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.

Summer 2018 Continuing Education


The Jewishness of Jesus
Wednesdays, May 30
June 6June 13, and June 27
Dr. Ruth Sandberg
7:00 – 9:00 pm

Jesus was a first-century Jew steeped in Jewish tradition. This course will explore the Jewish world in which Jesus lived, evidence of his Jewish observance, the Jewish background to Jesus's teachings with emphasis on the Sermon on the Mount, as well as the Jewish connections with the Last Supper and Jesus's resurrection.

Jewish Secrets of the Sistine Chapel
June 4 - 7
10 am – 12:00 pm
Dr. Ruth Sandberg

Most people assume that the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is the epitome of Christian art, but in reality Michelangelo included many Jewish images and symbols within his work. There are many figures and events from the Hebrew Bible depicted, including dramatic representations of the Biblical prophets. But there are also hidden images and symbols that express Michelangelo’s interest in Judaism and its enduring legacy which he kept secret from his Papal patrons. We will uncover these secrets during this mini-course.

Traveling Through American Jewish History with Dr. Paul Finkelman
June 25 – 28
10 am -12 pm
Monday, June 25
 The First Jews to Come to America – 1654: Everything You Learned in Sunday School Was Probably Wrong
Tuesday, June 26  The American Revolution and the Constitution: Was It a Revolution for American Jews?
Wednesday, June 27  Civil War America: Jewish Slave Owners, Abolitionists, Politicians, and Generals
Thursday, June 28  Confirming Justice Brandeis: The Triumph of Jewish Americanism

Jewish Philadelphia: A Journey Through Time
July 9 – 12
10 am – 12 pm
Dr. Reena Sigman-Friedman

This course will feature highlights of Philadelphia Jewish history, illustrating the unique and pioneering role that this city has played in American Jewish life. Using primary sources describing the thoughts and experiences of key Philadelphia Jewish personalities in their own words (as well as organizational records), we will discuss the tremendous impact that these individuals and organizations had, both locally and nationally. 

July 9 – 12
10 am – 12 pm
Rabbi Jon E. Cutler

The topic of eschatology, or the end times, has fascinated people for centuries, but what does the Bible and Rabbinic texts say about this extraordinary subject? What future has God planned for his creation and his people? In this course, we will examine what the Hebrew Scriptures teach about the last days, including a variety of challenging topics, such as the afterlife, the general resurrection, we will look at Messianic Movements throughout Jewish History including the present day. We will use Jewish liturgy and text material such as the Passover Haggadah, Siddur, etc. to understand this complex topic. Throughout the course we will compare and contrast with Christianity.

Memoirs That Matter, Part 2
Thursdays, April 26, May 3, May 10
1-3:00 pm
Anndee Hochman

Israel at 70
July 23-26
10 am – 12 pm
Dr. Asaf Romirowsky

The true essence of Zionism lies in its ability to encapsulate both religious and secular Jewish identities. The current challenge is to identify the component of renewal. The Zionist enterprise did not end with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Each generation must redefine Zionism as it is relevant to them.

Theodor Herzl famously wrote in his diary, "Were I to sum up the [1897] Basel Congress in a word – which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly – it would be this: 'At Basel, I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today, I would be answered by universal laughter. If not in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will know it.'"

The difference between Herzl's generation and post-1948 generations was a first-hand understanding of what the absence of a Jewish state means for Jewish survival. The state represents the difference between autonomy and servility, indeed between life and death. 


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