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Undergraduate Program





Course Offerings


Undergraduate Spring 2003 Courses


JS 100: Survey of Jewish History
JS 190: Freshman Seminar: Modern Israel
JS 205: Biblical Literature
JS 242: American Jewish History
JS 252: The Archaeology of Jerusalem
JS 300: Methods in Jewish Studies
JS 309: Modernization of Judaism
JS 324: The Holocaust
JS 370S: Judaism and Sexuality
JS 371: Women and the Holocaust
JS 381: Jews in Russian Culture (Film and Theater)
JS 435R: Hebrew of the Israeli Media
JS 490SWR: Senior Seminar: 20th Century Middle East History
JS 495RWR: Honors Thesis
JS 497R: Directed Reading in Jewish Studies


JS 100-000: Survey of Jewish History
Goldstein/Hary, MWF 12:50-1:40, MAX: 80

Course Description: This introductory level course offers an overview of the history of Jews and Judaism. It is appropriate for both Jewish Studies majors as a starting point for further study and for non-specialists who wish a general overview of the field. The course will explore Jewish life from the Biblical period to the present, examining how the Jews have defined themselves socially and politically in a number of historical and geographical settings, how Jewish theology and religious practice have been shaped and transformed, and how Jews have interacted with and responded to the societies in which they have lived. In achieving these goals, special emphasis will be placed on the use of primary texts -- original documents that will allow students to develop their skills at hands-on historical analysis. This course satisfies area V.B. of the General Education Requirements (Historical Perspectives on Western Culture).


  • Raymond Scheindlin, A Short History of the Jewish People;
  • Eli Barnavi, ed., A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People;
  • Jacob R. Marcus, The Jew in the Medieval World;
  • Jehuda Reinharz and Paul Mendes-Flohr, eds., The Jew in the Modern World;
  • TANAKH: The Holy Scriptures (or any Bible).

Particulars: Class sessions will combine lecture and discussion and also include some "breakout sessions" that emphasize the close reading of primary sources. There will be two mid-term tests, a final exam, and regular homework assignments in which students are asked to respond to the readings in a paragraph or two.

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JS 190-00P: Freshman Seminar: Modern Israel (same as HIST 190-03P)
Stein, W 4:00-6:00, MAX: 12 (8 HIST, 4 JS)

Content: Topics covered will include: origins of Zionism, composition of Yishuv, aliyot, and state-building during the Mandate, Israel's independence war, political system, literature, music, absorption of immigrants, economy history, various Arab-Israeli wars, relationships with world Jewry, the great powers, Arab-Israeli negotiations, and the American-Israeli relationship.


  • Alter, Robert, Modern Hebrew Literature, Behrman House, 1975.
  • Arian, Asher. The Second Republic Politics in Israel, Chatam, New Jersey: Chatham House Publishers, 1998.
  • Gilbert, Martin. Israel : a history, New York : Morrow, 1998.
  • Horowitz, Dan and Moshe Lissak, Trouble in Utopia The Overburdened Polity of Israel, Albany: New York: State University of New York Press, 1988.
  • Laqueur, Walter A History of Zionism, New York: Schocken, 1989.
  • Safran, Nadav Israel: The Embattled Ally, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1978.
  • Sternhell, Zev The Founding Myths of Israel, Princeton University Press, 1999.
  • Vital, David The Origins of Zionism, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975 and 1980.

Particulars: There will be two hour examinations and a final examination. Grading will be one-half for the (two) hour examinations and half for the final examination.

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

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, MWF 10:40-11:30, MAX: 40 (20 HIST, 20 JS)

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;
  • a number of articles on e-reserve.

Particulars: Class sessions will combine lecture and discussion and also include some "breakout sessions" 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 252-000: The Archaeology of Jerusalem (Same as MES 252-000 and OT 698-02P)
Borowski, TT 10-11:15, MAX: 20 (10 MES, 5 JS, 5 OT)

Content: Jerusalem, the holy city for the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, was first occupied 5,000 years ago and has been an important site for 4,000 years. The Canaanites and the Jebusites lived in Jerusalem before it was taken over by the Israelites who, under David and Solomon, turned it into their capital city. The course will deal with what is known about Jerusalem from ancient literary sources (Mari, Amarna, Bible, Josephus, etc.) and will compare this evidence with the archaeological record. Some of the topics to be covered are: Jerusalem in the First Temple period; the Return to Zion under Ezra and Nehemiah; Herod's Jerusalem and its magnificent temple; Jerusalem under the Roman and Byzantine rule.


  • The Bible
  • Course Packet

Particulars: Weekly reports (30%), oral reports (30%), paper (30%), book review (10%). Graduate students (OT 698) will have additional assignments. A Hebrew component (MES 252D) is available for an additional one credit.

Prerequisites: None

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JS 300-000: Methods in Jewish Studies
Lawrence, MWF 9:35-10:25, MAX: 12

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. 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 biblical 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.

Texts: Possible texts include:

  • Rachel Adler, Engendering Judaism
  • Mieke Bal, Lethal Love
  • David Blumenthal, Facing the Abusing God
  • Daniel Boyarin, Intertextuality and the Reading of Midrash
  • Miriam Peskowitz and Laura Levitt, Judaism Since Gender
  • Shalom Spiegel, The Last Trial
  • H.L. Strack and G. Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash
  • Phyllis Trible, Texts of Terror
  • Elie Wiesel, Messengers of God

Please note that most, if not all, of the texts we use will be placed on reserve to minimize the financial burden to students. Many materials will be provided as handouts, including selected midrashim, articles, and commentaries.

Particulars: Students will be responsible for active involvement in class discussion. In addition, response papers and oral presentations will be assigned throughout the term, as well as a final long paper (due on the first day of finals) which utilizes three or more of the methods we have studied to form the basis of a commentary on a biblical text.

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JS 309-000: Modernization of Judaism (same as REL 309-000)
Chervin, TTh, 2:30-3:45, MAX: 30 (20 REL, 10 JS)

Content: The course will focus on the modernization of Judaism, i.e. the changes in Jewish religious identity and thinking which were caused by Jews' entrance into modern Western society. The aim  is to enable students to understand the differences among the four major denominations of contemporary Judaism - Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and Reconstructionism.  We will examine what these movements are and how they came about, and then use this knowledge to interpret current events.   Because America constitutes the largest Jewish population in the world (larger than the State of Israel), and the fact that Jewish religious diversity is primarily an American phenomenon, our readings and discussions in the second half of the course will focus on the American scene.  We will also have guest speakers representing each of the four denominations. 


  • Arthur Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea
  • P. Mendes-Flohr and J. Reinharz, The Jew in the Modern World
  • Michael Meyer, The Origins of the Modern Jew  
  • Gilbert Rosenthal, Contemporary Judaism
  • Marshall Sklare, American Jews: A Reader
  • Jack Wertheimer, A People Divided


  1. Active class attendance and participation
  2. Short written exercises
  3. Site visits to two houses of worship and two-page reports for each
  4. Midterm Exam and Final Exam

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JS 324-00P: The Holocaust (same as REL 324-00P)
Voyles, TTh, 11:30-12:45, MAX: 30 (15 REL, 15 JS)

Content: This course will probe the question of what it means to resist and respond to the Holocaust. Through the diverse media of film, art, literature, politics, and history, we will examine how various communities and individuals live in the shadows and memories of the Holocaust.


  • The Nazi Holocaust Ronnie S. Landau
  • The Survivor Terrence Des Pres
  • Night Elie Wiesel
  • Kindertransport Diane Samuels
  • I Never Saw Another Butterfly
  • Maus Art Spiegelman
  • Maus II Art Speigelman


  • Triumph of the Will
  • Genocide
  • Rumkowski and the Jews of Lodz
  • Courage to Care
  • Obedience
  • Image Before my Eyes
  • Ambulance

Particulars: TBA

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JS 370S-000: Judaism and Sexuality (same as REL 370S-001)
Riccetti, TTh 10:00-11:15, MAX: 18 (9 REL, 9 JS)

Content: This course will provide an overview of how sexuality has been treated in the Jewish tradition, from the Bible and rabbinic law to contemporary and feminist thought. We will explore the material through class discussion and paired study groups (chevrutot). Knowledge of Hebrew is not necessary, though we will discuss certain Hebrew "value concepts" dealing with sexuality.

Texts: TBA

Particulars: Grades will be based on weekly short papers (topics will address questions discussed in class) and a 10-20 page final paper on any topic relevant to the class.

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JS 371-000: Women and the Holocaust (same as WS 385-000)
Baxter, TTh 1:00-2:15, MAX: 18 (9 WS, 9 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 381-000: Jews in Russian Culture (Film and Theater) (same as RUSS 381-000 and FILM 373-000)
Aksenova, TTh 2:30-3:45, MAX: 26 (10 RUSS, 10 JS, 6 FILM)

Content: This course explores Russian-Jewish intellectual dialogue in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries through the most representative examples of cross-cultural artifacts with a particular focus on theater and film. Despite the fact that anti-Semitism was a fundamental part of Russian policy in Imperial Russia and that at that time Jewish culture was bounded by the pale of settlement, Russian theater and then film demonstrate a powerful fusion of the two cultural traditions and the complex and often tragic outcome of this fusion in Soviet Russia. Films about Jews and Jewish traditions appear on the silver screen starting from the1910's. The controversial problem of the identity of Russian/Soviet Jews then becomes one of the important themes of Russian/Soviet/Russian theater and cinema, affected throughout by the internal and foreign policy of the country.

Texts: TBA

Particulars: Mandatory film screening: 2 hours per week. Schedule TBA.

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JS 435R-000: Hebrew of the Israeli Media (same as HEBR 435R-000)
Borowski, TT 1-2:15, MAX: 15 (10 HEBR, 5 JS)

Content: 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.


  • Edna Lauden, Liora Weinback, Multi Dictionary Bilingual Learners Dictionary (paperback)
  • Selections 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 311 or consent of instructor.

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JS 490SWR-00P: Senior Seminar: 20th Century Middle East History (same as HIST 489SWR-00P and MES 370SWR-00))
Stein, T 2:30-4:30, MAX: 16 (8 HIST, 4 JS, 4 MES)

Content: Topics will include: Arab political culture, the legacy of Islam, late Ottoman-World War I- and its post war arrangements, establishment of independent Arab states, political economy, Islam, Palestinian nationalism, Zionism and Israel, Arab-Israeli conflict, oil, inter-Arab politics, the cold war, societal and demographic trends, American/European interests and foreign policy toward Middle East, and Iraq's tomorrow today.


  • Andersen, Roy R, Robert F. Seibert, Jon G. Wagner, Politics and Change in the Middle East Sources of Conflict and Accommodation, New Jersey: Prentice Hall (6th Edition), 2000.
  • Humphries, R. Stephen. Between Memory and Desire The Middle East in a Trouble Age, University of California Press, 1999.
  • Kepel, Giles, Jihad The Trial of Political Islam, Harvard University Press, 2002.
  • Makiya, Kana, Cruelty and Silence, London: Jonathan Cape, 1993.
  • Waterbury, John and Alan Richards, A Political Economy of the Middle East, Westview Press, 1996.

Particulars: For each topic on the syllabus, there will be class round table discussion. Class participation is essential. Each student will write two papers, a 25 page research paper and one short, 10 page paper on a particular issue/topic. Students will submit various drafts of each paper for review. The final grade for the course will be determined by the degree of performance in the following areas: research paper - 40%, short paper - 20%, and class participation - 40%. Students may fulfill the history and/or college writing requirement.

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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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