Courses 2017-18

Undergraduate Courses,

Fall 2017


Jewish Studies 39: Jewry of Muscle: “Zionism and Jewish Masculinity”

Wed 2-4 p.m., Dwinelle 279
CN: 44225, 2 units
Instructor: Shirelle Doughty

The Zionist cultural project involved creating a new Jewish masculinity that would replace the diasporic ‘sissy Jew’ with a strong, healthy new ‘Jewry of Muscle.’ Using literary and filmic sources, we will analyze how these Zionist and Israeli cultural productions served to build (and sometimes undermine) this new model of Jewish masculinity.


Jewish Studies 121: Jewish Nightlife: Poetry, Music, and Ritual Performance From Renaissance Italy to Contemporary Israel

TuTh 2-3:30 p.m. 2121 Allston Way (The Magnes Collection of Jewish Life and Art)
CN:45137, 4 units
Instructor: Francesco Spagnolo

This course explores the inter-relations between the ritual performance of Jewish texts and social change across Jewish history, focusing on three related topics: the rise of Kabbalistic nocturnal rituals in the Italian ghettos during the early-modern period; the performance of Hebrew poetry in North Africa and the middle East in the modern era; and the renaissance of piyyut (Hebrew liturgical poetry) in Israel from the 1970s to the present, from the singing of bakkashot among Syrian and Moroccan Israelis to the current transcultural activities of online and participatory communities. The course includes weekly workshops with Victoria Hanna, Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artist at The Magnes, UC Berkeley.

This class satisfies the College of Letters and Science breadth requirement for Arts and Literature. 

Jewish Studies 123: “Social structure, Inequality, and Political Cleavages in Israel”

TuTh 11-12:30 Wheeler 124
CN: 46688, 3 units
Instructor: Michael Shalev

This course maps diversity and inequality in Israel, and their expressions in politics. It covers not only well-known identity conflicts based on religion, ethnicity, and nationality (i.e. Arab versus Jewish citizens), but also economic and political differences based on gender, race and citizenship. Students will be introduced to relevant concepts and theories that aid understanding and place Israel in a broader perspective.

This class satisfies the College of Letters and Science breadth requirement for International Studies. 

Jewish Studies 198 (DeCal): “Jew-Ish: An Overview of Jewish Culture and Religion”

Monday 6:30-8:30 p.m., Dwinelle 206
CN: 16109, 2 units
Facilitator: Reni Forer

This course will expose students to an overview of Jewish life, covering both cultural and religious topics, in addition to case studies to illuminate the content. This course will cover some key, basic concepts in Judaism, including lifecycle rituals and the Autumnal holidays, looking at multiple perspectives within each topic. This course will allow Jewish students to gain a clearer sense of how they want to personally practice Judaism, as well as expose non-Jewish students to aspects of Judaism that can be incorporated into any person’s life, while giving all students the opportunity to evolve their own spiritual or religious identity. This course is meant to not only expose students to what common Jewish rituals are, but to develop an understanding of a traditional Jewish lifestyle. This will be accomplished through weekly readings, class discussion, guest speakers, and field trips outside the classroom.

History 103U: Antisemitism and Jewish Responses

Tu 10-12, Dwinelle 3104
CN: 51991, 4 units
Instructor: John Efron

Hatred of Jews and Judaism is an enduring prejudice, stretching from antiquity to the present. Its seeming chronological limitlessness is matched by its apparent lack of geographical boundaries. So tenacious an ideology is it that even countries where there have never been Jews have nonetheless had antisemites. Beginning with the ancient world, we will examine the history of this hatred by reading both primary and secondary-source material. We will also seriously consider the variety of Jewish responses to it.

The Bible in Western Culture

(Letters & Science 120)

MWF 12-1, Barrows 110
CN: 44398, 4 units
Instructor: Ronald Hendel

This upper division course features significant engagement with arts, literature or language, either through critical study of works of art or through the creation of art. Professor Ronald Hendel’s area of expertise is the Hebrew Bible, and this semester the course will study the Bible in Western Civilization. Topics will include ancient Israel, Philo, midrash, Zohar, Rashi, Spinoza, Kafka, and more. L&S 120 meets the breadth requirement in Arts and Literature, which is intended to provide students with knowledge and appreciation of the creative arts so that, for the duration of their lives, engagement with art can be, variously, a wellspring of creativity, a lodestar for critical perspectives, and a touchstone of aesthetic quality–in sum, a continuing source of learning and serious pleasure.This course also counts as an upper-division elective toward the minor in Jewish Studies.

Hebrew 1A; Elementary Hebrew

MTuWThF 10-11, Barrows 271
CN: 15137, 5 units
Instructor: Chava Boyarin

Hebrew 20A: Intermediate Hebrew

TuWTh 11-12 a.m., Barrows 275
CN: 15043, 5 units
Instructor: Rutie Adler

Hebrew 100A: Advanced Hebrew

TuTh 12:30-2 p.m., Barrows 275
CN: 15138, 3 units
Instructor: Rutie Adler

Advanced Hebrew, especially designed for those going on to the study of modern Hebrew literature. Vocabulary building, grammar review, and literary analysis of a sampling of modern texts.

Hebrew 104A: Modern Hebrew Literature & Culture

Monday 2-5 p.m., Barrows 271
CN: 15044, 3 units
Instructor: Chana Kronfeld

A close reading of selected works of modern Hebrew fiction, poetry, and drama in their cultural and historical contexts. Topics vary from year to year and include literature and politics, eros and gender, memory and nationalism, Middle-Eastern and European aspects of Israeli literature and culture.

Hebrew 106A: Elementary Biblical Hebrew

TuTh 2-3:30, Barrows 275
CN: 15196, 3 units
Instructor: Rutie Adler

An introduction to the language of the Hebrew Bible.

Yiddish 101: Elementary Yiddish

MTuWThF 11:00 am – 12 noon, Dwinelle 104
CN: 21733, 5 units

Yiddish 103: Readings in Yiddish

TuTh 11:00 am-12:30 pm, Dwinelle 233
CN: 21715, 3 units
Instructor: Yael Chaver

“Views from the Fringe: Yiddish Literature in Zionist Palestine”. Yiddish was proscribed in the Zionist community of British Mandate Palestine, which elevated Hebrew while considering Yiddish emblematic of an undesirable diasporic life. Yet many Zionist settlers who came from European Yiddish culture were reluctant to disavow their mother-tongue and its literature. In the 1920s and 1930s, Zionist Yiddish writers in Palestine continued to write and publish in that language; their outsider status in the culture often enabled them to express positions and nuanced insights that were unique in the developing community. We will sample the Palestinian Yiddish press, as well as the prose and poetry of Zalmen Broches, Avrom Rivess, Rikuda Potash, and others. Prerequisite: one year of college Yiddish or equivalent knowledge. Readings are in Yiddish, discussions in English.

Philosophy 172: Spinoza

MWF 11-12, Barrows 56

Instructor: Tim Crockett

This course is a close examination of the structure of Spinoza’s philosophical system. Most of our time will be spent on a careful reading of Spinoza’s Ethics Demonstrated in Geometric Order, in which Spinoza argues for a comprehensive philosophical system that encompasses metaphysics, epistemology, psychology and ethics. Our primary goal will be to come to a deep understanding of Spinoza’s philosophical views, the relation of these views to those of his contemporaries, and the relevance of his views to contemporary philosophical theories. Our reading of the Ethics will be informed by important pieces of correspondence between Spinoza and his contemporaries.

Graduate Courses,

Fall 2017

Hebrew 201A: Advanced Biblical Hebrew Texts

Monday 3-6 p.m., Barrows 186
CN: 44641, 3 units
Instructor: Ronald Hendel

The exegesis of a biblical book in the light of its ancient Near Eastern background.

Hebrew 204A: Advanced Modern Hebrew Literature & Culture

Wednesday 2-5 p.m., Barrows 246
CN: 44642, 3 units
Instructor: Chana Kronfeld

Critical approaches to the history and textual practices of modern Hebrew poetry and fiction. Alternating focus between period, genre, and author, seminar topics include stylistic developments in Hebrew poetry and fiction from the Enlightenment to the present, modernism, and modernity, the creation of the modern Hebrew novel, women writers and the Hebrew canon, and single-author seminars.

Hebrew 298: Seminar, Special Topics in Hebrew

Instructor: Daniel Boyarin

Tuesday 2-5 p.m., Barrows 8B
CN: 46333, 1-4 units

In this course we are going to follow the semantic development of the word, yahadut from its earliest medieval appearances until modernity when it means something like “Judaism.” The bulk of the course will be readings in medieval and early modern Hebrew texts including such authors as Abarbanel and the Natziv.

Arch 209, Narrative and Form: Cinema and Architecture

Instructor: Amos Gitai

Units: 1

Class times: Tuesdays- August 29, September 5, 12, 19 and 26 from 3-5pm Wurster Hall Room 370 This course is open to graduate and undergraduate students across campus. (Undergraduates admitted by faculty consent.)

Course Description: The seminar will include a group of sessions in which the students will be exposed to different films that are in particular interest to the relationship between narrative and space. We will ask the reverse question: how can one describe space, architecture via the vehicle of cinematic image (how was Antonoini’s cinema a promoter of modernity in Italy di-associating himself from the romantic/nostalgic of the Italian landscape. We will be presenting the four chapters of John Berger’s Ways of Seeing in which he is looking at forms of pictorial representations. We will challenge the students to choose a venue in Berkeley/Oakland and conclude the seminar by creating a short film that will represent some of the paradigms elaborated in the seminar. Different films from Gitai’s work, Kadosh, Kippur, Lullaby to my father based on his Bauhaustrained father and from his series on architecture will also be presented. In addition to the seminar meetings student are required to attend three Wednesday lectures/screenings on Sept. 30, Oct. 13 and Oct. 27 at 6:30pm in room 112 Wurster Hall

Amos Gitai is an acclaimed Israeli filmmaker, widely known for making documentaries and feature films, surrounding the Middle East and Jewish-Arab conflict. Gitai’s work was presented in several major retrospective in Pompidou Center Paris, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New-York, the Lincoln Center New-York and the British Film Institute London. To date Gitai has created over 90 works of art over 38 years. Between 1999 and 2011 seven of his films were entered in the Cannes Film Festival for the Palme d’Or as well as the Venice Film Festival for the Golden Lion award. He received several prestigious prizes, in particular the Leopard of Honor at the Locarno International Film Festival (2008), the Roberto Rossellini prize (2005), the Robert Bresson prize (2013) and the Paradjanov prize (2014). His recent feature film, Rabin, The Last Day, was presented at the 72th Venice Film Festival.