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Undergraduate Program





Course Offerings


Undergraduate Spring 2002 Courses


JS 100: Survey of Jewish History
JS 190: The Middle East, 1945-Present
JS 190: The Holocaust in Film
JS 202: Intermediate Modern Hebrew
JS 251: Daily Life in Ancient Israel
JS 258: Anthropology of the Jews
JS 300: Methods In Jewish Studies
JS 302: Advanced Hebrew II

JS 341S: Medieval Jewish Thought
JS 370: Jerusalem: Holy City or National Dream
JS 370: Current Issues in Israeli Politics and Society
JS 371: History and Culture of Sephardic Jews
JS 371SWR: Jewish Immigration: 1880-1924

JS 371SWR: Arab-Israeli Negotiations: 1968-Present
JS 475R: Ancient Israel's Neighbors
JS 495RWR: Honors Thesis
JS 497R: Directed Reading in Jewish Studies


JS 100-000: Survey of Jewish History
Goldstein, MWF 10:40-11:30, MAX: 60

Content: This course will offer a general overview of the history of Jews and Judaism, beginning with the Biblical period and ending with modern times.  Each week we will focus on a specific period of Jewish history, sketching the general sociohistorical context, followed by a description of how Jews practiced religion at the time, how they related to their neighbors, and what problems they faced and how they solved them. Each Friday, we will break out into smaller groups to examine an exemplary primary text, trying to understand how that specific period produced that source.

Texts: Required:

  • The JPS Bible (pbk)
  • Raymond Scheindlin, A Short History of the Jewish People
  • H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People
  • J. Marcus, The Jew in the Medieval World
  • P. Mendes-Flohr and J. Reinharz, The Jew in the Modern World


  • M. Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross
  • M. Jaffee, Early Judaism

Particulars: Weekly 1-2 pp. focus papers; in-class mid-term; final.

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JS 190-00P: Freshman Seminar: The Middle East, 1945-Present (same as HIST 190-03P, MES 190-01P)
Stein, W 4:00-6:00 p.m., MAX: 12 (JS 3, MES 3, HIST 6)

Content: This freshman seminar environment will focus on the major historical issues, personalities, and turning points in the Middle East since the end of WWII. Main themes will include the evolution of modern Arab states, Turkey, Iran, and Israel, the advent and flow of the Cold War in the region, inter-Arab politics, the Arab-Israeli conflict, American, European, and Russian foreign policy toward states in the area, inter-Arab rivalries, and oil revolution, Middle Eastern wars, the Iranian revolution, political and military issues in the Persian Gulf region, political Islam, and the Arab-Israeli negotiating process.


  • Alasdair Drysdale, The Middle East and North Africa: A Political Geography (Oxford)
  • H.A.R. Gibb, Mohammedanism (Oxford)
  • Making Peace Among Arabs and Israelis: Lessons from Fifty Years of Negotiating Experience with Ambassador Samuel W. Lewis (The United Stats Institute of Peace[not in bookstore, to be distributed by Professor]).
  • A series of articles will be placed on Woodruff Library course reserve

Particulars: Each student will give two oral presentations. Grading will be based upon class discussions (35%), two 10 page papers (20% each), one major paper (35%).

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JS 190-01P: Freshman Seminar: The Holocaust in Film (same as REL 190-01P)
Lipstadt, Tu 2:30-5:30, MAX: 16

Content: TBA

Texts: TBA

Particulars: TBA

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JS 202-000: Intermediate Modern Hebrew II (same as HEBR 202-000)
Wagner, MWF 11:45-12:35, Tu 11:30-12:45, MAX: 20

Content: Hebrew 202 is a continuation of Hebrew 201 on a more advanced level. At the beginning of the course there is an in-depth review of the verb system. Much emphasis is placed on speaking and creative writing. The course is a good preparation for students planning to study on a college level in Israel.


  • Naomi Mantzur and Rina Padan, Ivrit me'alef ad tav, bet
  • Shmuel Bolozky, 501 Hebrew Verbs (Barron's Educational Series, 1996)
  • Edna Lauden and Liora Weinback, Multi-Dictionary: Bilingual Learners Dictionary (paperback)

Particulars: Written assignments are made each session. A short written examination is given after the completion of each unit to determine student progress (approx. every two weeks), and a final grade is based on all exams, quizzes, written assignments, and class participation.

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JS 251-000: Daily Life in Ancient Israel (same as MES 251-000, REL 370-001)
Borowski, TTh 10-11:15, MAX: 20

Content: This course deals with everyday life in ancient Israel in the period between the settlement in the land (1200 BCE) and the destruction of the First Temple (586 BCE), covering the time of the Judges and the time of the Israelite monarchy under the kings of Judah and Israel. Topics will include religion of Israel and its neighbors, customs, city planning, the Israelite kitchen, agriculture, herding and the use of other animals, burials and cometeries, warfare, status of women, music, the rich and powerful, and more.


  • Victor H. Matthews, Manners and Customs in the Bible(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1991)
  • O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel (Winona Lake IN: Eisenbrauns, 1987)
  • O. Borowski, Every Living Thing: Daily Use of Animals in ancient Israel (Walnut Creek, CA: Alta Mira 1998)
  • The Oxford Study Bible (New York: Oxford University press, 1992)

Particulars: Examination: Midterm (30%), final (40%), paper (30%). Comments: no prerequisites. Open to all students.

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JS 258-000: Anthropology of the Jews (same as ANT 150-000)
Konner, TTh 2:30-3:45, MAX: 35

Content: This course will introduce the major Jewish populations and cultures through the four fields of anthropology: biological anthropology, archeology, cultural anthropology, and linguistics. It will define the Jewish populations in space and time and then take up their origins and major movements using the evidence of demography, genetics, archeology, history, and ethnology. Jewish cultures considered include the tribal and Temple periods, the Jewish context of the life of Jesus, the Talmudic and medieval eras, the Central European Diaspora (especially the shtel), the Jews of Spain and Islam, the Modern Yiddishists, the Jews of the United States, the kibbutz, and Jewish communities of Ethiopia, India, and China. The primary Jewish languages will be briefly examined and placed in context among the languages of the world. Use of these languages for Biblical exegesis and troubadour poetry, prophetic declamation and modern comic fiction, prayer, curse, contract, song, and magic, will be touched upon. Please note: Religious students may find some material objectionable.

Texts: TBA

Particulars: Two hour examinations and a final examination. There may be up to five additional evening sessions for film viewing.

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JS 300: Methods In Jewish Studies
, MWF 9:35-10:25, MAX: 10

Content : Jewish Studies is a data field; it is not a discipline.  Hence, Jewish Studies can be, and is, studied in many disciplines.  This course is intended to display various methods for studying the data of Jewish studies: Historical, philological, exegetical, literary, theological, feminist, artistic, legal, and social scientific.  We will, therefore, begin by examining several texts through which to demonstrate these methods, with special attention to the Akeda (Genesis 22).  This will be followed by an orientation in library sources.  The main part of the course will be devoted to reading in each of the methods and applying the basic tools of that discipline to various texts.  At the end, we will reconsider what we have done and, then, apply our learning to a topic for a final paper.  Students completing this course will have a good idea of the range of methods in Jewish studies and those wishing to go on to graduate work will be able to intelligently choose one of these disciplines.


  • The Tanakh and translation
  • D. Blumenthal, Facing the Abusing God: A Theology of Protest
  • S. Spiegel, The Last Trial
  • M. Peskowitz and L. Levitt, Judaism Since Gender

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JS 302-000: Advanced Hebrew II (same as HEBR 302-000)
Getz, MWF 11:45-12:35, MAX: 15 

Content: This course is the last in the Hebrew language instruction sequence. The course continues to develop the skills of speaking, writing, listening and reading comprehension. Advanced study of grammar, vocabulary and stylistics. Introduction to the language of the media and Israeli literature. Prepares students for advanced courses in Hebrew, e.g. Hebrew 375, 450, 497R and MES 252D.


  • Tamar Weil and Hava Farstei, Hapo'al leLomdei Ivrit
  • Naomi Mansur and Rina Padan, Hebrew from Aleph to Tav, Vol 3
  • Shmuel Bolozky, 501 Hebrew Verbs (Barron's Educational Series, 1996)
  • Edna Lauden and Liora Weinback, Multi-Dictionary: Bilingual Learners Dictionary (paperback)

Particulars: Prerequisites, Hebrew 301 or consent of instructor.

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JS 341S-000: Medieval Jewish Thought (same as REL 341S-000)
, TTh 1:00-2:15, MAX: 12

Content: TBA


  • TBA

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JS 370-000: Jerusalem: Holy City or National Dream (same as MES 370-002, HIST 385-001)
, TTh 4:00-5:15, MAX: 30

Content: This course will focus on the city of Jerusalem and will examine the religious and national contestation over the holy city during the twentieth century. There is an overwhelming body of literature on Jerusalem. The course will be limited to exploring the role Jerusalem has played during the twentieth century in four distinct political eras: Ottoman rule, the British Mandate for Palestine, and Hashemite Jordanian and Israeli control in Jerusalem. In the first two situations, Jerusalem was part of a great empire; in the last two, part of a modern nation-state. We will look at the role of religion within these political systems as well as consider national aspirations, whether met or unmet. The course will also consider the Palestinians and their role in the competition for a holy city/national capital-in-the-making.

Texts: Electronic and regular reserve in Woodruff Library.

Particulars: There will be 3 papers during the course of the semester and an optional final exam.

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JS 370-001: Current Issues in Israeli Politics and Society (same as MES 370-001)
Hary, Tu 2:30-5:30, MAX: 30

Content: 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 regularly read printed Israeli press in English and will keep a journal. Class discussions are the main mode of instruction.

Text: Chapters and parts from:

  • Bernard Reich and Gershom Kieval, Israel, Land of Tradition and conflict
  • Don Peretz and Gideon Doron, The Government and Politics of Israel
  • Barbara Swirski and Marilyn P. Safir, eds. Calling the Equality Bluff: Women in Israel
  • Facts on Israel, published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Israel HaAretz, English Edition
  • Jerusalem Report, a twice-monthly news magazine
  • Several articles

Particulars: No knowledge of any specific topic is required. No prerequisite. All students are expected to attend class regularly and participate in class discussions and activities. They are also expected to attend a few possible out-of-class activities such as films, lectures and museum visits. Students will have to keep a journal regularly. There will be three tests/quizzes, home and in-class assignments and a class presentation on materials from the readings. Composition of final grade: class participation and presentation 20%, assignments 20%, journal 30%, quizzes/tests 30%.

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JS 371-001: Topics in Jewish History: History and Culture of Sephardic Jews (same as HIST 385-004)
, MWF 12:50-1:40, MAX: 40 (JS 20, HIST 20)

Content: This course will survey the history and culture of the Jews from Spain and Portugal. We will begin with their experience on the Iberian Peninsula in the two centuries before their expulsion from Spain in 1492 and their forced conversion in 1497 to Catholicism in Portugal, then explore the diaspora created by those who fled to Italy, North Africa, the Ottoman Empire, Western Europe and the Americas. We will also touch on the complex and controversial history of the marranos or conversos, those who remained, ostensibly as Christians, in Iberian territories.

Texts: Will likely include: Victor Pereira, The Cross and the Pear; Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, From Spanish Court to Italian Ghetto: Isaac Cardoso: A Study in Seventeenth-Century Marranism and Jewish Apologetics; Andrea Aciman, Out of Egypt; Daniel Swetschinski, Reluctant Cosmopolitans: The Portuguese Jews of Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam; Robert Cohen, Jews in Another Environment: Surinam in the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century.

Particulars: Research paper (at least 15 pages).

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JS 371SWR-000: Eastern Europe to America: Jewish Immigration, 1880-1924 (same as HIST 488SWR-003)
, M 2:00-4:00, MAX: 16 (JS 6, HIST 10)

Content: This course will explore in detail the mass immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe to America during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the first half of the course we will explore the roots of the immigrants in their Eastern European homelands, including the origins of Jewish life in the region, forms of cultural and religious expression in the Russian Pale of Settlement, and the social and political turmoil that led many to seek a better life on this side of the Atlantic. The second half will focus on the ways immigrants reconstituted their lives in the United States, investigating the challenges presented by American work patterns and mass culture, the problems of Antisemitism and immigration restriction, and transformations in Jewish culture and values.

Texts: Readings will consist mainly of book chapters and articles placed on on-line reserve. We will read, among other works, segments of: Moshe Rosman, The Lord's Jews; Michael Stanislawski, Tsar Nicholas I and the Jews; Steven Zipperstein, The Jews of Odessa; Andrew Heinze, Adapting to Abundance: Jewish Immigrants, Mass Consumption and the Search for American Identity; and Susan Glenn, Daughters of the Shtetl.

Particulars: Students will complete several short response papers on the assigned readings. In addition, they will complete an original research paper (15-20 pages) using relevant primary and secondary sources. Aspects of the final research paper (proposal, outline, bibliography, rough draft, etc.) will be due on specific dates during the term and will be the focus of in-class workshops. This course fulfills General Education Requirement IC (Advanced Seminar). Upon successful completion of the course with a grade of C or better, this course will fulfill the GER post-freshman writing requirement.

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JS 371SWR-00P: Arab-Israeli Negotiations: 1968-Present (same as HIST 489SWR-00P, MES 370SWR-00P)
, Tu 2:30-4:30, MAX: 12 (JS 3, HIST 6, MES 3)

Content: The objectives of this course are threefold: it is designed to acquaint students with an in-depth understanding of the origins, development, and negotiating successes and failures associated with the Arab-Israeli conflict; to become familiar with the major political leaders, statesmen, and diplomats who were associated with conflict's evolution, its wars, and its secret and public diplomacy, and third, to write research papers that require use of primary source materials.

Texts: Ian Bickerton and Carla K. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 3rd edition, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, 1998; Kenneth W. Stein, Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, New York, Routledge, 1999; William B. Quandt, Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli Conflict since 1976, University of California Press, 2001.

Particulars: Each student will write two papers and give two oral presentations; the oral presentation will reflect the content of the written papers. The first paper will be no longer than 15 pages and the second no longer than 30 pages, including endnotes. Grading: The 15 page paper (25%), the 30 page paper (50%), and class participation (25%). Upon successful completion of the course with a grade of C or better, this course will fulfill the GER post-freshman writing requirement. Students may fulfill the history and/or college writing requirement for the old system. Previous course work in the modern Middle East is essential. PERMISSION FROM INSTRUCTOR TO TAKE THE COURSE IS REQUIRED.

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JS 475R-000: Ancient Israel's Neighbors (same as MES 475R-000)
Borowski, Time: Tu 4:00-6:00, MAX: 5

Content: The subject of this course is the neighbors of ancient Israel. Biblical Israel was located centrally in the Levant and was surrounded by related and unrelated peoples such as the Philistines, Phoenicians, Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, Arameans, and many others. These peoples were in close contact with ancient Israel and influenced her history, culture, economy, etc. We will study the cultures and histories of these peoples as they appear in biblical and extra-biblical texts, and as they are reflected in the archaeological remains uncovered in recent excavations.


  • TBA

Particulars: Participants will work on assembling a comprehensive bibliography of the topic. Students will investigate and present oral reports on Israel's neighbors. Each student will write a major research paper and a short book review. Regular attendance and active class participation are required.

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JS 495RWR-000: Honors Thesis
Faculty, Time: TBA

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JS 497R-000: 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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