Gratz Scholars Program

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The Gratz College Scholars Program is for adults in the community who enjoy learning in an intellectual atmosphere with instructors who are highly regarded experts in their fields. Ongoing courses are offered each semester in a variety of subjects and topics as well as Hebrew and Yiddish language. The Scholars Program also sponsors Distinguished Lecture Series, Yiddish programs, Israeli films and other special events.

For more information about the Gratz College Scholars Program please contact Barbara Rosenau, Director of Adult Jewish Learning at or 215-635-7300 x182.

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All classes held at Gratz College unless otherwise noted


All Courses run 10 weeks - Tuition: $275 per course (unless otherwise noted)


Approaching the 50th Anniversary of the Six Day War
Dr. Asaf Romirowsky
Tuesdays 10:00-12:00pm
February 9 - April 12

Tremendous shifts in the Arab-Israel relationship have occurred over the past 50 years. Explore the historic narrative and the significant political, diplomatic, cultural, and economic implications that have forever altered the Middle East and US involvement

Introduction to Talmud
Dr. Josh Gutoff
Tuesdays 10:00-12:00pm
February 9 - April 12

Reform? Orthodox? Secular? No matter your approach, almost all of what we recognize as Judaism finds its basis in a collection of rabbinic teachings known as the Talmud.  The Talmud, redacted in Babylonia in the early 6th century is the foundation of Judaism. It is not just the earliest collection of ideas and practices, but an introduction to a way of thinking that most of will recognize as “Jewish”.  In this class we will study a variety of Talmudic passages and explore some of the ways the ancient rabbis understood G-d, the world and especially the importance of the engaged and critical mind.


The Star and the Crescent: Judaism and Islam - Full - No longer accepting registrations
Dr. Ruth Sandberg
February 10 – April 13

This course covers the history and relationship between Judaism and Islam from the 7th century CE to the end of the medieval period. We will discuss in what ways Jewish and Muslim religious beliefs are similar and where they differ, and will also compare Jewish festivals and observances with those in Islam. We will study how the historical connection between Judaism and Islam was both cordial and hostile, and what caused these changes in the relationship between the two traditions.

Finding Meaning in Jewish Prayer
Dr. Saul Wachs
10:00am – 12:00pm
February 10 – April 13

Many of us struggle to make meaning out of organized prayer. Yet, the Siddur has been the book of Jewish values for over a millennium and can be a source of reflection, inspiration and even change.  In this course, we will learn to appreciate the poetry and beauty of our prayers even as we struggle with the theological issues that are imbedded in these ancient texts. We will also learn how prayer can be a valuable resource for health and well- being. Finally, we’ll examine how different Jewish groups and movements have used the liturgy to concretize their evolving views of Jewish tradition and theology.  All that is required is the ability to decode the Hebrew alphabet. (Please bring a Siddur if you have one; if not, one will be provided.)


Unlocking the Seventh Heaven: Exploring the Evolution of “Traditional” Jewish Music
Dr. Marsha Bryan Edelman
February 11 – April 14

Music has been at the core of Jewish ritual since the crossing of the Red Sea! Join us for a trip through Jewish history using music to reflect both our geographical wanderings and the ongoing development of Jewish identity.  Together, we will examine the development of Jewish ritual life, the changing roles of Jewish women and men, and the impact of contemporary values on Jews and their relationship to sacred texts – both in the synagogue and beyond.

The Migration of Arabs and Muslims from the Middle East to Europe and the US: Implications and Consequences
Dr. David Rabeeya 10:00am-12:00pm
February 11 – April 14

This course will deal with the shift in population of Arabs and Muslims from the Middle East and Africa to Europe and the US and the challenges it presents. Cultural, religious and demographic implications will be highlighted including the challenge of the absorption of refugees. The issue of acculturation, assimilation and adaptation of secular Western concepts will be discussed with the rise of the international Islamic terrorism in today's world. The demographic shift in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza will also be discussed within its international context.

Jews and the Modern World: Challenges and Opportunities
Dr. Reena Sigman Friedman
February 11 – April 14

This course explores major themes and issues in modern Jewish history from the mid-seventeenth through the mid twentieth centuries, through the reading of primary sources. Topics to be discussed include: Enlightenment, Emancipation, migrations and demographic shifts, antisemitism, Jewish religious life, leadership and communal dynamics, and Jewish political movements. Emphasis will be placed on applying what we learn from this history to Jewish life today.

Registration/Refund Policy
For all Scholars Program, Hebrew and Yiddish courses, full tuition payment is due upon registration prior to the start of the first class. If a cancellation is received by email at least two days before the course begins, 100% of tuition will be refunded. If cancellation is received before the second session, a 50% refund or credit towards another course will be issued.