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.

Fall 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 2019 Continuing Education


Themes in Modern Jewish History
Dr. Reena Sigman Friedman
Thursdays, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
9/5 – 11/21 (excl. 10/17, 10/24)
10 sessions

What can we learn from previous generations of Jews about citizenship and Jewish identity, political engagement, combating antisemitism, balancing Jewish and secular education, modifying religious beliefs and practices, building Jewish communities, caring for the needy, and responding to shifts in gender roles and family dynamics.  Utilizing primary source documents and visual aids, we will explore key trends and issues in modern Jewish history that continue to shape our lives as contemporary American Jews. Emphasis will be placed on the ways in which Jews navigated the tension between universalism and particularism in the modern world. 
Recommended book for this course: The Jew in the Modern World, 2nd or 3rd edition by Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz. Inexpensive, used copies are available on ebay, Barnes & Noble, Abe Books, and Amazon.

Memoirs That Matter
Anndee Hochman
Thursdays, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
9/26 – 11/14  (8 sessions)

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).


Jewish Mysteries
Dr. Ruth Sandberg
Wednesdays, 10 am – 12 pm
10/16 – 12/11 (excl. 11/27) (8 sessions)

There are many unsolved mysteries throughout the Bible and Jewish history. We will look at a variety of these mysteries and why they remain so intriguing. Some topics include: The mysterious disappearances of Enoch and Elijah, the ten lost tribes, and the long-lost pronunciation of the name of God; why the location of Mt. Sinai is unknown; the unexplained end to the Davidic monarchy; the mystifying origins of Jewish magic; and the enigmatic history of Ethiopian Jewry. We will discuss various theories about all these baffling events, as we become detectives in some of the greatest mysteries in history.    
Call Hope Matles at 215-635-7300 x172 to add your name to the waitlist.


Jewish Views of God
Dr. Saul Wachs
Tuesdays, 10 am – 12 pm
10/29 – 12/17 (8 sessions)

Throughout history, Jewish scholars have offered different understandings of the nature of God and the divine role in history. This course will examine some of these views and consider their relevance in the world in which we live.

Jewish Civilization in Eastern Europe: from the Middle Ages to the Present
Dr. Joseph M. Davis
Tuesdays, 10 am – 12 pm
10/29 – 12/17 (8 sessions)

Jews have lived in eastern Europe for more than one thousand years.  This course will study the Jewish civilization of eastern Europe, beginning in the Middle Ages, and continuing through the present day.  The course will pay special attention to the period of the late 1800's and early 1900's, when the Jewish population of eastern Europe had become by far the largest Jewish community at the time. What remains of eastern European Judaism today, after the Holocaust, and what impact has it had on Jews worldwide? 

The Politics, Culture and Struggle of the American Civil War
“In Great Deeds Something Abides” 

Herb Kaufman
Mondays, 10 am – 12 pm
10/28 – 12/2 (6 sessions)

Week 1: 1860 – 1861: The economics of slavery; The political parties, campaigns and the election of Lincoln; The Southern crusade & secession; The opening battles and emerging personalities.
Week 2: 1862: America comes to grips with total war; “Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign; “On To Richmond” – McClellan on the Peninsula: Antietam (America’s bloodiest day); Shiloh and the ascension of U. S. Grant; the Emancipation Proclamation.
Week 3: 1863: The tide of war begins to turn: The Battle of Gettysburg and its aftermath; Grant’s victory at Vicksburg; the New York draft riots. 
Week 4: 1864: The election of 1864; Lincoln’s biggest political mistake; The Copperheads; Grant takes command; Grant and Lee and the Overland Campaign; Sherman captures Atlanta and his March to the Sea; Destruction at Franklin. 
Week 5: 1865: The siege of Petersburg; Lee surrenders his army; The Lincoln assassination conspiracy; The last Confederates; The Radical Republicans in Congress take legislative action and the beginning of the white supremacist movement.  
Week 6: 1866 – 1876: The Era of Reconstruction.  Economics and political corruption; The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments; The first Civil Rights Acts; The white supremacist movement and Jim Crow laws; The political campaigns and the election of 1876;” The Corrupt Bargain;” The Supreme Court and the end of Reconstruction.


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


Summer 2019 Continuing Education

The Problem of Slavery in World Culture from the Book of Genesis to Isis
Dr. Paul Finkelman
July 29 – August 1
Monday - Thursday, 10 am - 12 pm
4 sessions

Slavery has been a universal human institution from earliest recorded history to today’s newspapers. Join Professor Finkelman as we explore this sad, and unfortunately, timely phenomenon.


Zionism/Anti-Zionism in America Today
Dr. Asaf Romirowsky
August 5 - 8
Monday - Thursday, 10 am - 12 pm
4 sessions

Anti-Jewish sentiment goes by many names, including anti-Judaism, Jew-hatred, Judeophobia, and, of course, Antisemitism – a term that was coined in 1879 to give scientific legitimacy to the “longest hatred.” This course will explore the ancient origins of Jew-hatred, examining its development and transformation in the course of the past two millennia, paying particular attention to the shifting theological, ideological, cultural, political and scientific trends that impacted the perception of Jews and Judaism in the modern period.

This course considers one of the oldest and most persistent forms of hatred. What is antisemitism? How is it part of the family of bigotries, prejudice and discrimination, and how is it unique? Is it more bigotry or ideology? How has it manifested itself in different eras, regions, political and economic systems and culture? How is it defined? What different types are there? Is anti-Zionism antisemitism? Why does it exist in some countries which do not even have Jews? How can it be combated? At the end of the course, students should be able to identify and differentiate different types of antisemitism, understand how antisemitism works (and changes) as an ideology, how historical and socio-economic factors do and do not impact it, and how it fits within (but is also different from other members of) the family of bigotries


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