5770 Spring Course Descriptions

BIB 320 Biblical Hebrew Dr. Allen Darnov
Our course will teach and drill elements of Hebrew grammar using C. L. Seow’s A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew. We will also devote significant time to parsing words and identifying syntax in the weekly parashah in order to experience the critical role of grammar in textual interpretation. Important differences with Mishnaic Hebrew will be noted on occasion. Students usually find this course useful to refreshing their general knowledge of grammatical terms and functions. (1.0 course point)

BIB 455 Feminist Readings of the Bible Barbara Birnbaum
In this class, we will read selected Biblical texts, primarily from the Pentateuch, through the lens of feminist hermeneutics for the purpose of confronting the overt and covert gender assumptions of the Biblical texts and learning new tools to enhance our ability to read Biblical texts afresh by being cognizant of our own biases and assumptions. We will also consider ways in which we can address the issue of gender bias in the Bible both in the classroom and in the pulpit. (1.0 course point)

CAN 108 Choral Traditions Rabbi Vicki Axe
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 Gerald Cohen
This class will introduce the basic concept of Jewish modes through their scale structures and defining motives as well as some of their practical applications in the nus’chaot of Shabbat, Festival, High Holiday and Life Cycle liturgy. (0.5 course point)

CAN 130 Musical Skills Stanley Dorn
The study of music theory, ear training, sight singing, harmony, and conducting. Students needing Level III of the Musical Skills requirement should take this class. Tuition is charged but no academic course point is given for this course.(0.0 course points)

CAN 308 Introduction to Cantillations 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 360 Shabbat Table Cantor Sol Zim
In this course, the students will lean how to lead and conduct Z’mirot for the Friday night and Shabbat Se’udah tables, beginning with the “Blessing of the children,” a variety of festive Z’mirot sung after the meals and concluding with the Birkat Hamazon. (0.5 course point)

CAN 427 Advanced Nusah Shabbat Cantor Sol Zim
Each student will learn how to conduct, lead and perform the special Liturgy for Shabbat Rosh Hodesh, Shabbat Minhah, Ma’ariv & Havdalah and Shabbat P’sukei D’zimra from the Siddur, utilizing the special motifs and various Nuschaot. (0.5 course point)

CAN 446 Advanced Nusah Yammim Noraim Cantors Sol Zim, Lisa Klinger-Kantor
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 482 Contemporary Repertoire Cantor Murray Simon
This interactive course presents an overview of the contemporary musical literature (with some classics) of the Yom Kippur 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. As a final project, the student will program and perform a High Holy Day Service based on material covered in class. (1.0 course point)

HAL 402 Introduction to Codes Rabbi Michael Pitkowsky
Continuation of the Introduction to Codes course taught in the fall.(1.0 course points)

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: Introduction to Codes. (1.0 course point)

HEB 251 Hebrew I Rabbi Aliza Erber
Continuation of the Hebrew I course taught in the fall. (2.0 course points)

HEB 351 Hebrew II Varda Hubara
Continuation of the Hebrew II course taught in the fall. (2.0 course points)

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. This course may be taken multiple times as the subject matter will change each semester. (1.0 course point)

LIT 271 Tefillah and Seminar: Calling the Shots/ Shatz Rabbi David Ingber
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi has described the siddur as a spiritual ‘recipe book.’ Unfortunately, more often than not, we are taught how to eat the recipes not how to cook them. This course will offer hands-on techniques and creative possibilities for leading prayer services. We will learn texts that deal with various issues facing prayer leaders and draw from multiple sources to explore avenues of enrichment for prayer. Each student will have the chance to lead an alternative prayer experience. By the end of the course we will hopefully be ‘chefs’ of Jewish prayer. (0.5 course point)

LIT 307 Festival Liturgy Rabbi Jeff Hoffman
A study of the liturgy of Pesah, Shavuot, and Sukkot from biblical origins to the present era. Features: variations in the basic liturgy, especially in the Amidot; the development of Hallel customs; the form, function and texts of principal piyyutim, e.g., Hoshanot and Akdamut; Yizkor. These will be studied from historical, literary, and theological perspectives. Prerequisite: Introduction to Liturgy (1.0 course point).

MEC 131 Mechina Jewish Studies Rabbis Eric Hoffman, Aryeh MeirThis is a preparatory course for the Rabbinic and Cantorial programs. The course includes a survey of Jewish history since 1700, Jewish current events, the institutions of the State of Israel, and training in the composition of a D’var Torah; 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 312 Modern Philosophy Dr. Len Levin
The issues of modern Jewish thought will be studied through familiarization with principal works of the major modern Jewish philosophers’including Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Buber, Rosenzweig, Kaplan, Heschel, and Soloveitchik’as well as representative thinkers of the major modern and contemporary movements. The focus will be on how all of these thinkers and movements adapted Jewish tradition’each in their own way’to the intellectual, cultural and political challenges of modernity. (1.0 course point)

PRO 004 Core Concepts TBA
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. Core Concepts IV begins with the terms mizrah/ma’arav.(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 330 Bar/Bat Mitzvah and The Dynamics of Synagogue Programming Cantor Alan Brava
When does Bar/Bat Mitzvah training really begin? What impact should the Religious School curriculum have on our students before they arrive at our study for their first lesson? Will the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience represent the ‘highlight’ of the student’s Jewish educational experience? Will it serve as a ‘springboard’ for future involvement in the synagogue and the Jewish community? This class will help us understand the dynamics of working with the student, his/her family, and the synagogue and hopefully create more than a ‘one day’ simhah in the lives of those involved. We will look closely at the specific educational needs of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child; what are the pressures and stresses felt by our Bar/Bat Mitzvah students and how can we help alleviate them? The class will focus on difficult issues that inevitably arise during the planning of this rite of passage. We will further explore what role rabbis and cantors play in planning and programming other aspects of a congregants/congregation’s life including Yom HaShoah Service, Yom HaAtzmaut Celebration, and the regular cycle of the synagogue calendar. Prerequisite: Knowledge of cantillation, and experience in Bat/Bar Mitzvah tutoring and/or leading a Bar/Bat Mitzvah service. This course can fulfill the Congregational Dynamics requirement. (1.0 course point)

PRO 342 Life Cycle II Rabbi Doug Sagal
This course is a continuation of PRO 341. Death and funerals, unveilings, and conversion constitute the focus of this semester. A pre-requisite 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 350 Conversion TBA
A study of conversion from historical, practical, halachic, and political perspectives. We will address issues relating to preparing individuals for conversion, the process of conversion itself, and the halakhic and political implications of the conversion process. (1.0 course point)

PRO 374 Anti-Semitism Jerome Chanes
The course will consist of an overview of anti-semitism, from the ancient world to contemporary times. Students will become familiar with both primary and secondary sources, as well as with other illustrative material (film, art, and so on). The course, tailored to the needs of synagogue professionals, will cover the main phases or periods of anti-semitism throughout history, and students will learn the differences between these manifestations as well the continuity between the periods. The course will cover the ancient world; early and Medieval Christianity; the modern and contemporary periods, including the forces of nationalism, socialism, racism, Anti-Zionism, the ‘New Anti-semitism’; the United States; the measurement of anti-semitism; the psychology of anti-semitism; and the counteraction of anti-semitism. (0.5 course point)

PRO 470 Chaplaincy Rabbi Bonita Taylor
Welcome to the world of professional chaplaincy. This mini-course offers an introduction to the role of the Rabbi/Cantor in the modern hospital/long-term care setting. This work-study course delves into the inner emotions of a patient/resident experiencing spiritual distress because of illness, hospitalization and/or aging and your own emotions as you encounter that person. Includes forty hours of supervised Chaplain-Intern visits to patients/residents in a hospital or nursing home. Your community hospital will be considered. Medical clearance is required prior to course beginning. Hospital requirements vary but may include: a note from a medical practitioner certifying your health for this work, blood titers for measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chicken pox), and Tuberculosis tine tests. 100% attendance/participation required in this mini-course. Required book: Why Me? Why Anyone? by Hirshel Jaffe, James Rudin and Marcia Rudin. Although this class is a half-credit course, the sessions are spread throughout the semester to allow sufficient time for clinical service, Not open to first year students. (0.5 course point)

PRO 560 Counseling II Arline Duker
This course will build on the foundations of Counseling I, exploring in greater depth the various roles and opportunities for counseling that are afforded to clergy. Skills of listening, communicating, and understanding the issues likely to be encountered will be reviewed and practiced, with emphasis on developing a repertoire of psychologically sound interventions that relate to Jewish tradition and values, spirituality and healing. Specific topics will include dealing with bereavement, life transitions, abuse, family conflict, addictions, trauma, and ethical considerations for clergy counselors. (1.0 course point)

PRO 700 FWSS Arline Duker, 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 231 Introduction to Talmud Rabbi Jeff Hoffman
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 the essentials of Talmudic logic. Students expected to prepare texts each week without the use of an English translation. The Steinsaltz Hebrew edition will be used. Prerequisite: 1 course point Mishnah. The Havruta session is required of all students. (1.0 course point)

RAB 331 Intermediate Talmud Rabbi Eric HoffmanA continuation of Intermediate Talmud taught in the fall. The Havruta session is required of all students. (1.0 course point)

RAB 511 Pirke deRabbi Eliezer Rabbi Jill Hammer
Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer is an 8th century midrashic work full of insightful interpretations and fantastic legends. It has something to say about everything from creation to the Jewish calendar, from the kidnapping of Sarah to the binding of Isaac, from Jonah and the whale to the final redemption. We’ll read selected chapters, comment on their style and ideas, and consider their meaning for our ancestors and for us (1.0 course point)

RAB 531 Advanced Talmud Rabbi Isaac Mann
A continuation of Advanced Talmud taught in the fall. The Havruta session is required of all students. (1.0 course point)

SPI 125 Meditation Rabbi David Ingber
Meditation and contemplation are ancient practices that have had a renaissance in the last decades. Jewish meditation too has become an important tool for spiritual awakening. We will explore the territory various schools of Jewish meditation offer, from the Talmud and Abulafia, the Baal Shem Tov to our own Buddhist-flavored modern approach. Each class will explore how meditation works, how it was practiced and how we can practice today. (0.5 course point)

SPI 400 Contemporary Midrash Rabbi Jill Hammer
In this course, we’ll explore contemporary poems and stories on biblical characters in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish, and discuss how the modern era has brought new forms of Midrash. We will consider the biblical texts and rabbinic legends that have informed modern authors, and interpret the messages these new writings convey. We will end the course by creating and sharing our own modern midrashim. (1.0 course point)