Courses - Fall 2019

Jewish Studies courses and Hebrew courses.



JWSH 107 – Jews, Christians, Muslims
ONLINE, Aug 26 - Oct 18, Molly Zahn
A basic introduction to the major religious traditions of the Near East, Europe, and the Americas, with an emphasis on their development through the modern period and their expressions in contemporary life. Not open to students who have taken JWSH 109 or REL 109. (Same as REL 107.)

JWSH 124 – Understanding the Bible
MW 11:00-11:50am + Discussion, Paul Mirecki. SMI 100
An introduction to the literature of the Bible, exploring the relationships among the various types of literature present and the function of each type in the history and religious life of the people who produced and used them. Cannot be taken concurrently with REL 311 or JWSH 321 or REL 315. Not open to students who have taken REL 125 or JWSH 125. (Same as REL 124.)

JWSH 300 – Topics in Jewish Studies: Israel: From Idea to State
TR, 1:00-2:15, Rami Zeedan. WES 4002
The course will survey the history of modern Israel. The course provides a basic understanding of Israeli history, politics, culture, and society. The course is divided to four periods: Hovevei Zion, the Zionist movement, and the first and second Aliyah; The Yishuv during Mandatory Palestine; The first two decades of statehood 1948-1967; Israel after the 1967 war. Meets with GIST 503, HIST 390, and POLS 370.

JWSH 320 – The Bible Then and Now
MW, 12:30-1:45pm, Paul Mirecki. SMI 208
An introduction and survey of the history and interpretation of the Jewish and Christian bibles from their first formation to the present day. Students will explore the way the text, interpretation and format of the Bible have adjusted over time to accommodate religious, political, social and technological changes. Class will occasionally meet in the university's rare book collection to study rare bibles. (Same as REL 320.)

JWSH 341 – Hitler and Nazi Germany
MW 11:00-12:15pm, Andrew Denning. WES 4002
W 6:00-8:30pm, Fran Sternberg. EDWARDS CAMPUS
An examination of the rise of Hitler and Nazism, beginning with the breakdown of 19th century culture in the First World War and continuing through the failure of democracy under the Weimar Republic. The course will also discuss the impact of Nazism on Germany and how Nazism led to the Second World War and the Holocaust. (Same as HIST 341.)

JWSH 361 – Jewish Film
TR 11:00-12:15pm, Rabbi Neal Schuster. FR 113
An examination of the cultural history of the Jews through films that explore Jewish themes, including but not limited to: issues of tradition and modernity, religion and secularism, immigration, gender, Zionism, anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust. Films studied may be in English and in foreign languages (with English subtitles) like Yiddish, Hebrew, and Russian. Meets with FMS 302.

JWSH 525 – Jews and Christians
TR 1:00-2:15pm, Molly Zahn. SMI 107
This course examines the ways Jews and Christians have interacted with and characterized one another at various points in their histories. Special emphasis is placed on the gradual separation of the two religious traditions in the 1st-4th centuries. (Same as REL 525.) Prerequisite: A previous course in Religious Studies or Jewish Studies; or consent of instructor.

JWSH 600 – Advanced Topics in Jewish Studies: Polls and Public Opinion in Israel
M 2:30-5:00pm, Rami Zeedan. WES 4035
The course examines public opinion, pre-election polls, and their effect on election results, policymaking, and politics in Israel, from a comparative perspective. We will discuss the validity of public opinion polls as a measurement tool, on its advantages and disadvantages, and its success and failure in predicting election results. We will also study the mutual relationships between public opinion, media and politics throughout Israel's 21 election cycles. Meets with GIST 503 and POLS 669.



HEBR 110 – Elementary Israeli Hebrew I
MTWRF 10:00-10:50am, Shelley Rissien. WES 4022
A beginning course in modern Israeli Hebrew. Essentials of grammar, syntax and conversational practice; elementary reading and writing. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

HEBR 210 – Intermediate Israeli Hebrew I
MWF 9:00-9:50am, Shelley Rissien. WES 1015
Further development of language skills: listening comprehension, oral efficiency, intermediate grammar and syntax, reading and writing. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam. Prerequisite: HEBR 120.

HEBR 340 – Advanced Israeli Hebrew I
TR, 11:00-12:15pm, Shelley Rissien. WES 4014
Advanced study of Modern Hebrew. This course is designed to strengthen linguistic skills, enrich vocabulary, and further the study of grammar and syntax. Not open to native speakers of Hebrew. Prerequisite: HEBR 220 or permission of the instructor.

Jewish Studies Program statement in solidarity with protests against police brutality

Beloved community,

As an academic program in the University of Kansas, we stand in solidarity with Black Americans -- including Black Jewish people -- and everyone hurting after the senseless, brutal murder of George Floyd and all people targeted by systemic racism and injustice in our country. We continue to be committed to our core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This morning, the Association for Jewish Studies sent out an email reminding us that as scholars of Jewish Studies, we are keenly aware of the devastating impact of discrimination and violence against minority groups. Dr. Cécile Accilien, the Chair of the KU Department of African and African-American studies, shared with us the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

The Jewish Studies academic community is rich and diverse – it includes scholars and students who are Jewish and non-Jewish, scholars and students of all ethnic and racial backgrounds and from multiple denominations and creeds, people who are immigrants (like myself) and those who are American-born. The Bible commands: צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף tzedek tzedek tirdof, which translates into English as “Only justice shall you pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20). In this well-cited verse, the Hebrew word tzedek, or justice, repeats twice. There can be many explanations of the repetition – textual interpretation in all its many forms is a beloved pursuit for many of us. Today, I am going to give you my own interpretation -- though I am sure that it already exists somewhere in the treasury of Jewish exegesis. One tzedek, or justice, you must pursue for yourself and for people like you; that is, perhaps, the justice that is easiest to understand, because we keenly feel injustices committed against ourselves and people like us. The other tzedek is the justice you must pursue for the sake of people who are not like you. It is often a harder lesson, but a necessary one. The justice, or tzedek, which we pursue thus also becomes a gift of chesed, of lovingkindness that enriches all of us.


In solidarity,

Dr. Renee Perelmutter,

Director of the Jewish Studies Program

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