5772 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 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 320          Five Megillot Rabbi Jill Hammer

In this course, we will explore ancient midrash and modern literary understandings of Ecclesiastes, Ruth, the Song of Songs, Lamentations, Esther and the book of Jonah. We will also analyze these books for their liturgical placement in the Jewish calendar, and their theological diversity. We will discuss the text of each book as well as a selection of midrashic and contemporary readings. Students will be expected to develop their own literary and/or midrashic approaches to several of these discrete biblical works. (1.0 course point)

CAN 108         Choir Cantor Leon Sher

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 nushaot of Shabbat, Festival, High Holiday and Life Cycle liturgy.  (0.5 course point)

CAN 131         Musical Skills II Mr. Stanley Dorn

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

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: Regalim Cantors Lisa Klinger-Kantor; Sol Zim

A study of the nusah and cantorial pieces for use on the Shalosh Regalim focusing on traditional melodies, prayer modes, and Misinai tunes. (2.0 course points)

CAN 525         Ladino Music: Lashon i musica de mi madre (Language and music of my mother) Cantor Richard Botton

An exploration of Ladino and its musical repertoire using a Master Class format; its purpose is to acquaint students with the Sephardic experience, and joy of its expression through the language of Ladino, the language of the Sephardic Jews. Students will be graded by the level of preparation of each assigned piece. This course fulfills the Diverse Musical Traditions requirement. (0.5 course point)

CAN 528         Hassidic Music Cantor Sol Zim

CAN 563         Conducting Cantor Sol Zim

An in-depth exploration of how to create a Congregational or community choir. We will study various techniques of vocal warm-ups, proper breathing, phrasing and proper intonation of voice for choral singing as opposed to solo singing. Learn to conduct various rhythms, utilizing hands, heads, and body motions. In addition, we will share techniques in how to teach children s and teenage choirs, and teenage choirs. (0.5 course point)

CAN 601         Composition Cantor Gerald Cohen

In this class, we will work on techniques of creating a melody, writing a simple accompaniment, and arranging your own or preexisting melodies for 2, 3 or 4 part choir.  We will also study examples of other composers  melodies and arrangements, and, depending on the experience of the students in the class, may also work on larger original projects. (.05 course point)

HAL 410         Introduction to Codes Rabbi Iscah Waldman

This course will introduce the literature of the Codes. Selections from the major halakhic texts will be studied along with introductions to author biographies and various commentaries. (1.0 course point)

HAL 460         Intermediate 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 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 550         Advanced Hebrew Ms. Varda Hubara

A continuation of the study of Hebrew, leading to a greater degree of fluency and understanding through the study of Hebrew literature, classical Jewish texts, and grammatical study.  Prerequisite: Hebrew I and II (1.0 course point)

LIT 101          Introduction to Liturgy Rabbi Jeff 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 Aliza Erber

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 TBA

This class covers preparatory work in text and Jewish history in addition to experiential work, to prepare students to begin the rabbinic and cantorial programs (0.0 course point)

PHI 316          Modern Philosophy Rabbi 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)

PHI 510 Gender in Jewish Mysticism Rabbi Jill Hammer

This course is an exploration of how femininity/masculinity has been portrayed in Jewish mystical sources, and what the theological category of gender means for kabbalists. We will consider the presence of a multigendered God in Jewish mysticism and consider what that means for human beings. Students will analyze mystical texts for how they present gender as a divine and human category, and develop their own approach to the spiritual issues of gender presented by traditional kabbalah. This course will be taught mostly in translation. (1.0 course point)

PRO 006         Core Concepts VI 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 6 begins with the words avot v imahot. (0.0 course point)

PRO 015         Ritual Skills Workshop Cantor Murray Simon

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 341         Life Cycle I TBA

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 377         ISRAELITY: A 21st century Lens on Living Israel Ms. Sandy Kilstein

This course has been designed as an effort to help each student develop a more nuanced approach in developing a personal understanding and a better grounding in his/her relationship with the State of Israel. By inviting a series of outside speakers representing many different organizations and approaches, we will try to gain perspective on a range of connections to Israel life, culture and politics, concentrating on issues less highlighted in popular media. As a class, we will try to process the broad scope of opinions, facts, and approaches. It is hoped that this process of hearing from many different viewpoints, and analyzing them together will lead each student, as an individual and as a member of the clergy, to a more concrete personal grounding in feelings and in facts. (1.0 course point)

PRO 480         Divorce Ms. Arline Duker

This course will focus on issues that arise during the often lengthy and painful process of divorce as it is experienced by the couple who are separating, as well as by various members of the immediate and extended family. Rabbis and cantors are often sought out for support, guidance, and assistance at different times during and after the divorce (for help with obtaining a get, for advice, for counseling/mediation, for wisdom and spiritual direction) and must deal with complicated and often  emotional family conflicts in their congregations. Readings, class discussions, and case presentations will cover all these areas. Specific topics will include an understanding of legal issues (Jewish and secular law), social adjustments, psychological and emotional reactions (especially grief, loss and anger), changing family dynamics, the needs of children, and changes in identity that often occur. The role of clergy in helping people cope and heal ”and creating an atmosphere of safe neutrality ”will be explored in detail, including ways that the congregation and community can be encouraged to be helpful and compassionate to all family members. (1.0 course point)

PRO 700         Field Work Support Seminar Ms. Arline Duker; TBA

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 Isaac Mann

This course will introduce the students to the study of Mishnah, which forms the basis of the Talmud and subsequent rabbinic literature. We will discuss the origin of mishnaic compositions, the concept of mahloket, the role of the Tannaim, and the editing of the Mishnah by R. Judah Ha-Nasi. We will then examine the structure of the work  “ its divisions into six orders and the tractates that compose each order. The bulk of the classes will be devoted to the study of approximately 25-30 mishnayot that will represent a sampling of this corpus. We will learn various rabbinic concepts and terminology from these mishnayot. The topics will cover a broad range, from prayer (in Zeraim) to rites of purification (in Taharot), from mishnayot that focus on halakhah to those that deal with ethics and morality (in Avot). We will also look at some issues of composition, in particular the notion of strata in the Mishnah. By the end of the semester the student is expected to have a fairly good introduction to  œrabbinic thinking  and be able to progress into the study of Talmud. (1.0 course point)

RAB 230         Introduction to Talmud Rabbi Jeff Hoffman

Students will acquire the skills to identify the component parts of the talmudic sugya and the relationships between them. This includes the ability to recognize the elements and functions of the talmudic argument, especially the kushia (objection) and the terutz (resolution). This also includes the ability to distinguish between tannaitic, amoraic, and anonymous passages. Students will also learn the basics of talmudic terminology, vocabulary and grammar. Students are expected to prepare texts with the help of dictionaries, Hebrew commentaries and translations (e.g., Steinsaltz), and vocabulary lists, without the use of English translations. The Havruta session is required of all students. (1.0 course point)

RAB 310         Events of Revelation Through Talmud and Midrash Rabbi Eric Hoffman

In Exodus chapters 19-40, from the portion of Yitro through Pekudei, occur the consequential events of Revelation: arrival at Mount Sinai, preparation of the people, Moses s ascents and descents, Divine phenomena, the Ten Commandments, role of priests and elders, tablets of stone, detailed ordinances, Moses s writing of the Torah, offering of sacrifices, mandate of the Tabernacle, idolatry of the Golden Calf, Divine punishment and reconciliation. These events will be examined through the prism of Talmud, Midrash and Commentary, for both their aggadic significance and their Rabbinic chronology. One of the goals of this text study will be the creation of a calendar of Revelation events from Rosh Hodesh Sivan through the following Rosh Hodesh Nisan. (1.0 course point)

RAB 330         Intermediate Talmud TBA

This course will continue the study of the Talmud, its structure and concepts. Attention will be devoted to the application of Rashi in comprehension of the sugia and Tosafot for the raising and resolution of novel issues. Emphasis will be placed upon the dialectic of Talmudic arguments. Tractates to be announced. Havruta session is required of all students. (1.0 course point)

RAB 530         Advanced Talmud Rabbi Michael Pitkowsky

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. (1.0 course point)