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 are Four Days - Tuition: $125 per course

Master  the Bible in Four Days!
Dr. Ruth Sandberg
Monday - Thursday June 29 - July 2 - 10:00am -12:00pm

This course will cover all 24 books of the Hebrew Bible in four days! We will explore the basic content and key passages in six Biblical books each day. You can become a "master" of the Bible!

Jewish Texts and the Ethics of our Lives
Dr. Saundra Sterling Epstein
Monday - Thursday June 29 - July 2 -10:00am-12:00pm
Monday - Thursday July 6 - July 9 -   10:00am -12:00pm

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? The 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.  Sessions 1 and 2 are separate courses each presenting new material.

The American Jewish Experience in Film
Dr. Reena Sigman Freidman
Monday - Thursday  June 29 - July 2 -  1:00-3:00pm

Description:  This class will explore major themes in American Jewish history through the use of film. We will view key excerpts from "Hester Street" (1974), "The Jazz Singer" (1927), "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947) and "Avalon" (1990) to explore such topics as immigration, acculturation, anti-Semitism and Jewish identity.

What Does the Qur'an Say About Jews?
Dr. David Rabeeya
Tuesdays and Thursdays June 30, July 2, July 7, July 9 -  1:00 -3:00pm

There are historical and theological statements about Jews in the Qur'an. There are many similarities of traditions, stories and legends between the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an along with differences between the two. Some chapters revealed in Mecca were revealed in conjunction with Jewish tribes and those revealed in Medina when Mohammed became the head of the Muslim community show a change of attitude toward the Jews. Islam emphasizes the disobedience of Jews against their leaders as a reason for their dispersion and trials.

The History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Dr. Asaf Romirowsky
Monday - Thursday July 6 - July 9 - 1:00 -3:00pm
Monday - Thursday July 27 - July 30   1:00-3:00pm

This course will cover the Arab-Israeli conflict's history, politics, and diplomacy. Divided at 1948-49, the first half of the course deals with the conflict's social, political, ideological, and diplomatic origins; the second half with the period since, focusing on 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. Registration for each session is independent of the other.

New Interpretations of Biblical Stories Through Art
Dr. Sharon Gershoni
Monday-Thursday July 6 - 9 10:00am-12:00pm

How have artists over the centuries understood and represented the Biblical stories we all think we know? How have these stories been used to comment on humanity and on society?  In this course we will read traditional Biblical stories and review Jewish, Christian and Muslim artwork to delve into these stories. We will examine the gestures and facial expressions in the pictures, which moment in the story the artist chose to depict, and which characters are highlighted, or sometimes, missing. Reviewing the ways in which artists have commented on these stories offers a revitalized and inspiring view of Biblical tales. Works and topics include Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son; Jonah - the prophet who runs away from his job; G-d's passivity in the murder of Abel and Joseph and Potiphar's wife- a different point of view.

Jewish Views on and Experiences with the Afterlife
Barbara Rosenthal, MA
Monday - Thursday July 27 - July 30    10:00am -12:00pm

Judaism does posit a belief in the existence of an afterlife but there is no agreement or official dogma about what form it takes.  In this class, we will explore the many beliefs within the Jewish tradition about the afterlife.  We will also be joined part of the time by a Jewish medium/life guide who will share what she has learned through her unique experiences.


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.