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.

Fall 2018 Continuing Education


Memoirs That Matter
September 20 – October 25 (6 weeks)
Thursdays, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Anndee Hochman

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).

Jews and Modernity: Challenge and Opportunity
Thursdays, September 27 – December 20 (12 weeks, excl. 11/22)

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Dr. Reena Sigman Friedman

Modernity posed significant challenges to traditional Judaism, and also presented Jews with unprecedented opportunities. This course explores the ways in which Jews in various parts of the world responded to the monumental changes of the mid seventeenth through the mid twentieth centuries. Among the topics to be discussed are: the granting of civic rights to Jews; the emergence of the Reform, Orthodox and Conservative movements; various approaches to Jewish education; the rise of Zionism and Jewish Socialism; Jewish responses to antisemitism; the mass migration of East European Jews to the U.S.; and Jewish spiritual resistance during the Holocaust. Primary source documents and visual images will bring the history to life.

Required book: The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History, second edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995). Edited by Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz. Be certain to buy the second edition; It is less expensive than the third edition.

Great Jewish Thinkers of the 20th Century
Thursdays, October 4 – November 29 (8 weeks, excl. 11/22)
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Dr. Joseph Davis
How have Jews in the 20th century combined belief in God and belief in modern science and modern values? This course will examine the views of a range of great Jewish thinkers including: Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Mordecai Kaplan, Joseph Soloveitchik, Leo Strauss, and others.

Love Letters to God: the Greatest Poetry of All Time
Tuesdays, October 9 – November 13 (6 weeks)
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Dr. Saul P. Wachs
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.

Post-Holocaust Theology
Wednesdays, October 10 – November 28 (8 weeks)
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Dr. Ruth Sandberg

In response to the Holocaust, many people asked: "Where was God?" This course will first explore the variety of Jewish theological responses to the Holocaust and the problem of God permitting such evil to exist in the world.  The works of Richard Rubenstein, Eliezer Berkovits, Irving Greenberg, and Emil Fackenheim will be explored. We will then look at a variety of Christian theological responses that focus on Christian anti-Semitism, its role leading up to the Holocaust, and how these anti-Semitic aspects must be eliminated from Christian theology. Christian thinkers Rosemary Ruether, Franklin Littell, Eugene Fisher, and John Roth will be examined.

World War II: Episodes of the Conflict
Mondays, November 5 – December 10 (6 weeks)
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Herb Kaufman
Class 1:  The story of the attack on Pearl Harbor
Class 2:  Secrets and spies
Class 3:  The music that got us through the war
Class 4:  The true story of a bridge too far
Class 5:  How Hollywood portrayed the war, 1940 - 1945
Class 6:  The story of the building of the atomic bomb

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