Fall 2020 Courses | Gratz College

Fall 2020 Courses

FALL 2020: All courses now enrolling!


Putting the Text in Context:  The Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East*  with Dina Maiben
Sundays, 9:30 AM

There are two basic approaches to interpreting the Bible. The first asks us to think in terms of what the text means to us in our time.  The second asks us to think in terms of what the text meant to those who wrote it. In this course, we will explore this second approach, from the question of biblical authorship to the comparisons between the biblical text and the texts of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.  

A Taste of Talmud with Justin Sakofs
Sundays, 9:30 AM

The Talmud is not only a compendium of Jewish law, it is essentially case law.  This means that the legal code was not voted on by a group of law-makers but that it grew out of the rulings of individual rabbinic judges as they weighted the merits of real cases and compared them to the Torah’s rulings on similar cases.  In this course students will learn to think like lawyers and rabbis as they render judgements on modern day cases using Talmudic thought.

Reason and Belief: The Case For G-d with Rabbi Meir Freund
Sundays, 10:30AM

This class is aimed at providing a logical approach to the existence of G-d. Via four types of rationale and logical reasoning, this class will discuss, in four segments (teleological, moral, cosmological, and historical), the understanding of "proofs" of G-d and the alignment between Judaism and science.

Israel and the Middle East* with Dina Maiben
Sundays, 11:30 AM

An introduction to Modern Israel within the context of the Middle East. Using primary sources, maps and video clips, students will explore and analyze various aspects of Israel’s history, society and culture and their impact on the founders’ vision for a Jewish state as well as the controversies that confront Israel in today’s geopolitical world.

Jewish Ethics and Worldview with Rhonda Whittlin
Sundays, 6:30 PM

Ethical dilemmas are everywhere.  How do my actions impact the lives of others?  What can I do to make the world a better place?  How can I square my Jewish identity with the values of my peers and society?  Does Judaism have a unique perspective on today’s most pressing issues and should that matter to me?  Students will engage in conversations informed by thoughtful examination of these questions.  They will also have the opportunity to further challenge their assumptions and develop their perspectives.

Models of Jewish Leadership* with Rhonda Whittlin
Sundays, 7:30PM

Through the academic study of leadership and Jewish leaders, students will explore leadership  through a Jewish lens.  Utilizing case studies, students will examine the role of Judaism in an individual’s leadership style, the challenges unique to leading in the Jewish community, and the ethics of leadership. They will identify leaders who inspire them, and will consider and reflect upon their own strengths as leaders, identifying areas for personal growth.  

Resistance and Rescue in the Holocaust* with Jason Hensley  
Mondays, 7:00 PM

The Holocaust was a time in which great darkness overtook many areas of the world. And yet, in the midst of this destruction and suffering, there existed resistance. Some resisted with force. Others resisted spiritually. Still others resisted by rescuing. Students will explore resistance and rescue during the Holocaust, considering physical, spiritual, and cultural attempts to resist, and will discover how these instances differed depending on the country or territory in which they occurred.


High School Hebrew 1 with Hana Alter
Tuesdays, 8:00-9:00 PM

Prerequisite: An ability to decode (read Hebrew phonetically). Students who need to learn this skill can take our Individual Non-credit Hebrew Preparatory Course with Rolling Admissions
This course provides an interactive introduction to Modern Hebrew language. Students will develop facility with the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing through reading and discussing short written passages, classroom conversations, video clips and brief written assignments. This course is designed for students who have already learned to read Hebrew phonetically. Students will also gain an understanding of Modern Israel, Israeli culture and will gain insights into the role of language in culture. They will also be invited to compare and contrast Hebrew with English in order to gain insights into the nature of languages overall.

High School Hebrew 2 with Hana Alter
Mondays, 8:00- 9:00 PM

Continuing where Hebrew 1 left off, Hebrew 2 provides students with the opportunity to build on their knowledge of Hebrew through the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing using increasingly more complex language and grammatical forms. Reading short passages and viewing short video clips are integrated with conversations and written assignments. Students will gain additional insights into Modern Israel, Israeli culture, Hebrew and the nature of  languages in general. This course is designed for students who have completed Hebrew 1 or the equivalent.

High School Hebrew 4 with Michal Nachmany
Mondays, 8:00 – 9:00 PM

For students who have completed Hebrew 2 or who attended a day school, this course provides an interactive introduction to current events through the medium of the Hebrew language. Students will develop facility with the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing through reading and discussing short passages from newspapers and other Hebrew print media. Classroom conversations, video clips and brief written assignments will round out the class.

Traditional Semester: August 26 to December 15, 2020- Drop/Add: Sep 8, 2020.

Hebrew I: Beginners (HEB 206) with  Dina Maiben, M.A.J.S., Ed.D.
Mon/Thurs, 8:00-9:30 PM

This course is designed for students with no previous knowledge of Hebrew language. The course focuses on the development of all language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing). Prior to beginning this course, students must know how to decode (phonetically read) Hebrew print and will learn the script form of Hebrew for writing. They will also master basic vocabulary and grammatical principles such as pronouns, adjectives, gender and number agreement, prepositions, roots, numbers, special expressions, and the different categories of Binyan Pa'al in the present and past tense. Students will read texts that reflect Hebrew and Jewish culture. Topics include: getting acquainted, home, school and food.

Hebrew II: Advanced Beginners (HEB 207) with Tami Micklin, MAJED
Mon/Wed, 8:00 to 9:30 PM

Hebrew II continues the format of twice-a-week live webinar sessions combined with follow-up reinforcement through a 24/7 website for individual learning and review. All language skills are mastered through more advanced syntactic and grammatical structures. Students will begin to read and write texts requiring critical thought. Hebrew texts that reflect Israeli culture and Jewish History will be read and discussed. A continuing exposure to the history and development of the Hebrew language with a special emphasis on Modern Hebrew, as well as the culture of Modern Israel is integrated throughout the course. Topics include: family life, the daily schedule, the seasons, and clothing as well as travel and leisure.  

Hebrew III: Intermediate (HEB 208) (3 credits) with Rhonda Whittlin, Ed. M.
Wed, 8:00-9:30 PM

This course will continue the development of all language skills: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. The emphasis will be on comprehension of modern Hebrew poems and short stories through reading and class discussion. In addition, study of advanced grammar and syntax will include all passive Binyanim, different Gezarot, and parts of speech.

Biblical Hebrew I (HEB 210) (3 credits) with Bunnie Piltch, M.Ed.
Wednesdays, 8:00-9:30pm

Biblical Hebrew provides an introductory experience in the language of the Bible for students who can decode (phonetically read) Hebrew. The course focuses on the fundamentals of biblical Hebrew's grammatical structures and constructs, including its elaborate root word system and its rich vocabulary. After two semesters, students will be able to read and understand selected passages of the Hebrew Bible in the original.

Yiddish I (YIDD 201) (3 credits) with Nina Warnke, Ph.D.
Mon-Thurs @ 8:00-9:30pm

This course provides an interactive introductory experience with Yiddish. It is designed for students who can read the Yiddish/Hebrew alphabet. Students will meet twice a week for live online sessions to learn and practice new material and review previously learned content. The course focuses on the development of the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing). Students will master basic grammatical patterns, sentence structures, and the present tense. Topics will include school, daily activities, numbers, telling time, and Jewish holidays. The course will incorporate Yiddish poems and songs as well as texts in English that introduce students to various aspects of Yiddish culture.