Jewish Studies

Courses

JWST 101 Culture Ethnicity Religion 3.0 Credits

What is a Jew? Who is a Jew? What defines Judaism? These questions relate to religion, ethnicity, culture, nation, race, and more. A shared heritage unites Jews, yet understandings and interpretations of what it means to be Jewish are hotly contested, especially in the 21st century. In this course, we dig into Jewish thought and history and explore the ways they have shaped ethnic identity, cultural heritage, and religious tradition.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 117 Introduction to World Religions 3.0 Credits

This course aims to introduce students to how anthropological and ethnographic analyses can help us understand the variety of ways in which people of different faiths both conflict with and work amicably together.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 201 Jewish Literature and Civilization 3.0 Credits

This course surveys the origins and foundations of Judaism: the core texts and narratives; and the enduring practices, beliefs, and traditions. We will explore biblical and historical accounts of the early history of the Jewish people and assess their influence in shaping Jewish practice, identity, and religious expression. We will also examine Jewish observance and the ways in which the bible and ancient Jewish history left their mark on modern Jewish life.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 202 Jewish Life and Culture in the Middle Ages 4.0 Credits

This course surveys the history of the Jewish people from the rabbinic period until the early modern period. Jewish civilization and religion primarily outside of the Land of Israel will be explored. Topics include the encounter with Christianity and Islam; the emergence of the Talmud, Jewish mysticism, and other exegetical tracts; and the development of diverse Jewish communities.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 203 Modern Jewish History 4.0 Credits

This is an introductory course that explores the social, cultural, political and religious forces that have shaped Jewry the world over from the 18th to the 21st centuries. Students learn about the move of a traditional society into the modern world. At the same time, the course stresses the strategies that a minority group evolves in order to maintain its identity. Topics will include Hasidism, Emancipation and Enlightenment, modern religious movements, socialism, modern Hebrew and Yiddish literature and culture, immigration to America. the Holocaust, Zionism and the State of Israel, and post-World War II Jewry the world over.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 211 American Jewish Experience 3.0 Credits

This course surveys the Jewish experience in America from the colonial period to the present. We will discuss the various waves of Jewish immigration and examine the religious, cultural, political, and economic activities of American Jews. We will consider the trajectories that shaped the experiences of Jews in America and the heterogeneity of Jewish experience and views. A diverse array of sources and topics will provide the framework for this course. The case study of the Jews in the United States elucidates major nations historical issues including immigration, acculturation, minority rights, prejudice and discrimination, intergroup relations, ethnic and racial pride and intermarriage. We will consider how Jews resolved the tensions between being Jewish and American.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 212 Contemporary Jewish Life 3.0 Credits

The course will focus on the social and religious activities of Jews since the 1970s via four community studies. We will attempt to understand the meaning that Jewish people derive from their beliefs, rituals and institutions. The stress will be on Jewish life in the United States, but one study will concentrate on the state of Israel. The goal will be to better understand the dynamics of personal and group identity development during the life cycle and contemporary history since the Holocaust.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 213 Jewish Cultural Tapestry 3.0 Credits

We will examine the different customs and traditions that Jews developed in various parts of the globe throughout history. We will learn about both the rich cultural diversity that developed during the history of local communities and the religious traditions and principles of community organization that have been shared by Jews. The Jews will be treated as a case study to understand the mechanisms by which ethnic and religious groups develop and maintain their group identity despite the fact that they have been dispersed and have experienced minority status. We will argue that the shared religious culture and the paralleled local specificity of culture together have guaranteed the continued existence of this people, the Jews.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 214 Language and Cultural Diversity in the USA 3.0 Credits

This course will explore the history and current dynamics of language-based cultural diversity in the USA. Through an examination of communication patterns of men and women, language diversity of African Americans, and the cultural production of various immigrant groups, we will explore the predominance of a rich array of languages and cultures pertaining to most periods of American history. The Yiddish language-based immigrant culture of American Jews will be treated as a case study, dwelling on the rich Yiddish literature created, as well as language-based cultural institutions, such as the press, theater, radio, klezmer music, and film.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 215 Reconstructing History After Genocide 3.0 Credits

The course explores educational restitution to peoples who are victims of genocide. After conceptualizing the world’s responsibility to maintain its cultures and help victims of genocide to recover their history, the class will compare educational efforts to document life before the destruction in places such as Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and among Native Americans. Our main focus will be the politics of teaching about Polish Jewry, the largest community of Jews before WW II that was destroyed by the Nazis in the Holocaust. Students will evaluate sources that describe Jewish life in one city, Lublin, Poland.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 216 Yiddish Literature & Culture 3.0 Credits

The course describes the major Jewish culture during the past thousand years. In a lively course stressing the arts and everyday family life, students will be introduced to the multi-faceted Yiddish language and culture. Through study and meetings with community members, students learn how Yiddish both reflects and gives meaning to life. Texts will include English translations of proverbs, folktales, folksongs, prayers, epics, personal diaries, memoirs, drama, films, memorial literature, modern fiction and poetry.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 221 Anthropology of Interfaith Relations 3.0 Credits

This course is meant to be an elective for Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, and for the Certificate in Interfaith and Religious Studies. It aims to introduce students to how anthropological and ethnographic analyses can help us understand the variety of ways in which people of different faiths both conflict with and work amicably together.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 222 Comparative Religious Ethics 3.0 Credits

The eternal teaching of the different religions and how they address such issues as war, sexuality and economics. This online course initiates a sequence of interfaith courses. In that capacity, it aims to introduce students to the religious traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and to the ways their ethics converge in a deeper understanding of humanity. The goal, however, is that students do not just understand but also feel the emotional connection between ethical principles and the different religious visions behind them. Ultimately, the objective is to foster greater appreciation for the diverse religious orientations toward moral purpose and the ultimate meaning of life.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 223 Coexistence and Conflict: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Early Mediterranean 4.0 Credits

This course investigates the history of interactions among the early Mediterranean's three major monotheistic religious communities: Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The course explores how religious communities understood themselves and each other as well as how and why multi-faith communities sometimes coexisted peacefully, sometimes coexisted tensely, and sometimes exploded into violence.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 224 Judaism and Christianity: Two Religions or One? 3.0 Credits

The relation between Christianity and Judaism is one of the most misunderstood in the history of thought. Christianity is often considered to be diametrically opposed to Judaism, to be a rejection of the Judaic worldview. Indeed, prominent thinkers in the history of Christianity, such as Martin Luther, have reinforced this position. Yet Christianity was originally a development within Judaism, a sect, so to speak, of Judaism. The earliest Christians were Jewish followers of a Jewish leader and conceived of themselves as faithful Jews. So how did the two religions come to be viewed as opposed? Do elements of Judaism remain as part of the foundation of the new faith of Christianity? Where do the two faiths converge and where do they diverge? This course endeavors to answer these important questions.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 225 Philosophy of Religion 3.0 Credits

Studies various aspects of religious belief and experience from a philosophical standpoint, considering issues such as the definition and existence of God, the nature and course of evil, and the relationship between faith and reason in a religious life.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 226 History of the Holocaust 4.0 Credits

This course surveys Nazi Germany's systematic attempt to exterminate the Jews of Europe between 1941 and 1945. The course stresses the historical study of the Holocaust: the course of events, their origin and context, and their repercussions. We study the general context of the 1930's and 1940's, the perpetrators and their relevant ideology and administrative systems, the victims and intended victims, and also the "bystanders", those among whom the round-ups and extermination took place in Europe as well as in the US. The materials include historical documents, memoirs, and historical accounts, and a variety of films.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

JWST 298 Field Work in Jewish Studies 3.0 Credits

In this course, students will do independent fieldwork within a Jewish communal organization in the USA or abroad, or ethnographic or archeological fieldwork. The plan of the work, weekly time commitment, and periodic reports will be agreed upon in advance by the student and the faculty member. This is a three-credit elective course for the Louis Stein Jewish Studies Minor. It may also be used as a free elective course for a variety of students.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Can be repeated 2 times for 9 credits

JWST I399 Independent Study in Jewish Studies 0.0-12.0 Credits

Self-directed within the area of study requiring intermittent consultation with a designated instructor.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Can be repeated multiple times for credit

JWST T180 Special Topics in Jewish Studies 1.0-12.0 Credit

Topics decided upon by faculty will vary within the area of study. The difficulty of the course will be appropriate for a 100-level course.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Can be repeated multiple times for credit

JWST T280 Special Topics in Jewish Studies 1.0-12.0 Credit

Topics decided upon by faculty will vary within the area of study. The difficulty of the course will be appropriate for a 200-level course.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Can be repeated multiple times for credit

JWST T380 Special Topics in Jewish Studies 1.0-12.0 Credit

Topics decided upon by faculty will vary within the area of study. The difficulty of the course will be appropriate for a 300-level course.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Can be repeated multiple times for credit

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