Gratz Scholars Program

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.

Online Registration
Mail-In Registration

Registration/Refund Policy

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.


Spring 2019 Continuing Education

 

The Hebrew Alphabet Like You’ve Never Encountered It Before
January 15 – February 26 (excl. 1/29)
Tuesdays, 10:00 am -12:00 pm 
Rabbi Robert Leib
6 sessions

Make-up days for inclement weather will be scheduled on successive Tuesdays.
The Hebrew alphabet is widely regarded, in the Jewish mystical tradition, as the essential building block of creation – the very foundation upon which the world was established. Join us on a truly fascinating linguistic journey of discovery as we unravel and unpack the “kabbalistic” mystery of these letters by studying their intricate physical properties and metaphysical symbolism. We’ll throw in some Gematria (Hebrew numerology) for good measure, too. Knowledge of Hebrew is recommended, but not required.
$175

Memoirs That Matter
February 7 – April 4 (excl. 3/7)

Thursdays, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Anndee Hochman
8 sessions

Make-up days for inclement weather will be scheduled on successive Thursdays. 
Participants in this class will learn to capture indelible moments of their lives in short memoir pieces. Through readings, discussion and writing prompts, they will learn to recognize and practice the use of specific detail and vigorous language, the development of character, dialogue and setting. They will experiment with voice and structure; they will strive to tell the truth. Participants will re-read and revise while learning to give constructive feedback on each other’s work. Anndee welcomes both beginning and seasoned writers; only requirements are an open mind and a ready pen (or laptop).
$225

America’s Jews: Honoring the Past, Looking to the Future
Thursdays, January 24 - March 28 (excl. 1/31, 3/7)

10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Dr. Reena Sigman-Friedman
8 sessions

Make-up days for inclement weather will be scheduled on successive Thursdays.
Whether they can trace their family's roots back to the Colonial period or their ancestors came to the U.S. as part of the Great East European migration of 1880-1924, most American Jews feel very much at home in this country. They have made many contributions to American life, and have integrated into the larger society politically, economically, socially and culturally. This course surveys major trends and developments in American Jewish history from the community's beginnings in the mid seventeenth century to the present, highlighting the lived experience of America's Jews. 
$225

The Five Scrolls and Jonah
January 24 - March 28  (excl. 1/31, 3/7)  
Thursdays, 10 am - 12 pm
Dr. Joseph Davis
8 sessions

Make-up days for inclement weather will be scheduled on successive Thursdays.
The Five Scrolls (the five Biblical books of Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther) are read in synagogue on the major Jewish holidays. They reflect a whole range of emotion and historical situations, from national defeat to national triumph, and from cynicism and pessimism to the glories of human kindness and love. The class will study the Five Scrolls, plus also the Book of Jonah, which is read on Yom Kippur. The course will address both questions of the authorship and original meaning of the books, and questions involving their interpretation in Judaism and their contemporary meaning.
$225

 

Love Letters to God: the Greatest Poetry of All Time, Part 2
Tuesdays, January 15 – February 26 (excl. 1/29)
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Dr. Saul P. Wachs
6 sessions

Make-up days for inclement weather will be scheduled on successive Tuesdays.
The Psalms are, without question, the most popular and most beloved poetry in the world. They play a major role in Jewish and Christian liturgy and have inspired many commentaries. While most books in the Hebrew bible are concerned with God’s feelings and actions, this book is primarily about people reaching out to God – with gratitude, in pain, with questions, with celebration. We will study psalm texts in the light of history, theology, language and literature, while providing an opportunity for personal reactions to the texts. Part 1 is NOT a prerequisite for this course.
$175

A Jewish Understanding of the New Testament
January 23 – March 13
Wednesdays, 10:00 am-12:00 pm
Dr. Ruth Sandberg
8 sessions

Make-up days for inclement weather will be scheduled on successive Wednesdays.
This course will explore the Jewish background to the New Testament and early Christianity. The Jewish observance of Jesus will be investigated, as well as the Jewish core of his message in the Sermon on the Mount. The Jewish context of Paul will also be uncovered, as well as the Jewish background of the earliest followers of Jesus. Key passages in the New Testament will be studied, in order to connect them to Jewish beliefs and practices in the first century CE.
$225

History’s Mysteries: What they didn’t teach you in high school
Mondays, March 11 - April 15
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Herb Kaufman
6 sessions
Make-up days for inclement weather will be scheduled on successive Mondays.
Every day stories are repeated in high schools, museums, and television programs because they are catchy, humorous or entertaining (“Would you really bite a bullet?” … “Did George Washington actually have wooden teeth?”).  There are also many actual historical events, incidents and nefarious personalities that are purposely left out of history education. Historical knowledge is often imperfect or erroneously portrayed by myths, half-truths, general omissions, or even total fabrication. This course focuses on these unusual and often controversial incidents and events.  
$175

Passover Writing Workshop
Tuesday, April 2
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Janet Ruth Falon

Personalize your Passover Haggadah with your own writing and poetry. Janet Falon, author and writing teacher shares her own book of Jewish holiday writings, and then leads the class in exploring their thoughts, feelings, questions and holiday experiences in writing. No writing experience or expertise is necessary – just an open mind and pen.
$29

Janet Ruth Falon is the author of the new book, "In the Spirit of the Holidays: Readings to Enrich Every Jewish Holiday," and "The Jewish Journaling Book."  She has also written for The New York Times and WHYY-TV, and has taught writing at The University of Pennsylvania, NYU, and many synagogues.

For more information or to register for classes, please contact Hope Matles at 215-635-7300 x172 or at [email protected].