Spring 2003 Courses


JWS 201/REL 223
Class C01
1:30-2:50 MW


Introduction to Judaism: Religion, History, Ethics
This course explores the complex nature of Judaism and its development as a religion and culture over millennia. It is not a history course. The focus is on the various elements that combine to make Judaism a holistic religious system, such as sacred place, rites of passage, sacred writings, worship, and attitudes to nature. Attention will be paid to how these elements are differently understood within the Orthodox and non-Traditional movements in the Jewish community. All students are welcome.
Professor: James Diamond


JWS 315/WOM 315
Seminar S01
1:30-4:20 Th


The Family in Jewish Tradition
This seminar will examine the historic flexibility and variability of the Jewish family in the context of selected times and places: Biblical period, early Common Era Diaspora, 20th Century Europe, contemporary U.S. and Israel. The major emphasis in this course will be on the different protocols and forms that may collectively be called the "Jewish Family." Among the topics to be covered are the Biblical family, the Rabbinic period of late antiquity, the East European shtetl and subsequent immigration to America before and after World War I, the situation of the family during and after the Holocaust, the experimental family arrangements of the Kibbutz, the role of sexuality as prescribed by Jewish law, and conflicts between traditional morality and contemporary secular life. Application required; concentrators have first priority.
Professor: Dr. Ruth Westheimer


JWS 325/AMS 325
Seminar S01
1:30-4:20 T


Culture Mavens: American Jews and the Arts
This seminar explores the relationship between marginality and creativity by focusing on the way America's Jews of the 20th Century drew on the performing arts as well as on film, radio, television, and publishing to express their identity as full fledged Americans. Venturing behind the scenes, it considers the roles Jews played both as cultural impresarios and performers (in vaudeville, Hollywood, and the theater) while also closely examining the cultural forms they championed - and why. Film screenings, guest lecturers, and field trips.
Professor: Jenna Weissman Joselit


NES 305/JWS 305
Seminar S01
1:30-4:20 W


Israeli Culture through Film
The course provides an introduction to Israeli culture through film. It examines the transitions and changes in Israeli society over the past fifty years and presents students with some of the major themes of Israeli culture through the medium of film. The history of Israel is the tale of the conflict between East and West, between Arabs and Jews. It is the story of a transformation from a predominantly militaristic society that fought for its independence to a modern, self-doubting and pluralistic nation that openly questions its past and constituting myths. The Israeli cinema reflects these transitions and offers a unique insight into this fascinating culture.
Professor: Yaron Peleg


REL 245/JWS 245
Lecture L01
10:00-10:50 TTh

Precept P01: 11:00-11:50 Th


Jewish Mysticism: From the Beginnings to Kabbala
One of the revolutionary innovations within the history of the Jewish religion is Kabbala, the summit of Jewish mysticism. It transforms the single, static (and essentially male) God of biblical and rabbinic Judaism into a dynamic and multi-faceted God whose rich inner life can be explored, and influenced, by human beings. The course follows the historical development of Jewish mysticism and examines its major topics, such as God, creation, good and evil, and redemption.
Professor: Rachel Elior


REL 380/JWS 380
Seminar S01
1:30-4:20 W


The Foundations of Hasidism
The course will address the Hasidic socio-religious revolution. The formation of Hasidism in the early modern period, the major Hasidic mystical ideas and the nature of the tension that it instigated will be discussed. The new Hasidic spirituality and its connections to Sabbatianism will be analyzed according to the Hasidic library of the 18th-19th centuries. The perceptions of freedom, equality, and autonomy that were developed in Hasidism will be discussed alongside its new perception of language.
Professor: Rachel Elior


REL 507
Seminar S01
7:30-10:20 pm W


Twentieth Century Jewish Philosophy
This seminar surveys some of the major topics and figures of twentieth-century Jewish philosophy. We will focus especially on the relation of Jewish philosophy to major trends in German philosophy in the twentieth century as it has played out not only in German thought and politics but also in contemporary French and American thought and politics. Particular topics include: the relation between revelation and philosophy and its implication for questions about the relations between philosophy, politics, and ethics.
Professor: Leora Batnitzsky


HEB 102
Class C01
11:00-11:50 MWF

Drill D01
11:00-11:50 TTh


Elementary Hebrew
Continuation of Hebrew 101 will focus on the structure, grammar, and vocabulary of the Hebrew language. There will be reading of easy texts from Israeli newspapers and from the textbooks. Also, there will be more compositions and presentations about various topics in Hebrew.
Professor: Esther Robbins


HEB 107
Class C01
10:00-10:50 MWF

Drill D01
10:00-10:50 TTh


Intermediate Hebrew
Completion of two-year textbook Ha-Yesod, and reading and discussion of selected additional texts (newspapers, stories, poems, etc.). Extensive practice in conversation, writing, and reading Hebrew literature.
Professor: Esther Robbins