5768 Spring Course Descriptions

BIB 103 Introduction to Parshanut Rabbi Ruth Gais
The great luminaries of the past bring light to our understanding of the Bible. This course will be an introduction to the formal study of the literature of Jewish medieval Bible commentaries. Reference will be made to contemporary research on commentators and their methodologies. (1.0 course point)

HEB 355 Israeli Poetry Rabbi Aryeh Meir
The poetry of a people has the power to open windows of insight into the hopes, fears and dreams of that people.. We will read and discuss selections from the writings of the post-1948 generation of Israeli poets, including Amir Gilboa, Natan Zach, Dalia Ravikovitch, Hamutal bar Yosef and Yehuda Amichai. (1.0 course point)

BIB 460 The Bible through the Lens of Special Education Dr. Ora Horn Prouser
An analysis of specific biblical characters that can be understood as having special needs. The biblical texts will be studied leading to a new understanding of and appreciation for selected biblical characters. We will study issues such as Moses and his speech disorder, Mephiboshet and physical handicaps, Miriam and issues of gender in education, Esau and ADD, and others. The educational implications of this study will also be pursued. (1.0 course point)

CAN 106 Choral Traditions Hazzan Ram’n Tasat
An exploration of the vast literature of Jewish choral music, leading to performance at public events. (0.5 course point)

CAN 115 Introduction to Modes Cantor Sol Zim
A study of the Jewish prayer modes and their application to the liturgy. (1.0 course point)

CAN 201 Jewish Music History
Hazzan Ram’n Tasat
An exploration of Jewish music from past to the present. (1.0 course point)

CAN 308 Introduction to Cantillation Cantor Rena Shapiro
A rigorous introduction to East European cantillation for the Torah and Prophets. A study of the detailed functions of the ta’amim and the way in which they explicate the structure of the text. The literature on Jewish cantillation will be discussed. This course is also open to rabbinical students seeking rigorous training in cantillation. (1.0 course point)

CAN 430 Advanced Nusah: Shalosh Regalim Cantors Sol Zim and Lisa Klinger-Kantor
A study of the nusah and cantorial pieces for use on the Shalosh Regalim focusing on traditional melodies, prayer modes, and Misinai tunes. Targil section required. (2.0 course points)

HAL 402 Introduction to Codes Rabbi Jeffrey Hoffman
Continuation of HAL 401. (1.0 course point)

HAL 460 Advanced Codes Rabbi Michael Pitkowsky
A close study of the classic primary sources in the Codes addressing different themes each semester. Prerequisite: Introduction to Codes (1.0 course point)

HEB 251 Hebrew I Ms. Varda Hubara
Continuation of HEB 250. (2.0 course points)

HEB 351 Hebrew II Ms. Varda Hubara
Continuation of HEB 350. (2.0 course point)

HEB 355 Biblical and Postbiblical Hebrew TBA
A study of the grammatical and syntactical peculiarities of biblical and post biblical Hebrew which will provide the basis for smoother reading and understanding of sacred texts. This course will count for the Biblical Hebrew requirement, and should follow completion of Hebrew II. (1.0 course point)

HIS 010 Survey of Jewish History Rabbi Eric Hoffman
A study of the larger themes and issues in the study of Jewish history from biblical through modern times. This course is for cantorial students, and may not be taken for credit by rabbinical students. (1.0 course point)

HIS 315 Medieval History TBA
This study of historic and literary sources analyzes various Jewish communities from the sixth to the seventeenth century C.E. and introduces documentation on the elite wealthy, the political doyen, the scholarly, and the impoverished. It examines assimilation and separatism as the Jew emerged as ‘one apart’ as a consequence of the growth of Christianity and the emergence of Islam. (1.0 course point)

INT 350 Sh’mittah ‘ The Sabbatical Year: Halakhah, Jewish Thought and Socio/Political Realities Rabbi David Greenstein
The concept of a Sabbatical Year, as expressed in the Torah, is an idealistic vision of religious and social significance. It is also one of the few concepts and sets of laws that the Torah, herself, admits to be difficult to accept and put into practice. We will explore the Biblical texts and their messages. From extra-Biblical and Rabbinic texts we will seek to elicit both the theory of sh’mittah as understood at the end of the Second Commonwealth period, as well as evidence of its observance in Palestinian society. After living in the Land of Israel was no longer a common Jewish reality, subsequent developments in understanding the concept took place within the kabbalistic tradition. But, with the Zionist revolution at the end of the 19th century, sh’mittah became a reality again. We will conclude with studying contemporary approaches to this renewed challenge. Hebrew prerequisite: Hebrew II and above. (0.5 points)

LIT 271 Tefillah and Seminar Cantor Murray Simon
This course gives students the opportunity to hone their skills in how to prepare davenning experiences for many different types of groups. Each week, two students will be responsible for preparing tefillah; A seminar to discuss the experience will follow. (0.5 course point)

LIT 307 Festival Liturgy
Rabbi Ruth Gais
A study of the liturgy throughout the cycle of the Jewish year, from biblical origins to the present era. Features: variations in the basic liturgy, especially the Amidah for Shelosh Regalim; the development of Hallel customs; the form, function and texts of principal piyyutim; variations in practice among various rites and contemporary communities; the role of the Musaf service along with the theological implications of this part of the liturgy. A discussion of the liturgies that have evolved in response to the history of the Jewish community in the twentieth century Yom Hashoah, Yom Hazikaron, Yom Ha’atzma’ut. Discussion of creative and innovative rituals that can be introduced into the fixed liturgy. Prerequisite: Introduction to Liturgy (1.0 course point)

MEC 120 Mechina Hebrew
Moshe Ariel
This class covers the basics of both modern and liturgical Hebrew, preparing the students to enter the required Hebrew classes of both the Rabbinical and the Cantorial programs. No credit is given for this class. (0.0 course points)

MEC 121 Mechina Rabbis Eric Hoffman and Aryeh Meir
This is a preparatory course for the Rabbinic and Cantorial programs. The course includes a survey of Jewish history; introduction to the Siddur (prayerbook) for weekdays, Sabbaths and festivals, with guided reading and analysis of selected Hebrew passages; introduction to classical Jewish literature, including Mishnah and Midrash; and orientation to Jewish liturgical observances and religious and cultural institutions. No credit is given to rabbinical students for this class.(1.0 course point for cantorial students)

PHI 312 Modern Philosophy Dr. Jerome Chanes
Trends and issues in contemporary Jewish philosophy; a study of the major figures along with an analysis of the differing approaches that they take to critical questions. An effort will be made to place the discussion in the context of general 20th Century thought. (1.0 course point)

PHI510 Mysticism Rabbi David Greenstein
Our goal as a group is to study two classic kabbalistic texts – Sha`are Orah of R. Yosef Gikatilla and Tomer Devorah of R. Moshe Cordovero. These two seforim discuss the Ten Sefirot from different viewpoints. Our concern will be to explore certain key concepts and questions rather than to engage in meditative or other experiential aspects of Kabbalah. Supplementary readings will be assigned to fill in the historical, literary and substantive contexts which surround these works. Hebrew prerequisite: Hebrew II and above. (1.0 course point)

PRO 003/006 Core Concepts
Rabbi David Greenstein
This is a multi-year sequence of seminars. The seminars cover some of the fundamental values, concepts and vocabulary of Jewish tradition. The student is expected first to gain a basic acquaintance with these terms and then to delve more deeply into them so as to appreciate their range of significance. The goal of the seminars is not simply to gather information, but to develop an integrated way of thinking about and expressing these value-concepts, so that the student may grow from an appreciation of the tradition to active and creative participation in the discourse of Torah. Every student is required to take two years of the seminars given in the sequence. After fulfilling this non-credit requirement, a student may elect to take the third year for credit. Each seminar will meet for 45 minutes weekly. (0.0 course point)

PRO Ritual Skills TBA
In this workshop students will have the opportunity to learn and practice ritual skills to prepare for fulfillment of the yearly ritual skills requirement. The class together with the teacher will decide which skills to cover each semester. (0.0 course point)

PRO 201 Homiletics Rabbi Stephen Franklin
An exploration into the structure and content of the pulpit sermon. Particular attention will be paid to various nontraditional varieties of pulpit discourse as well as to available resource materials in the sermonic field. Primary methodology: the creation, presentation and critique of sermons assigned to course participants. (0.5 course point)

PRO 342 Life Cycle II TBA
This course is a continuation of PRO 341. Death and funerals, unveilings, and conversion constitute the focus of this semester. A prerequisite is the ability to translate simple biblical and rabbinic texts. Practical problems and shared experiences from the field will occupy much of class discussion. (1.0 course point)

PRO 470 Chaplaincy
Rabbi Bonita Taylor
An introduction to the role of the Rabbi/Cantor in the modern hospital setting. This work-study course delves into the inner emotions of a patient experiencing spiritual distress because of illness and hospitalization and your own as you encounter that patient. Includes forty hours of supervised Chaplain-Intern visits to patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). Medical/MSK clearance is required prior to course beginning. 100% attendance/participation required in this mini-course. Although this class is a half-credit course, the sessions are spread throughout the semester to allow sufficient time for the supervised hospital work. Not open to first year students. (0.5 course point)

PRO 700 FWSS Ms. Arline Duker, Rabbi Doug Sagal
This seminar group focuses upon issues that arise in the course of rabbinical and cantorial work. Participation is required of all students whose work is counting as a required internship experience. Students should register for either the Monday or the Wednesday session. Tuition is charged but no academic course point is given for this seminar. (0.0 course point)

RAB 110 Introduction to Midrash
Rabbi Jill Hammer
This course focuses on assisting students in developing the skills and confidence needed to read midrashic works in their original form. It examines the language and organic logic of midrash through a survey of selections from various aggadic and halakhic midrashim. (1.0 course point)

RAB 150 Pirke Avot Rabbi Bernard Zlotowitz
Ethics of the Fathers, an ancient, yet modern text as relevant today as it was nearly 1,800 years ago. The sage advice contained therein is as valuable a guide today as it was at the time it was written. These Mishnayot have been on the best seller list for millennia ‘ studied in depth by young and old, students and rabbis, intellectuals and the curious. Its wisdom regarding human nature and its pithy sayings memorized by countless generations are revered by Jews and learned non-Jews and still pondered between Pesach and Shavuot every year. (1.0 course point)

RAB 231 Intoduction to Talmud Rabbi Isaac Mann
Continuation of RAB 230 taught in the fall. The Havruta session is required of all students. Prerequisite: 1.0 course point in Talmud. (1.0 course point)

RAB 331 Intermediate Talmud Rabbi Eric Hoffman
Continuation of RAB 330, taught in the fall. The Havruta session is required of all students. Prerequisite: 3 course points in Talmud. (1.0 course point)

RAB 510 Midrash: Ruth Rabbah
Ms. Rivka Haut
This class will study Ruth Rabbah, a Midrash explicating the text of Megillat Ruth. The Midrash deals with the evolution of halakhah, the acceptance of converts, the relationship of Jews to the land of Israel, and the nature of hesed. (1.0 course point)

RAB 531 Advanced Talmud Rabbi David Greenstein
Massekhet Gittin – Chapter Four – Mipnei Tiqqun Ha-`Olam – In Order to Fix the World. The concept “tiqqun `olam” is an increasingly important one in contemporary Jewish thinking and practice. This chapter of Talmud outlines a number of attempts made by the Rabbis to improve their society, using various means. What were the problems that aroused their attention? How did they go about addressing them? These texts help us explore the intersection of conflicting values and legal systems, and the question of legal stability and integrity. Havruta session is required of all students. Prerequisite: 4 course points in Talmud. (1.0 course point)

SPI 240/241 Jewish Contemplative Practice: A Practicum Rabbi Jill Hammer
These classes will explore a variety of ways that Jews have connected with their inner lives. We will cover kabbalistic meditative strategies as well as modern Jewish meditation, and will also spend some time on chanting, reflection on one’s moral life (musar), and other methods of contemplation. Each class will include both study and practice. Students may take either or both of these minimester courses. (0.5 course point)