5773 Fall Course Descriptions

CAN 115  – Introduction to Modes  Cantor Murray Simon
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 250 – 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 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 336 – Guitar Mr. Stanley Dorn
In this course students will learn the basics of playing guitar which has become so important in much of synagogue life. (1.0 course point)

CAN 426  – Adv. Nusah – Shabbat II Cantors Lisa Klinger-Kantor and Sol Zim
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 486 – Contemporary Repertoire – Shabbat II 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 performed 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 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 Service based on material covered in class.    The goal of this course is to acquaint the student with this body of material so that it can be applied for practical use in real Shabbat Worship situations. (1.0 course point)

HAL 401 – Introduction to Codes Mr. Will Friedman
This course will introduce students to the literature of the halakhic codes, with a focus on Maimonides  Mishneh Torah.  We will explore several facets of the text: its internal dynamics and unique features; the way in which it sets the standard for Jewish legal codification; and the ways in which it its faithful to its earlier sources and how it reshapes them.  Emphasis will be placed on precise and accurate reading of the text, with commentaries consulted as necessary. Prerequisite: One semester of Talmud. (1.0 course point)

HAL 600 – Advanced Codes Rabbi Michael Pitkowsky
This course examines 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: Two semesters of  Hebrew I (2.0 course point)

HEB 414 – Advanced Hebrew Ms. Varda Hubara
An opportunity for advanced Hebrew students to improve their Hebrew skills through reading and analyzing various texts: Biblical, Rabbinic and Modern. In addition we will look at Hebrew Syntax in order to understand and appreciate more Biblical and Classic texts. We will write essays, poetry, and prayers  which will be read and discussed in class. This course may be taken multiple times as the subject matter will change each semester. Prerequisite:  two semesters of Hebrew II (1.0 course point)

LIT 101 – Introduction to Liturgy Rabbi Joan Farber
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 305 – Shabbat Liturgy Rabbi Jeff Hoffman
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. Texts of central prayers will be analyzed from a historical, literary and spiritual perspective. Some attention will be paid to a survey of practices of various contemporary communities representing all streams of Jewish practice as well as to congregational dynamics and effective strategies for developing effective and compelling Shabbat liturgy. Prerequisite: Introduction to Liturgy (1.0 course point).

MEC 121 – Mechina  Dr. Eliza 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)

PHI 311 – Medieval Philosophy Rabbi Len Levin

The classics of medieval Jewish philosophy will be considered as efforts in the ongoing project to articulate a coherent Jewish world-outlook.  How did they seek to integrate the value-orientation of the Bible with the best (Greek)  œscience  of their age?  How might their attempts at integration serve as models for us? Texts to be studied will include:  Bible, Plato, Aristotle, Philo, Saadia, Halevi, and Maimonides (with intensive attention devoted to the Guide for the Perplexed). (1.0 course point)

PHI 353 – The Ethics of Evolution of Jewish Law Rabbi Darby Leigh

The human body, in 21st century North American society, is becoming more colorful. More and more public figures, including musicians, actors, and athletes, are displaying tattooed skin, and thousands of young Jews are getting tattoos. Yet it is a commonly held principle that “tattooing is against Judaism.” What does that mean? Is that true? Where does this idea come from, and what do our traditional sources actually tell us about this issue? Do they all say the same thing? Exactly what did the ancient rabbis think of body art and how does this influence our choices today? What would you say to a Jewish person who was interested in getting a tattoo? How do we as rabbis respond to this new trend? Using tattooing as a case study, this course presents an approach to studying how Jewish ideals, laws, and customs develop over time. We will also think about our own relationships to those ideals, laws, and customs and explore how we might speak about them with congregants and others.

PHI 460 – Comparative Religion for Jewish Religious Leaders Rabbi Jill Hammer

This course will survey the theologies, practices, core texts, and current circumstances of a variety of religious traditions, including Christianity (Catholicism, Protestantism, Mormonism), Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Wicca.  The goal of the course is to increase students’ knowledge base around each of these traditions, note their place in our cultural milieu, and consider the possibilities for coexistence and/or dialogue. Special emphasis will be placed on traditions with which our students are likely to come into contact as rabbis. (1.0 course point)

PRO 003 – Core Concepts III 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 two years of the seminars given in the sequence, but they need not be taken in order.  (0.0 course point)

PRO 215 – Counseling I Ms. Arline Duker
Students develop their interpersonal communication skills, especially the ability to listen and respond in the context of both formal and informal counseling situations. We explore paradigms for the helping relationship, the role of the rabbi/’cantor in pastoral and congregational counseling, and the variety of opportunities for psycho-spiritual intervention.  Classes integrate theoretical and practical counseling strategies, and blend discussion with experiential learning. (1.0 course point)

PRO 310 – Homiletics/Divrei Torah Rabbi Jeffrey Segelman
An exploration into the structure and content of the pulpit sermon and the written d’var Torah.  Attention will be paid to traditional and nontraditional varieties of pulpit discourse as well as to available resource materials in the sermonic field.  Students will also focus on the structure and development of a written d’var Torah. (1.0 course point)

PRO 330 – Bar/Bat Mitzvah Rabbi Robert Freedman
This class will look at Bar/Bat Mitzvah as a rite of passage. It will examine the children themselves, issues affecting their families, and synagogue policies. We will look closely at the specific educational needs of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child; and how a tutor can guide students successfully on their paths. We ll examine Bar/Bat Mitzvah as a path to Jewish identity development and study classical texts as they relate to Bar/Bat Mitzvah. We ll look at the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service and the role of the Rabbi and Cantor. The class will focus on difficult issues that inevitably arise during the planning of this rite of passage. In addition, we will look at the new creative ideas surrounding Bar/Bat Mitzvah, both those that occur within synagogue settings, and those that are done privately and we will discuss the issues of private b nei mitzvah. This course can fulfill the Congregational Dynamics requirement. (1.0 course point)

PRO 700 – Field Work Support Seminar 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 Tuesday or the Wednesday section. 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 231  – Introduction to Talmud Rabbi Jeff Hoffman
Continuation of RAB 230 taught in the spring. Prerequisite: one semester of Talmud. The 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.  Prerequisite: four semesters of Talmud. (1.0 course point)