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Graduate Program


Graduate Program

Course Offerings


Graduate Fall 2009 Courses

JS 597R: Directed Study
JS 598R: Thesis/Exam Preparation
JS 730: Rabbinic Liturgy and Prayer

JS 730: Latin American Jewish Experiences in Comparative Perspective
JS 730: Modern Jewish Thought: Rupture, Ritual and Redemption



JS 597R-00P: Directed Study
Faculty, Time: TBA



JS 598R-00P: Thesis/Exam Preparation
Faculty, Time: TBA


JS 730-000: Rabbinic Liturgy and Prayer
Blumenthal, Time: W 9:30-12:30, MAX: 9, Candler Library 212

Course description: Prayer is one of the main forms of Jewish spiritual and religious identity. Liturgy is the textual form that prayer takes. This course will begin by studying prayer and liturgy in the Bible. Then, substantial time will be devoted to the traditional prayerbook. This will be followed by some time in medieval Hebrew religious liturgical poetry. Finally, we will look closely at modern forms of Jewish prayer and liturgy.


  • Bible
  • Siddur
  • Mahzor
  • Blumenthal, God at the Center


  • David R. Blumenthal, Facing the Abusing God: A Theology of Protest
  • David R. Blumenthal, Understanding Jewish Mysticism, 2 vols.
  • Wings of Awe
  • The Book of Blessings
  • Otsar ha-Tefillot
  • Siddur Nashim
  • The Authorized Daily and Sabbath Prayerbook
  • Seder Rav Amram
  • Seder Avodat Yisrael
  • Kol Haneshama

Prerequisites: Ability to read and understand Hebrew. This is a course for graduate students and qualified undergraduates.

Requirements: Active class participation. Quizzes and final exam. Possible paper.

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JS 730-001: Latin American Jewish Experiences in Comparative Perspective
Rein, Time: M 1:00-4:00, MAX: 3

Course description: Scholarly interest in Jews as a subject of Latin American studies has grown markedly in the last two decades, especially when compared to research on Latin Americans who trace their ancestry to the Middle East, Asia or Eastern Europe. Still, it seems too early to speak of the "normalization" of Latin American Jewish studies. This seminar focuses on Jewish experiences in 20 th century Latin America, emphasizing the national (that is, the Argentine, Brazilian, Mexican, etc.) paradigm, and not the transnational approach. Therefore, we will not solely make comparisons of Jewish experiences in Latin America with Jewish experiences in other parts of the world. Rather we will broaden our analysis to include the experiences of other non-Catholic ethnic minorities on the continent. We might find, for example, that Arabs and Jews have more in common than is usually assumed, both in terms of dominant stereotypes held about them as well as with regard to the patterns of immigration and integration into their new homelands.

Texts: All available at the university bookstore. Other books and articles will be put on reserve in the library.

  • Jeffrey Lesser & Raanan Rein (eds.), Rethinking Jewish-Latin Americans, University of New Mexico Press, 2008.
  • Erin Graff Zivin, The Wandering Signifier: Rhetoric of Jewishness in the Latin American Imaginary, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008.
  • Theresa Alfaro-Velcamp, So Far from Allah, So Close to Mexico: Middle Eastern Immigrants in Modern Mexico , University of Texas Press 2007.
  • John Karam, Another Arabesque: Syrian-Lebanese Ethnicity in Neoliberal Brazil, Temple University Press , 2007.
  • Allen Wells, Tropical Zion: General Trujillo, FDR, and the Jews of Sousa, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009.

Particulars: Students are expected to fully participate in all seminar meetings via discussion and a 1-page comment on the weekly readings. Each student will deliver an oral presentation during the term. A research paper or a historiographical essay must be handed in a week before the end of the term. 40% active participation in the discussions and weekly written comments; 10% oral Presentation; 50% Research Paper/Historiographical Essay.

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JS 730-002: Modern Jewish Thought: Rupture, Ritual and Redemption
Seeman, Th 12:00-3:00, MAX: 12

Course description: This new course serves as a thematic introduction to important themes in modern Jewish thought. We will focus on readings of important texts by writers like Freud, Levinas, Benjamin, Buber, Kook, Heschel and Soloveitchik (and maybe some Boas or Levi-Strauss?). Specific readings will be decided partly in consultation with interested students. Our goal is to gain an integrated picture of what makes modern Jewish thought distinctive in its religious and secular varieties, with a focus on questions of ethics, self-representation and responses to events like emancipation, the Holocaust, the State of Israel and the rise of post-modernity. One area of particular concern will also be the ways in which Jewish ritual and religious observance are interpreted, transformed, or rejected by different thinkers. There is no prerequisite. This course should be of interest to students in Jewish Studies as well as practical theology, American Religious Cultures and other areas within the GDR and beyond.

Texts: TBA

Particulars: TBA

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Last updated: July 14, 2009



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