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Courses - Spring 2018

Jewish Studies courses, Hebrew courses, Yiddish courses, and relevant courses in other units.



JWSH 107 – Jews, Christians, Muslims
Molly Zahn, ONLINE
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 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. Not open to students who have taken REL 125 or JWSH 125. Same as REL 124.

JWSH 300 – Special Topics in Jewish Studies:  Jewish Prayer & Sabbath
TR 11:00-12:15pm, Rabbi Neal Schuster. MS 105
History of Shabbat and Prayer in Judaism: The course examines the origins and evolution of the sabbath and prayer in Judaism, as well as exploring variations in practice and meaning of these twin elements at the heart of Jewish religious and cultural life.

JWSH 300 – Special Topics in Jewish Studies:  The Jewish World of Jesus
TR 11:00-12:15pm, Eric Welch.
How did Jesus interact with the Jewish cultural elements of his day? What was Jewish culture like during the time of Jesus? This class explores the history and civilization of first century Roman Palestine to answer these questions. Students will learn the geography that formed the backdrop of the Gospel stories and study the political and religious institutions that helped shape the Jewish world of Jesus. Using archaeology, biblical texts, and classical texts, students will develop a picture of Jewish daily life in the first century and come to understand how Jesus was a participant in and disruptor of these social and cultural norms. Meets with CLSX 375.

JWSH 300 – Special Topics in Jewish Studies:  American Jewish History
W 6:00-8:30pm, Fran Sternberg. EDWARDS
This course surveys the history of American Jewry from the 17th to the 20th centuries through overlapping perspectives of economics, politics, ethnicity, culture, and gender. The first part of the course examines the three waves of Jewish immigration – Sephardic (“Spanish-Portuguese”), West-Ashkenazic (”German”), and East Ashkenazic (“Russian”) – that took place between the 1600s and World War I: their specific European roots and American circumstances; the different ways in which each group adapted to, interacted with, shaped and was shaped by American life, constructed ideas of community and identity, and influenced those who came later. The second part of the course explores the genesis of an integrated and distinctive modern American “Jewishness” that emerged after World War I and reached its zenith in the 1960s.Informed by interwar and postwar social, economic and demographic transformation and critical domestic and international political developments, this process involved the reconstruction of Jewish identity and community based on the conscious blending of Jewish values, traditions, rituals, and institutions with American notions of personal happiness and success, family, domesticity and upward mobility and the conscious broadening of Jewish concepts of philanthropy and activism based on expanded notions of American Jewry’s social and political mission in the United States and the world. Meets with HIST 390.

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 343 – The Holocaust in History
T 2:30-5:00pm, Fran Sternberg. SUM 506
The systematic murder of the Jews of Europe by the Nazis during World War II is one of the most important events of modern history. This course studies the Holocaust by asking about its place in history. It compares other attempted genocides with the Holocaust and examines why most historians argue that it is unique. Other topics covered include the reasons the Holocaust occurred in Europe when it did, the changing role of anti-Semitism, and the effects of the Holocaust on civilization. The course also discusses why some people have sought to deny the Holocaust. The course concludes by discussing the questions people have raised about the Holocaust and such issues as support for democracy, the belief in progress, the role of science, and the search for human values which are common to all societies. Same as HIST 343.

JWSH 371 – Archaeology of Ancient Israel
TR 9:30-10:45pm, Eric Welch. MS 105
Archaeology and art, sites and monuments of ancient Israel from the Neolithic period to Late Roman. Special topics will include the peoples of the region, nomadism and urbanization, the kingdoms of Israel, Second Temple Period, Qumran, Roman Jerusalem, and the creation and development of the synagogue. Same as CLSX 371.

JWSH 387 – Enemies of Ancient Israel
TR 8:00-9:15am, Eric Welch. WES 1009
An exploration of the social world of the Bible through its antagonists and their cultures. We will examine the so-called "Bad Guys of the Bible" using the lenses of history, archaeology, geography, and religion to better understand their cultures and how they are portrayed in the biblical text. Same as HIST 381 and REL 387.

JWSH 490 – Directed Study in Jewish Studies
Intensive reading or research under faculty supervision. Course may be repeated for a total of 6 credit hours. Majors and minors in Jewish Studies, not in the University Honors Program, may use this course to satisfy the requirements for departmental honors in Jewish Studies.

JWSH 491 – Directed Study in Jewish Studies, Honors
Honors version of JWSH 490. Intensive reading or research under faculty supervision. Course may be repeated for a total of 6 credit hours. Majors and minors in Jewish Studies, who are in the University Honors Program, may use this course to satisfy the requirements for departmental and university honors in Jewish Studies.

JWSH 525 – Jews and Christians
TR 1:00-1:15pm, 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 562 – Judaism and Political Theology
TR 4:00-5:15pm, Samuel Brody. SMI 208
A consideration of the relationship between religion and politics in Judaism, and of the relevance of Judaism to broader discussions about religion and politics. Topics will include sovereignty, secularization, pluralism, democracy, and revolution. Same as REL 572. Prerequisite: At least one course in Jewish Studies or Religious Studies, or permission of instructor.

JWSH 601 Senior Seminar in Jewish Studies*
M 12:30-3:00pm, Renee Perelmutter. WES 4022
Investigation of topics related to Jewish studies from an interdisciplinary perspective: Jewish culture, history, and religion. The course focuses on research methods and intensive writing. Open only to Jewish studies majors. Suggested for students with senior standing.

*Beginning in the Spring 2018 semester, JWSH 601 will be taught as its own course, and will only be taught in the Spring semester. 



HEBR 120 – Elementary Israeli Hebrew II
MTWRF 10:00-10:50am, Rissien. WES 4022
A continuation of HEBR 110. Note Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam. Prerequisite: HEBR 110.

HEBR 220 – Intermediate Israeli Hebrew II
MWF 9:00-9:50am, Rissien. WES 4022
A continuation of HEBR 210. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam. Prerequisite: HEBR 210.

HEBR 350 – Advanced Israeli Hebrew II
MWF, 11:00-11:50am, Rissien. WES 4022
Continued advanced study of modern Hebrew. Not open to native speakers of Hebrew. Prerequisite: HEBR 340 or permission of the instructor.

HEBR 420 – Studies in Modern Hebrew
TR, 11:00-12:15pm, Rissien. WES 4022
This course is designed to help students achieve fluency in speaking, listening, and writing Modern Hebrew. Not open to native speakers of Hebrew. Prerequisite: HEBR 220 or equivalent.

HEBR 490 – Independent Study in Hebrew
Intensive reading or research under faculty supervision. Not open to native speakers of Hebrew. Prerequisite: HEBR 220 or equivalent.

YDSH 490 – Independent Study in Yiddish
Intensive reading or research under faculty supervision.

In Memoriam: Arthur "Artie" Shaw

Upcoming Program Events
Dr. Perelmutter to be first Director of Undergraduate Studies!

Dr. Renee Perelmutter will be the first Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Jewish Studies Program! Dr. Perelmutter is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Slavic. She will begin her position as Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Fall 2017 semester.


Dr. Gal Levy, former Visiting Israeli Professor at KU, has won first prize for best article in Hebrew from the Israeli Political Science Association. The article looks at the post-protest protest in Israel and Dr. Levy gives acknowledgments to the KU Jewish Studies Program. Dr. Levy currently teaches at the Open University in Israel.

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