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Dr. Ruth Sandberg standing teaching a room full of seated students

Jewish Studies Courses

The Daniel and Louise Cohen Adult Jewish Learning 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. In addition to courses, Gratz adult education offers Distinguished Lecture Series, Yiddish programs, Israeli films and other special events.



All classes are online using the Zoom platform and recorded. A link will be sent to view the class if you missed it live. The recording will be available for 3-4 weeks.

Terrific Talmudic Tales 
Rabbi Daniel Levitt 
June 3 - 6 
Monday – Thursday, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm ET 
Zoom only, $150

The course "Terrific Talmudic Tales" delves into the rich narratives and wisdom found within the Talmud, a central text in Jewish tradition. Students explore captivating stories, ethical dilemmas, and legal discussions, gaining insights into Jewish thought, culture, and historical context. Through close reading and analysis, participants engage with ancient texts, uncover hidden gems, and appreciate the enduring relevance of these tales in contemporary life. 


Kings, Wars, and the Messiah: Maimonides' Political-Theological Treatise 
JJ Kimche
June 17-20  
Monday – Thursday, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm ET
Zoom only, $150

In this course, we will be delving into one of the most fascinating and influential political texts in all of Jewish history: Maimonides' Laws of Kings and their Wars. In this treatise, Maimonides outlines an idealized Jewish political system, based upon his readings of the biblical and rabbinic texts. This treatise is the most systematic attempt to develop a Jewish theory of the state, political authority, warfare, and the Messianic period. In this course we will read this text closely, and discuss its major theological, moral, and political issues. 


Reading David Through a Modern Political Lens 
Dr. Marc Leuchter
June 24 - 27 
Monday – Thursday, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm ET 
Zoom only, $150

The tale of King David points to a complicated and controversial historical figure standing behind the mythic hero of ancient Judaism. Reading the story of David's rise to power alongside modern episodes of politics and power reveals much more about the dangerous world behind the text and the maze of political intrigue surrounding the emergence of the Israelite kingship. 


How Jews and Judaism Changed the World 
Dr. Saul Wachs
July 8-11 
Monday – Thursday, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm ET 
Zoom only, $150

The course will illuminate the profound impact of this small but resilient and resourceful community on the global marketplace of ideas. Despite their historical trials, Jews have been catalysts for intellectual and cultural transformation. From pioneering ethical monotheism to shaping modern science, literature, and philosophy, their enduring legacy reverberates through centuries, underscoring the power of ideas to transcend adversity and shape humanity's trajectory.  


Confronting Hatred of the Jews and the Zionist Response 
Rabbi Matthew Abelson
July 15 - 18 
Monday – Thursday, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm ET 
Zoom only, $150

Antisemitism is a kind of perception, a distortion of reality. To overcome antisemitism, we must, as Jews, see ourselves clearly. What are the barriers – the stereotypes – that prevent this? One way to overcome these barriers has been through the Zionist recovery of self-reliance and the martial ethos. In this course, we will define and analyze antisemitism terminologically and as a phenomenon of hatred, conspiracy, and persecution. We will trace the transformation of hatred of the Jews from a religious to a racial to its current iteration as a political phenomenon. Most importantly, we will identify and describe how anti-Zionism and anti-Israel rhetoric and activity has become the new antisemitism since the United Nations Conference against Racism in Durban in 2001 and the collapse of Oslo’s Declaration of Principles. Finally, we will point to mechanisms and strategies within Zionism for confronting and defeating it. 


For more information or to register for classes, please contact Hope Matles at 215-635-7300 x172 or at

Registration Notes
Minimum class size is required to run each course. For all Scholars Program courses, full tuition payment is due upon registration prior to the start of the first class. If a cancellation is received at least two days before the course begins, 100% of tuition will be refunded. If cancellation is received by the second session, a 50% refund will be issued. Tuition includes a non-refundable $25 registration fee.  For all classes full payment is due upon registration. An internet connection is required for online classes. Gratz is not responsible to make up classes for a limited, local power outage or technical problem.  If a technical issue affects more than half of the class, Gratz will make-up the class at a mutually agreed upon time -- much like any weather-related closing. All classes are recorded. A link will be sent to view the class if you missed it live. The recording will be available for 3-4 weeks.

Gratz College is committed to making its programs, events, and courses accessible.  Should you need an accommodation, please contact Naomi Housman, ADA Coordinator All accommodations must be requested by no later than ten (10) business days prior to the start of the course or day of the program.


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"Many thanks again for the outstanding course and for the extra resources which I plan to use in delving deeper into my ancestral roots in Western Galicia."
— BRIAN BIMM, describing the course, "the Path To Modernity: The Jews of Galicia"