Spring 2021

Please Note

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

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Jewish Studies Courses

JDS103: Introduction to Judaism
​Alexandra Zirkle
Mode: Online
MWF 3:00-3:50
Class #23830

How do we build communities? How do we negotiate difference? How do we respond to change? This course draws on a rich collection of Jewish sources to help us think through three questions central to our experience as humans. By surveying a broad range of sources from the Bible to contemporary films and by considering the experiences of Jews from Baghdad to Berlin, students will become familiar with fundamental aspects of Jewish religion, history, and culture. Through this introduction to Judaism, students will gain resources with which to think through how they personally build communities, negotiate difference, and respond to change.

JDS199: UB Seminar
Modern Revolutions: Industrial, Political, Social
Richard Cohen
Mode: Online
TR 9:35-10:50
Class #23829​  

Hardly any other events in human history have contributed more greatly to the transformation of humanity and its self-understanding after the rise of modern science, than the industrial revolution (steam engine, railroad, factory line), the spread of democracy (American and French revolutions) and the spectre [BS1] of socialism (Russian revolution).  They opened prospects such as the universal spread of democracy, the liberal transformation of religion, the growth of a worldwide metropolitan culture, and the prospect of general prosperity.  Seeking to better understand these ends by examining their beginnings, we will explore the old and the new in the prose and poetry of such thinkers and artists as Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, Dostoyevsky, Darwin, Bergson and Nietzsche, among others.

JDS203: Money & Ethics
Richard Cohen
Mode: Online
TR 11:10-12:25
​Class #23831

From paying rent to applying for jobs, we are all occupied with the earning and spending of money, but is there an ethics to our economics? Does accumulating wealth require moral compromises? What are our responsibilities toward impoverished members of our communities? And who decides what counts as work? This course explores these questions through the sources of Jewish thought, including biblical passages and philosophical texts, films and sermons, historical documents and literature. This highly interactive course has been designed so that through our critical exploration of the relationships between religion and economics, students also master the fundamentals of academic writing and oral communication.

JDS212: Special Topics--Jewish Environmental Ethics
Alex Green
Mode: Online
TR 12:45-2:00pm
Class #22981

The world faces mounting environmental challenges in the twenty-first century, such as global warming, pollution, deforestation, and the loss of biodiversity. While scientists are developing solutions to help resolve these crises, it is up to humanists to consider its moral challenges and become a constructive participant in the discussion. While scientific awareness of the serious ecological threats to human survival is recent, the engagement with environmental issues and challenges is deeply embedded in Jewish history and thought. This course will examine the complex attitude of the Jewish tradition towards the natural environment. We will begin by looking at the diversity of approaches in the Jewish tradition to nature. We will then give particular attention to how classical Jewish sources and contemporary interpretations engage with (a) the human life cycle, (b) animals, (c) land and water and (d) the atmosphere. While the classical sources were mostly written for Jewish audiences, their moral teaching is of importance to all environmentally conscious individuals.

JDS213/RSP213: World Religions
Alexandra Zirkle
Mode: Online
MWF 4:10-5:00
​Class #23007/19282

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. Students will develop a deeper understanding of these movements by delving into a wide range of sources including sacred texts, travel journals, literature, and films.

JDS284: Justice
Alex Green
Mode: Hybrid
AG1: 19749
AG2: 23832
TR: 3:55-5:10
​Location: TBD

A comparative study of the relationship between justice, law, and society in pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Thought. This course is the same as RSP 284 and LAW 284, and course repeat rules will apply.  Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements.

JDS426: Special Topics: History of Sex Magic: Body, Feeling and Mystical Religion Instruction
Marla Segol
Mode: Online
R: 3:55-6:35
Class #24990

Sex Magic is the practice of a ritualized sexuality to access cosmic power. Western sex magic operates on some key religious assumptions: first, the idea that God, human beings, and the cosmos share a deep connection, and second that it is possible to use the body to act on the cosmos. Thus the study of sex magic, while interesting in itself, opens big questions about the nature of religion and its understandings of affect, embodiment and power. And as we explore the growth of myths and rituals of sacred sexuality, we also observe firsthand the processes of mythical and ritual innovation. This class will trace the development of mystical experience into contemporary sex magic, from its earliest sources in ancient Jewish and Middle Eastern texts to its medieval kabbalistic sources, and finally to its contemporary use in New Age Religion.

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 # 22656

JDS 497 TUT Special Honors Thesis            Sergey Dolgopolski Class # 22657

JDS 497 TUT Special Honors Thesis            Noam Pines               Class # 22658

JDS 497 TUT Special Honors Thesis            Alexandra Zirkle       Class # 22659

Hebrew Courses

HEB102: Elementary Modern Hebrew 2
Lilia Dolgopolskaia
Mode: Hybrid
MWF 9:10-10:25
Location: TBD
​Class #12835

The continuation of Hebrew 101.  Note:  Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

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