Courses 2020-2021

Fall 2020 Undergraduate Courses

Jewish Studies 39* “Multilingualism in Israel: Arabic, Hebrew, and Yiddish Literature Post-1948”

Instructor: Oren Yirmiya
CN# 33725
W 3:00 pm – 4:59 pm.   location: TBD
Units: 2

*JS 39 counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

The history of the state of Israel and the Palestinian territories is of multilingual existence and lingual diversity. However, throughout the 20th-century Jewish policymakers and intellectuals were bent on subjugating the land to monolingual enculturation. This project aimed to shape the state’s population as native Hebrew speakers. Other languages that were spoken locally before the state’s establishment, namely Arabic and Ladino, or that migrated with the Jewish people to Palestine, namely Yiddish, were socially ridiculed and structurally marginalized. But even in the face of this cultural erasure, these “other” languages survived, and through the years, authors and poets have created a multilingual literary system in Israel.

In this class, we will chart the history of this Jewish Hebraization project, its success in making Hebrew a vernacular tongue, and its failure in cultural eradication of other languages. This class’s historical cover starts with the “language war” between Hebrew and Yiddish during the early 20th century and ends it with contemporary Israeli legislation demoting Arabic to non-official status. In this long trajectory, we will trace Hebrew’s journey from a rabbinical and intellectual language to its current position as an ordinary language of daily use, as well as its dependency on its sister languages. We will also note the political hardships that are facing Israeli Yiddish and Arabic literature, and how different writers, both Jewish and non-Jewish, maintain their culture. Among the topics covered are Yiddish poetry written in Israel post-1948; the gendered dynamics of reinventing Hebrew; Jewish-Iraqi writings in Arabic; Palestinian writings in Hebrew; and self-translation and translation as recreation.


Jewish Studies 100* “Jews and Judaism: From Paris to Jerusalem and Beyond”

Instructor: Ethan Katz
CN# 31242
TTH 12:30pm-2:00p location Hearst Annex B5
Units: 4

*JS 100 counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

The course is intended to give Jewish studies minors a general introduction to the field through a survey of religious and cultural expressions of Jews across time and geographies. No previous knowledge of Judaism or Jewish Studies is necessary.

Jewish Studies 120* “Jewish Folktales Around the World: Past and Present, Self and Other”

Instructor: Sarah Levin
TTH 11-12:30pm location Dwinelle 211
Units: 3

*JS 120 counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

*JS 120 satisfies the Arts & Literature, L&S Breadth requirement

In this course, we’ll read a sampling of Jewish folktales and jokes from diverse Jewish communities (Moroccan, Polish, Kurdish, Indian, etc.), while exploring themes such as creativity and artistic expression. We’ll also address gender, individual and group identity and values, and stereotypes.  Movies and guest storytellers will complement discussions.  Students from all majors and backgrounds are welcome.  Conducted in English with readings in English.


Jewish Studies 121* “Music in Israel”

Instructor: Francesco Spagnolo
TTH 12:30-2:00p in Morrison 128
CN# 33279
Units: 4

*JS 121 counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

This course will address topics related to Jewish arts and culture with a format that includes lecture and lab hours.

Jewish Studies 122* “Introduction to Jewish Mysticism”

Instructor: Tomer Persico
Location: MW 2:00p-3:30p in Barrows 252
CN# 25444
Units: 3 or 4
*JS 122 counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

*JS 122 satisfies the Philosophy & Values, International Studies, L&S Breadth requirements

Beyond the esoteric names of the divine and the meditative practices used to draw Its graces lies the inner pulse of Jewish Mysticism. In this course we shall explore the Jewish mystical tradition, from the Bible, through the Second Temple literature, Kabbalah, Hasidism, and up to contemporary developments. Emphasizing mystical techniques, we will examine the practices through which Jews in different times sought direct connection with the divine.


Hebrew 1A: “Elementary Hebrew”

Instructor: Rutie Adler
Location: M, Tu, W, Th, F 10am-11am in Barrows 252
CN#: 21949
Units: 5

Hebrew 20A: “Intermediate Hebrew”

Instructor: Rutie Adler
Location: M, TU, W, TH, F 11am-12pm in Barrows 275
CN#: 21913
Units: 5

Hebrew 100A: “Advanced Hebrew”

Instructor: Rutie Adler
Location: Tu, Th 12:30pm-2pm in Barrows 275
CN#: 21950
Units: 3

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: “I Want to Mix Up the Bible”: The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai (in Hebrew)”

Instructor: Chana Kronfeld
Location: M 2pm-5pm in Barrows 252
CN#: 21914
Units: 3

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 204: “Three Trends of Hebrew Modernism”

Instructor: Chana Kronfeld
Location: W 2pm-5pm in Barrows 252
CN#: 31382
Units: 3

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.


History 178-001 “History of the Holocaust”

Instructor: John Efron
TuTh 9:30-11:00am in Valley Life Sciences 2060
CN# 25983
Units: 4

*History 178 This class counts toward the Jewish Studies minor
*History 178
satisfies the Historical Studies, Social and Behavioral Sciences, L&S Breadth requirements

This course will survey the historical events and intellectual developments leading up to and surrounding the destruction of European Jewry during World War II. We will examine the Shoah (the Hebrew word for the Holocaust) against the backdrop of modern Jewish and modern German history. The course is divided into two main parts: (1) the historical background up to 1939; and (2) the destruction of European Jewry, 1939-1945.


Legal Studies 190 “Minority Rights: the Israeli Balance”

Instructor: Roy Peled
Tu  5:00pm – 8:00pm in Latimer 102
CN# 16708
Units: 4

Advanced study in law and society with specific topics to be announced.


Yiddish 101: “Elementary Yiddish”

Instructor: Shirelle Doughty
Location: M, Tu, W, Th, F 11am-12pm in Dwinelle 104
CN#: 23868
Units: 5

Introduction to Yiddish language and literature. Attention to reading, writing, and speaking in the context of the historic Yiddish cultural environment.

Yiddish 103: “Readings in Yiddish”

Instructor: Yael Chaver
Location: Tu, Th 12:30pm – 2:00pm in Dwinelle 104
CN#: 23864
Units: 3

Soviet Yiddish literature flourished from the 1920s to the 1940s, at first supported by the State. Almost seventy years ago, most of the major Soviet Jewish intellectuals were executed (“Night of the Murdered Poets,” Aug. 12, 1952). We will read powerful poetry and prose works by avant-garde modernist writers such as Peretz Markish, Dovid Hofshteyn, and Moyshe Kulbak.

Fall 2020 Graduate Courses

Jewish Studies 290* “Modern Jewish Scholarship: History and Practice”

CN# 19533
W 9:00am-11:00am
Units: 4

*JS 100 counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

This seminar, specifically designed as the ‘integrative course’ for students pursuing the Designated Emphasis in Jewish Studies, will offer an in-depth introduction to some of the central trends and personalities in modern Jewish historiography. We will read (and read about) the founders of modern Jewish historiography, and then explore some contemporary trends in Jewish scholarship, according to the disciplinary affiliations of the students in the class. Students will need to write a 5000-word article to complete the course, using a bibliography that includes Jewish Studies materials. A subject-relevant seminar paper from another course may be used to fulfill this requirement, subject to approval by Jewish Studies faculty.


Spring 2021 Undergraduate Courses



Spring 2021 Graduate Courses