Courses 2020-2021

Fall 2020 Undergraduate Courses

Jewish Studies 39* “Escape Artists in Jewish Popular Culture and Literature: Houdini, Kafka, Kirby, Chabon

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

This class explores the art of escape, and the determining role Jewish artists played in its conception and history. Throughout the semester, we will contemplate the social meaning of escapology and its representations in art. We will also discuss the historical circumstances that drove Jewish artists to take part in performative bondage that ties together magic, stunt work, mass entertainment, and anti-fascist sensibilities. By the semester’s end, we will also reflect on the afterlife of escape art, and the ways the creators are remembered in contemporary social consciousness. These endeavors will mostly focus on the life and works of four Jewish artists who performed, wrote, and illustrated the art of escapology: Harry Houdini (1874-1926), Franz Kafka (1883-1924), Jack Kirby (1917-1994), and Michael Chabon (1963- ).

In this exploration, we will see how the trope of escapology allows the creators to challenge social constraints and elude them. As such, this class offers an uncommon insight into 20-century Jewish culture, and the multiple responses Jews had to religious tradition, anti-Semitism, racism, masculinity, gender, and body politics. This class requires no prior knowledge in either Jewish studies or escape art and is open to everybody.

The primary texts we will read through the semester are: A Magician Among the Spirits – Harry Houdini [selections]; “Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk,” “A Hunger Artist” – Franz Kafka [short stories]; New Gods, Mister Miracle – Jack Kirby [selected comic book issues]; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay [a novel]. Secondary sources will be added as needed to enrich the reading experience.

 

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

Instructor: Ethan Katz
CN# 31242
TTH 12:30pm-2:00p, location: online
Units: 4

*JS 100 counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

This class treats France and the Francophone world as a laboratory for the study of Jewish civilization over the past millennium. France has the world’s second largest Jewish population outside of Israel. It has a rich and complex history that traces all the key developments of the Jewish experience since ancient times: expulsions and migrations; codification of Jewish law; religious reform; the rise of anti-Semitism and the tragedy of the Holocaust; struggles between Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews; complex relations between Muslims and Jews; the emergence modern Jewish politics; and the impact of the Israeli-Arab conflict. As we explore these themes and other themes, students become introduced to most fields of Jewish studies.

 

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

Instructor: Sarah Levin
CN#22185
TTH 11-12:30pm, location: online
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, location: online
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
MW 2:00p-3:30p, location: online
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
M, Tu, W, Th, F 10am-11am, location: online
CN#: 21949
Units: 5

Hebrew 20A: “Intermediate Hebrew”

Instructor: Rutie Adler
M, TU, W, TH, F 11am-12pm, location: online
CN#: 21913
Units: 5

Hebrew 100A: “Advanced Hebrew”

Instructor: Rutie Adler
Tu, Th 12:30pm-2pm, location: online
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
M 2pm-5pm, location: online
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 202A: “Advanced Late Antique Hebrew Texts”

Instructor: Daniel Boyarin
Tu 2pm-5pm, location: online
CN#: 33647
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.

Hebrew 204A: “The Poetics and Politics of the Yiddish Avant-Garde”

Instructor: Chana Kronfeld
Th 2pm-5pm, location: online
CN#: 31382
Units: 3

This seminar will focus on the works of the Yiddish avant-garde poets in Eastern Europe, the US and Israel in their historical and political contexts. Nurith Aviv’s new film, Yiddish that centers these poets’ contribution to transnational modernism will provide a unifying framework for our discussions.

Collaborative work is encouraged.  All the poetry will be read in the original Yiddish.

History 178-001 “History of the Holocaust”

Instructor: John Efron
TuTh 9:30-11:00am, location: online
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, location: online
CN# 16708
Units: 4

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

 

Yiddish 101: “Elementary Yiddish”

Instructor: Shirelle Doughty
M, Tu, W, Th, F 11am-12pm, location: online
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
Tu, Th 12:30pm – 2:00pm, location: online
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.

Spring 2021 Undergraduate Courses

Jewish Studies 39* “Holy Fanfiction: Retelling Stories from the Bible and Quran”

Instructor: Madeline Wyse
CN#
Meeting Time: TBD   location: TBD
Units: 2

*JS 39 counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

 

Jewish Studies 39* “Queering the Talmud”

Instructor: Chloe Piazza
CN#
Meeting Time: TBD   location: TBD
Units: 2

*JS 39 counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

 

Jewish Studies 121A “Holocaust Museums in Israel and the World”

Instructor: Stephanie Rotem
Time and Location: TBD
CN#
Units: 4

*JS 122 is eligible for the Historical Studies, L&S Breadth requirements

This course will explore the history, exhibitions, and design of various Holocaust museums around the world, and study their social, cultural and political agendas. This examination will reveal their role and responsibility in Holocaust commemoration and serve as a basis to discuss the ethics and construction of collective memory. We will compare Holocaust institutions and exhibitions from around the world and compare the values that are conveyed within them. We will study theoretical texts that discuss the construction of collective memory and the political forces that manipulate it.

Instructor bio: Visiting professor and architect, Stephanie Shosh Rotem is a graduate of Tel Aviv University. She received in PhD in 2010 in the Program for Interdisciplinary Arts, and her doctorate was published in 2013, as “Constructing Memory: Architectural Narratives of Holocaust Museums.” From 2011 to 2017, Rotem was Head of the Museum Studies Program at Tel Aviv University. She also taught graduate courses in Tel Aviv’s Faculty of the Arts and in the International Program for Holocaust Studies at the University of Haifa. In 2018-19 she was a visiting professor for Israel Studies at the University of Virginia. Rotem lectures and publishes on architectural history, museum history and architecture, and Holocaust museums.

 

Jewish Studies 121A* “Tel Aviv: A City from the Sands”

Instructor: Stephanie Rotem
Time and Location: TBD
CN#
Units: 4

*JS 121A satisfies the Historical Studies, Social and Behavioral Sciences, L&S Breadth requirements

This course will follow the history of Tel Aviv, the first Hebrew city, from its birth in 1909 as “a city from the sands”, to its present position as a global metropolis. Tel Aviv, planned as a Garden City, quickly became the center of political and cultural activity in Eretz Israel. We will study various aspects of the city’s life: architecture, urban planning, culture, politics and the arts. This examination will include the study of photography, art works and exhibitions, poetry and popular songs, performance, theatre, and film.

 

Jewish Studies 122 “Contemporary Judaism in Israel: Swaying Religion and Nationality”

Instructor: Tomer Persico
Time and Location: TBD
CN#
Units: 4

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

This Course shall study the divergent forms of Judaism in Israel since the 1990’s, apprehending the ideological and social fluctuations each stream has experienced over the last three decades as it parted from its previous formulations, and noting the way every major expression of Judaism in Israel at this time is in the midst of an identity crisis. It will also examine the tense relations between religion and state in Israel, analyzing the clashes and concurrences between different Israeli-Jewish identities and explaining Religious Jewish radicalism on the one hand, and the secular/spiritual “Jewish Renaissance” on the other.

Instructor Bio: Tomer Persico is the Koret Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish and Israel Studies, Dept. of Near Eastern Studies, Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, Center for Jewish Studies at U. C. Berkeley. Persico is also the Shalom Hartman Institute Bay Area Scholar in Residence. He has taught for eight years at the Department for Comparative Religion in Tel-Aviv University, and his fields of study are contemporary spirituality, Jewish Renewal, Forms of secularization and trends of secularization and religiosity in Israel. His book, The Jewish Meditative Tradition was published by Tel Aviv University Press in 2016.

 

Jewish Studies 122A “Topics in Judaism: Lit & History in Hebrew Bible”

Instructor: Hendel/Atler
Time and Location: TBD
CN#
Units: 4

*JS 122 satisfies the Arts and Literature, L&S Breadth requirements
*JS 122 satisfies the Philosophy & Values, L&S Breadth requirements

Spring 2021 Graduate Courses