Courses 2021-2022

Spring 2022 Undergraduate Courses

Jewish Studies 100

Jews and Their Neighbors

Instructor: Sarah F. Levin
CN# 26877
Meeting Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays 9:30a to 11:00a
Location: Cory 289
Units: 4

This course introduces students to the diversity of Jewish communities across time and geographies through a survey of literatures, histories, and cultures. Jewish cultures have always been co-produced in interaction with their non-Jewish neighbors. Through this study of Jewish cultural pluralism throughout history, we will investigate complex issues of identity and layers of belonging. Students from all majors and backgrounds are welcome. No previous knowledge of Judaism or Jewish Studies is necessary.

– Meets Historical Studies, L&S Breadth

– Meets Philosophy & Values, L&S Breadth

– Counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

Jewish Studies 120

Powerlessness and Superpowers: Comic Books & Jewish Identity

Instructor: Louis Schubert
CN# 32160
Meeting Time: Mondays/Wednesdays 6:30p to 8:00p
Location: Dwinelle 130
Units: 3

Coming from exclusion and powerlessness, Jewish creators invented the modern comic book. Comics are where Jewish stories get told, from the Holocaust to daily life. The superhero genre, mostly invented by Jews, narrates core Jewish ethical concepts such as Responsibility to the Other. We will read lots of comics and focus on the overlapping themes of Jewish history, identity, and faith.

– Meets Arts & Literature, L&S Breadth

– Counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

Jewish Studies 120A.001

Gender and Sexuality in Modern Hebrew Literature

Instructor: Oren Yirmiya
CN# 30076
Meeting Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays 5:00p to 6:30p
Location: Dwinelle 130
Units: 4

An introduction to Hebrew prose and poetry of the last 200 years through the lenses of gender, sexuality and queer theory. No prior knowledge needed. All discussions and readings in English.

– Meets Arts & Literature, L&S Breadth

– Counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

Jewish Studies 120A.002 (MELC 134)

Language, Culture, and Identities in Israel

Instructor: Uri Mor
CN# 32159
Meeting Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:30a to 2:00p
Location: Haviland 12
Units: 4

Studying cultures other than our own is an intriguing experience that allows us to look closely at the unfamiliar, but also to recognize ourselves in it. A key factor in understanding a culture is its linguistic conventions, from language etiquette to attitudes towards linguistic variation. Israel is a rich and diverse multicultural aggregate which incorporates many conflicting attributes: traditional vs. modern, western vs. eastern, secular vs. religious, local vs. global, and more. In this course we will examine Israeli culture through its linguistic idiosyncrasies and look at how social identities in Israel are constructed through language(s). No prior background of Hebrew, Arabic, or Israeli culture is required.

– Meets Arts & Literature, L&S Breadth

– Counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

Jewish Studies 122 (MELC 190C)

Contemporary Judaism in Israel: State, Religion, and Gender

Instructor: Masua Sagiv
CN# 26891
Meeting Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays 2:00p to 3:30p
Location: Evans 61
Units: 4

The course will explore dynamics of change in issues of state, religion and gender in Israel, as manifested in social movement activism through law and society. The course will illustrate and reflect upon different strategies and spheres for promoting social change, by examining core issues involving state, religion, and gender in Israel: religious marriage and divorce, gender equality in the religious establishment, conversion, spiritual leadership of women, and free exercise of religion at the Western Wall (the struggle of Women of the Wall). Spheres of activism to be covered include parliament, state courts, alternative private initiatives and courts, and social media.

– Meets International Studies, L&S Breadth

– Meets Philosophy & Values, L&S Breadth

– Counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

History 100M

An Introduction to Israeli History, Politics, Society and Culture

Instructor: Paula Kabalo
CN# 29424
Meeting Time: Mon, Wed, Fri 11:00a to 12:00p
Location: Dwinelle 229
Units: 4

The years preceding and following the founding of Israel were dominated by intense events, which had an impact on all spheres of life. The course follows the history of Israel from the Balfour Declaration (November 1917) until the 1980s (The first Lebanon War and the first Intifadah), throughout the main junctions that affected the establishment of Israel and its social, cultural and political characteristics. During the course, students will be introduced to various dimensions in the shaping of Israeli state and society. Themes that will be covered include: the Zionist leadership and its internal polemics; Arab-Jewish relations in view of a changing, local and international, reality; Diplomacy and War in the eve of Israel’s establishment; social relations and power relation during Israel’s first decades (Jewish immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa; Arab citizens of Israel; the Ultra-Orthodox community), the 67, 73 and 82 Israeli young generations; civic activism (Black Panthers, Land Day); the Right/Left polemic—its social, political and cultural manifestations.

– Meets Historical Studies, L&S Breadth

– Meets Social & Behavioral Sciences, L&S Breadth

– Counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

Legal Studies 174

Comparative Constitutional Law: The Case of Israel

Instructor: Michal Tamir
CN# 27101
Meeting Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays 2:00 to 3:30p
Location: Social Sciences Building 104
Units: 4

This course will provide an introduction to constitutional law using Israel as a case study. Topics include: Constitutionalism and judicial review, state neutrality and self-determination, minority rights, state and religion, Human Rights Law, the concept of “defensive democracy” and ban of non-democratic political parties, legal aspects of the fight on terror, freedom of expression, equality and anti-discrimination, social rights, and constitutional limitations on privatization.

– Meets Historical Studies, L&S Breadth

– Meets International Studies, L&S Breadth

– Counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

Theater 125

Intersectional Perspectives on Contemporary Dance in Israel

Instructor: Dr. Yael (Yali) Nativ
CN# 28763
Meeting Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays 11:00a to 12:30p
Location: Dwinelle 109
Units: 4

This course explores contemporary dance in Israel (2000 and on) from social, political, and cultural perspectives. We will examine the ways in which dance in Israel embodies different aesthetics and cultural ideologies and how movement and choreography represent, manifest, and negotiate issues of identity, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and other social categories. We will also address the effect of local and global powers on the development of contemporary Israeli dance, its practices, education, and pedagogies. Although the course will focus mainly on Israeli contemporary/current dance and dance makers, it will offer an extensive contextualized historical, social, and cultural overview looking at genres, styles, key figures, and critical moments in Israeli history of dance of the 20th century. New skills will be gained on how to use performance analysis tools on dance and how to critically “read” and interpret dance works as an art form from a cultural and intersectional perspective.

– Meets Historical Studies, L&S Breadth

– Meets Arts & Literature, L&S Breadth

– Counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

Yiddish 101

Elementary Yiddish

Instructor: Alec Burko
CN# 32358
Meeting Time: Monday through Friday 11:00a to 12:00p
Location: Dwinelle 282
Units: 5

In this beginners’ course, students will learn to speak, read, and write Yiddish, the language of Ashkenazi Jews for the past thousand years. Following the communicative method and using the new textbook In Eynem, students will focus in class on oral communication by playing out short dialogues. Grammar will be taught inductively, based on examples that have already become familiar. The course will offer an introduction to Yiddish culture through a variety of songs, stories, film clips, and other illustrations. By the end of the semester, students should be able to express themselves with some sophistication about a variety of topics—even better than Marlon Brando.

– Counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

Fall 2021 Undergraduate Courses

Jewish Studies 39 “Holy Fanfiction: Retelling Stories from the Bible and Quran”

Instructor: Madeline Kathryn Wyse, John M. Efron
CN# 26564
M/W 4:00- 6:00p location Dwinelle 258
Units: 2

Jews and Muslims of the medieval Islamic world produced a vast literature reimagining and embellishing the tales of famous biblical and quranic figures like Abraham, Joseph, Moses and David. This “holy fanfiction” ranges from poems to romances, mystic parables to cutting satire. It grapples with thorny theological issues, as well as other contemporary concerns, from gender relations to coping with life as a religious minority. We will read and analyze a selection of these tales and pay particular attention to the ways they complicate conceptual boundary lines that we might have taken for granted: the line between Jews and Muslims, between popular culture and scholarly culture, between piety and entertainment.

Jewish Studies 120 “Jewish Folktales Around the World: Past and Present, Self and Other”

Instructor: Sarah Levin
T/TH 11:00am-12:30pm, Location Cory 289
Units: 3

Folklore helps us make sense of the world we live in at the same time that it entertains us. Curious about dybbuks, golems, genies (jinns)? Want to know the folktales Shakespeare used? Want to learn new Jewish jokes? In this course, we’ll read a sampling of folktales and jokes from diverse Jewish communities (German, Kurdish, Moroccan, Russian, Yemeni, etc.) while exploring themes such as creativity and artistic expression. We’ll also address gender, group identity and values, stereotypes, and the interactions of Jews and non-Jews. Films, videos, and guest storytellers will complement discussions. Final projects allow students to pursue their interests. Students from all majors and backgrounds are welcome. Conducted in English with readings in English.

* Meets Arts & Literature, L&S breadth

* Counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor

Jewish Studies 121A (History 175B) “Jews in the Modern World”

Instructor: John Efron
Location: T/Th 9:30-11:00a in Wheeler 102
CN# 25239
Units: 4

This course will examine the impact of modern intellectual, political, cultural, and social forces on the Jewish people since the eighteenth century. It is our aim to come to an understanding of how the Jews interpreted these forces and how and in what ways they adapted and utilized them to suit the Jewish experience. In other words, we will trace the way Jews became modern. Some of the topics to be covered include Emancipation, the Jewish Enlightenment, new Jewish religious movements, Jewish politics and culture, immigration, antisemitism, the Holocaust, and the state of Israel.

*Eligible for Philosophy & Values, L&S Breadth

*Eligible for Historical Studies, L&S Breadth

*Eligible for Social & Behavioral Sciences, L&S Breadth

Jewish Studies 123A (History 175D) “Muslim-Jewish Encounters: From the Beginnings of Islam to Today”

Instructor: Ethan Katz
T/TH 12:30-2:00p in Hearst Field Annex B5
CN# 30673
Units: 4

This timely course places current tensions between Muslims and Jews in the Middle East in a much broader context. Tracing relations from the earliest encounters between the Prophet Mohamed and his Jewish neighbors down to today’s conflict in Israel/Palestine, the class explores many little-known spaces of Muslim-Jewish encounter. In the process, students become prepared to approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which forms the final section of the course, with newfound perspective. The class steps away from the charged rhetoric of media and campus debates and students have a chance to rethink many prior assumptions. Class meetings themselves are also spaces of encounter. Alongside lectures, engaging readings, and films, the course uses a paired discussion format for a portion of nearly every class meeting, where students learn to listen to each other and challenge each other’s ideas in mutually respectful discussions of highly charged topics. Many students particularly enjoy this opportunity for sustained conversation with those from diverse backgrounds.

* Meets Historical Studies, L&S Breadth

* Meets Philosophy & Values, L&S Breadth

Yiddish 103: “History of Yiddish Culture”

Instructor: Alec Burko
Tu/Th 12:30pm – 2:00pm; location Dwinelle 5335
CN# 23469
Units: 3

This course will trace the development of Yiddish culture from the first settlement of Jews in German lands through centuries of life in Eastern Europe, down to the main cultural centers today in Israel and America. The course will examine how changes in Jewish life have found expression in the Yiddish language. It will provide an introduction to Yiddish literature in English translation, supplemented by excursions into Yiddish music, folklore, theater, and film.