BIB 309  The Book of Judges
Dr. Malka Strasberg Edinger

This course explores the book of Judges, a book about Israel’s formative years as a nation learning to self-govern. The course offers an in-depth analysis of the stories, themes, and historical background of the texts, as it explores the characteristics and roles of leaders and ideological approaches to the notion of leadership in the book. The course focuses on narrative art of the texts via close readings of select passages. The Ancient Near Eastern context of the book of Judges will be used to assist in understanding the texts on another, deeper, layer. This course satisfies the Leadership in the Bible: Nevi’im Rishonim requirement.
Prerequisite: In order to count this class as a biblical text class, students must have taken Introduction to Bible. Otherwise, students may count this class as an elective.
2 credits
Required Texts: TBD

BIB 350  The Book of Deuteronomy: Life in the Promised Land as a Mixed Blessing
Dr. Job Jindo

This course offers a close critical reading of the book of Deuteronomy, revolving around the themes of individuality, collectivity, and humanity. By the conclusion of this course, each student will be able to: (1) explain the structure, purposes, and theological perspective of Deuteronomy; (2) provide three examples of how Deuteronomy helps us understand the human condition in our own day; and (3) teach the book of Deuteronomy to contemporary audiences, incorporating AJR values such as critical rigor, inclusivity, and a commitment to the pluralistic, contemporary Jewish and broader communities.
Prerequisite: In order to count this class as a biblical text class, students must have taken Introduction to Bible. Otherwise, students may count this class as an elective.
2 credits
Required Texts: TBD

BIB 511  Studies in the Book of Job: When Bad Things Happen to a Good Person
Dr. Job Jindo

How should we approach the question of why bad things happen to good people? How shouldn’t we? And why? Where can we find resources to cope with evil? This course will explore these and other related issues of human suffering through a critical reading of the book of Job. By the conclusion of this course, students will be able to: (1) explain the structure, purposes, and theological outlook of Job; (2) discuss biblical theologies of evil and tragedy; and (3) provide examples from the book of Job to understand the human condition in today’s world.
Prerequisite: In order to count this class as a biblical text class, students must have taken Introduction to Bible. Otherwise, students may count this class as an elective.
2 credits
Required Texts: TBD

BIB 520  The Psalms That Clergy Use
Rabbi Jef Segelman

Psalms are important element in the toolbox of the clergy. They are part of our liturgy, our life cycle rituals, and they often set the tone for moments of commemoration and introspection. In this class, we will take an in-depth look at many of the psalms that regularly find their way into our work and our prayers. Our goal will be not only to learn how to use them more effectively, but also how we may use them to further our professional and personal spiritual growth.
Prerequisite: In order to count this class as a biblical text class, students must have taken Introduction to Bible. Otherwise, students may count this class as an elective.
2 credits
Required Texts:

  1. Segal, Benjamin J., A New Psalm: A Guide to Psalms as Literature (BIBLE/TANACH Book 10), ISBN: 965229618X, $55.00
  2. Alter, Robert, The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary, ISBN: 0393337049, $19.95
  3. Artscroll/Mesorah, The Writings: The Book of Psalms English and Hebrew 2018, ISBN: 1422620014, $33

CAN 322  Cantillation: Yammim Noraim and Eikhah
Cantor Robin Anne Joseph

This course is an in-depth study of Eastern European cantillation for Yammim Noraim and Eikhah. In addition to reviewing the history, function, and art of cantillation, participants will work to demonstrate proficiency in recognizing and chanting the various cantillation phrases for these two tropes.
This course is open to both rabbinical and cantorial students.
2 credits
Prerequisite: Introduction to Cantillation or equivalent
Required Texts: TBD

CAN 387  Shir LaShalom: Music, Process, and Peace Within and Without
Rabbi Cantor Michael McCloskey
In these sessions we will explore Jewish sources (Biblical, Classical Rabbinic, Medieval, and Modern) on the intersection of music and peace from a holistic perspective.  We will engage with ideas, writings (scholarly and creative), and real-life examples of music as it relates to communication, siblinghood, cultivation of equanimity, trauma, memory, and catharsis, diversity, the particular and universal, and the building blocks of cultural change.
This course will fulfill the Peace Studies III requirement for cantorial students or serve as an elective for rabbinical students.
2 credits
Required Texts: TBD

CAN 430  Advanced Nusah Regalim
Cantors Sol Zim and Lisa Klinger-Kantor

An in depth extensive study of the vast Mi-sinai tunes that make up the Regalim liturgy. Each student must develop an understanding of the various motifs and nushaot and how to use them in the course of davening. Both sections required.
4 credits
Required Texts: TBD

CAN 527  Israeli Music
Rabbi Cantor Luis Cattan

Israeli popular music can be seen as interpretive prayer, poetry that arises directly and/or creatively as a unique and extraordinary form of liturgy. In this course, we will explore, study, and get inspired by contemporary and timely expressions of prayer that can inspire us personally and be useful in various praying and teaching settings. We will cover the Israeli state’s founding poets, musical legends, and newcomers alike, who help us connect not only to the individual artists but also to liturgy in a more expansive way, and to Israel’s history (both in wartime and peacetime), her resilience, her beauty, and her personal and collective stories.
This course can count toward the Tefilah and Seminar requirement or as an elective. Open to both cantorial and rabbinical students.
1 credit
This class runs the second half of the trimester.
Required Texts: TBD

HAL 402  Introduction to Codes II
Rabbi David Almog

The purpose of this course is to instill greater proficiency, appreciation and familiarity in the study of Rambam’s Mishneh Torah. Similar to the first trimester course, there will be a strong eye towards grammar, syntax, and the basic idiom of halakhic literature, but there will also be a greater emphasis on the sources and context of Rambam’s presentation of halakhah. The goal is to gain an appreciation of Maimonides’ approach to halakhah, his style of presentation, and to learn more about the topic under discussion within the broader framework of halakhic discourse.
Prerequisite: HAL 401 or equivalent
2 credits
Required Texts: TBD

HAL 480  Responsa
Rabbi Matthew Goldstone, PhD
In this course we will conduct a close reading of rabbinic responsa from a variety of historic periods, and become familiar with some their authors, tracing the responsa literature from its earliest origins to its 21st century expression. Selected responsa will cover a range of topics and areas of Jewish life.  Contemporary responsa studied will reflect a wide spectrum of perspectives and denominational origins. As part of our investigation, we will examine the nature of halakha in light of various theories as to how the halakhic process works.
Prerequisite: Hebrew IIA
2 credits
Required Texts: TBD

HEB 250  Hebrew IA
Michal Nachmany

Using the second volume of Hebrew from Scratch (‘עברית מן ההתחלה ב), students will read and listen to texts of different genres – informative, literary and narrative – and different historical registers. A vocabulary of about 500 additional words will be presented and practiced; special attention will be given to dictionary look-up skills. Grammatical topics include nominal and possessive sentences in the future, relative and conditional clauses, the future tense of Pa’al, and declensions of various prepositions.
Prerequisite: Mechina 150 or equivalent
4 credits
Required Texts:

  1. Shlomit Chayat, Sara Israeli, Hilla Kobliner, Hebrew From Scratch Textbook Part II (English and Hebrew Edition) 2001 Edition, ISBN: 9653501275, $80.93

HEB 351  Hebrew IIB
Ilana Davidov

In the beginning of this course students will complete the last four lessons of the second volume of Hebrew from Scratch עברית מן ההתחלה ב . It will include an intensive review of the verb system in the active בניינים and their gerunds, and a
brief introduction to the passive בניינים (פועל), הופעל, real and unreal condition, comparative and superlative sentences.
Depending on the class progress, students may work towards the end of the trimester with more advanced material.
Prerequisite: Hebrew IIA or equivalent
4 credits
Required Texts:

  1. Shlomit Chayat, Sara Israeli, Hilla Kobliner, Hebrew From Scratch Textbook Part II (English and Hebrew Edition) 2001 Edition, ISBN: 9653501275, $80.93

HEB 401  Hebrew IIIB
Ilana Davidov

The focus of this course will be on reading comprehension of adapted informative and narrative texts in Modern Hebrew as well as listening comprehension and speaking. Written, oral and aural assignments will enhance communicative and comprehension skills while improving absorption and integration of vocabulary and grammar. This course will also include a review of the verb system. The listening assignments will include videos which depict religious and secular life in Israel.
Prerequisite: Hebrew IIIA or the equivalent
4 credits
Required Texts: TBD

HIS 350  American Jewish History and Culture
Rabbi David Fine

What has it meant to be Jewish in America in the modern era? It is a provocative question, and one that has many different answers depending on the time period, region and perspective. This course will explore some of these answers and the debates surrounding them by examining the history and culture of the Jewish community in North America, starting with the first Jewish immigrants in the seventeenth century, and working our way to the present day. Among the topics covered will be the different waves of Jewish immigration, the evolving role of women within American Judaism, relations with other immigrant and minority communities, and the complex relationship of the various denominations and the Zionist movement. Looking at these and other subjects will help us to understand how the community has arrived at the place it is today.
2 credits
Required Texts: None

HIS 400  Great Ideas and Debates of Jewish History I
Dr. Alan Levenson

This course will examine the ideas and debates that affected Jewish belief, culture, and society throughout the ages, from the late biblical period up through the classical rabbinic era (also called Late Antiquity). We will explore internal arguments within Judean society, the developing concepts of Jewish identity, the similarities and differences between Jews in Eretz Yisrael and in the Diaspora, Jewish interactions with pagan and early Christian society, and above all, the rise of rabbinic culture and its consolidation of post-70 CE Judaism.
2 credits
Required Texts:

  1. Levenson, Jon, Sinai and Zion, ISBN: 006254828X, $25.40
  2. Segal, Alan, Rebecca’s Children: Judaism and Christianity in the Roman World, ISBN: 0674750760, $51.35

LIT 305  Shabbat Liturgy
Rabbi Jeff Hoffman, DHL

A study of the development of the major prayers that make up all four of the Shabbat worship services. Special emphasis will be placed on the influence of the mystical tradition on Kabbalat Shabbat. Texts of central prayers will be analyzed from a historical, literary, and spiritual perspective. Attention will be paid to a survey of practices of various contemporary communities representing various streams of Jewish practice as well as to congregational dynamics and effective strategies for developing effective and compelling Shabbat liturgy.
Prerequisite: Introduction to Liturgy
2 credits
Required Texts:

  1. Rabbi Nosson Scherman, Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz, eds., The Complete Artscroll Siddur. Full-Size. Ashkenaz. Note: This is the standard text, not the interlinear edition.
  2. Jeffrey Hoffman, Weaving Prayer: An Analytical and Spiritual Commentary on the Jewish Prayer Book. Available through: https://www.benyehudapress.com/

MEC  150 Mechina III
Yifat Avner

This course covers the second half of Hebrew from Scratch 1 (עברית מן ההתחלה א). It takes the students from learning the mechanics of reading and writing unvoweled Hebrew to active mastery of 1200 words, knowledge of the past tense in all of the גזרות of Pa’al as well as the past tense of regular verbs in Pi’el, Hif’il and Hitpa’el reading comprehension of dialogues relating to everyday life, as well as descriptive, narrative and informative texts on Jewish and Israeli cultural topics.
Prerequisite: Mechina II or the equivalent
No credit
Required Texts:

  1. Hebrew From Scratch Textbook Part I (English and Hebrew Edition) 2019 Edition. Sara Israeli, Hilla Kobliner, Shlomit Chayat.  Amazon $64.42 ISBN 9653501127
  2. Mi-Po Le-Sham Part 1: A Companion Text for “Hebrew from Scratch Part 1”. Ester Simons, Magnes Press $21 ISBN: 978-965-350-151-5

PHI 312 Modern Philosophy
Rabbi Len Levin, PhD

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 5 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.
2 credits
Required Texts:

  1. I and Thou, Martin Buber and Walter Kaufmann, Amazon $14.19 ISBN 0684717255
  2. God In Search of Man, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Amazon $16.99 ISBN 0374513317

Optional Books:

1. On Jewish Learning, Franz Rosenzweig, Amazon $17.48 ISBN 0274724065
2. His Life and Thought, Franz Rosenzweig and Nahum Glatzer Amazon $19.00 ISBN 0872204286.
3. Judaism As A Civilization : Toward a Reconstruction of American Jewish Life, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, Amazon $35.49 ISBN 0827609183
4. The Meaning of God in Modern Jewish Religion, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, Amazon $32.99 ISBN 0814325521
5. Halakhic Man, Joseph Soloveitchik, Amazon $17.99 ISBN 0827603975
6. The Lonely Man of Faith, Joseph Soloveitchik, Amazon $13.83 ISBN 0385514085
7. Choices in Modern Jewish Thought: A Partisan Guide, Eugene Borowitz, Amazon $16.40 ISBN 0874415810

PRO 300  Who Are Our Adult Learners and How Do We Engage?
Susan Werk

Adults bring independence, self-direction, life experiences, readiness, and motivation to their learning.  In this course we will better understand the unique opportunities and challenges that synagogue educators face when teaching the different stages of adult learners.   At the end of the course, in addition to analyzing and preparing for adult education,  AJR students might understand their own learning style better.
This is an intersession course, online only.
2 credits
Required Texts: TBD

PRO 312   Digital Innovation in Jewish Life
Rabbi David Paskin

This course explores the transformative impact of technology on Jewish community, education, ritual life and spiritual practices. Over 11 sessions, students will delve into the ways digital tools and platforms are reshaping Jewish life, from online learning environments and virtual communities to digital spirituality and ethics. The course will feature case studies, practical applications, and discussions on the future of Judaism in a digital age. Participants will gain hands-on experience with various technologies, learn strategies for effective integration, and critically assess the implications of a tech-enhanced Jewish experience.
This course will count toward the Entrepreneurship requirement.
1 credit
Required Texts: TBD

PRO 560  Counseling II
Cantor Michael Kasper

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, and the various skills needed to provide appropriate help. Ways to effectively listen, communicate, and understand 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.  In addition, we will review methods of needs assessment, and the role of clergy in making appropriate referrals to other professionals.

We will explore the impact of doing this work on the Rabbi/Cantor and their family.  Possibilities for a conflict of roles, especially in congregational settings will be discussed, in the context of ethics and personal boundaries. Part of the course will deal with the relationship between pastoral counselor and those who seek help; learning to set limits when helping others; and what to do when you are in over your head.  Specific issues that are likely to arise in congregational settings will be highlighted, such as death and bereavement, life transitions, abuse, family and marital problems, addictions, and traumatic events.
Prerequisite: Counseling I or permission of the instructor
2 credits
Required Texts:

  1. Jewish Pastoral Care A Practical Handbook from Traditional & Contemporary Sources, 2nd edition, Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman Amazon $36.08 ISBN 1580234275
  2. A Practical Guide to Rabbinic Counseling: A Jewish Lights Classic Reprint, Feldheim Publishers, Rabbi Yisrael N. Levitz and Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski MD, Amazon $22.99 ISBN 1681629658
  3. How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies, Theresa A. Rando, Amazon $15.99 ISBN‎ 0553352695

PRO 700 Field Work Support Seminar
Rabbi Beth Kramer-Mazer and Rabbi Jef Segelman, 2 sessions, see course schedule
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 term by Rabbi Jef Segelman.
No credit
Required Texts: None

RAB 101  Introduction to Mishnah
Rabbi Joshua Cahan

This course will introduce students to the study of Mishnah, its historical context, and its place in rabbinic literature. Over the course of the trimester, students will gain greater familiarity with the Rabbinic Hebrew of the Mishnah and its idiom, as well the style and structure of the text. Additionally, we will explore the background for the development of the Mishnah, and its reception history as part of the classical rabbinic corpus.
Prerequisite: Students in this course must be at the level of HEB 350 (Hebrew 2A) or above.
2 credits
Required Texts: TBD

RAB 231  Introduction to Talmud II
Rabbi Jeff Hoffman, DHL
In this second half of the two-trimester Introduction to Talmud course, students will continue to develop their skills in decoding the dialectic of the talmudic discourse. This term, the text will be studied in its original languages. Students will prepare the Steinsaltz commentary (Hebrew) with the help of vocabulary sheets provided by the instructor. Modern critical methodologies of Talmud study – identifying the three layers of Tannaitic, Amoraic, and Stam material – will be introduced. Study of basic Aramaic terms and Talmudic organic logic will resume. The content will be the various halakhic and theological approaches to the Amidah found in Tractate Berakhot, chapter 4.
The Havruta session is required of all students.
Prerequisite: Introduction to Talmud I or equivalent
2 credits
Required Texts:

  1. Steinsaltz Talmud, volume 1, Berakhot. This is the original all-Hebrew edition of the
    Steinsaltz Talmud. While it is out of print, students should write to Rabbi Yossi Pollak at Koren
    Publishers, tell him that they are students of Rabbi Jeff Hoffman, and that they want to order the
    slightly imperfect remaining copies of the original, large size, Steinsaltz Talmud edition of
    Tractate Berakhot. Rabbi Pollak is available via [email protected]
  2. Marcus Jastrow, A Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi and
    Midrashic Literature. This book is available in standard, hard-copy form. It is also available, in
    its entirety, available for free on Sefaria.org but it is easier to use in hard-copy.
  3. Yitzhak Frank, The Practical Talmud Dictionary. This, too, is available for free online, but is
    easier to use in hard-copy.

RAB 362  Widening the Tent: Women in the Torah Explored through Midrash
Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD
Although many biblical women have only a few scenes, the unfolding of rabbinic midrash fills out these characters in wonderful ways.  In this class, we will explore women in the Torah through close readings of biblical text and a variety of midrashic interpretations.  We’ll consider the role of modern creative interpretation in widening these stories even further, and try our hand at expanding the midrashic tradition ourselves.
Prerequisite: Introduction to Midrash and Hebrew 251 (HEB 1B) or equivalent
2 credits
Required Texts: TBD

RAB 530  Advanced Talmud
Rabbi Matthew Goldstone, PhD
This course will hone students’ abilities to critically read, parse, and understand Talmudic material that is relevant for understanding contemporary Judaism. This semester will focus on sugyot related to kashrut, which will provide students with a historical and literary understanding of the underpinnings of contemporary kashrut observances.
Prerequisite: Three trimesters of Talmud and Hebrew 350 (HEB 2A) or equivalent
2 credits
Required Texts: TBD