Spring 1997 Courses

Approaches to Jewish Studies
Who is a Jew? And how to define Judaism--as religion? culture? ethnicity? How can such radically different ideals and spiritual styles as Hebraic prophecy, talmudic argument, kabbalistic rapture, asceticism, eroticism, and feminism all be called "Judaic"? Close reading of Jewish texts (including film) as both religious source and cultural resource, exploring Jewish identity and life-cycle; catastrophe and memory; exile and assimilation; a "Jewish tongue" and diaspora. All are welcome.
Professors: Esther Schor and Jacob Meskin

American Judaism
An introduction to the social, cultural, and religious history of Jews and Judaism in the United States. Beginning with the Colonial period and extending to the present. Readings and discussion will explore tensions between particularism and universalism, the religious and the secular, ethnicity and acculturation. Special emphasis will be given to issues of community and self-representation.
Professor: Diane Winston, visiting

The Arab-Israeli Conflict
The course examines the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, placing particular emphasis on diplomacy and international relations. The readings will acquaint you with the major developments in the dispute and will introduce you to the heated historical debate raging today. The lectures will develop an alternative interpretation of the conflict - one that stresses the role of the international system in structuring it.
Professor: Michael Doran

Jewish Literature in America: "By the Waters of Manhattan," The Story of the Jews of New York
This is an exploration of the literary creations of Jewish writers in New York in the twentieth century. We will analyze, through the poetry, drama and fiction written in Yiddish, Hebrew and English (studied in translation), the immigrant experience and acquisition of urban spaces, the effacement and partial recovery of the cultures of origin and the self enfranchisement of the Jewish intellectual into American society and letters.
Professor: Sidra Ezrahi, visiting, Hebrew University

Readings in Modern Hebrew Literature: Modernism and Postmodernism in the Israeli Narrative
Readings of contemporary Hebrew narratives, including such writers as U. Gnessin, D. Fogel, S.Y. Agnon, Amos Oz, among others, to consider their ideological and aesthetic positions vis-à-vis the master narratives of twentieth-century Israeli culture.
Professor: Sidra Ezrahi, visiting, Hebrew University

Religion and Literature of the Old Testament: Wisdom Literature and Post-Exilic Period
This course will treat: 1.) The wisdom literature of the Old Testament and Apocrypha in its development from the beginning of the first millennium B.C.E. to the turn of the era; and 2.) the post-exilic literature of the Old Testament and Apocrypha in their historical context. Issues to be treated include universalism and particularism, scribe and priest, and the emergence of apocalyptic literature. The center of the course will be the primary texts.
Professor: Martha Himmelfarb

Classic Jewish Texts
An introduction to classical Judaism through the close reading of works representing the major genres of Jewish religious creativity of the rabbinic and medieval periods.
Professor: Martha Himmelfarb

Jewish Music
This course will investigate what constitutes the essence of the traditional Jewish understanding of music. There will be a general introduction of the various geographical areas of Jewish music and to its historical development. However, the focus will be on the folk and liturgical music of Jews of Central and Eastern-Europe, from which also the mainstream Jewish-American culture evolved.
Professor: Judit Frigyesi

Elementary Hebrew
Continuation of HEB101. Introduction to structure and vocabulary of Modern Hebrew. Reading, conversation and composition.
Professor: Edna Bryn-Noiman

Intermediate Hebrew
Completion of two-year textbook, Ha-Yesod, and reading and discussion of selected additional texts. (newspaper, stories, etc.) Extensive practice in conversation.
Professor: Rivka Halperin

Advanced Hebrew
Readings from modern Hebrew, ranging from newspaper articles to short stories and selected poems. Topics to be discussed include the changing self-image of the Israeli, and the special statues of the Hebrew language in Israeli culture. The course develops an active command of spoken and written Hebrew.
Professor: Rivka Halperin

Previous Semester Courses