Fall 2013

JS/RE120  Personal Writings about God   M/W 11:00-12:15   What do I believe about God or the supernatural? Which values should guide my life, and how do I know? Why is there suffering in this world? How might I make sense of death? Students will learn to reflect upon and express in writing their own answers to these core religious/spiritual questions through critical engagement with the ideas of prominent contemporary thinkers from various traditions as well as those of other members of the Colby community. In the process, students will develop skills as writers and critical thinkers while gaining deeper appreciation for the diversity and complexity of responses to some of life’s fundamental questions.  Four credit hours.  W1.  FREIDENREICH

JS125    Hebrew I   M/W/R 12:00-12:50   The first of three consecutive courses designed to develop fluency and accuracy in Modern Hebrew. Through an interactive approach to language learning, students gain communicative proficiency and a greater understanding of Israeli society. Videos, audio, and Web materials introduce students to the nuanced and rich connections between Hebrew and Jewish culture in Israel and around the world.    Three credit hours.    ISAACS

JS127  Hebrew III   SCHEDULE TBA   The third of three consecutive courses designed to develop fluency and accuracy in Modern Hebrew. Students will deepen their knowledge of Hebrew grammar and further develop the facilities for written and oral communication in Hebrew. Delves more deeply into Israeli culture through media and literature. Prerequisite: Jewish Studies 126 or equivalent.   Three credit hours.  ISAACS

JS/RE143  Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament   T/R 11:00-12:15   Explores the best-selling book of all time by focusing on the first part of the Bible (i.e., the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament). We will learn about famous biblical characters and discuss shocking stories that one would never expect to encounter in the Bible. Students will gain an informed understanding of this rich collection of texts by concentrating on their literary, social, and historical contexts. Lectures will frequently incorporate film, art, and music.    Four credit hours.  L.    MANDOLFO

JS/RE181  Conceptions of Jews and Judaism   M/W 2:30-3:45   A survey of the history of the Jewish people and the religion called Judaism from the biblical era through the Middle Ages, tracing the development of ideas, texts, beliefs, and practices that continue to influence Jewish life and thought today. Examines Christian and Islamic ideas about Jews and Judaism and the historical impact of inequality, prejudice, and persecution on Jewish society and culture. Students will acquire basic knowledge of the subject matter and will develop skills in the analysis of religious texts both as historical sources and as windows into the ways religious communities make sense of the world.     Four credit hours.  H, I.    FREIDENREICH

JS/RE233  Reading and Research in Biblical Hebrew   T 7:00-9:30   Knowledge of Biblical Hebrew is an exciting and necessary skill for advanced biblical interpretation. Students will acquire a rudimentary but working knowledge of Biblical Hebrew, as well the concomitant research skills that will allow for richer interpretation of these fascinating ancient texts. (Students should note that Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew are not coequal.).  Four credit hours.  MANDOLFO

JS/GO252  Politics of the Middle East   M/W 2:30-3:45   An introduction to politics in the Middle East. Provides essential historical background, analyzes the socioeconomic and cultural context in which Middle Eastern politics takes place, examines the relationship between Islam and politics, and presents the most salient challenges faced by the region. Explores the roots and dynamics of authoritarianism in the region and delves into recent and ongoing efforts at political and economic reform in selected Arab countries. Topics selected for special attention include the resiliency and adaptability of authoritarian regimes in that part of the world, failed Arab democratization experiments and what can be learned from them, and key impediments to substantive democratization. Prerequisite:  Sophomore or higher standing.    Four credit hours.  I.    DENOEUX

JS 491 Independent Study    One to four credit hours.   FACULTY

January 2014

JS/MU121   Entartete (Degenerate) Musik   T/W/R/F 1:00-3:30  “Degenerate Music” was the term Nazis applied to any music influenced by jazz, the avant-garde, or written by composers of Jewish descent. This music was banned, its composers driven into exile and/or murdered in concentration camps, creating a lost generation that altered the direction of 20th-century musical development. Now there is a worldwide effort to find a historical place for these artists, and this course contributes to that effort. Topics include German anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic thought in works of Wagner, Nazi racial laws targeting Jewish musicians, official agencies and cultural policies, performers and composers as victims and survivors.  Three credit hours.  A, I.    SILVER

JS/RE221  Topics in Maine’s Jewish History   SCHEDULE TBA   Maine is home to a distinctive yet under-researched Jewish community with deep historical roots. Participants in this civic engagement course will advance scholarly and popular understanding of the experiences of Jews in Maine by producing original works of oral- and document-based historiography. In the process they will learn skills of critical ethnographic historianship and effective oral and Web-based communication. Students will also explore the nature and consequences of popular anti-Semitism and the ways in which American Jews have overcome this prejudice. Topic for January 2013: Jews at Colby.   Three credit hours.  H, U.  FREIDENREICH

Spring 2014

JS126    Hebrew II   M/W/R 12:00-12:50   The second of three consecutive courses designed to develop fluency and accuracy in Modern Hebrew. Students will deepen their knowledge of Hebrew grammar and further develop the facilities for written and oral communication in Hebrew. Delves more deeply into Israeli culture through media and literature. Prerequisite:  Jewish Studies 125 or equivalent.    Three credit hours.    ISAACS

JS/RE182   Jews and Judaism in the Modern World   T/R 9:30-10:45   A survey of the social, cultural, intellectual, and political history of the Jews of Europe, the United States, and Israel/Palestine from the 17th century to the present. Traces the emergence of contemporary Judaism in its various manifestations. In addition to developing basic familiarity with the subject matter, students will learn how to interpret specific ideas, movements, biographies, and works of cultural production within the framework of broader dynamics associated with Jewish life in modern times.    Four credit hours.  H, I.    FREIDENREICH

JS/GO251   Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and Accommodation   M/W 11:00-12:15   An examination of the roots, evolution, and changing dynamics of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Focuses on key historical junctures, from the British mandate over Palestine, through the “Oslo Process” and its collapse, to the new situation created by the events of the past few years including Hamas’s victory in the parliamentary elections of January 2006, the Hezbollah-Israel war of July-August 2006, the growing divide between the West Bank and Gaza, and Israel’s military assault on Gaza in December 2008-January 2009. Some attention is paid to media coverage of, and U.S. policy toward, the conflict. Prerequisite:  Sophomore or higher standing.    Four credit hours.  S, I.    DENOEUX

JS/RE387  Jews and Muslims in Christian Thought      The Christian tradition has a rich history of ideas about both Jews and Muslims. How do these ideas relate to one another? How did these intertwined ideas evolve during the Middle Ages and into modern times? What can we learn from the similarities and differences in these ideas about Christianity itself? Participants in this humanities lab course will together explore these questions, which have yet to receive sufficient scholarly attention. Through collaborative research, we will further the bounds of academic knowledge about Christian-Jewish and Christian-Muslim relations.    Four credit hours.  FREIDENREICH

JS/HI421  Research Seminar: Debating the Nazi Past   T/R 9:30-10:45   Explores the political and social dynamics of the Third Reich, the charisma and importance of Hitler, the choices of ordinary Germans, the genesis and execution of the Holocaust, and the problems of postwar Germans in dealing with the Nazi past. Focus on critical research, reading, and writing skills and on understanding historical processes including patterns of exclusion and intolerance and charismatically underpinned violence. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.  Four credit hours. H, I.  SCHECK

JS 492  Independent Study       One to four credit hours.  FACULTY

Other Jewish Studies Courses in the Catalog

JS/EN115J, SEC. C  English Composition:  Holocaust Lessons      Frequent practice in expository writing to foster clarity of organization and expression in the development of ideas. Assigned reading will vary from section to section, but all sections will discuss student writing. Required for first-year students.   Three credit hours.    [N. Harris]

JS224  Jewish Theology    An introduction to the multiple Jewish answers to life’s big questions. We will explore how to live the good life, the role of God in determining our fate, the meaning of suffering in our lives, and the relationship between politics and faith. We will interrogate ideas found in the Hebrew Bible, Jewish liturgy, rabbinic texts, and the works of modern thinkers such as Hermann Cohen, Mordecai Kaplan, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, and Abraham Isaac Kook.   Three credit hours.  [Isaacs]

JS/RE322  Food and Religious Identity    An examination of the ways in which religiously inspired food practices and food restrictions relate to the establishment and preservation of communal identity. Explores sources from diverse religious traditions and time periods with an eye both to commonalities and to elements found only within specific communities. Students will develop proficiency in the contextual analysis of primary sources and the critical evaluation of secondary literature.   Four credit hours.  S.  [Freidenreich]

JS/FR376   Shadows of the Past: Remembering Vichy France and the Holocaust      The Holocaust and the Nazi occupation left an indelible mark on the French national psyche. This interdisciplinary course explores how writers, filmmakers, and artists represent the Holocaust. Through discussions, presentations, and written assignments, students acquire the skills to critique and interpret historical documents, Holocaust memoirs, and films. They develop and improve their language skills while deepening their understanding of French history and culture. Meetings with Holocaust survivors and visits to Holocaust memorials complement the course material and engage students in active thinking.    Four credit hours.   L, I. [Brunetaux]

JS/RE384  Jewish Responses to Ethical Dilemmas      An exploration of Jewish responses to genuinely difficult ethical choices and the ways in which Jewish authorities justify their normative opinions. Examines classical and contemporary responses to dilemmas in such fields as business and labor ethics, environmental ethics, and biomedical ethics, enriching Jewish sources with literature from other religious traditions and works by secular ethicists. Students will develop skills in the analysis and critique of ethical argumentation and the ability to examine and defend their own values.  Four credit hours.  [Freidenreich]