(New to Fall 2024 in partnership with the iCenter!) JST 313: Introduction to the History, Culture, and People of Israel - 3.0 credits

Israel’s history, culture and people have always been and will continue to be distinctly nuanced and complex. This course will present historical events and statistics pertaining to Israel and teach students how to critically analyze a wide range of subject matter, perspectives, and experiences. Topics include the founding of the State of Israel, a timeline of Jewish history in the region, the various versions of Zionism, and the path to becoming an independent country. The course will also explore the multiple wars and attempts at peace which have changed the evolving, contested boundaries of the country. A survey of the lived experiences of Israelis and Palestinians from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds as well as the food, culture, language, art, and poetry which have contributed to a multifaceted society will be discussed.

(New to Fall 2024!) JST 311 Introduction to Jewish Biblical Texts- 3.0 credits

In this class, students will engage with some of the more complicated texts in our tradition - those which either show sides of our biblical ancestors in a less than positive way, or stories which include content that is seemingly contradictory to our current connection to our tradition. Students will begin by learning about our tradition of storytelling, documentary hypothesis and ensuring that all voices are represented and heard. The ultimate goal is for students to develop the ability to find meaning in all of the parts of our tradition (even and maybe even most importantly, the complicated ones) and for them to continue to sharpen their skills at reading and interpreting Jewish texts.

(New to Fall 2024!) JST 358 A History of Jewish Immigration- 3.0 credits

In this class, students will explore the idea of immigration as a Jewish narrative. Beginning with the more well-known instances of moving from one place to another - Abraham and Sarah’s journey and the Exodus from Egypt - students will explore what logistics, emotions, joys and struggles go into transitioning to a new place. Students will learn about the first Jewish communities in the US, explore immigration from Europe to the United States in the 1900s, the waves of Aliyah to Israel, emigration from Ethiopia, Russia and Iran and immigration to countries in Asia. In each instance, students will reflect back on what aspects are similar to the journeys that our biblical ancestors took, and which are related directly to the time and context in which they occurred.

(New to Fall 2024!) PHL 210: Introduction to Jewish Philosophy - 3.0 credits

The goal of this course is to introduce students to some of the most important thinkers and issues in modern Jewish philosophy. This includes both analyzing and synthesizing the frameworks of these great thinkers, but also honing one’s ability to analyze an argument philosophically, identifying strengths and weaknesses and seeing its implications. Finally, students will learn how to apply both the learned content and their own perspective to texts from our Jewish tradition.

JST 328 Introduction to Community Dialogue- 3.0 credits

In this class, students will explore the developmental foundations of what it means to be together in community, during both good times and challenging times. Using the story about maklochet l’shem shemayim (argument for the sake of heaven), students will explore a variety of philosophies and methodologies tied to creating and engaging in community. Students will also explore some of the skills needed to engage with other community members in a positive and productive way including understanding our own strengths and triggers, attuned listening and learning how to achieve a win-win feeling at the end of a discussion. The ultimate goal is for students to develop an understanding of the study of Talmud, as well as how they might utilize the skills and strategies they have learned in real-life difficult conversations.

JST 325 Contemporary Halacha: Jewish Ethics- 3.0 credits

In this class, students will explore Jewish ethics - both the context and time in which they were lived and practiced as well as the way we understand these ancient laws in our lives today. Over the course of the year, students will spend time exploring kashrut, Shabbat, medical ethics, property laws and social responsibility, starting with the original text, exploring what our ancient commentators thought about these laws and then assessing what these laws look like in modern day. The ultimate goal is for students to develop an understanding of these fundamental pieces of our tradition and determine how they might apply the underlying values to challenging ethical decisions in their own lives.