Jewish Studies Courses 2020-2021 | Gratz College

Jewish Studies Courses 2020-2021

Jewish Studies Courses Fall 2020

For more information contact:

Dr. Dina Maiben, Director of Gratz Academy at [email protected]

Register Here!

Putting the Text in Context:  The Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East 

 Sundays 9:30-10:30am EDT

May be taken for college credit.

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.  This approach asks us how we can apply the teachings of the text to our daily lives and practices.  The other interpretive approach asks us to think in terms of what the text meant to those who wrote it.  How did the Bible help them navigate their world?  What did its words mean to them, and how was it a reflection of the surrounding cultures of the ancient Near East?  In this course, we will explore this second approach to understanding the Bible, from the question of who wrote it to comparisons between the biblical text and the texts of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.  


Israel and the Middle East 

Sundays 11:30-12:30pm EDT

May be taken for college credit.

This course provides students with an introduction to Modern Israel within the context of the Middle East.  Through the formal academic study of 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.  Students will also be introduced to many rich facets of Jewish culture that have developed in Israel as they delve into subjects such as the role of the military as an engine of social integration and entrepreneurial thinking, the changing nature of the Kibbutz, Israel’s pioneering new technologies and the great religious and national diversity of Israel’s people. 


Models of Jewish Leadership

Sundays 7:30 - 8:30 PM EDT

May be taken for college credit.

Through the academic study of leadership and Jewish leaders, students will explore leadership  through a Jewish lens.  Through case studies, students will explore  the role of Judaism in an individual’s leadership style, challenges unique to leading in the Jewish community, and the ethics of leadership.  Students will also explore their  own strengths, areas for growth, people they find inspiring and ultimately discover the leaders that they wish to develop into and become in the Jewish community. 


Jewish Ethics & Worldview

Sundays 6:30 - 7:30 PM EDT

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.


Reason and Belief: The Case For G-d

Sundays 10:30-11:30 EDT

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.


A Taste of Talmud

Sundays 9:30-10:30 EDT

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 you’ll learn to think like a lawyer and a rabbi as you judge the kinds of cases that might actually occur in your own experience.


Resistance and Rescue in the Holocaust

Mondays, 7pm EDT

May be taken for college credit.

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 were people who refused to give in to the darkness. Some resisted with force. Others resisted spiritually. Still others resisted by rescuing. This course will explore resistance and rescue during the Holocaust, dedicating the first half of the course to considering physical, spiritual, and cultural attempts to resist the Nazi specter. The second half will consider acts of rescue in the Holocaust––focusing on instances of rescue and how these instances differed depending on the country or territory in which they occurred.


Available Soon: Catalog of Spring 2021 Courses