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Undergraduate Program





Course Offerings


Undergraduate Spring 2007 Courses


JS 190: Viewing Israel: Current Issues in Israeli Culture and Society
JS 190: Using Stamps to Explore Religion and Culture
JS 205: Biblical Literature
JS 210RS: Classic Religious Texts
JS 251WR: Daily Life in Ancient Israel
JS 252WR: The Archaeology of Jerusalem
JS 309: Jews and Judaism in Modern Times
JS 324: History of the Holocaust
JS 370: Jewish Law
JS 370: Judaism in Israel: Religion, Politics and Ethnicity
JS 370R: The Great Books of Zionism
JS 371: Blacks and Jews in American History
JS 375: The Holocaust in Yiddish Literature
JS 375WR: Walnuts, Almonds, Peaches and Pomegranates: The Legends of the Talmud
JS 490SWR: Europe's Postwar Transitions
JS 490SWR: The Ethnic Experience in America
JS 490SWR: The Palestine Mandate
JS 495RWR: Honors Thesis
JS 497R: Directed Reading
Hebrew and Yiddish


JS 190: Freshman Seminar: Viewing Israel: Current Issues in Israeli Culture and Society (same as MESAS 190)
Hary , T 4:00-7:00; M 6:00-8:00 every other week, MAX: 18 (JS 5, MESAS 13)

Course description: Israel has been facing continuous turmoil in the last several years. This situation has caused rapid changes in Israeli politics and society/societies. This course examines in depth current issues facing Israeli society from the center to the margin. Topics range from political structure and parties to current state and local politics, divisions in Israeli society, consensus in the society, the Mizrahim, religion and politics, Arabs in Israel, the Arab/Israeli conflict, army life, women in Israel, languages and language policy in Israel, and more. Students will read scholarly materials but will also regularly read printed Israeli press in English and will keep a journal. Students will watch during the semester seven Israeli feature films (subtitled) that will demonstrate issues discussed in class. Classes will be devoted to specific topics, however, current issues will be dealt with regularly. Class discussions and visual materials are the main mode of instruction.


  • Asher Arian, The Second Republic: Politics in Israel (Chatham, NJ: Chatham House, 1998)
  • Calvin Goldscheider, Israel's Changing Society (Boulder: Westview, 2002)
  • Bernard Reich and Gershom Kieval, Israel: Land of Tradition and Conflict (Boulder: Westview, 1993)
  • Eugene Rogan and Avi Shlaim, The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001)
  • Barbara Swirski and Marilyn P. Saffir (eds.), Calling the Equality Bluff: Women in Israel (New York: Teachers College Press, 1993)
  • The New York Times
  • HaAretz (English edition at, or Hebrew edition at

Particulars: No knowledge of Hebrew is required. The course may serve as an elective for majors in Middle Eastern Studies and the major and minor in Jewish Studies. Film screenings every other Monday.

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JS 190: Using Stamps to Explore Religion and Culture (same as REL 190)
Blumenthal , TTh 2:30-3:45, MAX: 18 (5 JS, 13 REL)

Course description: Issuing a stamp is a political and cultural statement, not just a utilitarian matter. A state’s attitudes toward religion, women, political justice, non-citizens, etc. are all expressed in the choice of the stamps it issues. Scholarship based on the study of stamps can reveal all these attitudes. This class will study the Sol Singer Collection of Philatelic Judaica, a stunning collection recently acquired by the University ( The collection has three parts:(1) a complete collection of Israeli stamps with CD-rom catalogue; (2) a very fine collection of stamps on Jewish topics from all over the world (no catalogue); and (3) a collection of stamps that are not for mailing but were awards for fundraising for the new Jewish state. The class will have three goals: (1) to find or to develop a cataloguing system for the topical part of the Collection, (2) to write scholarly papers using the Collection, and (3) to make recommendations for the development of the Collection.

Particulars: This class is only for brave students. It has never been taught before and there is no syllabus. The students, together with the instructor, will have to design the research plan, identify the methods to be used, and do the work. Graduate students, outside consultants, and research funding will be available but a high standard of performance is expected.

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JS 205: Biblical Literature (same as REL 205)
Siedlecki , TTH 10:00-11:15, MAX: 30 (JS 15, REL 15)

Course description: This course will introduce the student to the study of the Hebrew Bible, also called the Old Testament by Christians. We will study the historical background and social context of these writings as well as their literary forms, structures and themes. Theological questions emerging from the biblical text will also be addressed and discussed. Prior study of the Bible is not required for taking this course, and no particular religious commitments or beliefs about the Bible are assumed or required. What is required is openness to exploring new and different ideas, and a willingness to engage in disciplined reading of the biblical texts.


  • The Jewish Study Bible (Jewish Publication Society Tanakh translation) (Oxford University Press, 2003)
  • Marc Zvi Brettler, How to Read the Bible (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 2005)

Particulars: There will be three short (five pages) papers, one midterm and a final examination. This course fulfills General Education Requirement IV.A. (Humanities).

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JS 210RS: Classic Religious Texts (same as REL 210RS)
Berger , TTH 8:30-9:45, MAX: 18 (JS 5, REL 13)

Course description: After the Bible, there is likely no text which has exerted as much influence on Jewish religion and culture as the Babylonian Talmud. Edited roughly 1500 years ago, it comprises the views and thoughts of almost five centuries of rabbinic scholars, who analyzed or commented on virtually every aspect of Jewish law and human existence. In this seminar-type course, we will take one chapter of the Babylonian Talmud and read it very closely in an English translation, trying first to understand the argument being made, and then to examine the nature and mindset of the authors and editors. The discussions we will read will also serve as a springboard for a general examination of the life and thought of Rabbinic Judaism. Depending on student interest, an optional additional hour (for credit) will be arranged during which the material will be studied in the original language.


  • Course packet of talmudic material
  • Adin Steinsaltz, The Essential Talmud
  • Occasional articles, on reserve

Particulars: The class will be conducted in the style of the oral academies in which the Talmud evolved. Thus, students must be prepared to read and discuss the assignment for each class. Class participation is essential. The final exam will include both written and oral components. In addition to this class, students interested in studying the Talmud in the original may sign up for REL 497R WITH THE INSTRUCTOR'S PERMISSION and take a directed reading with the professor for one credit. Tentatively, we plan to meet for the hour after the Monday class session. This course fulfills General Education Requirement IV.A. (Humanities).

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JS 251WR: Daily Life in Ancient Israel (same as MESAS 251WR and REL 251WR)
Borowski , TTH 10:00-11:15, MAX: 15 (5 JS, 5 MESAS, 5 REL)

Course description: 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 the economy, religion and cult, city planning, the Israelite kitchen, death and burial, status of women, war and peace, and more.


  • Oded Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel (Boston, MA: ASOR, 2002)
  • Oded Borowski, Every Living Thing: The Daily Use of Animals in Ancient Israel (Walnut Creek, CA: Alta Press, 1988)
  • Oded Borowski, Daily Life in Biblical Times (Atlanta, GA: SBL, 2003)
  • The Bible

Particulars: Written weekly reports (30%), oral reports (15%), LearnLink communications (15%), final paper (30%), book review (10%). Graduate students will have additional assignments. This course fulfills the post-Freshman writing requirement.

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JS 252WR: The Archaeology of Jerusalem (same as MESAS 252WR)
Borowski , TTh 1:00-2:15, MAX: 15 (JS 5, MESAS 10)

Course description: 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 packets

Particulars: Written weekly reports (35%), writing exercise (10%), paper (35%), book review (20%). Graduate students will have additional assignments. This course fulfills the post-Freshman writing requirement.

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JS 309: Jews and Judaism in Modern Times (same as REL 309)
Berger, TTh 11:30-12:45, MAX: 20 (JS 5, REL 15)

Course description: How have Jewish communities faced the challenges posed by modernity? This class uses literary, historical, philosophical and sociological material to explore this question. How did the various Jewish denominations emerge, first in Europe and then in America? What is the relationship between Zionism, good citizenship in America or in Europe and traditional Jewish religion? What are the special challenges facing contemporary Jewry in Israel and the United States? How has Jewish thought been influenced by the Holocaust? By feminism? This class focuses on Jewish religious and intellectual life, as well as how various Jewish communities have evolved in the modern period.

Texts: Mendes-Flohr, The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History

Particulars: Students will be expected to attend class each week prepared to discuss that week's readings, and will be evaluated on the basis of attendance and participation (20%). There will be an in-class mid-term exam (30%) and a final (50%) in which students write a critical essay analyzing one topic on the basis of class readings and discussions plus related newspaper articles. There will likely be a mandatory film and discussion night several times during the semester.

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JS 324: History of the Holocaust (same as REL 324 and HIST 385)
Lipstadt , TTH 11:30-12:45, MAX: 90 (40 JS, 40 REL, 10 HIST)

Course description: This course will examine the history of the annihilation of European Jewry by the Nazis. We will trace the roots of European antisemitism; the rise of Nazism and Hitler’s seizure of power; the evolution of Nazi policy toward the Jews; the Nazi policy towards the disabled, mentally handicapped, and carriers of genetic diseases; Germany policy towards the Roma and Sinti; the response of the German Jewish community to the policy of persecution; the reaction of the nations of the world to Nazi antisemitism; resistance by Jews to persecution; the experience of those in the concentration and death camps; and the attempts—however feeble—to rescue Jews.


  • Dwork and van Pelt, Holocaust: A History
  • Wiesel, Night
  • Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor's Tale (Volumes I and II)
  • Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
  • Mahoney, In Pursuit of Justice: Examining the Evidence of the Holocaust
  • Niewyk, The Holocaust: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation
  • Lipstadt, History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier


  • Triumph of the Will
  • Healing by Killing
  • Designers of Death
  • America and the Holocaust
  • Partisans of Vilna
  • Weapons of the Spirit

Particulars: There will be two in-class exams and a final. Students will write three short reaction papers. Class participation will be taken into account in determining the final grade. You are expected to come to class fully prepared to participate in class discussion which will be based on the assigned readings.

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JS 370: Jewish Law (same as REL 472R, LAW 664)
Broyde , Time: MW 2:00-3:30, MAX: 6 (JS 3, REL 3)

Course description: This course will survey the principles Jewish (or Talmudic) law uses to address difficult legal issues and will compare these principles to those that guide legal discussion in America. In particular, this course will focus on issues raised by advances in medical technology such as surrogate motherhood, artificial insemination, and organ transplant. through discussion of these difficult topics many areas of Jewish law will be surveyed.

Particulars: No prerequisites. Grading criteria: paper or take-home exam. Law school classes begin the week of January 9th.

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JS 370: Judaism in Israel: Religion, Politics and Ethnicity (same as SOC 389 and REL 370)
Feige , Time: TTH 2:30-3:45, MAX: 50 (JS 20, SOC 20, REL 10)

Course description: Some consider Israel as "the Jewish state," demanding that the state be constructed along the lines of the halacha; most Israeli Jews are content to see "the State of the Jews," a place where Jews can hold their identity and strive without fear of persecution. This course will explore the meaning and various manifestations of the intersection between Jewish religion and the State of Israel. Its focus would be on the main Jewish religious communities: the Haredim (Ultra-orthodox), the National Religious and Shas (the Mizrahi Haredim), and the new versions of modern Judaism that are currently developing and expanding. The Israeli case can exemplify how religions encounter the challenges of modernity and nationalism through processes of transformation and accomodation.

Particulars: TBA

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JS 370R: Topics in Jewish Literature: The Great Books of Zionism (same as MESAS 370R)
Yeglin , TTH 10:00-11:15, MAX: 15 (JS 5, MESAS 10)

Course description: TBA


  • TBA

Particulars: TBA

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JS 371: Topics in Jewish History: Blacks and Jews in American History (same as HIST 385 and AAS 385)
Davis , Time: MWF 11:45-12:35, MAX: 25 (JS 10, HIST 5, AAS 10)

Course description: This course will examine the history of interactions between Black Americans and Jewish Americans in the United States. These interactions have been harmonious and cooperative at times, and at times their interests have radically diverged, and relations have been strained. At the same time as groups of Blacks and Jews - "communities" of some sort - have regarded each other with varying degrees of respect, empathy, or suspicion, individuals have interacted, created personal relationships, and even taken on elements of the others' identity, in ways that further complicate the stories of these two groups. This class will engage historical and literary instances of all of these scenarios, and will show how the lives of both Blacks and Jews in the U.S., and relations between the two groups, have changed over time.

Texts: TBA

Particulars: Course requirements consist of regular participation in class discussions, an in-class presentation, a research paper based upon primary source materials, and a book report.

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JS 375: Topics in Jewish Literature: The Holocaust in Yiddish Literature (same as GER 460)
Miller, TTh 2:30-3:45, MAX: 50 (35 JS, 15 GER)

Course description: In 1939, approximately three out of every four Jews could claim Yiddish as their mother tongue. By 1945, a full half of this population had been killed. Since Yiddish was the primary language of the vast majority of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, there exist many materials in the Eastern European Jewish vernacular which represent this event. This course will analyze these materials as they appear in various modes of expression. In examining the different genres of the representation of the Holocaust in Yiddish, including novels, short stories, poems, folk songs, jokes and memoirs, we will discuss the appropriateness and responsibility of each mode. We will also examine literature written in Yiddish by authors who did not personally survive the Holocaust, and we will address questions such as whether works created by non-survivors are as valid as those created by those who lived through the experience themselves. This course will aim to address these questions, as well as others, within the context of written work and classroom discussion.


  • None. All reading materials will be available from Reserves Direct.

Particulars: All materials will be read in English translation and no knowledge of Yiddish is necessary. Two reaction papers count 50%, final term paper 50%

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JS 375WR: Topics in Jewish Literature: The Legends of the Talmud (same as ENG 379RWR)
Skibell , TH 2:30-5:30, MAX: 15 (JS 5, ENG 10)

Course description: The textual foundation of Rabbinic Judaism, the Talmud, is filled with amazing, wonderful, and wild stories. Little known, and underappreciated, these legends, tall tales, and eye-opening spiritual dramas are often as complex and meaningful as the Greek tragedies. In this new class, we will learn and examine the aggaditah, or the narratives of the Talmud, in English translation, reading and confronting them in open, round-table discussions, examining the Biblical tradition upon which they draw and against which they assert themselves, and creating narratives of our own. Students will participate in and eventually lead interpretative discussions and will conclude with a creative project involving the stories in one or more media: for instance, film, drama, painting, drawings, photography, music, poetry or fiction. No prior knowledge or experience with the Talmud is necessary.


  • The Hebrew/English Tanakh (Jewish Publication Society)
  • Robert A. Johnson, Inner Work: Using Dreams and Creative Imagination for Personal Growth and Integration

Particulars: Students must also fill out a course application. The course application will be available from the Creative Writing department office in N209 Callaway and from the departmental website at

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JS 490SWR: Europe's Postwar Transitions (same as HIST 487SWR)
Eckert , M 4:00-6:00, MAX: 12 (JS 4, HIST 8)

Course description: This seminar examines Europe's two main postwar transitions. We will zoom in on the chaotic end of the Second World War and the ensuing postwar decade as well as the last stages of the Cold War in the 1980s and the fall of Communism. Indeed, since it was only with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 that the war-born division of Europe was ended, some scholars even call the entire era from 1945-1989/91 simply "postwar". By focusing on these periods of transition, we will consider those events and experiences that - despite Europe's diverse national, regional, and ethnic cultures and histories - may be considered shared experiences and have hence become major pillars of European identity. The class accordingly closes with an examination of modern European memory. Topics in this course include patterns of retribution after the Second World War (violence, criminal justice, forced migration); the beginnings of the Cold War; Americanization in Western Europe; the fall of the Wall and the end of Communism; reckonings with Communist rule; and re-evaluations of the Second World War experience.


  • Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945
  • Deak, Gross and Judt (eds.), The Politics of Retribution in Europe: World War II and Its Aftermath
  • Ash, The File: A Personal History
  • Draculic, How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed
  • course will also draw from primary sources and film

Particulars: This course fulfills General Education Requirement I.C (Advanced Seminar). It also fulfills the Emory College Post-Freshman Writing Requirement. The class is a seminar with a heavy reading load and strong emphasis on active participation in discussing weekly readings and the interpretation of primary sources. The assignments are designed to practice scholarly debate and writing, and lead to a research paper (16-20pp.) on a topic agreed upon between student and instructor.

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JS 490SWR: The Ethnic Experience in America (same as HIST 488SWR)
Davis , Time: M 4:00-6:00 p.m., MAX: 12 (JS 4, HIST 8)

Course description: The main objectives of this seminar are (1) to explore the experiences of ethnic groups and the overall historical meaning of ethnicity in America from colonial times to the present; and (2) to facilitate student research using primary documents on some aspect of race, ethnicity, immigration, or nativism in the United States. The seminar also aims to give students a working knowledge of some major books dealing with the development of scholarly ideas about ethnicity in its American context.


  • David Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness
  • Matthew Frye Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color
  • C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow
  • Stephen Steinberg, The Ethnic Myth

Particulars: Students will write short response papers on the assigned readings, and once in the course of the semester, each student will help lead discussion on one of these texts. In addition, they will complete an original research paper (15-20 pages) using relevant primary sources available in local libraries and archives. Students will also be asked to make an oral presentation of their findings toward the end of the term. Regular attendance and participation are vital to success in the course.

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JS 490SWR: The Palestine Mandate (same as HIST 489SWR)
Stein, Time: W 9:00-11:00 a.m., MAX: 6 (JS 3, HIST 3)

Course description: This junior/senior colloquium will review the thirty-year history prior to the creation of Israel in 1948. We shall try to answer the question: why and how did the Zionists succeed in building a national home? And what factors made the Palestinian Arabs become mostly refugees? Using primary and secondary sources we shall review social, economic, and political issues which influenced the development of Zionism, affected the creation of Israel, saw the emergence of Palestinian national identity, and the layering of the cold war over the Arab-Israeli conflict. Students will concentrate on understanding the internal workings of Arab, British, and Zionist communities and their relationships with one another. Students will use a variety of historical sources, including unpublished dissertations, period newspapers, memoirs, monographs, biographies, and novels of the era.


  • Laurence J. Silberstein (ed.), New Perspectives on Israeli History: The Early Years of the State
  • Kenneth W. Stein, The Land Question in Palestine, 1917-1939
  • two books to be borrowed from the instructor
  • an extensive core of required articles and books available on reserve

Particulars: Hist 169/PS 169/JS 169 is a prerequisite (no exceptions). Permission of instructor is required. Students will write two papers and be responsible for two oral presentations. Students may satisfy all college and history writing requirements. Using secondary source materials, the ten page short papers (25%) will be written about a personality or institution of the period. The research paper (50%) will be 25 pages, or 35 pages for graduate students. Students will use the Colonial Office 733 (Palestine Mandate) microfilm series and other primary sources. Oral participation constitutes the remaining quarter of the grade. This course fulfills General Education Requirement I.C. (Post-Freshman Seminar).

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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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Hebrew and Yiddish

The following courses are not cross-listed with Jewish Studies, but can count toward the major in Jewish Studies:

Hebrew: HEBR 101, 201, 301 (See Middle Eastern Studies course atlas)

Yiddish: YDD 101: Elementary Yiddish I (See German Studies course atlas)


Undergraduates may also take graduate courses.

For information on the Jewish Studies Major & Minor, go to: Undergraduate Programs in JS


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