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Current Jewish Studies and Hebrew Courses

JST 4 - Jewish and Christian Foundations

TuTh 12:05PM - 1:20PM Instructor: Rabbi David Ostrich

JST 10 - Jewish Civilization

MoWe 2:30PM - 3:45PM Instructor: Eric Fleisch

This course is an introduction to the study of the Jewish people, an ancient religious community that has lasted through the millennia. It will study the historical development of Jewish civilization, culture, and place in the world through a variety of case studies of Jewish civilizations living throughout varied regions of the world, at different times, and experiencing different challenges and opportunities unique to their moment in history. The main focus will be an exploration of how have Jewish leaders, communities, and individuals have reconciled their interests/agendas both as Jews and as members of a larger society with changing circumstances within and without their communities.     

JST/CAMS/RLST 12 - Lands of the Bible from Adam and Eve to Muhammed.

WEB. Instructor: Ann Killebrew 

JST/Soc/Anth/PS 60 - Israeli Culture and Society 

Web. Instructor: Tamir Sorek

This course will explore the /people/ of the State of Israel (the nation‑state established in 1948), their histories, numbers, migrations, institutions, norms, values, and the landscape in which they live.  We will explore collective identities, including those of the Arabs, Bedouin, Christians, Druze, Ethiopians, Israelis, Jews, Muslims, Russians, and Palestinians who are citizens of the State of Israel, as well as the social relations among them.

JST/Hist 121 - History of the Holocaust 1933-1945

MoWe 4:00PM - 5:15PM Instructor: Sarah Garibova

This course will provide an in-depth overview of the Holocaust—the persecution and murder of six million Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators—by examining the origins and evolution of the “Final Solution.” Throughout the semester, we will foreground the experiences and individuals in the Holocaust using diaries, photographs, and oral history testimonies. Students will also engage with ongoing contemporary debates about the Holocaust and its meaning. This course stands on its own but also provides students with a foundation for further study in the field of Holocaust and genocide studies.        

JST/CAMS/RLST 122 - Apocalypse and Beyond

TuTh 4:35PM - 5:50PM Instructor: Tawny Holm

This course surveys apocalyptic literature and apocalyptic imagination about the end of the world, from its beginnings in the ancient Near East and the Bible to some examples from the modern world. The course will cover three areas: 1) the ancient literary genre of apocalypse in the Near East; 2) apocalyptic writings in the Jewish and Christian traditions (especially the books of Daniel and Revelation in the Bible, and the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls), which generated Western apocalyptic thinking throughout the ages; and 3) some historical examples and discussion of the sociological underpinnings of apocalyptic groups in the medieval to modern periods.  Additional attention will be paid to the impact that apocalyptic worldviews have had on the secular world, especially in the fine arts and cinema.

JST/CAMS/RLST 124 - Early and Medieval Christianity

MoWeFr 11:15AM - 12:05PM Instructor: Michael Legaspi

How and why did Christianity become so influential in world history? This course traces the development of the Christian movement from its beginnings as a small Jewish sect in Jerusalem to its unlikely emergence as the religion of the Roman Empire and, finally, its subsequent spread and development in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

JST 135/RLST/Phil - Ethics in Jewish Tradition and Thought

MoWeFr 1:25PM - 2:15PM Instructor: Michael Legaspi

Is belief in God relevant today? What does it mean to lead a good life? How does tradition help us to think about contemporary ethical questions? This course draws on biblical studies, intellectual history, and philosophy as it explores the rich and influential tradition of Jewish thought.   

JST/Hist 140 - The Israel-Palestine Conflict

TuTh 1:35PM - 2:50PM Instructor: Lior Sternfeld

Why is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so divisive? In this course we explore the origins of the conflict, the emergence of the Zionist and Palestinian national movements, the events leading to the establishment of Israel in 1948, the Palestinian Nakba, and the complex history since then. We will analyze changes brought in 1967 and the ensuing shifting Israeli and Palestinian stances, transformations in international attention and investment in the conflict, and, finally, prospects for peace. The themes of class are ranging from the Yishuv (the Jewish communities in Ottoman and mandatory Palestine) and pre-1948 Arab cities, towns, and villages, to 1948 and its internal refugees, the refugees problem, and the Arab Jews that had arrived following the establishment of Israel, and finally we will talk about Mizrahi identities, Palestinians citizens of Israel, and the conflict of citizenship and ethnic identity. The course is divided to three sections: History, Historiography, and Cultural representations of the conflict. In the historical section we will create a timeline of events, from 1881 to the early 2000s. In the second section we will analyze the historiographical trends of writing this history. We will analyze the Israeli narrative, the Palestinian narrative, and then “third-way” narratives. Last section will be dedicated to cultural representations of the conflict. We will read and analyze prose, poetry, documentaries and feature films.

JST/Hist 181 - Introduction to the Middle East

TuTh 9:05AM - 10:20AM Instructor: Janina Safran

History/Jewish Studies 181 (Honors), “Introduction to the Middle East (Honors),” provides a survey of the history of the Middle East between c. 600 and the present, with a weekly focus on two or three particular aspects of history, society, and culture. Lessons include regular textbook reading and analysis of primary sources such as architecture, poetry, literature, government documents, newspaper articles, and video clips. The course objectives are to stimulate interest in the varied historical experiences and diverse societies and cultures of the region, develop analytical skills and a basis for informed discussion of historical and current events, and provide a foundation for deeper investigation. Toward these ends, students learn important terms, concepts, contexts, individuals, and events, follow trends and patterns, locate specific events in meaningful context, interpret the historical significance of primary sources, and develop a long view of change and continuity. The honors course involves more in-depth attention to two or three topics such as women and gender in the Middle East in the nineteenth century and the experience of war and reconstruction in Iraq since 2003. Students will read some longer texts (memoirs, novels, political tracts), view films,  participate in group discussion, and write analytical essays.           

JST/Fr 197 - France and the Holocaust (Special Topics)

TuTh 1:35PM - 2:50PM Instructor: Willa Silverman

This course will examine the French history and experience of the Holocaust (or ‘Shoah’), in large part through selected literary and cinematic representations. The many issues we will consider include the relationship between history and memory; the roles of perpetrators, bystanders, and rescuers; the ethics of defying one’s government; and the question of creating adequate representations of catastrophe. *An optional 1 credit embedded course is planned for spring break, in Paris, pending sufficient student interest.

JST/Hist 409 - Antisemitisms

TuTh 1:35PM - 2:50PM Instructor: Sarah Garibova

For some two thousand years, Jews have figured prominently in European myth as religious and racial Others. Some have lauded them as God's Chosen People, Hollywood moguls, and Nobel Laureates. Others have promoted conspiracy theories that condemn "the Jews" as political conspirators, financial manipulators, child murderers, and racial infiltrators. Notably, this class does not focus on actual Jews. Instead, our focus will be on anti-Jewish images and discourses how they have functioned in Europe, the Americas, and beyond. Topics will include: the relationship between modern antisemitism and religious Judeophobia; the ambiguous connections between philosemitism and antisemitism; and contemporary debates on the persistence of antisemitism after the Holocaust.       

JST/CAMS/RLST 425 - Books of the Bible: Readings and Interpretation

TuTh 1:35PM - 2:50PM Instructor: Kimberly Rubin

Writing as a Jew at a time when the word “Christian” had not yet been coined, Paul the Apostle (1st c. CE) composed the earliest texts that came to be included in the Christian New Testament. This course is an intensive study of the life and writings of one of the founders of Christianity. What is the religious, political, and historical context in which Paul’s letters emerged? How were Paul’s letters received and interpreted by later Christians? While he was already a controversial figure in his lifetime, Paul the Apostle became even more controversial after his death. 

JST/Hist 426 - Holocaust

MoWe 2:30PM - 3:45PM Instructor: Eliyana Adler

This seminar will explore how the Holocaust has been studied and remembered. During the first half of the semester, we will focus on historical debates related to the Holocaust. The second half of the course will be devoted to issues of memory and memorialization. This is an upper level discussion course with rigorous reading and writing requirements. JST/HIST121 is highly recommended as a prerequisite. 

Students registered for JST/HIST426 are also eligible to participate in JST197, an embedded travel course to Poland and Lithuania over spring break. 

JST/Hist 443 - Jewish Histories of the Middle East

TuTh 10:35AM - 11:50AM Instructor: Lior Sternfeld

Jews have been part of Middle Eastern societies for thousands of years. They flourished at times and endured hardships at others, but they have been part of every significant social and cultural transformation of the Middle East.  In this class, students will discuss the significant contribution of the Jewish community to the development of various Middle Eastern societies throughout the centuries.  Students will critically read and analyze primary sources and secondary literature. We will delve into national historiographies of places such as Morocco, Egypt, and Iran—to name a few—and seek to discover a nuanced narrative of Jewish histories of the region. We will also analyze popular culture products, such as documentaries, television, and literature. The course will follow a chronological and thematic order, and will examine Jewish history in conjunction with global and interregional processes in the Middle East and beyond, such as colonialism, imperialism, nationalism, relations with the West, the formation of the modern nation states of the Middle East, and the Israeli-Arab conflict.


HEBR 2 - Basic Modern Hebrew II

MoTuWeTh 12:20PM - 1:10PM Instructor: Ruth Edelstein

This course it’s a continuation of Hebrew 01. Reading and writing skills of the language are required.

The course is designed to develop all four language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.  Grammar and comprehension are exercised with the aid of textbooks, along with cultural information (holidays, music). Communicative competence is exercised by means of class conversation, games, and oral presentations. Writing skills will be developed through homework and written assignments

HEBR 401 - Advanced Hebrew--Conversation Emphasis

TuTh 10:35AM - 11:50AM Instructor: Ruth Edelstein

This Advance level of Hebrew provides students whom have already acquired fundamental Hebrew language skills an opportunity to strengthen and exercise the language through a variety of activities.

In order to strengthen the students Hebrew language skills, emphasis is giving to speaking, reading comprehension and writing. The materials include cultural aspects of the Israeli life, poems, Israeli songs, and current events are discuss ones a week. 

CAMS 420* -  Introductory Targumic Aramaic

TuTh 3:05PM - 4:20PM Instructor: Tawny Holm

Although the official rubric under which this course is taught is  “Introduction to Targumic Aramaic,” this course is a basic introduction to ancient Aramaic generally. Aramaic was: the language spoken by Jesus;
the language of the Persian empire; the language of Queen Zenobia of Palmyra; and the language of ancient Judaism, from Ezra & Daniel in the Bible to the Talmud. Moreover, it is still the language of some
Christians and Jews in the Middle East and beyond today. By the end of the semester, students will have memorized the Aramaic alphabet and some vocabulary, will have some knowledge of the basics of Aramaic grammar, and will have been introduced to a variety of Aramaic texts. No previous
knowledge of Aramaic or any other language is necessary for this course.

*Not cross-listed with JST

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