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Jewish Studies

2010-2011 Jewish Studies COURSE ARCHIVE

Fall 2010

  • JUD 100y Elementary Modern Hebrew

A year-long introduction to modern Hebrew, with a focus on equal development of the four language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Study of Israeli song, film and short texts amplifies acquisitions of vocabulary and grammar. By the end of the year, students will be able to comprehend short and adapted literary and journalistic texts, describe themselves and their environment, express their thoughts and opinions, and participate in classroom discussions. No previous knowledge of Hebrew language is necessary. Enrollment limited to 18. {F} 10 credits. Completion of this course (or its equivalent) is REQUIRED by Smith College for any student planning to study abroad in Israel.
Ilona Ben-Moshe
Full-year course M W F 9:00-10:20

  • JUD 200 Intermediate Modern Hebrew

Continuation of JUD 100y. Offered at Smith in alternate years. In Fall 2010 Intermediate Modern Hebrew is offered at Mount Holyoke. Emphasizes skills necessary for proficiency in reading, writing and conversational Hebrew. Transitions from simple Hebrew to more colloquial and literary forms of language. Elaborates and presents new grammatical concepts and vocabulary, through texts about Israeli popular culture and everyday life, newspapers, films, music and readings from Hebrew short stories and poetry. Prerequisite: one year of college Hebrew or equivalent, or permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 18. Van services may be available from Smith to Mount Holyoke and classes via videoconference on Fridays may be possible. {F} 4 credits.
Ilona Ben-Moshe M W F 1:15-2:30

  • FYS 186 Israel: Texts and Contexts

The role of literary and visual culture in the construction of Israel's founding myths and critiques of its present realities. The relationship between Zionism as a political ideology and as an aesthetic revolution: redefining sacred and secular space (Jerusalem, the socialist kibbutz, cosmopolitan Tel Aviv); reviving Hebrew as a living language; re-writing the Bible; and imagining the New Jew. How shadows of the Holocaust, fantasies of the Arab, and post-nationalist ennui shape the context of the broader Middle East. Poetry, prose, song, art, and film from before and after the creation of a Jewish state, all in translation. Enrollment limited to 16 first-year students. WI {L} 4 credits
Justin Cammy T Th 9:00-10:20

  • CLT 218 Holocaust Literature

Creative responses to the destruction of European Jewry, differentiating between literature written in extremis in ghettos, concentration/extermination camps, or in hiding, and the vast post-war literature about the Holocaust. How to balance competing claims of individual and collective experience, the rights of the imagination and the pressures for historical accuracy. Selections from a variety of artistic genres (diary, reportage, poetry, novel, graphic novel, film, monuments, museums), and critical theories of representation. All readings in translation. {L/H} 4 credits
Justin Cammy T Th 10:30-11:50

  • GOV 229 Government and Politics of Israel

A historical analysis of the establishment of the State of Israel and the formation of its economy, society, and culture. Discussions will focus on the Zionist movement in Europe and the United States, the growth and development of Jewish economic and political institutions in the land of Israel, and the revival of the Hebrew language. {S} 4 credits
Donna Robinson Divine M W 9:00-10:20

  • REL 210 Introduction to the Bible

The Hebrew Scriptures (Tanakh/Old Testament). A survey of the Hebrew Bible and its historical and cultural context. Critical reading and discussion of its narrative and legal components as well as an introduction to the prophetic corpus and selections from the wisdom literature. {H/L} 4 credits
Joel Kaminsky M W F 11:00-12:10

  • REL 223 The Modern Jewish Experience

A thematic survey of Jewish history and thought from the 16th century to the present, examining Jews as a minority in modern Europe and in global diaspora. We will examine changing dynamics of integration and exclusion of Jews in various societies as well as diverse forms of Jewish religion, culture, and identity among Sefardic, Ashkenazic, and Mizrahi Jews. Readings include major philosophic, mystical, and political works in addition to primary sources on the lives of Jewish women and men, families and communities, and messianic and popular movements. We will pay attention throughout to tensions between assimilation and cohesion; tradition and renewal; and history and memory. {H} 4 credits
Lois Dubin M W 1:10-2:30

Interterm 2011

  • JUD 110j Elementary Yiddish

An introduction to Yiddish language in its cultural context. Fundamentals of grammar and vocabulary designed to facilitate reading and independent work with Yiddish texts. The course is divided into three parts: intensive language study every morning; a colloquium on aspects of Yiddish cultural history; and an afternoon service internship with the collection of the National Yiddish Book Center, the largest depository of Yiddish books in the world. Smith enrollment limited to 9; admission by permission of the instructor. Taught on site at the National Yiddish Book Center. In order to receive foreign language Latin Honors credit, students must complete an additional semester of Yiddish through Special Studies, within the Five Colleges, or through approved coursework elsewhere. {H/F} 4 credits
Course Coodinators: Justin Cammy (Smith College), Rachel Rubinstein (Hampshire College), and staff of the National Yiddish Book Center.
M T W R F 9:30 am-4:00 pm

Application for JUD 110j - Yiddish (January 2011)

Admission to JUD 110j Elementary Yiddish is by permission of instructor only.

Students will not be able to register for the class via Bannerweb without prior permission and a signed admission form. All students interested in joining the class must submit the following application to Professor Justin Cammy via email to jcammy@smith.edu. Applications are due November 15. Late applications will be considered on a space available basis only. The course is limited to 9 Smith students on a competitive basis.

JUD 110j is an intensive language and culture course. Students meet daily throughout interterm from roughly 10am to 4 pm. The course begins on Monday January 3 and ends on Friday January 24. There will be no class on Martin Luther King day.
Mornings are dedicated to intensive language study. Afternoons are divided between an academic colloquium and a service internship at the Book Center.

The class is held at the National Yiddish Book Center on the campus of Hampshire College. Students from Smith may take PVTA buses back and forth to Hampshire. If your schedule does not permit you to attend class daily from 10am-4pm please do not apply for admission. We are only able to accept students who are prepared to attend the full program.

There are no prerequisites for the course. No prior knowledge of Yiddish, Hebrew, and/or Jewish Studies is necessary.

The course is worth 4 credits. It does NOT count towards the language requirement of Latin Honors. Latin Honors requires two semesters of language study, and JUD 110j is only worth a single semester of language study. Students seeking Yiddish language credit to qualify for Latin Honors distribution will need to complete an additional semester of Yiddish language through special studies or summer study abroad.

In a separate email, please provide the following information:


Class Year

Major (if applicable)

Minor (if applicable)

Do you know any languages other than English? If yes, which one(s) and what level have you achieved in the language(s)?

Why are you interested in admission to JUD 110j?

How would admission to JUD 110j complement your scholarly progress to date?

List any relevant courses, if applicable.


Spring 2011

  • JUD 100y Elementary Modern Hebrew

Continued from fall semester. Completion of this course (or its equivalent) is REQUIRED by Smith College for any student planning to study abroad in Israel.
Ilona Ben-Moshe
M W F 9:00-10:20

  • JUD/REL 225 Jewish Civilization

A grand sweep of core narratives and beliefs that have animated Jews and Judaism from antiquity to the present. Readings from the classical library of Jewish culture (Bible, Talmud, midrash, Passover Haggadah, mystical and philosophical works, Hasidic tales) and from modern Jewish literature, thought, and popular culture. Focuses on dynamics of religious, cultural, and national reinvention at specific moments and places in Jewish history. {H/L} 4 credits
Joel Kaminsky M W F 11:00-12:10

  • JUD 258/ENG 230 American Jewish Literature

Jewish literary engagement with America, from Yiddish writing on the margins to the impact of native-born authors and critics on the post-war literary scene. Topics include narratives of immigration; the myth of America and its discontents; the Yiddish literary world on the Lower East Side; the New York Intellectuals; ethnic satire and humor; crises of the left involving Communism, Black-Jewish relations, and '60s radicalism; the Holocaust in American culture; tensions between Israel and America as "promised lands"; and the creative betrayal of folklore in contemporary fiction. Must Jewish writing in America remain on the margins, "too Jewish" for the mainstream yet "too white" for the new multicultural curriculum? {L} 4 credits
Justin Cammy M W 1:10-2:30

  • JUD 284(C) The Jews of Eastern Europe, 1750-1945

The modern history of the largest Jewish community in the world, from life under the Russian tsars until its extermination in World War II. Topics include the effects of tsarist legislation, pogroms, Polish nationalism, the Russian Revolutions, and Sovietization; competition between new forms of ecstatic religious expression (Hasidism) and the Jewish Enlightenment; proto-feminist critiques of traditional society; varieties of political self-assertion such as Zionism, Jewish Socialism, Diasporism, and Communism; folklore and the birth of modern Jewish identity; and the tension between memory and nostalgia in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Enrollment limited to 18. {H} 4 credits
Justin Cammy M W 2:40-4:00

  • GOV 248 The Arab-Israeli Dispute

Donna Robinson Divine

  • HST 350 Histories of the Holocaust

Darcy Buerkle

  • REL 310 Seminar: Judges

Joel Kaminsky

  • REL 320 Seminar: Jewish Religion and Culture: Topic: Jewish Women's History

Lois Dubin

  • SPN 246 Life Stories by Latin American Jewish Writers (in Spanish)

Silvia Berger

Five College Courses

Below is a sampling of courses in Jewish Studies offered within the Five-Colleges. Please check the Five College Course Guide for a current list of courses and times. The list is subject to change. Students wishing to count a course offered within the Five-Colleges towards the major or minor in Jewish Studies at Smith should consult an advise

Amherst College
REL 37 The Body in Ancient Judaism (Niditch)
T,Th 11:30-12:50

Hampshire College
HACU 191 Yiddish Literature and Culture (Rubinstein),
M,W 10:30-11:50

Mount Holyoke College
GENDST 333 Seminar: Women in Dark Times (Zuckerwise)

JWST 275 Ethics and Interpersonal Relations in Judaism (Fine)

REL 203 Intro to the Hebrew Bible (Penn)

Anthro 397 Archeology of Israel (Sugerman) MWF 11:15-12:05

History 387 The Holocaust (Donson), MW 9:05-9:55 + Discussion

Judaic 354 Jewish Theater and Film (Gershenson) T 4-7

Judaic 390 Jews in the Age of the Atlantic Slave Trade (Ben-Ur) T,Th 9:30-10:40

Hebrew 240 Intermediate Hebrew II (Neuman) MWF 10:10-11

Hebrew 352 Readings in Modern Hebrew II (Bolozky)
T,Th 8-9:15