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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Each Summer 2014 Scholars course will run from 10:00am-12:00pm four (4) consecutive days in one (1) week.  Summer 2014 course tuition is $125 per course.  Please join us for an exciting summer of learning!


JUNE 16th-19th

American Jewry and Israel: The Right to Dissent versus the Need for Unity
Dr. Jerry Kutnick
This course will examine the impact of Zionism, contemporary Israel and the situation in the Middle East on the American Jewish community. It will examine this impact in both recent history and contemporary times.

Judaism and The Universe
Dr. Ruth Sandberg
Science is moving closer to discovering if life exists on other planets, as well as how humans may some day live on other worlds.  What is Judaism's response to this? This course will explore Judaism and the cosmos, including: Biblical, Rabbinic, and Medieval views of the universe; Jewish views of astrology and the influence of the stars and planets on Jewish life; Jewish astronauts and Jewish observance on a space ship; and the Jewish attitude toward life on other planets.


JUNE 23 - 26

The Savage in Judaism
Rabbi Jon Cutler

Since the Enlightenment, interpreters of religion in Western culture have typically classified Judaism above other non-Christian religions. In this course we will examine the distinction between Judaism and the ‘savage’ religions and how ancient Israelite or Biblical Judaism was affected by the surrounding ‘savage’ religions and the impact that it had on the Judaism we practice today. We will look at dietary restrictions, animal sacrifices, blood, circumcision, sexual prohibitions and rules of contamination.  To this day we still practice as Jews some of the ‘savage’ religion rituals.

Maintaining Balance: What Jewish Sources Have to Say
Rabbi Lynnda Targan

The purpose of this course is to explore what Jewish wisdom teaches about finding, developing and maintaining balance" in our daily and weekly cyclical living. Through a wide variety of texts and modalities, we will examine how to deepen the psycho-spiritual side of ourselves, the "self," in pursuit of balance and serenity in relationship to work, family and community.


July 7 - 10

The Golem That Wouldn’t Die
Dr. Josh Gutoff

From early Rabbinic writers through contemporary literature, Jewish (and later, non-Jewish) writers have been fascinated by the idea of the golem. We will read some of those works, and try to understand how and why the fantasy of the artificial man became so important to so many serious thinkers.

History, Politics & Diplomacy of Arab-Israeli Conflict
Dr. Asaf Romirowsky

This is an advanced survey of the Arab-Israeli conflict's history, politics, and diplomacy. Divided at 1948-49, we will discuss the conflict's social, political, ideological, and diplomatic origins followed by Israeli and Palestinian national emergence, Arab-Israeli wars, the subsequent diplomacy from each, and the impact of American, European, and Cold War engagement upon the conflict's unfolding.


JULY 14 - 17

The Israeli Mossad: Facing the 21st Century
Dr. David Rabeeya

The course will explore the challenges of the Israeli Mossad as well as the Shin'bet (intelligence service) and the military intelligence service in light of the disintegration of the national structure of the Arab world, the Middle East and North Africa. Special emphasis will be placed on the methods and tactics used to gather information due to the instant information available in cyber space and the on-going nuclear danger. Participate in a timely discussion involving the current work of Mossad and Iran.

From Text to Life The Torah's Ancient Teachings in Our Lives Today
Joanne Doades, M.A.

Join us for a fascinating exploration of how lessons from our eternal Torah texts can help us grow spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually in our own everyday lives. In this highly interactive class, we will examine traditional and modern commentaries and midrashim to glean the messages that can guide us toward sacred living and loving in our often chaotic contemporary world.



With Rabbi Robyn Frisch, Director, and Wendy Armon, Director of Community Relations

2 Courses- 4 consecutive days each -Tuition: $125 per course

July 7 -10:  1:30 - 3:00 pm
Intermarriage in the Bible
What does the Bible think of Exogamous Marriage (marriage outside of the group)?  In this class we will look at different passages from the Bible regarding exogamy and see that there are conflicting views.  We will also explore in depth, through the Biblical text and later rabbinic commentary, several exogamous Biblical marriages including those of Judah and Tamar; Ruth and Naomi's son Machlon; and Moses and Zipporah.  Finally, we will explore our own views of intermarriage and how they relate to what we learn from the Bible.

July 14 - 17 1:30 - 3:00 pm
Parents, Children and Interfaith Relationships: 
Listening so they will talk.  Talking so they will listen.
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.

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