Center for Jewish Studies

http://www.wesleyan.edu/cjs/

The Center for Jewish Studies offers interdisciplinary courses in Jewish and Israel studies. All courses (required and elective) are counted toward the Certificate in Jewish and Israel Studies. The Center for Jewish Studies courses and workshops are taught by its core and affiliated faculty, as well as by distinguished visitors and scholars including film directors and internationally acclaimed writers and artists. The Center for Jewish Studies offers an innovative Hebrew program based on a unique model of incorporating language skills with cultural events, and all Hebrew courses are counted toward the Israeli track in the Certificate for Jewish and Israel Studies. In addition, the Center for Jewish Studies offers Wesleyan and the general community rich and innovative events and series linked to other departments, programs, and colleges at the University. Among them, the annual Contemporary Israeli Voices series in the fall, the annual Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival in the spring, the annual Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture, and the annual Jeremy Zwelling Lecture. To be engaged with the larger Wesleyan community, the Center for Jewish Studies sponsors WESeminars, presented by its faculty.

Visiting Faculty

Amir Bogen
BA, College of Management Academic; MA, Tel Aviv University
Silverberg Scholar in Residence in Jewish Studies

Center for Jewish Studies

CJST153F Ethnicity, Race, and Religion in the Middle Ages (FYS)

This course concerns the invention of premodern ideas of ethnicity and race. Our focus will be on a selection of medieval texts dealing with the encounters--real and imaginary--of Western European Christians with other cultures, from the Celtic borderlands to the Mongol Empire. The readings will begin historically with the Crusades and the (often grisly) chronicles written by Christian, Muslim, and Jewish authors. Other genres will include religious polemics,¿autobiographical narratives of religious conversion, and travel accounts by missionaries, spies, and colonial propagandists. We will also read some later "romances" that re-imagine the crusades in terms of exoticized sexuality, racial transformation, cannibalism, and nationalist fantasy.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-ENGL
Identical With: ENGL153F
Prereq: None

CJST203 Jews & Judaism: Race, Religion, Culture

What is a Jew? Are Jews white? Must a Jew believe in God? What is at stake when defining someone as a Jew? Using sources ranging from the Hebrew Bible to contemporary films, this course examines various facets of Jewish life, paying special attention to contesting definitions of Jewishness as race, religion, and culture. Building on a chronological discussion of Jewish history, we will ask theoretical questions such as the relation between gender and biblical interpretation, the relevance of religious law in contemporary society, and the challenges of diasporic thinking to national sovereignty.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: SBS-RELI
Identical With: RELI203
Prereq: None

CJST210 Jews & America

This course will investigate why Jews came to America and how they and their children adapted to their new home. It will explore American Jews' relations with other groups, including the Irish Americans, African Americans and the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant elite, and Jews in other parts of the world. Finally, the course will consider Jews' quite significant impact on the American economy, politics, society, and culture. Although it will begin with the colonial era, the course will focus primarily on the 19th and especially the 20th centuries.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: SBS-HIST
Identical With: HIST210
Prereq: None

CJST214 Refugees & Exiles: Religion in the Diaspora

Recent years have seen the on-going tragic refugee crisis, with millions of people being displaced because of war and ecological disasters. That this crisis also has religious overtones is evident by the so-called travel ban in the United States or the rhetoric used by right wing leaders across Europe. This course deals with the meaning of refuge, exile, and diaspora through three perspectives: philosophical, historical, and literary. A variety of case studies--including the contemporary refugee crises in the Middle East, the black transatlantic, and the destruction of the temple in the Hebrew Bible--will raise for us various questions: What does it mean to be violently forced to leave one's home? How is it possible to make sense of such a tragedy? What creative power can diaspora muster to the rescue of culture? This course is a Service Learning course in cooperation with WESU 88.1 FM Middletown. Each student's final project will be a radio show based on an analysis of a selected refugee crisis. To learn more and listen to last year's shows visit here.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: SBS-RELI
Identical With: RELI213
Prereq: None

CJST216 Jesus Through Jewish Eyes

In this course, we explore the visual and textual representations of the vexed relation between Jews and Christians throughout history. Looking at the various ways in which Christianity and Judaism define themselves vis-à-vis the other allows us to understand what mechanisms of cultural appropriation, subversion, and hidden polemics are at work. Special attention will be given to the figure of Jesus as a point of artistic and theological contention. How do artistic representations change our understanding of religious themes? What is at stake for each religion in the encounter with the other? What are the political implications of theological debates? Is this dialogue needed, or even possible, in our post-secular age?
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: SBS-RELI
Identical With: RELI216
Prereq: None

CJST234 Israel in Therapy: Society Under the Influence of TV Series

The course deals with the prototypes of the Israeli character as they appear in the original Israeli TV series In Treatment, and other Israeli TV series, such as Florentine and A Touch Away. We will compare the structure and the characters of the series to other dramatic Israeli series, examine the appearance of the characters, and discuss the similarities and differences between the roles they perform. In addition, we will examine the role of television drama series as a tool to define and characterize our societies, and also look over the five characters that appear in the first season of In Treatment, define them, and examine the five prototypes of the Israeli character they represent.

The instructor is the co-creator and head screenwriter of the original version of the TV series In Treatment as well as the Center for Jewish Studies distinguished Visiting Professor.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-CJST
Identical With: FILM311
Prereq: None

CJST241 Judaism(s): Religion, Power, and Identity in Jewish History

This course will offer students an intensive survey of the major currents in Jewish social, political, intellectual, and religious history, while focusing in particular on what it means to be a Jew in the 21st-century. The course explores how Jews are a culture, ethnicity, nation, nationality, race, religion, and more and how Jewishness gets constructed differently across different times and contexts. The course looks both locally and globally at the plurality of Jewish identities. Students will read primary historical texts from prominent Jewish thinkers and writers, as well as texts written about Jews by non-Jews.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: SBS-RELI
Identical With: RELI204
Prereq: None

CJST243 Jewish Graphic Novels

This course will explore issues in Judaism and the Jewish experience through the medium of the graphic novel. Students will not only gain proficiency in critically reading graphic novels and sequential art, they will also gain a grasp on some of the major issues in Jewish history including (but not limited to) immigration, life in America, the Holocaust, and Israel/Palestine.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-RELI
Identical With: RELI217
Prereq: None

CJST244 Introduction to The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)

The Hebrew Bible is one of the most influential texts in the world. From antiquity to the present, it has served as a source of philosophical, literary, and artistic reflection. It is a fascinating document, combining narrative, poetry, law, prophetic proclamations, and puzzling parables. What kind of book is the Hebrew Bible? Who wrote it and why? How do we approach such a text across the distance of time? Through a systematic reading from the very beginning, we will place the Bible in its historical context while giving special attention to the philosophical and literary questions it raises: Is obedience to authority always justified? Why do good people suffer unjustly? What gender is God? In answering these and other questions, you will gain an understanding of the ways contesting interpretations make authoritative claims.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-RELI
Identical With: RELI201, MDST203, COL237
Prereq: None

CJST248 Designing Reality in Israeli Documentary Film

In the last decade, Israeli documentary films have crossed borders not just geographically but also by their form and style. They are bold, courageous and provocative. They have been participating in prestigious international film festivals, receiving important awards and mostly bringing the Israeli audience back to the cinema, having a crowd power like fiction films. So what makes Israeli documentary films a "hot property"? In this class we will look for the answers by watching and discussing 14 Israeli documentary films (among them "Paper Doll," "In Satmar Custody," "Presenting Princess Shaw," "No.17"). The course will raise questions about reality and the construction of reality in Israeli documentary films.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-CJST
Prereq: None

CJST249 From Black & White to Colors: Israeli Cinema, a Melting Pot Fragmented

The course will focus on Israeli cinema as a reflection of a society that was founded as a melting pot for all Jews and became sectorial. Israeli cinema originated as a tool for establishing a unified national identity evolved over the years into a means of expression for ethnically defined subcultures within society. During the course, the students will explore past and contemporary films and will follow the shift they represent in the current Israeli experience turning away from the original Zionist core into several isolated groups distinguished by ethnicity, traditions, and language. We will examine Moroccan, Persian, Georgian, Russian, Yiddish, Ethiopian, Arab, etc. films produced in Israel by local filmmakers digging deep into the experience of immigration, seclusion, rediscovering their roots, and even expressing yearnings to the countries of origin.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: SBS-CJST
Prereq: None

CJST272 Ethics After the Holocaust

The philosopher Theodor Adorno declared, "To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric." The Holocaust is a challenge to our understanding of modern society, ethics, and what it means to be human after Auschwitz. In this course, we will investigate how the Holocaust orients contemporary discussions on questions of guilt, forgiveness, and evil. What does it mean to remember, to forgive, and to forget? Can one ethically represent the Holocaust in art? We will explore these questions using various sources, including works by Hannah Arendt, Adorno, and Emmanuel Levinas, as well as museums, memorial sites, and cinematic representations.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: SBS-RELI
Identical With: RELI272, GRST266
Prereq: None

CJST278 American Jewish Humor

This course is a look at American Jewish history through one particular lens--that of the peculiar phenomenon of Jewish humor. There is a long history of Jews and humor that has nothing to do with the immigrant experience in America, but the immigrant experience in America nonetheless has a great deal to do with the humor that has been produced by Jews in this country, particularly in the 20th century. We will read some historical background on American Jews and some humor theory as our foundation for our understanding of film viewings, short stories, stand-up comedy performances, and musical recordings. By looking at the way Jewish humor changed throughout the 20th century, we should, in the end, be able to chart the way the lives of American Jews were changing and have a deeper understanding of the American Jewish experience.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: SBS-HIST
Identical With: RELI278, AMST292
Prereq: None

CJST308 Funny, You Don't Look Jewish: Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Judaism

This course will give advanced students the opportunity to engage deeply with critical current issues in Judaism, including race, gender, and sexuality. In both the U.S. and Israel, issues of Jewish whiteness (or not), straightness (or not), and maleness (or not) dominate conversations about the direction Judaism will take in the 21st century and how Judaism can remain relevant in an increasingly globalized and secularized world.

Students in this course will read contemporary scholarship on those who have been traditionally pushed to the margins of Judaism and will be asked to wade into murky ethical waters as they think about the power of naming and who has the authority to determine "in" and "out."
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: SBS-RELI
Identical With: RELI308, FGSS313
Prereq: None

CJST319 Crisis, Creativity, and Modernity in the Weimar Republic, 1918--1933

Born in defeat and national bankruptcy; beset by disastrous inflation, unemployment, and frequent changes of government; and nearly toppled by coup attempts, the Weimar Republic (1918--1933) produced some of the most influential and enduring examples of modernism. Whether in music, theater, film, painting, photography, design, or architecture, the Weimar years marked an extraordinary explosion of artistic creativity. New approaches were likewise taken in the humanities, social sciences, psychology, medicine, science, and technology, and new ideas about sexuality, the body, and the role of women were introduced. Nevertheless, Weimar modernism was controversial and generated a backlash that caused forces on the political right to mobilize to ultimately bring down the republic. This advanced seminar explores these developments and seeks to understand them within their political, social, and economic contexts to allow for a deeper understanding of Weimar culture and its place within the longer-term historical trajectory of Germany and Europe. This perspective allows for an appreciation of the important links between Weimar modernism and Imperial Germany, as well as an awareness of some of the important continuities between the Weimar and Nazi years.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: SBS-HIST
Identical With: HIST319, GRST264, CHUM319, RELI319
Prereq: None

CJST351 Debate and Destruction: Jews and Christians in the Middle Ages

This course will consider relations between the Jewish minority and their Christian neighbors in England before the Jews' expulsion in 1290. We will also look at how the Jews are depicted in subsequent Christian writing. We will read texts originally written in Hebrew, French, and Latin (all in translation) as well as English, giving us a sense of the conversations that took place between two groups that were both inextricably bound together and set apart by centuries of conflict and persecution. Among the issues we will explore are the popularity of Jewish-Christian debate as a literary form, the Crusades, gender roles and gender fluidity, Jewish and Christian apocalyptic programs, and the curious afterlife of Jews in Middle English literature..
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-ENGL
Identical With: ENGL351, MDST351, RELI351
Prereq: None

CJST401 Individual Tutorial, Undergraduate

Topic to be arranged in consultation with the tutor.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT

CJST402 Individual Tutorial, Undergraduate

Topic to be arranged in consultation with the tutor.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT

CJST411 Group Tutorial, Undergraduate

Topic to be arranged in consultation with the tutor.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT

CJST412 Group Tutorial, Undergraduate

Topic to be arranged in consultation with the tutor.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT

CJST413 From Black and White to Colors: Israeli Cinema (CLAC)

This Hebrew course will be linked to a new film course, taught in English and offered in spring 2019. The film course is entitled CJST 249: From Black and White to Colors: Israeli Cinema, a Melting Pot Fragmented. This course is targeted towards heritage Hebrew speakers and students with very advanced knowledge of the Hebrew language. Students will view the same films as the parent class with special attention to the Hebrew language. We will analyze, discuss, and write on each of the films. In addition, students will be required to attend all the screenings in the Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival and to meet with native guest speakers. The focus of the course will be to map the cultural and social changes in Israeli society reflected in the transformation in format and themes of Israeli films. This course may be repeated for credit.
Offering: Host
Grading: Cr/U
Credits: 0.50
Gen Ed Area: SBS-CJST
Identical With: CGST413, HEBR413
Prereq: None

Hebrew

HEBR101 Beginning Hebrew I

This first part of a two-semester course is designed to develop the basic language skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension, and basic Hebrew grammar. Emphasis is on modern Israeli Hebrew. No previous knowledge of Hebrew is required. Multimedia and authentic resources will be incorporated into class work. Independent lab work, as well as participation in cultural and literary enrichment activities by Israeli scholars, is required.
Offering: Host
Grading: Amp Graded
Credits: 1.50
Gen Ed Area: HA-CJST
Prereq: None

HEBR102 Beginning Hebrew II

This course is a continuation of HEBR101 with emphasis on enlarging vocabulary, grammar, composition, and further developing language skills. Multimedia resources and computer programs will be used to enhance listening and comprehension. Exposure to cultural material will also be included. Independent lab work, as well as participation in the Israeli film festival, are required.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.50
Gen Ed Area: HA-CJST
Prereq: HEBR101

HEBR201 Intermediate Hebrew I

This course follows HEBR101 and 102. Emphasis is divided among the four basic language skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension. Instruction of Hebrew grammar will be enhanced. Multimedia resources as well as computer programs will be used in the appropriate cultural context. Lab work with digitized films is required. Visits by Israeli scholars will be integrated into course curriculum.
Offering: Host
Grading: Amp Graded
Credits: 1.50
Gen Ed Area: HA-CJST
Prereq: HEBR102

HEBR202 Intermediate Hebrew II

This course is a continuation of HEBR201 with more advanced grammar and increased emphasis on speaking as well as reading more complicated texts, including literary texts. Various multimedia resources, computer programs, and the Internet will be used to enhance listening, composition, and comprehension skills. Exposure to appropriate cultural material such as Israeli films will also be included. Participation in all activities related to the Israeli film festival is required as part of the course curriculum.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.50
Gen Ed Area: HA-CJST
Prereq: HEBR201

HEBR211 Hebrew Literature

This seminar will survey contemporary Hebrew poetry, prose, plays, and films with emphasis on aspects of sociohistorical issues and the ways in which modern Hebrew literature enriches and brings deeper understanding of collective Jewish experiences and detects and shapes the reality of modern Israel. The course will seek to increase the fluency and complexity of the students' expression and comprehension and generate a greater appreciation of the uniqueness of the language. Literary scholars' visits will be incorporated into the curriculum.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.50
Gen Ed Area: HA-CJST
Prereq: HEBR202

HEBR401 Individual Tutorial, Undergraduate

Topic to be arranged in consultation with the tutor.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT

HEBR402 Individual Tutorial, Undergraduate

Topic to be arranged in consultation with the tutor.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT

HEBR407 Senior Tutorial (downgraded thesis)

Downgraded Senior Thesis Tutorial - Project to be arranged in consultation with the tutor. Only enrolled in through the Honors Coordinator.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F

HEBR408 Senior Tutorial (downgraded thesis)

Downgraded Senior Thesis Tutorial - Project to be arranged in consultation with the tutor. Only enrolled in through the Honors Coordinator.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F

HEBR409 Senior Thesis Tutorial

Topic to be arranged in consultation with the tutor.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F

HEBR410 Senior Thesis Tutorial

Topic to be arranged in consultation with the tutor.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F

HEBR411 Group Tutorial, Undergraduate

Topic to be arranged in consultation with the tutor.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT

HEBR412 Group Tutorial, Undergraduate

Topic to be arranged in consultation with the tutor.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT

HEBR413 From Black and White to Colors: Israeli Cinema (CLAC)

This Hebrew course will be linked to a new film course, taught in English and offered in spring 2019. The film course is entitled CJST 249: From Black and White to Colors: Israeli Cinema, a Melting Pot Fragmented. This course is targeted towards heritage Hebrew speakers and students with very advanced knowledge of the Hebrew language. Students will view the same films as the parent class with special attention to the Hebrew language. We will analyze, discuss, and write on each of the films. In addition, students will be required to attend all the screenings in the Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival and to meet with native guest speakers. The focus of the course will be to map the cultural and social changes in Israeli society reflected in the transformation in format and themes of Israeli films. This course may be repeated for credit.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: Cr/U
Credits: 0.50
Gen Ed Area: SBS-CJST
Identical With: CJST413, CGST413
Prereq: None

HEBR492 Teaching Apprentice Tutorial

The teaching apprentice program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to assist in teaching a faculty member's course for academic credit.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT