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


Asaf Romirowsky, PhD
Zionism, Anti-Zionism and Post Zionism

February 3- March 31- (no class 3/3) 8 weeks - $200

What is Zionism? What are its origins, why did it develop and how is it viewed? With the rise of anti-Semitism worldwide we are seeing more and more debates on college campuses and in global forums on the nature of the Zionist movement and its goals depicting it as racist movement. This course will explore those allegations and debunk the myths surrounding those claims.

Joanne Doades, MA
Footsteps in the Sand: The Exodus Journey in Our Own Lives
February 3 –March 24 - 8 weeks - $200

Based on the quintessential freedom story of the Exodus recounted in the Hebrew Bible, this highly interactive class will explore questions of courage, individual initiative and leadership, and the meaning and message of freedom and responsibility in ancient times and in our own lives today. Please note that students will need to bring a Bible or a Torah commentary to class and, for some sessions, will also need a Passover Haggadah. A Haggadah will be provided for in-class use to students who do not have access to one.

Rabbi Jon Cutler
Evil and God in Judaism
January 27 – March 31 – 10 weeks - $250

Theodicy is a response to the evidential problem of evil -- that the occurrence of evil in the world is evidence against the existence of an omnipotent and omni-benevolent God. A theodicy seeks to show that it is reasonable to believe in God despite evidence of evil in the world and offers a framework which can account for why evil exists. We will look at a range of theological solutions, both ancient and modern, to the problem of Theodicy (Justification of God) and how the Jewish people have dealt with the reality of evil.

Asaf Romirowsky, PhD
Israel's Ongoing Quest For Peace: A New Day
April 14- June 2    8 weeks - $200

How does the recent Israeli election and new coalition building impact Israel's future?  What is the status of the "two state solution"?  How is Zionism being redefined?  This course will address current political issues in the Middle East with an emphasis on America's role.



Dr. Ruth Sandberg
Harmony of the Spheres: Judaism and Science

February 4 - March 25 – 8 weeks - $200
Judaism does not see Science and Religion as antithetical, but as two different spheres in harmony with one another. This course will examine the relationship between Judaism and Science from ancient times to today, including the following topics: Genesis and the Big Bang; Jewish observance and Planetary Science; the Jewish view of the universe; Jews and Medicine; Talmudic views of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Talmudic knowledge of Astronomy, Anatomy and Psychology; and Jewish Ecological Science.

Dr. Saundra Sterling Epstein
Jewish Texts and the Ethics of our Lives

February 4 - March 25 – 8 weeks - $200
How do we make end-of-life decisions? How do we decide between various treatments for illnesses? How do we insure that our business dealings meet the criteria of Jewish Law? How do we teach our children to negotiate our increasingly complicated world? The daily decisions we make are often couched in conflicting nuances in terms of what is right. We will study Jewish texts from the Tanach, Talmud, and Maimonides as well as from current experts as we grapple with these challenging issues and contemporary dilemmas from a Jewish perspective.

Dr. Uzi Adini
Modern Israeli Literature:  Changing Realities in Israel
April 15 - June 3 - 8 weeks $200

Modern and Contemporary Israeli literature provide profound insights into how Israelis have coped with conflicts, wars, efforts to find peace, perceptions of their enemies, and their diverse dreams for the future. Throughout the past century, Israeli literature reflected the changing realities and the influences of the authors' surroundings, their fellow settlers, new immigrants, Holocaust survivors, other authors, and the new generation.  The course will introduce literary fiction and poetry from the period of the British occupation to present day Israel. Bearing in mind that any translation is a form of interpretation, the selections will be those that preserve the author's voice and style and analyzed on the basis of their historical, literary and psychological dimensions.



Rabbi Albert Gabbai
Genesis: An Analysis of Text
January 29 – April 2 – 10 weeks - $250
10:00am -12:00pm

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. (This is a continuation of the Fall 2014 course; previous course not a prerequisite)

Dr. David Rabeeya
Terrorism in Europe and the United States: Motivation and Connection to the Middle East
January 29 – April 2 – 10 weeks - $250

The course will deal with the exporting of terrorism from the Middle East to the West and its effects on the economy and the security in Western countries. Special emphasis will be placed on the religious and political motivations of Muslims in the West and the implication vis a vis moderate Muslims outside the Middle East.

Dr. Marsha Bryan Edelman
Chants or Chance: What is Jewish Music?  - NEW!
April 16 - June 4  8 weeks - $200

Music is present in every area of Jewish life from synagogue ceremonies to home based rituals to life cycle celebrations.  It is a living reflection of the evolving identities and values of Jewish people themselves and so, not easily quantified or defined.  The cantor from Lithuania chants a liturgical melody; a mother from Sarajevo sings a lullabye; the klezmer plays a jolly tune; the orchestra plays a symphony; and the rock band releases its "greatest hits."  How can all of these represent Jewish music?  What is "Jewish music" anyway, and where does it come from?


For more information contact Barbara Rosenau, Director of Adult Jewish Learning at or 215-635-7300 x182

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.