have been rescued by the nations opposing Hitler and his regime. 3 credits.
ICSM 10500-28 Jerusalem: City of Faith, City of Struggle Rebecca Lesses
Tuesday/Thursday 4:00-5:15
Course is limited to first year students
What does it mean to live in a divided city? This course focuses on contemporary Jerusalem, using
films, short stories, memoirs, poetry, and analytical articles to explore the experiences of the city’s
people today. The course will investigate what it means to live in a city divided along religious, ethnic,
and national lines: between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs, and between and among the Jewish,
Christian, and Muslim religious communities. The course will address how the wars of the twentieth
century have affected the lives of all who live in the city, especially the 1948 war, which divided the
city between Israeli and Jordanian control, and the 1967 war, which united the city under Israeli rule.
The course will also address the political issues of occupation, annexation, and settlement from both
the Palestinian and Israeli perspectives. As a final project, students will investigate any of the various
aspects of life in Jerusalem that interest them, including, if they wish formulating their own proposal
for the final status of Jerusalem within a political agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. No
prerequisites. 4 credits.