5770 Fall Course Descriptions

BIB 120 Parashat Hashavua Dr. Diane Sharon
The goal of this course is to offer students a tool-kit of peshat [plain text] hermeneutic methodologies to enable them to explicate any weekly portion for educational and congregational purposes, and to offer students opportunities to practice applying a variety of methodologies to weekly Torah portions for different audiences. In the process, students will become familiar with the peshat content of the parshat hashavu’a/portion of the week. (0.5 course point)

BIB 250 Introduction to Parshanut Rabbi Allen Darnov
An introduction to the medieval Jewish commentators found in the printed tradition of rabbinic Bibles (Mikra’ot Gedolot). Selections, mostly from the Torah, will be examined to compare and contrast opinions of Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Rashbam, Ramban and other commentators. Students will also become familiar with other features and interpretive tools found on the pages of rabbinic Bibles. (1.0 course point)

BIB 470 Pluralism and the Study of the Bible Dr. Ora Horn Prouser
AJR’s classrooms are naturally filled with students and faculty who come to the table with different theologies and approaches to Judaism. In this class, we will bring this discussion from the background to the foreground. We will set up the class as a lab, choosing a variety of texts to study, ranging from patriarchal narratives, to revelation, to the biblical laws of kashrut, and homosexuality. In preparation for each class, students will need to represent a movement, which may or may not be correspond to their own views. Class time will then be spent studying together, focusing on the beauty, strengths, and difficulties inherent in studying the Bible from a pluralistic perspective. (1.0 course point)

CAN 108 Choral Traditions TBA
An exploration of the vast literature of Jewish choral music, leading to performance at public events. (0.5 course point)

CAN 220 Musical Skills
Stanley Dorn
The study of music theory, ear training, sight singing, harmony, and conducting. Students needing either Level II or III of the Musical Skills requirement should take this class. (0.0 course points)

CAN 250 Conducting Cantor Sol Zim
An introduction of the techniques of conducting, and an exploration of the different styles appropriate for the repertoire of Jewish choral music (0.5 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 460 Advanced Nusah: Yammim Noraim Cantors Lisa Klinger-Kantor & Sol Zim
A study of the nusah and cantorial pieces for Yammim Noraim focusing on traditional melodies, prayer modes, and Misinai tunes. Targil section required. (2.0 course points)

CAN 481 Contemporary Repertoire
Cantor Murray Simon
This interactive course presents an overview of the contemporary musical literature (with some classics) of the Yammim Noraim liturgy for the liberal synagogue. The music is illustrated in class by the instructor and the students with piano accompaniment. The material covered is for solo cantor; cantor and/or volunteer congregational choir; cantor and/or youth choir; cantor and/or professional choir and is performed, analyzed and discussed. Recorded illustrations of renowned cantors chanting the repertoire are also utilized. Students may also present their own original musical settings. (1.0 course point)

CAN 561 Music for the Life Cycle Cantor Sol Zim
The course will deal with all occasions in the congregational calendar during which the cantor’s officiating and music plays an important part, including life cycle events, healing services, and more. (1.0 course point)

HAL 401 Introduction to Codes Rabbi Jeffrey Hoffman
This course will introduce the literature of the Codes from a traditional perspective. Selections from the major halakhic texts will be studied along with introductions to author biographies and various commentaries. (1.0 course point)

HAL 480 Responsa Literature
Rabbi Joseph Prouser
In this course we will conduct a close reading of rabbinic responsa from a variety of historic periods, tracing the responsa literature from its earliest origins to its 21st century expression. Selected responsa will cover a range of topics and areas of Jewish life. Contemporary responsa studied will reflect a wide spectrum of perspectives and denominational origins. Prerequisite: 1 course point in Talmud and 1 course point in Codes (1.0 course point)

HAL 600 Advanced Codes Rabbi Michael Pitkowsky
In this course we will examine the complex process of the understanding, deciding, expounding, organizing and creation of Jewish law. The codificatory literature is one legal genre that exemplifies this process and was produced by it. A number of halakhic topics will be studied as they are treated by various authorities. Prerequisite: Intro to Codes. (1.0 course point)

HEB 250 Hebrew I Rabbi Aliza Erber
In this course, students will study Modern Hebrew with emphasis on both grammar and vocabulary. Conversational skills will be an integral element of the learning experience. Prerequisite: Hebrew exam (2.0 course points)

HEB 350 Hebrew II Varda Hubara
This course will continue the study of Modern Hebrew, emphasizing grammar, vocabulary, reading, and conversation. Prerequisite: Hebrew I (2.0 course point)

HEB 414 Advanced Hebrew Varda Hubara
An opportunity for advanced Hebrew students to use and improve their Hebrew skills. Israeli short stories will be read and analyzed, along with opportunities for conversation and discussion. (1.0 course point)

HEB 510 Seminar in Hebrew Literature Varda Hubara
This class is for those who want to bring their understanding of Hebrew literature to the next level. Selected short stories and poetry will be read and discussed, thus allowing students to work on the process of reading, and the content of what this material says about the modern Jewish experience. (1.0 course point)

LIT 101 Introduction to Liturgy Rabbi Jeffrey Hoffman
Foundations in the formal graduate level study of Jewish liturgy. Portions of the weekday service will be used as the examples for developing an understanding of the basic liturgical units including: p’suqei dezimrah, qeriat Shema uvirkhoteha, tefillah, and kaddish. There will be an overview of the issues involved in understanding the worship traditions of the varied streams that make up the contemporary Jewish community. The problems of prayer and the understanding of prayer as the vehicle for establishing and maintaining a relationship with God will be examined. There will be preliminary discussion of the problems associated with developing compelling and vibrant congregational experience. (1.0 course point)

MEC 120 Mechina Hebrew
Moshe Ariel; Varda Hubara
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 122 Mechina Jewish Studies
Rabbi Eric Hoffman; Rabbi 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.(0.0 course points)

PHI The Ethics of Gratefulness
Rabbi Henry Glazer
While generally recognized as important in the fabric of a civil society and in the realm of religious behavior, insufficient in-depth attention has been paid to gratefulness as a crucial spiritual dynamic in human self-awareness and social interaction. This course will explore the place of gratefulness in Jewish religious tradition and practice, the psychological dynamics that inhibit the unfolding of gratefulness in our lives, and ways by which to gain a fuller understanding and appreciation of gratefulness as a vehicle for ethical and spiritual Jewish growth. Included in our deliberations will be discussions of gratefulness as a way by which to cope with suffering and evil, how gratefulness contributes to the formation of spiritual identity, and as an approach to an ethical way of living that emphasizes the positive and the nurturing dimensions of life. (1.0 course point)

PHI 475 Personal Theology
Rabbi Lenny Levin
An exploration of personal, religious and professional concerns that arise in developing a personal theology. An opportunity for students to share their theological and philosophical struggles in a group setting. The works of major twentieth century thinkers will be used as a starting point for individual reflection. (1.0 course point)

PHI 510 Mysticism Rabbi Jill Hammer
Sefer Yetzirah is one of the earliest works of Jewish mysticism and exists in more manuscript copies than any other Hebrew book except the Bible. This brief and cryptic book imagines letters as the building blocks of the universe, introduces us to the sefirot or divine realms, delves into fields as diverse as astrology and linguistics, and focuses our attention on the components of space, time, and soul. Its goal is to allow adepts to contemplate, and even partake in, the Divine creative process. We will be reading the work in its entirety, plus secondary literature, to understand the meaning of Sefer Yetzirah and its potential role in contemporary Jewish belief and contemplative practice.

PRO 003/005 Core Concepts Dr. Ora Horn Prouser
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 four semesters of the seminars in the sequence. After fulfilling this non-credit requirement, a student may elect to take the fourth seminar for credit. Each seminar will meet for 45 minutes weekly. The curriculum for Seminar 3 begins with the word Ahavah, and the curriculum for Seminar 5 begins with the word Ot. (0.0 course point)

PRO 141 Ritual Skills Workshop 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. (0.0 course point)

PRO 201 Homiletics Rabbi Stephen Franklin
The study, analysis, and creation of a classical three-point sermon, either text-based or topical. Each student will write a carefully crafted three-point sermon outline and complete text for class evaluation, as well as grading by the instructor. (0.5 course point)

PRO 341 Life Cycle I Rabbi Doug Sagal
This course is designed to prepare religious leaders to participate in the various life cycle rituals of the Jewish people. Primary focus will be on the life cycle events from birth through bar/bat mitzvah, leading up to marriage. Role play and “enactments” will allow students to receive feedback on their developing skills. (1.0 course point)

PRO 365 Social Justice Rabbi Brent Spodek
This seven session course will examine the role of justice in Judaism, particularly in the globalized world in which we live. We will look at classic concepts such mipnei darkhei shalom and tikkun olam, modern philosophers on the role of justice in Judaism such as Salanter, Heschel and Levinas and perhaps most importantly explore how contemporary Jews can understand justice as a religious expression in the context of our personal theologies. (0.5 course point)

PRO 430 Technology for Clergy TBA
This class will help students to become more familiar with the various tools now available in order to better serve the Jewish community. Among other issues to be covered, this course will include the internet as a vehicle for textual study and learning on the one hand, and the many uses of social networking tools to create and bring together Jewish communities in many new ways. (1.0 course point)

PRO 700 FWSS Ms. Arline Duker or Rabbi David Schuck
This seminar group focuses upon issues that arise in the course of rabbinical and cantorial work. Students will explore the challenges that they face in their work and in their developing rabbinate/cantorate through the presentation of a case study. Participation is required of all students whose work is counting as a required internship experience. All Fieldwork must be approved prior to the beginning of the semester by Sandy Kilstein. Students should register either for the Monday or the Wednesday section. Tuition is charged but no academic course point is given for this seminar. (0.0 course point)

RAB 100 Introduction to Mishnah Rabbi Michael Pitkowsky
An introduction to the study of Mishnah. Selections will be chosen to illustrate the variety of literary styles and subject matter within the Mishnah. The course will also include a brief introduction to the scholarly issues regarding the development and redaction of the Mishnah. (1.0 course point)

RAB 110 Introduction to Midrash Rabbi Jill Hammer
In this introductory class, we will examine the forms, methods and vocabulary of rabbinic midrash and explore the function that midrash plays in rabbinic interpretation of Torah. We will examine midrash
aggadah and midrash halakhah, look at a variety of midrashic collections, learn some basic midrashic strategies, and consider theories about the origin of midrash. This is a text-based class
and we will spend time during each session reading midrashim in Hebrew to improve our fluency and comprehension.

RAB 230 Introduction to Talmud Rabbi Isaac Mann
A study of the necessary skills in language, logic and text required to read a Talmudic text with the help of only a dictionary. Covers basic Aramaic terms as well as Talmudic “organic logic.” Students expected to prepare texts each week without the use of an English translation. Prerequisite: 1 course point Mishnah and familiarity with basic halakhic terminology. The Havruta session is required of all students. (1.0 course point)

RAB 330 Intermediate Talmud
Rabbi Eric Hoffman
This course will continue the study of the Talmud, its structure, and concepts. Tractate to be announced. Havruta session is required of all students. Prerequisite: 2 course points in Talmud (1.0 course point)

RAB 530 Advanced Talmud
Students in Advanced Talmud will have the opportunity to continue their Talmud study, focusing on the text, and important themes as they are dealt with by the Rabbis. Tractate to be announced. Havruta session is required of all students. Prerequisite: 4 course points in Talmud. (1.0 course point)