Spring 2020

Please Note

Room locations and courses are subject to change. Please see the Class Schedules for updates. 

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Jewish Studies Courses

RSP 213LEC  World Religions  Alexandra Zirkle

Communities, Populations and Spaces (List 3)
Cultures, Arts and Imagination (List 3)
Human Nature (List 3)

Class # 19973

In what ways are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam religions—or something else? In this course, we will examine Judaism from Ethiopia to Iraq, Christianity from Nagasaki to Palestine, and Islam from Tehran to Los Angeles. Students will become familiar with the narratives, practices, and beliefs unique to these three religions. We will also explore the status and contributions of women within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and compare Jewish, Christian, and Muslim accounts of the end of times (eschatology). Students will develop a deeper understanding of these movements by delving into a wide range of sources including sacred texts, literature, travel journals, and films.


JDS 235LEC / HIS 235LEC American Jewish Experience: Art, Literature, & Social Justice

Class # 20651 / 22648

During the 19th and 20th Centuries, Jews fled persecution to become an integral part of American culture and society. This experience played a key role in their participation in art, music literature, and social justice movements. This course explores Jewish involvement in countercultural art, music, literature, and comedy in the context of the workers,’ civil rights, and feminist movements.


JDS 237LEC / HIS 237LEC History of Israel & Zionism  Daniel Kotzin

Class # 19121 / 19932

This course will examine the development of the Zionist idea from its ancient and rabbinic origins to its modern political implementation. A particular area of focus will be on the modern Zionist movement, the variety of perspectives on Zionism within the movement, their conflicting visions, and the various ways in which Zionists sought to approach the Arab population. The history of Israeli politics, culture, and society since 1948 will also be a central element of the course.


JDS 267LEC Ancient Western Wisdom  Richard Cohen

Class # 23993

Conflict, Violence & Resolution (List 2)
Cultures, Art & Imagination (List 2)
Equality, Power & Justice (List 2)
Human Nature (List 2)

The ancient Western world was no less than a fateful meeting of Greek science, art and philosophy, Biblical ethics and community, and Roman engineering and empire, strands of material and spiritual life which continue to influence us and the whole world to this day. We will put selected ancient Greek, biblical and Roman ideas and stories in juxtaposition to reawaken the sources of our thinking about myth, religion and truth; success, fashion and beauty; and morality and justice.


JDS 284LEC / LAW 284LEC  Justice in Bibles, Law & Philosophy  Alexander Green

Communities, Populations and Spaces (List 2)
Conflict, Violence and Resolution (List 2)
Cultures, Arts and Imagination (List 2)
Economy, Business and Society (List 2)
Equality, Power and Justice (List 2)
Human Nature (List 2)

Class # 23128 / 24019

"A law that is not just is not law" said recently a protester against racial discrimination. This argument exemplifies a problem we will address in this course through reading, discussing, theatrically staging, and critically applying the work of the best writers and thinkers, both ancient and contemporary, who addressed the problem of justice in relationship to equality, law, and freedom. In that way, we will conduct a comparative study of the relationship between justice,law, and society in pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Thought.


JDS 366LEC / PHI 366LEC Medieval Philosophy  Alexander Green

Class # 24311 / 24090

This course will look at how Jewish, Christian and Islamic philosophers in the Middle Ages reconciled classical Greek philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus) and its conceptions of “nature” with the active God of the Bible, the New Testament and the Quran. Topics to be discussed include: describing and conceiving God; creation vs. eternity of the universe; ethics and happiness; psychology and freedom; divine providence and evil; politics, prophecy and law; and philosophy of history.


JDS 374LEC / ENG 374LEC The Bible as Literature  Kenneth Dauber

Class # 23465 / 21806

This course offers extensive reading in the Bible, one of the most influential and perennially-popular books in the world, and a fundamental pillar in the construction of Western civilization. Part history, part literature, part philosophy, part law-book, it raises still relevant questions concerning ethics, community, knowledge, the place of man in the world, and the very idea of a responsible self. We will read selections from the Bible including Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Samuel, several of the prophets, Job, Ecclesiastes, Jonah, some Psalms, and the Gospels of Matthew and John. Students will also consider modern biblical scholarship and explore the more important uses of religious and biblical ideas in various periods of English and American literature.


JDS 381LEC / PHI 380 LEC 19th Century Philosophy  Richard Cohen

Class # 23463 / 24333

A radical revolution has swept the earth over the past two centuries: industrial, political, intellectual and spiritual. In the nineteenth century a veritable new world has arisen to challenge and replace the old: the rise of democracy, stirrings of religious tolerance, cosmopolitan culture, and the prospect of general material prosperity. Seeking to grasp the sources and significance of such a radical transformation, we will explore the old and the new in selected writings of such thinkers as Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Feuerbach, Schopenhauer, Mill, T.H. Green, Marx, Dostoyevsky, Darwin, Bergson, Nietzsche and Freud, among others. This course is the same as PHI 380.


JDS 496 Internship

The Jewish Studies Internship Program provides a mechanism for highly motivated students of all levels to earn 3 academic credits by combining internship experience with educational knowledge of the Jewish tradition. The following community organizations are looking for UB students to work as interns in Spring 2020:

Buffalo Jewish Community Relations Council

Hillel of Buffalo

Jewish Community Center

Jewish Journal of Western New York

Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western NY

See the additional brochure for more information on the internships. To apply for one or more of these internships, send your CV and a letter of application explaining your interest and qualifications for the internship to the Director of Undergraduate Studies at agreen6@buffalo.edu  


JDS 497TUT Special Honors Thesis

The Honors Program in Jewish Studies offers students the opportunity to develop a substantial thesis based on primary source research. Students enjoy the reward of finishing a prolonged, independent project mentored by a faculty member. It can be on any subject area within the academic study of Judaism, as long as one of the faculty members agrees to supervise the student’s project. Upon admission to the program, junior or senior honors students are responsible for arranging with a faculty mentor to guide their thesis research and writing, normally completed in the senior year. Honors students may, at the discretion of their mentors and upon approval of the directors of undergraduate and graduate studies, participate in a relevant graduate seminar or seminars.

JDS 497 TUT Special Honors Thesis            Richard Cohen          Class # 22732

JDS 497 TUT Special Honors Thesis            Sergey Dolgopolski Class # 22727

JDS 497 TUT Special Honors Thesis            Alexander Green      Class # 25007

JDS 497 TUT Special Honors Thesis            Noam Pines               Class # 22734

JDS 497 TUT Special Honors Thesis            Alexandra Zirkle       Class # 22733


JDS 499TUT Independent Study

Looking for a topic that is not being offered? Contact one of the faculty members to look into developing your own Independent Study under their supervision.



*Undergraduates can take graduate level courses with special permission from the instructor. Please contact the instructor for more information

JDS 690SEM / COL 718SEM Jewish Identity

Class # 24258 / 24287

Walter Benjamin and the Origin of the German Trauerspiel: The course will explore the various aspects of Benjamin’s thought as they emerge from his celebrated Trauerspiel essay: constellation, melancholy and allegory, natural history, creature and sovereign, and more. We will conduct close readings of Benjamin’s text in conjunction with other thinkers such as Freud, Agamben, Kristeva, Gadamer, Schmitt, Scholem, and Taubes.

Hebrew Courses

HEB 102LEC Elementary Modern Hebrew 2 – Lilia Dolgopolskaia

Class # 12986

Hebrew 102 is the second part of the Elementary Hebrew course at UB. This course aims to further present students with the basis of Modern Israeli Hebrew and to assist them in developing the fundamental linguistic skills of Hebrew aural and reading comprehension, conversation and writing in a communicative approach. To supplement the course packet, enrichment activities, ranging from traditional handouts to the use of new digital technology are incorporated in the course.


HEB 202LEC Intermediate Hebrew 2 – Lilia Dolgopolskaia

Class # 12985

Hebrew 202 is the second part in the continuation of Intermediate Hebrew at UB. This course aims to offer students further basis of Modern Israeli Hebrew and to facilitate their communicative and linguistic skills in Hebrew aural comprehension, conversation, reading and writing. To supplement the course packet, enrichment activities, ranging from traditional handouts to the use of new digital technology are incorporated in the course.


HEB 499TUT  Independent Study - Lilia Dolgopolskaia

Class # 17904

Have you already passed Intermediate Hebrew? Do you want to take your Hebrew language skills to a more advanced level? Contact Lilia to discuss further possibilities.

Other Semesters