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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. In addition to courses, Gratz adult education offers Distinguished Lecture Series, Yiddish programs, Israeli films and other special events.
Minimum class size required to run each course. 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.
Folktales of the Jewish People
Dr. Saul Wachs
Thursdays, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm ET
October 1 – November 19 (8 sessions)
The Jewish people have amassed a treasure trove of stories. Some are distinctively Jewish; Others resemble stories of other peoples. These stories open a window into the life of the people, their values and their experiences. In this course, we will read and analyze these stories, trying to relate them to our own experiences.
Memoirs for this Moment (and other Indelible times in your life)
Thursdays, 1:00 – 3:00 pm ET
October 1 – November 19 (8 sessions)
In periods of extremity--war, disease, social unrest, personal hardship--writing can help us find anchor and solace, meaning and connection. Participants in this class will write in a variety of forms--short memoir, journal entry, letter to oneself--about the unsettling times we're living through and about other transformative moments from their pasts. Through readings, discussions and a variety of open-ended prompts, they'll practice the craft of memoir and creative non-fiction, playing with voice and structure while striving to tell the truth. There will be opportunities to share your work and receive constructive feedback from the group. Beginning and more seasoned writers welcome!
Core Jewish Values: A Textual Approach
Joshua Weinstein, Ph.D.
Mondays, 10:00 – 12:00 pm ET
October 5 – November 23 (8 sessions)
This course presents a “back to the fundamentals” approach to consensus Judaism by exploring core Jewish values in their original expressions. These fundamental aims – such as preserving life, protecting the vulnerable and rejecting “self-worship” – remain the foundations on which Jewish life and thought must be built. We will explore these values and imperatives as expressed and analyzed in traditional Jewish texts, especially Bible, Talmud and Midrash. Though thousands of years old, these classics set a Jewish agenda that remains fresh in the 21st century. Each week we will focus on a different core value, including: life and death, sex and marriage, speech and respect, justice and solidarity, resistance and humility. No knowledge of Hebrew or prior textual study is assumed.
Joshua Weinstein graduated from Akiba Hebrew Academy in Philadelphia, studied physics at Princeton University, learned Talmud in several Jerusalem yeshivas and received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the Hebrew University. He initiated the Jewish Liberal Arts study approach, has filled key roles in education, research and management at Jerusalem’s Shalem Center and Herzl Center and helped found Israel’s first liberal arts college. Weinstein’s scholarly work addresses the foundations of Jewish and Western politics and thought and their potential future vitality. His recent book Plato’s Threefold City and Soul was published by Cambridge University Press (2018). He lives in Jerusalem with his wife Einat, children Michael, Tamar and Naomi, as well as Leni the dog. The present course is part of his current project on Jewish fundamentals. Learn more about him here: https://herzlinstitute.org/en/people/josh-weinstein/
Mavens: Jewish Experts and Advice Givers
Steve Chervin, Ed.D.
Tuesdays, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm ET
October 6 – November 24 (8 sessions)
For most of Jewish history, rabbis were the primary advice-givers in the Jewish community. But since the beginning of the 20th century, Jewish advice columnists like the editor of the Yiddish Daily Forverts (Abraham Cahan - The Bintel Brief), Dear Abby and Ann Landers, Dr. Ruth, and many others have advised Jews and non-Jews about relationships, sex, family, work, religion, ethics, business, law, medicine, etc. Join us for an educational tour in which we'll meet the most colorful of these experts, the advice they dispensed and the Jewish values that they expressed - along with the letter writers and the concerns they raised, and the historical and cultural conditions in which they lived.
EVENING CLASS: What’s Cooking with Chef Aliza Green
Thursdays: 7:00 – 8:30 pm ET
10/8, 10/22, 11/5, 11/19 (4 sessions)
Travel the globe with Chef Aliza Green as we discover the Jewish influence on international cuisine. This four session class will start with an overview of how Jewish foods have influenced world cuisine. During the next two sessions, we will visit North African Jewish cuisine and Italian Jewish cuisine. The course will culminate with a cooking demonstration of Moroccan-Jewish chickpea, squash and saffron soup and Venetian almond cookies in Chef Aliza’s kitchen, just in time for Thanksgiving. Browse Chef Aliza Green’s website to watch her videos and learn more about her passion for cooking…
Are We Our Mothers’ Daughters: Comparing biblical and modern Jewish women
Wednesdays, 10 am – 12 pm ET
October 14 – December 9 (excl. 11/25; 8 sessions)
Explore the role of women in Jewish history from heroines of the Bible to modern Jewish women born in the Russian and Soviet empires. Each session will discuss, compare and contrast a different pair of biblical and/or ancient Israeli heroines and their modern counterparts. Among the pairs we will look at: Deborah the Prophetess and Golda Meir; Queen Esther and Ida Kaminska; Miriam and the Soviet scientist, Lina Stern, and many others.
Russian-born, Yuliya Mazur is a life-time learner with three Master’s degrees, including one in Jewish Communal Service from Gratz College. Yuliya volunteers at multiple Jewish organizations, including: AJC, Chavruta International with Limmud NY, and Limmud FSU for a number of years. In addition, Yuliya runs a Limmud FSU Labs Havruta project teaching a group of unaffiliated Jewish adults and young adults online. As a kosher cooking enthusiast, she also runs a Torah, cooking, and “all-things-Jewish” blog at https://noshingacrossthenation.com/category/torah/
The Rousing History of the American War for Independence
Mondays, 10 am – 12 pm ET
October 19 – November 23 (6 sessions)
“If we don’t hang together, we will, most assuredly all hang separately.”
This course will include and focus on the often-untold history of the American Revolution, including Jews who served and sacrificed, the multifaceted Philadelphia Campaign, important but often forgotten patriots and loyalists, and many of the more unusual events and incidents of the Revolutionary War.
For more information or to register for classes, please contact Hope Matles at 215-635-7300 x172 or at [email protected].
All online classes are recorded. A link to the recording will be sent to all registrants and is available for a limited time.