JS 100: INTRODUCTION TO JEWISH CIVILIZATIONS

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Professors Weinstein, Skiba, Kallman, Henkin, DeBold, and Broida

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 1:00 – 1:50 pm

Spring, 2005

 

Office Hours:

 

The six professors will each be available for two hours each week.  Students will thus have ample opportunity to bring up their concerns or ask for help.

 

Course Description:

 

From their origins in the Middle East to the global Diaspora, Jews have formed identifiable communities for thousands of years.  In this course we will utilize a variety of methodologies (an interdisciplinary approach), particularly cultural anthropology, to examine Jewish communities in different times and places, noting both their diversity and their shared traditions. In doing so we will pay particular attention to issues of identity, cross-cultural relations, women’s roles, religious beliefs and practices, and guiding texts including the Bible.

 

Course Components

 

Readings have been selected from both primary and secondary sources. Primary sources provide an opportunity for students to analyze and interpret the texts, drawing conclusions about the topic covered, the culture in which each primary text was composed, and the writer’s intent and perspective. Secondary sources serve two functions. First, they help students build a historical and cultural framework on which to situate particular communities and ethnographic features. Second, they provide examples of scholarly analyses using historical, ethnographic, archaeological, and literary methodologies.

 

Classes share the same fundamental goals as the readings. Lecture and discussion will provide students with both the framework and the tools to perform their own analyses and interpretations. Students will have opportunities to build these skills during in-class discussion of primary sources, as well as in the two assigned papers.

 

Required Texts:

1)     Barnavi, Eli (Ed.).  A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People: From the Time of the Patriarchs to the Present.  New York: Schocken Books, 2003.

2)     Berlin, Adele, and Brettler, Marc Zvi (Eds.). Jewish Study Bible.  New York: University Press, 2004.

3)     Konner, Melvin.  Unsettled: An Anthropology of the Jews. New York: Viking Books, 2003.

4)     Scheindlin, Raymond.  A Short History of the Jewish People: From Legendary Times to Modern Statehood. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

 

Recommended Texts:

1)     Hallo, William, et al, eds.  Heritage: Civilization and the Jews: A Source Reader.  Westport, CN: Greenwood, 1984.

 

All other assigned readings can be found on the electronic reserve system.

 

Course Requirements and Grade Distribution:

 

Preparation and participation are key to success in the course. Students are expected to come to class prepared to ask question and discuss the readings.  There will be one paper and a final project, in addition to five 2-3 page response papers based on assigned readings.

 

Class grades will be computed as follows:

a) Participation: 25%; Response papers: 25%; Midterm paper: 25%; Final project: 25%.

 

Assignments:

 

Assignments are listed under the day they are due unless otherwise noted.  You should be able to answer each question under a specific date by the end of that class period or section.

 

There will be two main projects for this course:

1)     Ethnographic Paper: Visit a Jewish religious establishment or activity.

 

-You can choose to visit a synagogue or temple of any denomination.  You are encouraged to attend an event with which you are less familiar.

 

- When you are there, consider of the following:

Š       How is the service or event organized?

Š       How do the congregants organize themselves?

Š       What sort of interactions between people takes place throughout, before, and after the service or event?

Š       What appears to be the role of families during the service or event?

Š       Is there a specific dress code?

Š       Does religion appear to take a big part in the service or event?

Š       Look at and analyze the behavior of each person.

Š       What languages are used?

Š       What sort of rituals takes place?

Š       How much of the service or event is communal/how much is individual?

Š       What appears to be the role of God in the service?

Š       How is the prayer space arranged/decorated?

                       

-Overall, by studying these questions, what can you conclude about the community in this congregation?       

Š       Was there anything that surprised you by the service?            

Š       What other groups or events can you compare to the event?

Š       What conclusions are you able to draw about the role the synagogue or Jewish establishment plays in the lives of the community members?

 

-Write-Up: Using the questions to guide you, write a 5-7 page response about your experience. Use specific examples to support your observations.

 

2)     Final Project: The class will be divided into groups. Each group will work together to explore a particular Jewish community in depth and present it to the class on either April 29th or May 2nd.

 

Each group will be assigned one of the following Jewish communities:

Utilizing at least 4 primary sources and as many secondary sources as needed from a variety of disciplines you are to become experts on your community.

 

Questions to consider should include but are not limited to the following:

 

Also Explore:

 

You may present your community any way that you feel will be informative and effective for your classmates.  Be creative!

 

COURSE OUTLINE

 

 

I. INTRODUCTIONS (5 classes)

 

19 (W) January:  Introduction

 

Topics covered:   -course overview

                        -review syllabus

                        -lecture of secular vs. religious approaches (disclaimer)

                        - What is a civilization?

 

Questions to be asked of each civilization:

1)     What is Judaism?

2)     Who is a Jew/Jewish People?

3)     What constitutes a Jewish community?

 

21 (F) & 24 (M) January: Introduction to methodologies

 

Topics covered:   -importance of interdisciplinary approach & critical thinking

                        -primary methods of analysis

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Plaskow, J.,  Standing Again At Sinai: Introduction (pg ix-xxi), Chapter 1: “Laying the Ground” (pg 1-24)

2)     Scupin, R., Anthropology: A Global Perspective,  Chapter 1: Introduction to Anthropology.

3)     Barnavi, E.,  Feminism pg. 276-277

 

Assignment for today’s class:

1)     Explore the Jewish Studies website: www.js.emory.edu

 

Questions:

1)     What does each methodology contribute to the understanding of Jewish civilizations?

2)     What kinds of questions are asked in each methodology?

 

26 (W) January: Library Day (meet at Woodruff Library)

 

Topics covered:  -how to use the library and library resources

                        -how to do a bibliography and citations

                        -how to locate and use primary sources

 

28 (F) January: Crash course on Jewish Terminology

 

Topics covered:   -terms

                        -languages

                        -lachrymose approach to Jewish history

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Barnavi, E., Introduction (pg vi-xi)

2)     Konner, M.,  Introduction (pg xv-xiii)

 

Questions:

1)     How can you tell that Konner’s book is one of anthropology?

 

 

II. STARTING FROM HOME (3 classes)

 

31 (M) January: Contemporary United States

 

Topics covered:   -demographics

                        -self-identity

                        -variations in communities (full integration vs. Jewish communities; education)

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Diner, Hasia, Her Works Praise Her: A History of Jewish Women in America from Colonial Times to the Present; chapter 9: “Of Their Own Making” (pg. 193-229)

 

Assignments for today’s class:

1)     Please view the following websites:

http://www.Hillel.org

http://www.thejewishweek.com/

http://www.hadassah.com/home.asp?flashEnabled=yes

http://www.forward.com/

http://www.atljewishtimes.com/

 

Questions:

1)     Identity six things that are important to modern American Jews based on the sites you have viewed and explain why you have chosen those things.

2)     Which types of institutions (synagogues, schools, youth groups, etc.) define the American Jewish community and what roles do they serve?

3)     What function do the community's newspapers serve?

 

02 (W) February: Contemporary United States (continued)

 

Topics covered:   -religious beliefs and practices

                        -denominations

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Diner, Hasia; Her Works Praise Her: A History of Jewish Women in America from Colonial Times to the Present; chapter 16: “Demanding Religious Equality” (pg. 399-429)

 

Assignments for today’s class: 

1)     Please view the following websites and examine their mission statements:

http://www.urj.org

http://www.uscj.org

http://www.ou.org

http://www.jrf.org

 

Questions:

1)     What are the similarities and differences between each denomination?

2)     What is the role of women in each denomination?

3)     What makes each denomination “Jewish”?

4)     How would each denomination define who is a Jew?

 

04 (F) February: Contemporary World

 

Topics covered:   -demographics

                        -self-identity

                        -challenges facing the global Jewish community (overview)

                        -maps

           

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Article from Time Out New York 12/4-11/03 “The new Super Jews”

2)     Barnavi, E.,  pg. xii-1

 

Assignments for today’s class:

1)     Please view the following websites:

www.ujc.org

www.israel.org

http://www.worldjewishcongress.org/

http://www.heebmagazine.com/

 

Questions:

1)     What defines the modern Jewish community?

2)     What is Judaism to the various groups and organizations depicted in the readings you have read?

3)     How is their Jewish identity similar and how is it different?

 

 

III. BIBLICAL ORIGINS (6 classes)

 

07 (M) Friday: The Bible: Its Creation and Use in Jewish Society

 

Topics covered:   -Bible as:

                                    -religious text

                                    -historical document

                                    -source of identity

                        -documentary hypothesis

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Exodus 1-14  in Jewish Study Bible pg. 107-136)

2)     Shinan, Avigdor; Jewish Study Bible: “The Bible in the Synagogue,”  pg. 1929-1937

3)     Brettler, Marc Avi, Jewish Study Bible: “Torah: Introduction,”  pg.  1-7

4)     Scheindlin pg. 29-30

 

Questions:

1)     How and when did the Bible come to assume its centrality in Jewish life?

2)     What theories and beliefs exist among Jews regarding the creation of the Bible?

 

 

09 (W) February: The Historical and Archaeological Approaches to Israelite Origins

 

Topics covered:   -origins of the Israelites

                        -brief overview of Israelite history

                        -archaeology

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Barnavi, E., pg. 4

2)     “Unearthing the Leftovers of Ancient People” chapter 1 of Through the Ages in Palestinian Archaeology by Walter E. Rast, Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, pg. 1-15.

3)     Scheindlin pg. 1-24

4)     Tigay, Jeffrey H., Jewish Study Bible: “Exodus: Introduction,”  pg. 102-107

5)   Exodus 15-20

 

Recommended readings:

1)     “What Archaeology Is and What it Can Contribute to Biblical Studies” by William Dever, pg. 53-96 of What did the Biblical Writers Know and when Did they Know it?  Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2001.

 

Questions:

1)     What is an artifact?  Material culture?  Relative and absolute chronology?

2)     What was the purpose of many early ‘biblical archaeologists’?

3)     What are the purposes of modern archaeologists digging in Israel?

4)     What kinds of information does archaeology give us about biblical events?

5)     What kinds of information does the Bible give us about historical events?

 

11 (F) February: The Bible as Sacred Story

 

Topics covered:   -myth

                        -sacred time and sacred space

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     The Sacred and the Profane, Mircea Eliade as translated by Willard R. Trask, chapter 2, “Sacred Time and Myths”, pp 62-113

2)     Passover haggadah (such as Maxwell House version), sections maggid through rakhtsah

 

Questions:

1)     How does Eliade distinguish between sacred and profane time?

2)     What concepts of time are expressed in the Bible?

3)     What concepts of time are expressed in Jewish ritual use of the Bible?

4)     Are there specific Jewish practices that reflect Eliade’s conception of sacred time?

 

14 (M) February: Ancient Israelite Society

 

Topics covered:   -the role of women

                        -the family

                        -daily life

                        -cross-cultural relations

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Barnavi , E.,  pg.  2-5, 8-11, 14-17, 20-21—patriarchs thru 1st Temple and divided monarchy

2)     Philip King and Lawrence Stager, Jewish Study Bible: Life in Biblical Israel ; pg. 36-61

3)     Ruth, pp 1579-1586

 

 

Recommended readings:

1)     Meyers, Carol, Discovering Eve: Ancient Israelite Women in Context

 

Questions:

1)     According to King and Stager, what were women’s primary roles in Israelite society?

2)     What sources did they use to come to these conclusions?

3)     What does the biblical book of Ruth tell us about women’s roles in the family and the economy?

4)     What other sources might be used to confirm this information?

5)     What are the relations between the Moabites and Israelites in the book of Ruth?

 

16 (W) February: Israelite Religion

 

Topics covered:   -monotheism, polytheism, henotheism

                        -land, people, covenant

                        -theology

                        -tabernacle and Temple

 

Readings:

1)     Barnavi, E.,  pg. 12-13 (Monotheism)

2)     Exodus 20:1-6, 2 Kings 18:1-8; 2 Chronicles 34:1-7

3)     “Pagan Yahwism: The Folk Religion of Ancient Israel” by Ephraim Stern, Biblical Archaeology Review 27, 2001, 21-29

4)     Exodus 21-24, 32-35

 

Recommended Reading:

1)     Ancient Israelite Religion by Susan Niditch, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997

 

Questions:

1)     How does monotheism differ from henotheism?

2)     Which view is expressed in the first commandment?

3)     What is the view expressed in the assigned biblical passages regarding idolatry?

4)     What archaeological evidence supports the view that not all God and the people?

5)     What is the significance of land and covenant in Israelite religion?

 

18 (F) February: Guest Lecturer: Ethnographer

 

21 (M) February: Fall of First Temple as Crisis

 

Topics covered:   -Babylonian Captivity

                        -Israelite response

                        -impacts on theology

                                    -literature before, during, and after

                        -end of exile and rebuilding of Temple

            -Temple and ritual

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Jewish Study Bible: Psalms 122 and 137, Isaiah 40

2)     Adele Berlin, “Reading Biblical Poetry” in Jewish Study Bible p 2097-2104

 

Questions:

1)     Which of the Biblical poems appear to have been written before the Babylonian exile?

2)     Which after?

3)     What can you conclude about the impact of the first Temple’s destruction from these poems?

4)     How might the destruction have affected religious beliefs and practices?

 

 

IV. RABBINIC ORIGINS (3 classes)

 

23 (F) February: Second Temple Period

 

Topics Covered: -Maccabees

                        -Hellenization

                        -Destruction of the Second Temple

                        -Sectarian divisions

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Scheindlin pg. 25-49

2)     Hallo 46, 55-59

3)     Barnavi 42-48

4)     1 Maccabees chapter 1

5)     2 Maccabees 6-7

 

Questions:

1)     How did Greek hegemony affect life in the Levant in this period?

2)     Compare and contrast 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees.  What does the tone of each book tell you about its author?

3)     What are the major sects of Judaism in the late Second Temple Period?

4)     Characterize relations between Hellenized Jews and those who opposed Hellenization.

 

25 (F) February: Rabbinic Reinterpretation of Biblical Religion

 

Topics covered:   -Midrash

                                    -as literary form

                                    -as transforming religion and text

                                    -as method of understanding rabbinic Judaism

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Holtz, chapter 3 (pp. 177-212)

2)     Excerpts from midrashic sources (Babylonian Talmud, Midrash Rabbah, etc.)

 

Questions:

1)     What is midrash?

2)     How is midrash used?

3)     What can one learn about rabbinic societies by reading midrash?

4)     What is the structure of a midrash?

5)     What is the difference between halakhic and aggadic midrash?

 

28 (M) February: Rabbinic Reinterpretation of Biblical Religion (continued)

 

Topics covered:   -Talmud

                        -Mishnah

                        -shift in focus from sacrifice to liturgy

                        -beginnings of Diaspora Jewry

                        -role of women

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Holtz, Back to the Sources, ch. 2 (pg. 129-176)

2)     Excerpts from the Mishnah and Babylonian Talmud

3)   Barnavi, E.,  pg. 62-63, 66-67

 

Questions:

1)     What was the revolutionary theological and religious shift that took place under the rabbis? 

2)     Why was this shift necessary? 

3)     How did they do this?

4)     How does one read a Mishnaic passage?  A Talmudic one?

5)     How is it different than reading other sorts of literature?

6)     Besides laws and legal methods, what can one learn about the society in which the texts were composed by reading a passage from any of these sources?

7)     How do the rabbis view women’s roles?

 

 

V. SEPHARDI ORIGINS (8 classes)

 

02 (W) March: Jews Under Crescent

 

Topics covered:   -geography and maps

                        -patterns of settlement

                        -overview of Islam

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Scheindlin 71-96

2)     Konner, M.; pg. 125-144 (Under the Minaret)

3)     Biale 228-238 (Babylonian Rabbinic Culture)

 

Recommended Reading:

1)     Biale 267-304 (Jewish Culture in the Formative Period of Islam)

 

Questions:

1)     Describe the culture in which Islam was born.

2)     Who was the founder of Islam?

3)     What does the Qur’an say about Jews?

4)     What is Abraham’s role in the Qur’an?

5)     In what ways did Jews in Arab lands become “Arabized?”

 

04 (F) March: Jewish Life Under Islamic Rule

 

Topics covered:   -cultural exchange

                        -language

-dhimmitude

                        -Jewish daily life in Islamic lands

                        -Jewish-Islamic symbiosis

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Hallo 84-6 (Pact of Umar)

2)     Biale 313-388 (Judeo-Arabic Culture in the Golden Age of Islam)

3)     Barnavi, E.,  pg. 86-87

 

Recommended Reading:

1)     The Jews of Islam by Lewis, B.  Chapter 1 (3-66)

 

Questions:

1)     What was the Pact of Umar and what were its implications?

2)     What is dhimmi status and how did it affect the lives of Jews living under Islamic empires? 

3)     Was there a difference between the theoretical status of the Jews as a “protected people” and how they were actually treated?

4)     What was the function of the Hebrew language to Jews living in Islamic lands?

5)     What are some of the main lifestyle differences between Jews in Islamic lands and their Muslim neighbors?

6)     Why are terms like “middles ages,” “medieval,” and “dark age” potentially misnomers?

7)     How was the situation for Jews in Islamic lands better or worse than that of Christians?

8)     What role did Jews play in Islamic-Christian relations?

 

07 (M)- 11 (F) March: Case Study: Babylonian Jewry

 

Topics covered:   -Karaites

-Babylonian Scholarship

                        -political situation & relations w/ outsiders

                        -role of women

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Hallo 91-3

2)     Hallo 87-9 (exilarch)

3)     The Geonim of Babylonia and the Shaping of Medieval Jewish Culture by Brody, R. Chapter 7 Competition with the Palestinian Center (100-122)

4)     Biale 238-265 (Persian-Jewish Interactions)

5)     Barnavi 88-89 (Karaites)

 

Recommended Reading:

1)     The Geonim of Babylonia and the Shaping of Medieval Jewish Culture, by Brody, R. Chapter 8 Ties with the Diaspora (123-134)

 

Questions:

1)     What was the exilarch?

2)     What was the geonate?

3)     What is Karaism?  How did they differ from Rabbanites?  Did this have an impact on Karaite-Rabbanite relations?

4)     What are responsa?

5)     Who was Saadia ben Joseph (Gaon) and why is he important?

6)     Describe the relationship between the Jews of Babylonia and the surrounding Islamic culture.

7)     What was the sphere of influence of the Babylonian academies of Sura and Pumbedita?  How was this sphere of influence furthered by the Islamic empire?

8)     In what ways was life better for Jews in Babylonia than in Palestine?

 

14 (W) March- 18 (F) March: Spring Break!

 

21 (M) – 25 (F) March: Case Study: Jews of Spain

 

Topics covered:   -art, architecture

                        -language

                        -literature

                        -philosophers

                        -theology & ritual practice

                        -women

                        -economics

            -persecutions

            -political situation & relations w/ outsiders

 

In class slide show on architecture:

a)      La Sinagoga, La Mezquita, Judería.

 

Readings for the week:

1)     Judah Halevi “Ode to Zion” (sequence of poems)

2)     Nahmanidies “Disputation of Barcelona”

3)     Barnavi pg. 96-105

4)     Gerber, Jane. The Jews of Spain. Ch.3 “The Golden Era: The Emergence of Sephardic Civilization. P. 59-90

 

Questions:

1)     By studying the architecture of the Jewish synagogues in comparison with the Islamic mosques, what can you conclude was the relationship between the two groups/cultures?

2)     How is this relationship reflected in the politics of the time?

3)     How did his speech influence the role of religion in Jewish society?

4)     From the Gerber reading, identify the cultural contributions that the Jews made to Islamic society. What were the changes within Jewish society at this time? What was the nature of their relations with the Islamic society? What was the language of the Jews and how does this relate to their inter-cultural relations?

 

Assignments for today’s class:

1)     MIDTERM PAPER DUE on Friday March 25

 

28 (M) March: Midterm Presentation Summaries

 

 

VI. ASHKENAZI ORIGINS (7 classes)

 

30 (W) March – 04 (M) April: Jews in Medieval Christian Europe

 

Topics covered:   -geography and maps

                        -brief overview of history

                        -various royal charters

                        -persecutions

                        -expulsions

                        -Inquisition

                        -forced conversions

                        -Crusades

                        -intercultural relations

 

Readings for the week:

1)     Look through the sections of A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People relevant to Medieval Europe

2)     Scheindlin, chapter. 5 (pp. 97-122)

3)     Johnson, A History of the Jews, parts 2-3 (pp. 164-165; 200-232)

4)     Barnavi, E.,  pg. 104-107; 110-123

5)     Hallo, Heritage: pg. 75-82; 93-94; 122-145; 148-154; 155-161; 165-171; 174-175; 178-183; 185-207

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Questions:

1)     How did the demographics of Europe differ from those of Spain during the Medieval period?

2)     What were the origins of Medieval Christian anti-Judaism?

3)     What were some of the reasons the Christians persecuted Jews? 

4)     What were some of the accusations against Jews and on what were they based?

5)     What was the role of the Jew in Christian society?

6)     How did Jews and Christians interact and influence each other?

7)     What do these sources say and how do they say it? 

8)     How much is fact and how much is polemic? 

9)     How does one distinguish which is what?

10)   How can these sources be used to understand medieval Jewish and Christian cultures?

11)   What were some of the Jewish theological and practical reactions to the Christian persecution?

12)   Name some of the major persecutions that occurred in medieval Christian Europe.  When did they occur? 

13)   What were some of the social, economic, or theological conditions that led to each?

14)   Discuss some specific cultural exchange between Jews and Christians during this period.

 

06 (W) April: Eastern Europe and Shtetl life

           

Topics covered:   -geography

                        -theological ramification of the social situation

                        -daily life

                        -art, literature

                        -Yiddish

 

Readings for today’s class:

 

1)     Scheindlin chapter 8: The Jews of Eastern Europe and the United States

2)     Zborowski,  Life is with People: Forward (pg. 11-21), Preface (22-28), Part Two; chapter 4: “The Woman’s Share” (pg. 124-141), Part Five: “As the Shtetl Sees the World” (pg.409-430)

3)     Barnavi, E.,  pg. 134-135, 142-143, 146-149

 

Assignments:

1)     Review slideshow from “Life in the SHTETL” by Ilex Beller

 

Questions:

1)     Give examples of Yiddish influences in modern culture.

2)     How is shtetl life depicted through art? 

3)     What does art add to the study of a civilization?

4)     What is the role of the individual within the shtetl community?

5)     What is the role of women within the shtetl?

 

08 (F) – 11 (M) April: Enlightenment

 

Topics covered:   -French Revolution

                        -Enlightenment

                        -Emancipation

                        -intercultural relations

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     The Course of Modern Jewish History by Howard M. Sachar P.38-60 “Emancipation in the West”

2)     Salo Baron,  Ghetto and Emancipation…Shall we revise the Traditional Review?

3)     Jews in the Modern World: pg.125-126

4)     “Napoleon’s Instructions to the Assembly of Jewish Notables” written by Count Mole P.128-132 “Answer to Napoleon”

5)     Barnavi, E., pg. 174-175: Count Clermont-Tonnerre’s speech to the French National Assembly in 1789.

6)     Barnavi pg. 158-160

7)     Scheindlin, pg.149-171. “The Jews of Western Europe, 1500-1900

 

Questions:

 

1)     Define emancipation.

2)     What conclusions can you draw from the readings about the relationship the Jews had within the larger French society as well as within other European countries? What was the function of Jews in French society?

3)     What was the nature of the Jew’s struggle with their identity? What can you conclude about how the French identified them, were they viewed as a cultural/ethnic group or a religious group?

4)     What was Napoleon’s purpose in calling for a meeting of the Sanhedrin? What was he trying to accomplish by using an ancient Jewish concept? What were the motives behind the Sanhedrin’s response?

5)     What was the message behind Clermont-Tonnerre’s speech?  How did he want to identify the Jews of France?

6)     How do you predict the Emancipation of the Jews in France affected other Jewish cultural centers throughout Europe?

7)      How did Jewish emancipation lead to Jewish Enlightenment?

8)     During the Enlightenment, what were the conflicts of self-identity that formed within the Jewish community?

 

13 (W) April: Destruction of European Jewry - Sho’ah: History and Memory

 

Topics covered:   -brief history

                        -impact on Jewish civilization, ideology, theology

                        -women in the sho’ah

                        -rescue and resistance

 

In Class Guest Lecturer

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Explore In Pursuit of Justice by Mahoney, K.

2)     The Holocaust by Niewyk pg. 139-178

3)     Kaplan, A Marion. Jewish Women in Nazi Germany: Daily Life, Daily Struggles, 1933-1939. Pg. 187-212

4)     Barnavi, E.,  224-241

 

Recommended Reading:

1)     Maus by Art Spiegelman

 

Questions:

1)     How was Judaism practiced during the sho’ah?

2)     How did the Jewish community maintain itself during the sho’ah?

3)     What was the particular impact on women?

4)     How has the sho’ah affected Jewish identity?

 

15 (F) April: Immigration to United States

 

Topics covered:   -waves of Jewish immigration to the United States

                        -experience of women living on the Lower East Side

                        -challenges to immigrants

                        -daily life

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Unfinished People by Ruth Gay: Intro. (pg 3-13); Part II: “There” (pg. 17-40); Part IV: “Here” (pg. 279-301)

2)     Daughters of the Shtetl: Life and Labor in the Immigrant Generation by Susan Glenn: Chapter 2: “Mothers and Daughters, Remaking the Jewish Family Economy in America”

3)     The Promised City: New York’s Jews by Moses Rischin: chapter 5: “The Lower East Side” (pg. 76-94); chapter 6: “Germans versus Russians” (pg. 95-111)

4)     Barnavi, E.,  pg. 152-153

 

Questions:

1)     What were some of the motivations for immigration?

2)     What were the primary challenges to the immigrant communities? 

3)     What were the expectations and what was the reality?

4)     What challenges were unique to women?

5)     What challenges were unique to children? 

6)     How did children first experience life in America?

7)     How did the Jewish immigrants establish a cultural community?

8)     How did early immigrants reconcile their Jewish and emerging American identities?

9)     What was the relationship between earlier and later immigrants?

 

Assignments:

1)     Night Screening: “Hester Street” date TBA

 

 

VII. PROLOGUE: INTRODUCTION TO THE FUTURE (4 classes)

 

18 (M) April: Early 20th century and the Founding of Israel

 

Topics covered:   -Israeli History and Politics

-Key Figures

-Cultural Life

-Religious Life

-Population and Demographics

-role of women in the founding of Israel

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     In the Land of Israel by Amos Oz

2)     Scheindlin, chapter 11: The Jewish People after 1948

3)     Barnavi, E., pg. 242-245, 254-255

 

Questions:

1)     Describe daily life in Modern Israel.

2)     What are some of the struggles and conflicts, and who are they between?

3)     What is the nature of the Palestinian – Israeli relations, as characterized in Oz’s book?

4)     What is the nature of internal conflicts within Israel?

5)     As portrayed in Oz’s book, what is the difference between Jewish and Israeli identity?

 

20 (W) – 22 (F) April: Modern American Jewry Since the Turn of the Century

 

Topics covered:   -Jewish adaptation to America

                        -conflict of assimilation

                        -role of women

                        -identity formation in America

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     Holy Days: The World of a Hasidic Family by Lis Harris

2)     Andrew Heinze, "The Holy and the Mundane," and "Luxuries, Holidays and Jewish Identity," in Adapting to Abundance: Jewish Immigrants, Mass Consumption and the Search for American Identity (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), 51-67 and 68-85.

3)     Handout with excerpts from The First Jewish Catalog by Michael Strassfeld & Richard Siegel

4)     Barnavi, E., pg. 204-205

5)     “What Makes a Jewish Home ‘Jewish’?” by Ochs, V.

 

Questions:

1)     How did Jews adapt to American society?

2)     How did Judaism change based on the readings you have read?

3)     How did it remain the same?

4)     What did American Jews struggle with?

5)     How did they form an identity?

6)     What characterizes a Jewish home?

 

25 (M) April- NO CLASS - Passover

 

27 (W) April: Jewish Activism

 

Topics covered:   -active vs. passive

                        -unity

                        -feminist activism

 

Readings for today’s class:

1)     http://www.js.emory.edu/BLUMENTHAL/Kate.html#!

2)     “America Stands with Israel,” Washington, D.C. April 15, 2002 Introduction-p.16

3)     View the front page of the New York Times, Tuesday, April 16th 2002

4)     Konner, M., Unsettled: Chapter 18

 

Questions:

1)     What is the future of Judaism and the Jewish community?

2)     What challenges do modern Jews face?

 

In Class Screening: Operation Moses- Transport of Ethiopian Jews to Israel (26 minutes)

 

 

29 (F) April: FINAL PROJECT PRESENTATIONS

 

02 (M) May: FINAL PROJECT PRESENTATIONS


 [CK1]Add an optional review session, library day,

 [CK2]Put on one line.