Fall 2017 Courses

REL 023 TAP: What is the Bible?
Instructor: Anne Clark

First year students only. The Bible is one of the most influential books in human history, but what is it? We will explore how the Jewish and Christian Bibles were produced in the communities of ancient Israel and the Christian movement, as those people grappled with the deepest problems of existence.

WLIT 017 TAP: Women and Nazi Germany
Instructor Helga Schreckenberger

Women played a wide spectrum of roles during National Socialism: they were perpetrators (e.g., convinced party members, brutal concentration camp guards), by-standers and fellow-travelers of the Nazi ideology, victims (due to their race, their sexual orientation, or their political or religious views), and resistance fighters. Drawing on a variety of readings (fiction and non-fiction) and films (documentary and feature films) we will reconstruct the Nazis’ idea of “womanhood,” and examine the different experiences and options of women living under the National Socialist regime. Course Objectives: To acquaint students with historical background of National Socialism To examine the roles women were supposed to take on according to the National Socialist ideology and the roles they played in everyday life in the Third Reich To understand the experiences of women during the period of National Socialisms and their memories of these experiences To analyze literary and filmic responses to the Nazi period and the Holocaust from a gendered perspective To help students develop their analytical writing and thinking skills

REL 050/ JS 050 Introduction to Jewish Studies
Instructor: Richard Sugarman

Gateway course for Jewish studies minor
This course serves as an introduction to the new minor in Jewish Studies. There are no prerequisites. The emphasis is on the study of Jewish experience, past and present. We will explore such subjects as Jewish identity, its patterns and significance in classical, modern, and contemporary life. We will examine what makes Jewish life meaningful and Jewish and how this is expressed in everyday life. We will also explore Jewish life within the context of American culture and society. We will do so by studying the ways that Jewish life is lived, interpreted, and practiced in. We will look at various ways that Judaism has understood and expressed itself culturally, psychologically, and from a philosophical point of view. Topics will include Jewish life as lived in Eastern Europe prior to the Holocaust (Life is with People), the centrality of the Jewish week as lived, responses to persecution and suffering. We will include readings and reflections on the Holocaust and the emergence of the modern nation-state of Israel (Jewish Literacy). What is the Jewish view of love, responsibility, hope, happiness and expectation?

REL 085/ JS 096: On the Meaning of Life
Instructor: Richard Sugarman

REL 180/ JS 196A: Moral and Religious Perspectives on the Holocaust
Instructor: Richard Sugarman

A study of the Holocaust in relation to questions of moral responsibility, justice, guilt, and human suffering, focusing on Jewish responses.

HST 196/ JS 196B: The Holocaust
Instructor: Jonathan Huener


This course will confront the background, events, and consequences of the annihilation of European Jews during World War II. Students will be introduced to traditions of European racism and anti-Semitism, as well as the cultural, political, diplomatic, and social conditions in Germany and elsewhere that helped to make the Holocaust possible. We will then turn to a study of the rise of National Socialism, its vision for a new Europe, and the role of antisemitism in Nazi ideology and practice, culminating in an analysis of both the politics and the machinery of genocide. Throughout the course, students will also become familiar with a number of historical controversies related to the Holocaust, such as the intentionalist/functionalist debate, the place of German medicine and the medical professions in the development of racist ideologies and mass murder, and the role of "ordinary" men and women in the killing process. With the help of memoirs and testimonies we will also seek a better understanding of the Shoah's victims, bystanders, and perpetrators.

SOC151/ JS 151 Religion and Ideology
Instructor: Lutz Kaelber

This course pertains to the sociological study of religion and ideology on an equal basis. It addresses how religions and ideologies are socially created and how they affect society, in cross-cultural and historical perspective. Topics this semester include, but are not limited to, far-right nationalist populism, ISIS, nationalism in Putin’s Russia, the Holocaust, sexual abuse in the Catholic church, religion and terrorism, and theoretical approaches in the study of religion. Students in Jewish Studies will have the option of writing one or both papers on the Holocaust or a related topic, such as the ideology of National Socialism.Beliefs and value systems and their institutional arrangements, focusing on relationships between these systems and the larger social structure, in cross-cultural and historical perspective. Includes examinations of Jews and Judaism in the Nazi era.

HST 227/JS 296 Jewish Life in Nazi Germany
Instructor: Frank Nicosia

This seminar examines Jewish life in Germany under National Socialism, from Hitler’s appointment as chancellor in January 1933 until the onset of the “final solution” in 1941 and 1942. Jewish life under National Socialism has been described as a struggle to preserve individual and collective dignity in the face of growing despair. The seminar will focus on this struggle as despair came to pervade Jewish life in Germany by the eve of the Second World War. The process during the 1930s appears to have been steady, almost unrelenting, despite some lulls in the intensity of Nazi persecution. Nevertheless, and in spite of the intensifying cruelty of Nazi Jewish policy after 1933, German Jews went to extraordinary lengths to adapt to a steadily changing environment, one that afforded them limited but diminishing options. In the struggle to maintain their dignity and to resist the despair that would be a consequence of their disintegrating world, German Jews, individually and collectively, confronted dilemmas and fashioned responses to changing circumstances as best they could, a tragic situation that was both a result of Nazi cruelty and brutality, and their own understanding of their history and rightful place in Germany. The class will focus on some of the major areas of Jewish life under National Socialism. These include: family life and youth; economic dispossession and impoverishment; identity, assimilation, and Zionism; emigration; cultural life; forced labor; coping and resistance, within the context of the severe problems that confronted German Jews each day, such as exclusion, ostracism and isolation, impoverishment, intimidation, and violence.

HEBR 051 Intermediate Hebrew
Instructor: Gideon Bavly)

Spring 2018 Courses

Course numbering subject to change

JS/CLAS 011B: Ancient Israel
Instructor: Robert Rachlin

JS/HST 119A: Modern Jewish History
Instructor:Alan Steinweis

JS/HST 112: History of Zionism to 1948
Instructor: Frank Nicosia

JS/THEA 195: From Yiddish Theater to the American Stage
Instructor:Natalie Neuert

JS102/ENGL 030 : Kafka’s Children in America and the World
Instructor:Sean Witters


JS/WLIT 111: The Jews of France
Instructor:Meaghan Emery

JS 101: Contemporary Israel
Instructor:Gideon Bavly


HEBR 052 Intermediate Hebrew
Instructor:Gideon Bavly