Gratz Scholars Program

Study online or on campus. Learn more and apply online

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


Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof: American Jews and Social Justice
Dr. Reena Sigman Friedman
October 6- December 22 - 1:30 - 3:30 pm  (12 weeks)
Inspired by Jewish teachings, Jewish historical experience and trends in American society, Jews have been disproportionately represented in movements for social justice in this country. Using memoirs, letters, speeches and other writings, we will examine the prominent roles played by rabbis, labor organizers and other activists in advocating for greater equality and justice in American life. These historical figures can serve as inspiring role models for individuals and groups involved in "tikkun olam" (efforts to repair the world) today.

Recipes for Jewish Living: A Culinary Connection to Judaism and Jewish Sources
Rabbi Lynnda Targan
October 20 - December 8 - 1:30 - 3:30 pm (8 weeks)

As Jewish women and men, many of our memories are intricately woven up with the food we ate around our family tables at Shabbat and other holiday meals. This unique curriculum, combining recipes culled from Jewish cookbooks from around the world, and texts and symbols about food and eating taken from traditional sources, offers a delightful approach to deepen our connection with Judaism and individual spirituality.  Join us around the table as we share stories, compare recipes and enliven our days of Jewish living while asking ourselves what feeds our souls.


Israel's Quest For Peace
Dr. Asaf Romirowsky
October 21 - December 9 - 1:00 - 3:00 pm (8 weeks)

An in-depth look at Israel's quest for peace since the pre-State era until this very day looking at the potential peace deals that were put on the negotiating table.

Genesis: An Analysis of Text - Part II
Rabbi Albert Gabbai
October 7 - December 23  10:00 am -12:00 pm (12 weeks)

We will analyze the text in the book of Genesis using classical commentators accompanied with modern linguistic technologies. Archaeological and ancient Near East cultures will be brought in to shed light on some of the apparently obscure text.  Theological implications will be explored as well as relevance in the practical day to day life. Be prepared for a very intellectually and emotionally challenging class. JPS Bible is required. (Part 2 is independent of Part 1)

Parents, Children and Interfaith Relationships:
Listening So They Will Talk; Talking So They Will Listen

Rabbi Robyn Frisch, Director, InterfaithFamily of Philadelphia
October 28 -November 18 - 4 weeks - $100

Afternoons 1:30-3:00 pm OR Evenings 7:00 -8:30 pm
As parents, we have expectations about what our children will be like when they grow up. Sometimes it's hard to accept our children's choices, especially when they fall in love with and decide to spend their life with someone who grew up in a different faith tradition. As children, sometimes we expect our parents to accept our choices without appreciating how difficult that may be for them. Almost every family in the liberal Jewish community today is touched by intermarriage, and in this class participants will have the opportunity to discuss their own feelings about interfaith relationships and explore how to best communicate about this sometimes very emotional issue in a way that is both honest and respectful.

Jewish Intellectual History: Buber, Kaplan and Heschel
Rabbi Jon Cutler
October 21 - December 9 - 7:00- 9:00 pm - (8 weeks)

Jews today face a bewildering number of different forms of Jewish life, such as denominational-ism, and various types of Zionist and cultural Judaism, each with its own distinctive vision of God, community, personal autonomy, tradition and identity. Modern Jewish thought provides an invaluable guide for this exploration. Through careful study of the writings of three major modern Jewish thinkers- Martin Buber, Mordecai Kaplan, and Abraham Joshua Heschel -students will be encouraged to grapple with many of the basic questions facing Jews today, develop their own coherent visions of Judaism and Jewish life and consider how such visions can be of use to those who confront the challenges of modern Jewish life. 


Two Jews, Three Opinions
Dr. Ruth Sandberg
October 22 - December 10  10:00 am-12:00 pm  (8 weeks)

This course surveys the history, practices, and beliefs of the various Jewish movements in the United States, including the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist movements, as well as the Jewish Renewal movement and Secular Humanistic Judaism.

Exploring Ancient Texts through a Modern Lens.   Part II - Prophets
Dr. Uziel Adini
October 22 - December 10  10:00 am-12:00 pm (8 weeks)

The modern study of Bible acknowledges the intense involvement of the reader in the process of the interpretation.  Modern readers can - and routinely do - create clear meanings out of the texts and this reader-response method thus reflects a variety of viewpoints. While we discuss Biblical relevance and what the text could have meant to ancient readers, this course acknowledges and expands, in contrast to the older methods, the legitimacy of the interpreter's self-involvement in the text.


Shi'ites, Sunni's and Kurds: Vying For Power in the Middle East
Dr. David Rabeeya
October 23 - December 18 - 10:00 am -12:00 pm (8 weeks- no class 11/27)

This course will explore the historical, religious, cultural and political schism in both the Middle East and North Africa. Emphasis will be placed on the surge of many groups trying to gain control of land and resources in these areas and establish dominance. The effects of these changes and their influence on the economy and security of Israel and the United States will be discussed.

Lessons from Parashat HaShavuah: The Weekly Torah Portion
Dr. Saundra Sterling Epstein
October 23 - December 18  10:00 am -12:00 pm ( 8 weeks -no class 11/27)

Ben Bag Bag says turn the Torah this way and that, everything is found in it! How true. We will explore important texts and lessons from our weekly Torah readings during the course of our meetings and look at how these lessons apply to today and our lives. Our discussions will feed us intellectually, inspire us spiritually and touch us emotionally. In our ongoing discussions we will share personal stories, the wisdom of classical and modern commentaries, look at our evolving world and so much else. The Torah DOES speak to us and we will answer with our own wisdom!

Israel's Quest For Peace
Dr. Asaf Romirowsky
October 23 - December 18  7:00-9:00pm  (8 weeks - no class 11/27)
Beth Zion Beth Israel -300 S. 18th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

An in-depth look at Israel's quest for peace since the pre-State era until this very day looking at the potential peace deals that were put on the negotiating table

Scholars Program 12 week courses - $300.00 pp
Scholars Program 8 week courses  -  $200.00 pp





Registration/Refund Policy
For all Scholars classes, full tuition payment is due upon registration. If a cancellation is received before the course begins, 100% of tuition will be refunded. For a 12-session course, a 50% refund or credit towards another course will be issued if cancellation is received before the 3rd session. For an 8-session course, a 50% refund or credit towards another course will be issued if cancellation is received before the 2nd session. Minimum number of students required to run each class