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Undergraduate Program





Course Offerings


Undergraduate Fall 2003 Courses


JS 190: Freshman Seminar: Current Issues in Israeli Politics and Society
JS 190: Freshman Seminar: Archaeology and the Bible
JS 205: Biblical Literature
JS 242: American Jewish History
JS 324: The Holocaust
JS 353R: Jewish Mystical Tradition: The Zohar
JS 371: Women and the Holocaust
JS 435R: Hebrew of the Israeli Media
JS 490S: Israeli Parties and Elections
JS 495RWR: Honors Thesis
JS 497R: Directed Reading in Jewish Studies


JS 190-01P: Freshman Seminar: Current Issues in Israeli Politics and Society (same as MES 190-01P)
Hary, TTh 2:30-3:45, MAX: 18 (5 JS, 13 MES)

Course Description: Israel has been facing continuous turmoil in the last two years. This situation has caused rapid changes in Israeli politics and society. This course examines in depth current issues facing Israeli society from the center to the margin. Topics range from divisions in Israeli society, consensus in the society, Arabs in Israel, Mizrahim in Israeli society, the Arab/Israeli conflict, foreign workers in Tel Aviv, women in Israel, current state and local politics, and more. Students will read scholarly materials but will also regularly read printed Israeli press in English and will keep a journal. Classes will be devoted to specific topics, however, current issues will be dealt with regularly. Class discussions are the main mode of instruction.


  • The Second Republic: Politics in Israel , Asher Arian;
  • Israel, Land of Tradition and Conflict , Bernard Reich and Gershon Kieval;
  • The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948 , Eugene Rogan and Avi Shlaim; and
  • Calling the Equality Bluff , Barbara Swirski and Marilyn P. Safir, [eds.]

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JS 190-02P: Freshman Seminar: Archaeology and the Bible (same as MES 190-02P)
Borowski, TTh 10:00-11:15, MAX: 18 (8 JS, 8 MES)

Course Description: An introduction to the field of Biblical Archaeology with careful examination of theory and methodology. The famous discoveries (inscriptions, architecture) and important sites (Megiddo, Hazor, Gezer, Dan) which form the historical background to some of the biblical stories will be examined as well as issues and topics such as the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) Exodus (Moses) and settlement of Canaan (Joshua, the kings of Israel and Judah, and more). Other topics that will be studied include daily life, religion and ancient art.


  • course packet;
  • Joel F. Drinkard, Gerald L. Mattingly, J. Maxwell Miller, Benchmarks in Time and Culture (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1988)
  • Walter E. Rast, Through the Ages in Palestinian Archaeology (Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1992);
  • H.G. May, Oxford Bible Atlas (New York, Toronto: Oxford University Press), 3rd edition; and
  • The Bible (recommended H.G. May, Oxford Study Bible)

Particulars: Weekly reports (35%), 2 papers (25% + 10%), oral reports (20%), class participation (10%). This course fulfills the methodology requirements for a Minor in Mediterranean Archaeology; it serves as an excellent background for students planning to go on an archaeological summer program.

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JS 205-000: Biblical Literature (same as REL 205-000)
Buss, TTh, 10:00-11:15, MAX: 30 (15 JS, 15 REL)

Content: In this course, we will seek to understand the dynamics of various parts of the Jewish Bible, called "Old Testament" by Christians. This will involve questions such as the following: What is said? How is it said? What appears to be the aim? Insofar as there can be disagreement in regard to these questions, we will look at different answers, both as they have been given by others and as they are presented by members of the class.


  • JPS, Tanakh
  • Holy Bible, The African American Jubilee Edition
  • S. Sandmel, The Enjoyment of Scripture
  • C. Buchmann and C. Spiegel, eds., Out of the Garden
  • M. Buss, Manuscript

Particulars: Students will bring to each class an analysis of the text studied and will be ready to discuss their analyses orally in class. Students who have to miss class more than occasionally can turn their analyses into short papers and discuss them in an individual conference (which will normally cover two or three such papers covering the topics of two or three missed classes). There will be a midterm and a final. The course fulfills General Education Requirement IV.A (Humanities).

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JS 242-000: American Jewish History (Same as HIST 242-000)
Goldstein, TTh 10:00-11:15, MAX: 40 (20 JS, 20 HIST)

Course Description: This course is a survey of the Jewish experience in America, examining the religious, cultural, political and economic activities of American Jews from the colonial period to the present. Students will explore how Jewish tradition has adapted to and been challenged by the American setting, how patterns of communal life have been reshaped, what the relationship of Jews has been to other Americans and to the international Jewish community, and how American Jewish identities have been created from Jews' dual impulses for integration and distinctiveness. This course satisfies area V.A. of the General Education Requirements (United States History).

Texts: Possible texts for this course include:

  • Jonathan D. Sarna, ed., The American Jewish Experience;
  • Rose Cohen, Out of the Shadow: A Russian Jewish Girlhood on the Lower East Side;
  • Samuel Heilman, Portrait of American Jews: Last Half of the Twentieth Century;
  • Lisa Schiffman, Generation J;
  • and a number of articles on e-reserve.

Particulars: Class sessions will combine lecture and discussions that emphasize the close reading of primary sources. There will be a mid-term, a final, regular short homework assignments and one longer writing assignment (5-7 pages) in which students will analyze a primary source of their choice.

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JS 324-000: The Holocaust (same as REL 324-000 and HIST 385-000)
Lipstadt, TTh 11:30-12:45, MAX: 100 (50 JS, 40 REL, 10 HIST)

Content: This course will study the history of the Holocaust. Topics to be examined include: history of antisemitism which preceded the Holocaust, steps involved in the Nazi demonization of the Jews, the role of "ordinary" Germans in the killing process, evolution of the Final Solution and the establishment and operation of the death camps. We will also examine the role of the bystanders, including the Vatican, Protestant churches, Red Cross, Allied governments, media and public. We will explore the nature of Jewish resistance to the Holocaust and the role of the Christian rescuers who aided Jews in Europe. We will also examine the theological question, "Where was God during the Holocaust?" Students will have the opportunity to meet with and talk to survivors of the Holocaust.

On a select number of Wednesday evenings during the semester we will screen films on the Holocaust.


  • Leni Yahil, The Holocaust;
  • Elie Wiesel, Night;
  • Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews;
  • Claude Lanzmann, Shoah;
  • Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz;
  • Art Spiegelman, Maus

Films: Shoah

Particulars: Midterms, Final.

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JS 353-000: Jewish Mystical Tradition: The Zohar (same as REL 353-000 and JS 541-000)
Blumenthal, MW 3:00-4:15, MAX: 20 (7 JS, 7 REL, 6 JSMA)

Course Description: The Zohar is the most secret and most central of Jewish mystical texts. Traditionally, one may not study it until one is 40 years of age and married. Nonetheless, we shall attempt to probe its depths, devoting an entire semester to this mysterious text. We will cover such topics as: God, the sefirot, the Shekhina, evil, humanity, sin, death, mystical conjugal life, mystical prayer, and repairing the universe.


  • The Wisdom of the Zohar , ed. I Tishby (Littman Library)
  • Mystic Tales from the Zohar, A. Wineman
  • Bible, any translation
  • reading questions (handed out in class)


  • G. Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
  • D. Blumenthal, Understanding Jewish Mysticism
  • M. Idel, Kabbalah: New Perspectives
  • D. Matt, Zohar: The Book of Enlightenment

Particulars: We will read this central text closely and consider the nature of religious and mystical beliefs. Students should also consult the books on reserve during the course of the semester, as well as those parts of Tishby that we will not cover in class. Additional material on how to review and how to prepare will be distributed. Class participation is expected. One final paper.

Graduate students: Graduate students will be responsible for Tishby’s Introduction and for any assignments not covered in class for lack of time. Graduate students should do the preparatory readings not assigned to the class in each section. A Hebrew tutorial may be available for qualified students. Graduate students are expected to write a full-length paper which will clearly and fully exegete a zoharic passage. The paper should be publishable. An additional paper on a theme in the Zohar or a creative interpretive piece is advised.

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JS 371-000: Women and the Holocaust (same as WS 385-001)
Baxter, TTh 1:00-2:15, MAX: 18 (10 WS, 8 JS)

Content: Nazi Germany's genocidal war against Jews and other "undesirables" plunged women and men into a common hell, but the ways in which it was endured and resisted differed by gender. This course will consider Jewish women's unique circumstances during the Holocaust. How did women's biological vulnerability as the bearers of children, combined with gender-based roles and responsibilities - as daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, and caretakers - contribute both to survival in the ghettos and camps, but also, tragically, to annihilation? How did women both exploit and reject gender stereotypes as undergound couriers, partisan fighters, and rescuers? How did women's distinct skills and standpoints redefine resistance? What patterns of observation about evil and goodness, trauma and resilience, can be discerned from these stories about life in the extreme?

This course will focus on first-person accounts -- both written and oral -- of Jewish women survivors and other eyewitnesses to the Holocaust. Narratives, testimonies and memoirs will be supplemented by reflections from women artists and scholars.


  • Dalia Ofer and Lenore J. Weitzman, eds., Women in the Holocaust
  • Carol Rittner and John K. Roth, eds., Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust
  • Erna Rubinstein, The Survivors In Us All: Four Young Sisters in the Holocaust
  • Vladka Meed, On Both Sides of the Wall
  • Yaffa Eliach, Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust
  • Cara De Silva, ed. In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin

Videorecordings include Holocaust survivors' testimonies from the Yale Fortunoff Archives, and documentaries such as Daring to Resist and To Help Someone.

Particulars: Students are expected to be active participants in class discussions; keep a journal recording their responses to the assigned readings; complete 2 five-page papers; and produce a final project (major research paper or artistic project).

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JS 435R-000: Hebrew of the Israeli Media (same as HEBR 435R-000)
Borowski, TTh 1:00-2:15, MAX: 20 (10 JS, 10 MES)

Course Description: This course intends to train students to use the Israeli news media and to master its vocabulary and language structure by reading selections from Israeli newspapers, listening to Israeli radio broadcasts, and viewing Israeli television excerpts. Issues in Israeli culture will be emphasized.


  • Multi Dictionary Bilingual Learners Dictionary (paperback), Edna Lauden, Liora Weinback;
  • Selection from newspapers, audio and video cassettes from the Israeli media

Particulars: Written and oral assignments will be given regularly. There will be three or four reports and three short tests. Grading will be based on exams, reports, class participation, and homework. Students are required to actively participate in class activities and discussions. The course may be used to satisfy the requirements for the major in Middle Eastern Studies, the Hebrew minor, and the Hebrew requirements for the MA in Jewish Studies.

Prerequisite: Hebrew 302 or consent of instructor.

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JS 490S-00P: Israeli Parties and Elections (same as POLS 490S-02P and MES 370S-00P)
Hazan, M 1:00-4:00, MAX: 12 (3 JS, 6 POLS, 3 MES)

Course Description: This course presents a comparative analysis of political parties and elections in Israel. The goal is to introduce students to the electoral politics of Israel while acquainting them with the basic terms, concepts and theories on political parties and elections. The emphasis will be on general, model-derived explanations of how the political parties function and behave in the Israeli electoral process, and particularly on the elaboration of the reforms that transformed the arena of Israeli politics in the 1990s and continue to reshape it today.

Texts: The list of readings is largely comprised of article from journals and chapters in edited books. There are, however, two books that students are asked to read almost in their entirety:

  • Alan Ware, Political Parties and Party Systems (Oxford University Press, 1996)
  • Gideon Doron and Don Peretz, Government and Politics of Israel (Westview Press, 1997)
  • Asher Arian and Michal Shamir, The Elections in Israel 1996 (State University of New York Press, 1999)
  • Asher Arian and Michal Shamir, The Elections in Israel 1999 (State University of New York Press, 2002)
  • Asher Arian, The Second Republic: Politics in Israel (Chatham House Publishers, 1997)

Particulars: Lectures proceed from the assumption that all students have read the assignments, and class will often include open discussion. Students will be given a political party to follow throughout the semester, and will be expected to provide information concerning their particular party in class. Students will also prepare an oral presentation and write three short papers on their respective parties. Class participation is highly valued and will be factored into the final grade.

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JS 495RWR: Honors Thesis
Faculty, Time: TBA

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JS 497R: Directed Reading in Jewish Studies
Faculty, Time: TBA

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Undergraduates may also take graduate courses

For information on the JEWISH STUDIES MAJOR, go to: Undergraduate Programs in JS

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Last updated: August 20, 2008



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