Spring 2019 Jewish Studies Courses

The list includes both courses directly offered through Jewish Studies, with the JWST prefix, and those offered through other departments which students minoring in Jewish Studies can take for credit towards the minor.

Link to a PDF with information about the courses.


Judaism (JWST/RLST 20300)
Rebecca Lesses
ICC: Humanities; Identities; Mind, Body, Spirit
TR 4:00-5:15

An introduction to Judaism with a focus on theology, ethics, and ritual practice. Readings include selected texts from the biblical, rabbinic, medieval, and modern periods. Theological and ethical issues include God, good and evil, covenant, death and afterlife, justice, and social responsibility. The course examines how these Jewish understandings are lived out through practices associated with birth and death; marriage and commitment; sexuality; and the life of study, prayer, and devotion. Students may not receive credit for both RLST 20300 and JWST 20300.

JWST 22600/RLST 22600 European Jewish Art and Culture
Cynthia Hogan
MW 4:00-5:15

ICC: Creative Arts, Humanities; Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation (application has been submitted)
A historical exploration of the cultural worlds of Jewish communities in Christian-majority lands, beginning with Jewish colonization across Europe in late antiquity through contemporary European Jewish artistic expressions, by examining the confluence of Jewish and Christian artistic expressions as a source of simultaneous inter-religious collaboration and tension. Drawing on the theories and methods of cultural studies and art history, we will consider literary and visual notions of “image” and “art” in Jewish ceremonial material and synagogue architecture, illuminated scrolls and manuscripts, the decorative arts, and European synagogue design. Further, we will consider the rise of Jewish museums across Europe at the turn of the century and reflect on the work of modern and contemporary Jewish artists. Students may not receive credit for both RLST 22600 and JWST 22600.

JWST 27500 Selected Topics: Israeli Culture through Film
Mirit Hadar
MWF 1:00-1:50
ICC: Humanities; Identities, Power and Justice

This course explores the history, culture and art of Israeli society through film. It is divided into two sections: the first part deals with Israeli history through contemporary Israeli film, the second part deals with cultural and social aspects of the Israeli people as shown in Israeli movies. Artistic aspects will be woven into the course discussions to enhance the subjects’ understanding and for better analysis of cinema. Students will become acquainted with some of the major issues that have shaped Israeli society, including religious tensions between different kinds of Jews, relations between Jewish and Arab Israelis, immigration, war, and terrorism. The course will demonstrate that film can serve as an artistic and historical medium that reflects and comments on the history, politics, and culture of Israel.

JWST 29400 Contemporary Jewish Identities: Gender, Race, and Power
Rebecca Lesses
TR 1:10-2:25
ICC: Diversity; Humanities; Identities, Power and Justice
This course addresses the multiplicity of contemporary Jewish identities, focusing on Jews in the United States and Israel, the two largest contemporary Jewish communities. Questions include: What does it mean to be Jewish? Is this a religious, ethnic, national, or racial identity? Is there a common Jewish identity among Jews of widely varying ethnic origins, religious affiliation, and national allegiances? These questions will be explored through four different topics: 1) Jews and Race; 2) Post-Holocaust Jewish Identity; 3) Jewish identity in Israel; 4) Gender, Feminism, and Queer Identity.

JWST 36000 Witnessing and Representing the Holocaust through Literature and Film
Annette Levine
TR 9:25-10:40
This course analyzes various forms of cultural production (testimony, fiction, poetry, feature films, documentaries, and theatre) with an eye to the complexity of witnessing the Holocaust and the act of remembering and representing such experiences This is an interdisciplinary course designed to appeal to students majoring and minoring in Jewish Studies, English, History, Politics, Sociology, Writing, and Cultural Anthropology. Prerequisites: Junior standing or permission of instructor.

JWST 42000 – Internship: Jewish Studies
Rebecca Lesses
On-site work experience, combined with academic study, in agencies or educational institutions with significant Jewish content, such as Jewish schools or community agencies or multicultural groups. Arranged individually at the student's request with the individual instructor, a sponsoring agency, and permission of the Jewish studies coordinator. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. 1-12 credits. (IRR)


HEBR 10200 Elementary Hebrew II
Mirit Hadar
Class meets four days per week (MWF with faculty member; R drill session)
Continuation of HEBR 10100; focus on spoken and written organic language in everyday use, with basic understanding of grammar, such as the verb system, adjectives, syntax and translations. There will be grammar explanations and drills, dialogue memorization and recitation, role-playing activities and other opportunities for self-expression. Prerequisites: Limited to students who have completed HEBR-10100 with a grade of C- or better, or equivalent. Students can be waived from level one with instructor’s approval.

POLT 40103-01 The Political Implications of the Holocaust
Don Beachler
Wednesday 4:00-6:30 pm
The seminar will explore portions of the voluminous literature on the Holocaust to extract implications for politics. Among the topics to be considered are the conditions that permit people to participate in genocide and the human capacity for self-deception that enables people to rationalize their actions. This section of the seminar will consider the controversy raised by Daniel Goldhagen’s book Hitler’s Willing Executioners. We will also explore the academic politics of Holocaust studies by reading works that both proclaim the uniqueness of the Holocaust and by considering authors who argue that too much attention has been paid the Holocaust to the neglect of other historical instances of genocide. The ethical lessons that can be gleaned from global indifference to the destruction of the European Jews will form another segment of the seminar. The global response to atrocities in Rwanda and Bosnia will be included for comparative purposes.