case western reserve university



Courses Offered Spring 2014

JDST/ RLGN/ ANTH 233: Introduction to Jewish Folklore
Judith Neulander (TR 1:15-2:30)

JDST/ RLGN 350/ RLGN 450: Jewish Ethics
Peter Haas (MW 12:30-1:45)

JDST/ RLGN/ HSTY 371: Jews Under Islam and Christianity

Jay Geller (MW 12:30-1:45)



Judaic Studies Course Roster

JDST 201 Introduction to Judaic Studies (3 credit hours)
An introduction to the academic study of Judaic religion and culture, this course does not presuppose any previous study of, or experience with, Judaism. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach to Judaic Studies, drawing on a variety of methods used in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Through the use of these methods, the students will examine the diverse issues and questions that are driving the current field of Judaic Studies and come to conclusions about the state of the question. There will be some "field" experience including a visit to a synagogue and to a Jewish museum. Required for the Minor in Judaic Studies.
JDST 220 Jewish Traditional Art and Architecture (3 credit hours)
(Coss-losted as ARTH 220) The course will trace tradition and transformation in Jewish artistic expression over time and across space. The semester will carry us from the Israelite phase beginning with Solomon's Temple, to the present day in Israel and America, over the course of which 29 centuries terms like "Jewish," and even "art," will also undergo change.
JDST 228 The Jewish Image in Popular Film (3 credit hours)
The course will explore film as social practice, from the flickering silent era through Hollywood's Golden Age, to the technological dazzle of the present day. Standing at the confluence of society, history, ideology, and culture, students will come to understand how popular film is shaped by, and how it actively shapes, the constant reconstruction of Jewish ethnicity in the American mainstream.
JDST 233 Introduction to Jewish Folklore (3 credit hours)
(Cross-listed as ANTH 233) Jewish myth and magic, festival and foodways, folktales, art, music and more, will give us access to the spirit and mentality of the many different peoples who have carried these traditions from remote Middle Eastern antiquity to the present day in Israel and the U.S.A.  We will follow Jewish folklore as it shapes, and is shaped by, the vast expanse of western history and civilization.
JDST 330 Classical Jewish Religious Thought (3 credit hours)

(Cross-listed as RLGN 330, PHIL 332.)  Why would a benevolent God allow evil and suffering?  Does modern science truly challenge the notion of God as creator?  This course examines the notion of God in traditional and modern classical Jewish texts.  We begin with exploring images of God in the Hebrew Bible and then raise questions concerning God as the creator of the universe, God's benevolence (the problem of evil), and matters of faith and reason.

HSTY 218 Jews in Early Modern Europe (3 credit hours)

(Cross-listed as ETHS 218, JDST 218) A survey of the history of Jews in Europe and the wider world from the Spanish expulsion through the French Revolution.  Tracking Peregrinations out of the Iberian Peninusla to the British Isles, France, Holland, Italy, Germany, Poland-Lithuania, the Ottoman Empire and the American colonies, this course examines the diverse ways Jews organized their communities, interacted with their non-Jewish neighbors and negotiated their social, economic and legal status within different states and empires.

HSTY 238 Jews in the Modern World (3 credit hours)

(Cross-listed as RLGN 231, JDST 231.) This course examines the religious, cultural, socio-economic, and political development of the Jews in the modern world from the eighteenth century to the present. Particular emphasis is on the Jews of Europe, the United States, pre-1948 Palestine, and Israel. Central themes of the course include challenges to the traditional religious and social structures of pre-modern Jewry, migration, religious and cultural innovation, and politicization.

HSTY 254 The Holocaust (3 credit hours)

(Cross-listed as RLGN 254, JDST 254, ETHS 254) History of racism in European society from 18th to 20th century; investigation, from perspectives of history, psychology, literature, philosophy, and religion, of how bureaucracy could exterminate six million Jews; responses of individuals, groups, institutions, and nations to deliberate extermination of nearly a whole people.


HSTY 341 Jewish Urban History (3 credit hours)

(Cross-listed as RLGN 341, JDST 341) This course examines the relationship between Jews and the modern urban environment. It seeks to answer questions such as: How did the
modernization of cities affect Jews and Jewish communities? In what ways did Jews contribute to modern urban cultural and social forms? What is Jewish urban space, is it unique, and how is it remembered later on? Are there differences between the patterns in Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas?

RLGN 314 Mythologies of the Afterlife (3 credit hours)
(Cross-listed as JDST 314) The course provides a multidisciplinary approach to the idea of an afterlife, and its manifestation in diverse cultures. We will examine the way varying views of the afterlife influence religion, popular culture and palliative care, and how human creativity has shaped the heavens, hells, hauntings and holidays of diverse populations over time and across space. Students will come to see the afterlife as an integral part of human history and experience, not only because it helps people die with better hope, but because it helps them to live more richly.
HSTY 371 Jews Under Islam and Christianity (3 credit hours)

(Cross-listed as RLGN 371 , JDST 371)This course examines the social and political status of Jews under Muslim and Christian rule since the Middle Ages. Themes include Interfaith relations, Islamic and Christian beliefs regarding the Jews, Muslim and Christian regulation of Jewry, and the Jewish response.

HSTY 389 Zionism (3 credit hours)
(Cross-listed as JDST 389) This course seeks to elucidate the major strands of Zionism, their origins, how they have interacted, and their impact on contemporary Israeli society.
These may include political Zionism, cultural Zionism, socialist Zionism, Revisionist Zionism, and religious Zionism.
POSC 379 Middle East: Politics, Economics and American Policy (3 credit hours)
(Limit 35.)  This is an introductory course about Middle East Politics, in regional as well as international aspects.  Though popular today for regrettable reasons, the Middle East is nevertheless one of the world’s most fascinating and diverse regions.  In this course we will explore broad social, economic, and political themes that have defined the region since the end of the World War Two.  Since this is an introductory course, a major goal will be to gain comparative knowledge about the region’s states and peoples.  The 22 countries that comprise the modern Middle East are quite diverse; therefore, we will only be able to focus on a few cases in depth.  A second goal is to examine and use the tools and theories social scientists employ to answer broad questions related to the region, such as:  How have colonial legacies shaped political and economic development in the Middle East?  How do oil, religion, and ethnicity interact with politics?  How have external powers affected the region’s political development?  What drives regional conflict?  In short, this course will tackle the controversial issues and dilemmas of the region, but from an analytical vantage.  We want to try to answer why questions about the region, not simply what and how. 
RLGN 223 Religious Roots of the Middle East Conflict (3 credit hours)
This course examines the rhetoric and symbols used by various voices in the Middle East in the ongoing debate about the future shape of the region. For historical and cultural reasons, much of the discourse draws on religious symbolism, especially, (although not exclusively) Islamic, Jewish and Christian. Because of the long and complex history of the region and the religious communities in it, virtually every act and every place is fraught with meaning. One of the main goals in the course will be to examine the diverse symbols and rhetorical strategies being used by the various sides in the conflict and to see how they are understood by the various audiences that make up the conflict.
RLGN 268 Women in the Bible (3 credit hours)
(Cross-listed as JDST 268 and WGST 268.)  From Ishtar to Esther, the Virgin Mary to Mary Magdalene, we will examine ways in which biblical texts and rabbinic--as well as other traditional interpretations--have shaped images of, and attitudes toward, women in western civilization. Students will come to understand how these various views of women inform, reflect, and challenge gender roles in modern society.  
RLGN 280 Religion and Politics in the Middle East (Supervised Study in Israel)
An in-depth look at the relationship between politics, religion and culture in the Middle East. Students will spend the first week on campus and the last three weeks in Israel, where time will be divided between classroom teaching, guest lectures, and "field trips" to important sites. Students will have the opportunity to interact directly with members of the region's diverse religious groups within the political, social, and cultural contexts in which they live. A final research paper will be required. Knowledge of Hebrew is not necessary.
RLGN 350/450 Jewish Ethics (3 credit hours)
An exploration of Jewish moral and ethical discourse. The first half of the course will be devoted to studying the structure and content of classical Jewish ethics on issues including marriage, abortion, euthanasia and social justice. Students will read and react to primary Jewish religious texts. The second half of the course will focus on various modern forms of Judaism and the diversity of moral rhetoric in the Jewish community today. Readings will include such modern thinkers as Martin Buber and Abraham Joshua Heschel.
HBRW 101 Elementary Modern Hebrew I (4 credit hours)
For students with no knowledge of Hebrew. Introduces skills for speaking and writing. One hour of assigned lab work required.
HBRW 102 Elementary Modern Hebrew II (4 credit hours)
Continuation of HBRW 101. Students must attend the Language Resource Center in addition to class meetings. Prereq: HBRW 101 or equivalent.
HBRW 201 Intermediate Modern Hebrew I (4 credit hours)
Intensive review of grammar and conversational skills through readings, discussions, and other activities that explore contemporary Israeli life and Hebrew culture. Prereq: HBRW 102 or equivalent as determined by department.
HBRW 202 Intermediate Modern Hebrew II (4 credit hours)
Continuation of HBRW 201. Exploration of contemporary Israeli life and Hebrew culture. Students must attend the Language Resource Center in addition to class meetings. Prereq: HBRW 201 or equivalent.
HBRW 301 Advanced Modern Hebrew I (4 credit hours)
Conversation and advanced grammar and writing. Short readings and introduction to contemporary Israeli culture. Creative writing practice. Prereq: HBRW 202 or equivalent.
HBRW 302 Advanced Modern Hebrew II (3 credit hours)
Advanced reading and composition. Emphasis on contemporary culture of Israel. Creative writing component.
HBRW 399 Independent Studies
For students who have progressed beyond available course offerings. Prereq: Permission of department.