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Jewish Studies Courses January 2020 Seminar

Jewish Studies Courses January 2020 Seminar

Attend the January 12-16, 2020 Seminar to:

  • Advance your studies
  • Learn with skilled and accomplished faculty
  • Engage with your fellow students from around the world

Courses fulfill program requirements for students in our Jewish Studies MA and Doctoral programs.

Registration deadline is December 15, 2019

Complete your seminar registration now

Course Offerings

Jews, Judaism, the Earth and Climate Change

Taught by Dr. Rachel Havrelock

Morning Course Selection
Meets Sunday, January 12 from 2 to 5 pm
Monday-Thursday, January 13-16 from 9 am to 1 pm

Course 4197 | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Second Level Core, MAJS Elective Course
DSJS/DHL Text Course, DSJS Elective Course

As a warming earth transforms seasons and places, people look toward long-standing traditions as a record of what was and as a guide for how to adapt to changing conditions. Judaism is such a tradition. In fact, many argue that Judaism began as a way to understand and align with cycles of harvest.

In this course, students will begin by surveying the depictions and recommendations for interacting with nature in the Hebrew Bible and rabbinic writings. Along with primary texts, we will lay out the major theories about Judaism as an earth-based tradition. Then we will consider the participation of Jewish people in the environmental movement, including where they drew from cultural or religious traditions in their work. Finally, we will explore environmental issues in the modern State of Israel, asking, for example, how Israelis adapted to drought conditions and what needs to be done to sustain a growing population in the region.

Portrayals of Messiah in Jewish Tradition
Taught by Dr. Gary Porton

Afternoon Course Selection
Meets Sunday, January 12 from 6 to 9 pm
Monday-Thursday, January 13-16 from 2 to 5 pm

Course 4177B | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Elective Course
DSJS/DHL Text Course, DSJS Elective Course

Although discussions of the Messiah do not compose a large corpus of material in the rabbinic texts of late antiquity, the rabbis do discuss the coming of the Messiah in several contexts. Earliest Christianity as well as the Dead Sea texts also indicate that many different types of Jews in the first centuries of the Common Era were concerned with the advent of the Messiah. In this course, we will examine the discussions of the Messiah in the major rabbinic collections: Mishnah, Tosefta, Mekhilta, Sifre Numbers, Sifre Deuteronomy, Leviticus Rabbah, and the Pesiqtot.

The course will have three goals: 1) to ascertain what the rabbis of the first seven centuries of the Common Era said about the Messiah; 2) to examine how texts treat the topic and these treatments are similar and different; 3) to compare what we discover in our own reading with what important scholars of Rabbinic Judaism have said about the Messiah in Rabbinic Judaism.

The texts will be read and discussed in English, although Hebrew and Aramaic originals will be available for those who are fluent.

Complete your seminar registration now

Letter from the Dean

Dear Students:

We are excited to share with you the courses for our January Integrated Seminar, which will take place on campus, Sunday, January 12 through Thursday, January 16, 2020.

We are offering two courses on important topics, detailed at left, taught by two renowned faculty members. We are also excited, once again to welcome students from our Jewish Studies program alongside our Masters in Jewish Professional Studies. This wonderfully rich mix of students has created a dynamic and vibrant community of learning at Spertus over the last couple of seminars, and we are excited to continue in this new tradition of gathering together.

This seminar, we are also delighted to host Eboo Patel, the founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, for our Spertus Ideas Forum on Monday evening. Eboo Patel is a leading voice and has written several important books on Interfaith Leadership, Community, and Religious Diversity in America.

I strongly encourage you to participate. The seminar provides an important opportunity for you to interact with faculty and fellow students and advance towards your learning goals. The community created in these seminars includes intellectual exchange, collegiality and friendship, and inevitably, a healthy dose of laughter. I truly hope to see you there.

Until then, all best wishes,

Keren Fraiman

Dr. Keren E. Fraiman
Dean and Chief Academic Officer
Spertus Institute

New Students

It's not too late!

Considering a graduate degree in Jewish Studies? A seminar is a great way to kick off your learning experience at Spertus. Admission is on a rolling basis. To be eligible to participate in a seminar, your application and admission materials must be received six weeks prior to the seminar start date.

Spertus Institute graduate programs in Jewish Studies are offered through a unique blend of distance learning and intensive on-campus instruction. Students — from half a dozen foreign countries and more than two dozen US states — come to Spertus for week-long academic seminars. Seminars include a range of courses in Jewish history, thought, and culture, accompanied by study of classical Jewish texts. LEARN MORE>