5769 Spring 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 410 Intermediate Miqraot Gedolot Dr. Walter Herzberg
The course is methodologically oriented, designed to help students acquire and refine skills of close reading of the biblical text by integrating a modern literary approach with the study of traditional Jewish commentaries. Students will learn to identify the questions that have been asked for centuries, creating an ongoing dialogue with ancient, medieval and contemporary close readers. Texts to be studied include selections from among the following chapters: Exodus 1-4, 22, 32 Numbers 12 Deuteronomy 8, 31. The goals of the class include: understanding the literary basis of Rashi’s comments leading to a close reading of the Torah text. comparing Rashi’s comments with those of other commentators (Rashbam, Ibn Ezra, Ramban, Seforno, and more) in order to become sensitized to the possibility of alternative readings of the Torah text. fostering the independent use of the commentaries for study and teaching. uncovering the often inspirational nature of the commentaries. improving skills of reading vocalized and unvocalized Hebrew texts. Prerequisite: Introduction to Parshanut (1.0 course point)

BIB 465 Teaching Bible Dr. Ora Horn Prouser
This mini course will focus on methods of teaching Bible, including classroom teaching, the differences between teaching children and adults, divrei Torah as teaching tools, etc. We will review the philosophies behind the various methodological approaches, and include issues of spirituality, making choices in content, and learning and teaching with the head and with the heart. (0.5 course point)

BIB 505 Wisdom Literature
Dr. Diane Sharon
This mini-course will survey selections from the Writings/Ketubim of the Hebrew Bible/Tanakh, focusing upon the books of Psalms/Tehillim, Proverbs/Mishlei, Lamentations/Eichah, Ecclesiastes/Qohelet, and Job/Iyyov. Our goal is to understand the theology, themes and structure of each work, how they fit into the wider enterprise of Wisdom Literature both in the Bible and in the ancient Near East, and how these are relevant today. After completing this course, students will have preliminary resources at hand to work with these biblical books in congregational and other teaching settings. (0.5 course point)

CAN 102 Faces of Jewish Music Hazzan Ramon Tasat
Too often music lovers have been forced to choose between music styles (congregational vs. cantorial singing, new vs. traditional, choral vs. camp music, etc.) Are those dichotomies relevant in our increasingly cosmopolitan world? Can one look at Jewish music from a different perspective? During this course we will explore music styles ranging from pop and traditional, to klezmer and Latin’brought to life by soloists, choirs. Rabbinical students are invited to take this class as Jewish Music for Rabbis. (0.5 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 115 Introduction to Modes Hazzan Natasha Hirschhorn
A study of the Jewish prayer modes and their application to the liturgy. (1.0 course point)

CAN 312 Cantillation Cantor Rena Shapiro
A continuation of the study of cantillation focusing on the Megilot read on the Festivals and on Lamentations. Prerequisite: CAN 308 (0.5 course point)

CAN 426 Advanced Nusah Cantors Sol Zim and Lisa Klinger-Kantor
An indepth and extensive study of the various motifs that make up the Shaharit and Musaf liturgy. Including plain
Nusah, Recitative and Congregational melodies. Each student will develop and understanding of the vast components that make up of Shabbat Liturgy. Students will be expected to daven the entire Shabbat Shaharit and Musaf services, including the blessing of the new month. Targil section required. (2.0 course points)

CAN 486 Contemporary Repertoire Cantor Murray Simon
Continuation of CAN 485 taught in the fall. (1.0 course point)

CAN 650 Cantorial Classics Cantor Sol Zim
Students will be given the opportunity to sing, analyze, study the style, and learn cantorial, Yiddish and Hebrew concert classics. These are classics taken from the rich musical heritage of traditional and contemporary sources. The objective is for students to learn how to interpret and perform muscially all these classic materials in concert, for services and special occasions. (1.0 course point)

HAL 402 Introduction to Codes Rabbi Eric Hoffman
A continuation of the first semester study of the Shulchan Aruch and Mishneh Torah and their commentaries; text study continues within Orach Chayim and Mishnah Berurah commentary and expands to Yoreh Deah and Bet Yosef commentary on Tur; selections on Shabbat, Yom Tov and Avelut (Mourning). Continuation of HAL 401. (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. Students may register for this class without having taken Advanced Codes in the fall. (1.0 course point)

HEB 251 Hebrew I Ms. Varda Hubara
Continuation of HEB 250. (2.0 course points)

HEB 320 Biblical Hebrew Rabbi Allen Darnov
This course intends to strengthen mastery of Hebrew grammar, especially verb recognition, from an inductive “real text” approach; emphasis will be placed on the importance of grammar in biblical interpretation. Basic differences between biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew will also receive attention. (1.0 course point)

HEB 351 Hebrew II Ms. Varda Hubara
Continuation of HEB 350. (2.0 course point)

HEB 415 Advanced Hebrew Rabbi Aryeh Meir
An opportunity for advanced Hebrew students to use and improve their Hebrew skills. Texts will be read and analyzed, along with opportunities for conversation and discussion. (0.5 course point)

LIT 101 Introduction to Liturgy Rabbi Eric Hoffman
This is the first in the cycle of liturgy courses, which includes additionally courses in Shabbat, Hagim (Joyous Festivals), and Yammim Noraim (Solemn Festivals), respectively; structure and contents of the Siddur; rubrics of the weekday services and their history; concentrated text study, i.e., vocabulary, grammar and prepared translation of assigned passages. (1.0 course point)

LIT 271 Tefillah and Seminar Rabbi Jill Hammer
In this Tefillah and Seminar class, we will be focusing on how to make brief services, particularly minhah and ma’ariv, meaningful. Some prayer forms we may consider: shiva minyanim, prayer as part of other life-cycle events, meditative minyanim, and others. Students will have the opportunity to lead a brief service, and will also debate questions about how best to create prayer space in homes, synagogues, and other contexts. (0.5 course point)

LIT 355 “Bechol Levavchem”- Full-Hearted Creative Liturgy Class. Rabbi David Ingber
Praying with a full heart, with all of our passion can be challenging. We are confronted by language that can, at best, seem irrelevant, and at worst affronting. This class will focus on how we can make davenning more engaging, more enlivening and more relevant. We will explore pathways into the traditional liturgy as well as the use of prayer-phinalia, or prayer techniques culled from an assortment of sources (Sufi, Buddhist, Psychotherapy, etc.). (1.0 course point)

LIT 620 Yammim Noraim Liturgy Rabbi Jeff Hoffman
This interdisciplinary professional seminar for both rabbinic and cantorial students features: halakhic, liturgical, historical, professional and spiritual material necessary to prepare for this season; the evolution of the season from biblical through modern periods; a survey of various contemporary mahzorim; discussions of strategies for the rabbi and cantor to prepare themselves to lead various congregations through the experience of Yamim Noraim. Prerequisite: 1 course point Liturgy. (1.0 course point)

MEC 130 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 131 Mechina Jewish Studies Rabbis Eric Hoffman and Aryeh Meir
A continuation of the first semester course of preparation for students seeking to matriculate in either the Rabbinical School or the Cantorial School of The Academy for Jewish Religion; outline of Jewish history since 1700, survey of major post-Biblical works, the contemporary State of Israel, Jewish current events, preparation of the d’var Torah; students continue to visit selected synagogues and a cultural institution and prepare reports on those visits; ongoing written reflection on personal development.
0.0 course points)

PHI 311 Medieval Philosophy Dr. Len Levin
Explores the work of the leading Jewish philosophers of the Medieval period; reference made to original sources. A discussion of their work will be placed within the larger context of Medieval philosophy. (1.0 course point)

PHI 352 Is Kashrut Kosher? Modern Ethical Debates Around Kashrut Rabbi Jill Hammer
Drawn from the pages of recent newspaper articles, this course will consider ethical questions currently facing the American Jewish community regarding the laws of kashrut. The course will cover the connections and conflicts between kashrut and tza’ar ba’alei hayyim (avoiding the suffering of animals), labor violations such as those alleged at the Agriprocessors meat-packing plant, issues of rabbinic supervision and business ethics, and the advent of modern ethical certifications such as the “Heksher Tzedek.” We will consider the ways that the Shulchan Arukh and other legal codes deal with these issues, as well as modern essays on kashrut dilemmas. This course will require a paper dealing with one of the above topics or a related issue. (0.5 course point)

PRO 002/004 Core Concepts II and IV Rabbi David Greenstein
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 II begins with the terms nefesh/neshamah, and Core Concepts IV begins with the terms mizrah/ma’arav (0.0 course point)

PRO 140/141 Ritual Skills Workshop
In this workshop students will have the opportunity to learn and practice ritual skills to prepare for fulfillment of the yearly ritual skills requirement. The class together with the teacher will decide which skills to cover each semester. (0.0 course point)

PRO 323 Congregational Dynamics Rabbi Doug Sagal
This mini-course will provide the student with skills to successfully and effectively serve in the modern congregational system. Topics will include the dyamics of congregational life, dealing with triangulation, working with colleagues in the same congregation, dealing with conflict, and managing change effectively. The instructor has been a congregational rabbi for twenty years, serving in varied congregational environments. (0.5 course point)

PRO 365 Judaism and Social Justice in a Globalized Context 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 371 Contemporary Denominations Professor Jerome Chanes
Survey of the various streams of Jewish religious life in the US and the world. In each case there will be an examination of history, principal institutions and current ‘hot’ issues. (1.0 course point)

PRO 470 Chaplaincy Rabbi Bonita Taylor
An introduction to the role of the Rabbi/Cantor in the modern hospital setting. This work-study course delves into the inner emotions of a person experiencing spiritual distress because of unwellness and hospitalization and your own as you encounter that person. Includes forty hours of supervision punctuated by Chaplain-Intern visits in a medical institution. Your local hospitals or nursing homes may be considered. 100% attendance/participation required in this mini-course. Although this class is a half-credit course, the sessions are spread throughout the semester to allow sufficient time for the supervised hospital work. Not open to first year students. (0.5 course point)

PRO 560 Counseling II Ms. Arline Duker
Employing concepts developed in Part I (PRO 215), specific examples culled from the daily life of rabbis/cantors are utilized to highlight the psychological issues in life-cycle events, pastoral diagnosis and referral, pastoral care and counseling. Special topics, including including mental health issues, individual and community crisis situations, confidentiality and ethical concerns. Prerequisite: Counseling I (1.0 course point)

PRO 700/701 FWSS Ms. Arline Duker and Rabbi David Schuck
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. 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 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 331 Intermediate Talmud Rabbi Eric Hoffman
A continuation of the first semester study of Gemara with Rashi and Tosafot; training in the interpretation of the text using Rashi as the basis and learning the language and dialectic of Tosafot as an extension of the issues raised in the Gemara or as an alternative to Rashi’s interpretation; selections from Seder Moed and Seder Nezikin. (1.0 course point)

RAB 531 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’riyot“-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.