You are here

Jewish Studies Courses June 2020 Seminar

Jewish Studies Courses June 2020 Seminar

Spertus seminar

 Spertus Institute Seminar


Attend the June 7-11, 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 May 28, 2020

Complete your seminar registration now

Course Offerings

Taught by Dr. Devorah Schoenfeld

Morning Course Selection
Meets Sunday, June 7 from 2 to 5 pm
Monday-Thursday, June 8-11 from 9 am to 1 pm

Course 3522 | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Second Level Core, MAJS Elective
DSJS/DHL Elective 

The histories of Judaism and Christianity have been intertwined since the first century. Students in this course will examine the influence that the two religions have had on each other's history. We will explore the ways that Jews and Christians have interacted from the origins of Christianity until the present day. Specific topics will include the historic parting of the ways between Judaism and Christianity, Jewish-Christian polemic, and how each religion has influenced the development of the other's theology and doctrine. We will conclude by looking at the current state of relations between the Jewish community and various Christian denominations and at current challenges and opportunities in these relationships.

Arch of Titus, World of the RabbisWORLD OF THE RABBIS
Taught by Dr. Victor Mirelman

Morning Course Selection
Meets Sunday, June 7 from 2 to 5 pm
Monday-Thursday, June 8-11 from 9 am to 1 pm

Course 3502 | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Core Course

This course examines the emergence of rabbinic Judaism. Discover the differences between biblical and rabbinic Judaism and explore the creation of extra-canonical rabbinic literature including Mishnah and Talmud. Learn how the rabbis of late antiquity dealt with theological issues such as revelations, sin, and repentance, as well as the relationship between human nature and the divine. Learn about Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes and the encounters between rabbinic Jews and people of other faiths. Against the backdrop of the destruction of the Second Temple and of the Second Jewish Commonwealth, explore the normative and imaginative religious world created by the early rabbis as they defined a Judaism that could survive the realities of the post-Temple world.

Taught by Dr. Leonard Greenspoon

Afternoon Course Selection
Meets Sunday, June 7 from 6 to 9 pm
Monday-Thursday, June 8-11 from 2 to 6 pm

Course 4142 | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Second Level Core, MAJS Elective
DSJS/DHL Text Course, DSJS Elective Course

Much of the Hebrew Bible relates to starting wars, waging wars, and forging terms to end wars. During the tumultuous Second Temple and early rabbinic eras, there were times when the text was taken literally. But for the most part, from antiquity until the mid-twentieth century, Jews lacked military forces, making biblical analyses of these texts hypothetical. Nonetheless, the topic was perceived as no less urgent than if Jews commanded armies. Starting with biblical passages and working through Jewish interpretive traditions until the present day, explore how real-life shaped approaches to war and peace for successive generations of Jews. Then together we will then examine the relationship between Jewish tradition and contemporary practices in the State of Israel. Among the questions the course will address: What are the conditions for initiating warfare? Is nonviolence the desired choice? What distinguishes combatants and non-combatants? Is collective punishment ever justified? When and how should we seek peace?

Who is a Jew?WHO IS A JEW?
Taught by Dr. David Gottlieb

Afternoon Course Selection
Meets Sunday, June 7 from 6 to 9 pm
Monday-Thursday, June 8-11 from 2 to 6 pm

Course 5502| 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Second Level Core, MAJS Elective
DSJS Core Course, DHL Elective

Students in this course will explore the politically charged issue of Jewish identity, in Israel and across the Diaspora, historically and in contemporary times. Together we will seek to understand how the power to answer, “Who is a Jew” has become one of the central fault lines of Jewish religion, culture, and politics. The course is organized chronologically, beginning with the primary texts of classical Judaism associated with the question of Jewish identity. We will examine how Jewish identity boundaries have been created and challenged—by forces within and external to Jewish society—through the biblical, Second Temple, and rabbinic periods, right up to the present day.

Complete your seminar registration now

Letter from the Dean

Dear Students:

It is my pleasure to announce the courses for our June Integrated Seminar, which will take place on campus from Sunday, June 7 through Thursday, June 11, 2020.

For this seminar, we will once again welcome our Jewish Studies students alongside those studying in our MA in Jewish Professional Studies program. 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.

Four Jewish Studies courses are being offered, all presenting opportunities to explore Jewish history and heritage and examine their significance for today. You'll be able to do so alongside skilled, knowledgeable faculty members and accomplished fellow students. See courses at left. 

On Monday evening, seminar students, Spertus alumni, friends, and faculty, will all come together for our 2020 Ideas Forum. This year's special guest is Obama speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz, author of the new book, Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life—in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There). This highly anticipated program is free with your seminar participation. 

The seminar provides an important opportunity for you to advance towards your learning goals and be part of a community of vibrant intellectual exchange. I look forward to seeing you in June. 

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>