5769 Fall Course Descriptions

BIB 101 Introduction to Bible Dr. Ora Horn Prouser
This course will introduce the student to modern critical studies of the Bible. Selected texts of the Bible will be studied in depth while broader thematic issues will be surveyed. Various methodologies used by biblical scholars will be introduced to the students. The many meanings of the text and the centrality of the Bible in the Jewish world will be emphasized through careful study. (1.0 course point)

BIB 120 Parshat Hashavuah Rabbi Jill Hammer
We will study three parshiyot in the book of Devarim and three in the book of Genesis, using the method of midrash or expansive exegesis. Focusing on issues of character development, we will examine several rabbinic, medieval, Hasidic and modern midrashim and also have the opportunity to create at least one midrash of our own. (0.5 course point)

BIB 419 Former Prophets Dr. Ora Horn Prouser
An immersion in the texts of the Former Prophets. Extensive study of text will provide opportunities to explore the major themes and structures of the early prophetic literature (1.0 course point)

BIB 405 Isaiah TBA
An in-depth analysis of the Book of Isaiah in light of modern scholarship and traditional commentaries. (1.0 course point)

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

CAN 308 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 425 Advanced Nusah: Shabbat I Cantor Sol Zim; Cantor Lisa Klinger-Kantor
A study of the nusah and cantorial pieces for Shabbat focusing on traditional melodies, prayer modes, and Misinai tunes. Targil section required. (2.0 course points)

CAN 485 Contemporary Shabbat Repertoire Cantor Murray Simon
This interactive course presents an overview of the contemporary musical literature (with some classics) of the Shabbat 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. There is a required final project which is for the student to program and perform their own Shabbat Evening and Morning Service based material covered in class. (1.0 course point)

CAN 527 Israeli Music Cantor Sol Zim

HAL 401 Introduction to Codes Rabbi Eric 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 600 Advanced Codes Rabbi David Greenstein
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. Such study will introduce the student to these areas of inquiry (among others): halakhic determinations, the background and underlying issues that may be reflected in these determinations, the system of intertextual references developed to facilitate navigation through this tradition, characteristics of specific classical halakhic works, such as ‘ among others ‘ RI’F, Rambam’s Yad, Tur, Shulhan `Arukh, and their commentators. Prerequisite: Intro to Codes. (1.0 course point)

HEB 250 Hebrew I Ms. Varda Hubara
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 Ms. 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 415/416 Advanced Hebrew A. Meir/TBA
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)

HIS 505 Issues in Jewish Life Prof. Jerome Chanes
‘Issues in Contemporary Jewish Life’ surveys the evolution of the American and international Jewish communal agenda over the past half-century, and explores a range of contemporary Jewish concerns. The course begins with a brief historical survey, which serves to set a context for the singular ways in which the organized American Jewish community, functioning within a pluralist model, addresses issues of concern on the Jewish communal agenda. Analysis of discrete topic-areas makes up the core of the course. The topics to be covered: antisemitism and Jewish security in America and in Europe, and the question of the ‘new antisemitism’ (the USA and Europe are compared and contrasted with respect to antisemitism); Israel and the Middle East, including both public-affairs matters (for example, the peace process) and endogenous Israeli issues (for example, the ‘conversion crisis’ and other halakhic matters); interreligious relationships (Catholic-Jewish in a new papal era, Protestant-Jewish, Muslim-Jewish, Christian Fundamentalists); the separation of church and state’what are the new communal tensions? civil rights and affirmative action (Why in fact was civil rights’not a priori a ‘Jewish’ issue’high on the American Jewish agenda for many years?); American Jewish and international Jewish demographics and communal issues; social and economic justice. At least one session in the course will be devoted to intra-communal issues, specifically the tensions and ‘fault-lines’ between and within the four American Jewish movements. These will be explored from a historical perspective. The course concludes with a review and analysis of Jewish communal organizations, and of the principles by which American Jews define and refine communal priorities, and with a glimpse into the future of the Jewish agenda.

INT 360 Holocaust Rabbi David Kalb
This class will examine the central themes and core issues that characterize Holocaust theology. We will examine a variety of perspectives and their responses to the Holocaust. We will also analyze the extent to which the Holocaust has impacted on General Jewish religious thought. In addition we will study diverse way to ritualize, remember and educate about the Holocaust

LIT 101 Introduction to Liturgy TBA
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)

LIT 271 Tefillah and Seminar Hazzan Ramon Tasat
A time for the AJR community to gather for prayer, study and shared reflection. Each week, two students will be responsible for preparing tefillah; A seminar to discuss the experience will follow. (0.5 course point)

LIT 305 Shabbat Liturgy TBA
The development of Shabbat liturgical celebrations from Biblical through contemporary periods. A study of the development of: the Shabbat Amidah and special piyyutim; the kabbalat Shabbat service, and the influence of the mystical tradition; home rituals, kiddush and havdalah along with their function in communal and family life. A survey of practices of various contemporary communities representing all streams of Jewish practice. A discussion of congregational dynamics and effective strategies for developing effective and compelling Shabbat liturgy. Prerequisite: Introduction to Liturgy (1.0 course point)

MEC 120 Mechinah 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 Mechinah Jewish Studies 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 301 Bioethics Rabbi Leonard Sharzer
The purpose of the course is to give the student a grounding in issues of biomedical ethics from a Jewish perspective. The course will explore the philosophical and halakhic underpinnings of the decision-making process in dealing with problems in the biomedical sphere, such as those at the beginning and end of life, as well as those involving societal issues such as health care delivery systems. In doing so, we will compare rationales and processes with secular systems as well as other faith-based systems. For each of the areas covered, we will examine in some detail the biological, technological, scientific, and medical nature of the condition or treatment at issue, and evaluate how these questions have been dealt with. In addition to reading in secondary texts, we will study classical and modern halakhic texts from Codes and Responsa literature. (0.5 course point)

PHI 480 Pluralism: Theory and Application Rabbi David Greenstein
What is the significance or value of a pluralistic commitment? Is it basically a practical orientation, a relativistic stance, or does it entail acceptance of certain more fundamental affirmations? In this course we will examine some of the various conceptions of pluralism that have been argued – for and against – by social and religious thinkers. Readings will include traditional Judaic texts as well as contemporary writings, especially from within the Jewish community. In addition to grappling with the theory – promising or problematic – of pluralism, we will also give some attention to issues involved in making pluralism work. Students will be required to give presentations to the class. (1.0 course point)

PRO 001 through PRO 006 Seminar in Core Concepts Rabbi David Greenstein
This is a multi-year sequence of seminars. They include Core Concepts Seminar I, II, III, and IV. 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 three of the four seminars given 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. (0.0 course point)

PRO 140, 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 560 Pastoral Counseling I Ms. Arline Duker
Topics of study include paradigms for the helping relationship, the role of the Rabbi/Cantor as care-giver or counselor, and various contexts for psycho-spiritual interventions. Interpersonal communication and assessment skills are developed, especially the art of listening. Classes will integrate theoretical with experiential learning. (1.0 course point)

PRO 700 Fieldwork Support Seminar Ms. Arline Duker; Rabbi Alan Kay
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. 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 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 Rabbi David Greenstein
The course will be devoted to examining selected sugyot relating to the central concept of human dignity ‘ k’vod ha-b’riot. What is the basis for our valorization of the human. Do specifically Jewish obligations ‘ mitzvot ‘ define, enhance, or impinge upon our human dignity? How do we balance our concern for human dignity and human life with our commitment to other values which we feel are basic to a meaningful Jewish life? Sugyot will be drawn primarily from the Bavli, with some comparative material from other Rabbinic sources, as well as commentaries. Attention will be given to trying to reframe the conceptual and literary aspects of the sugyot into discussions reflective of our contemporary methods of discourse. Prerequisite: 4 course points in Talmud (1.0 course point)

SPI 335 High Holy Days: Texts and Themes Rabbi Jill Hammer
What is the spiritual and emotional work demanded of us on the High Holy Days? How can we use the many different stories and texts of the holiday to guide us in this work? What might the various spiritual uses of the Akedah, the story of Hannah, the Avodah service, be? Work on these and other questions in this mini-mester course focusing on spiritual growth and self-examination through engagement with sacred story.