Jewish Studies Courses


JWST 105 Hebrew I (Elementary)
(cross-listed as HEBR 105)
In this course we are going to get acquainted with Modern Hebrew as spoken in Israel. No previous knowledge is required. We will work on speaking, listening, reading and writing in a relaxed and enjoyable environment. Students will be introduced to the Hebrew alphabet and will learn to read and write simple texts. The class will also put significant emphasis on basic oral skills such as introducing oneself, interviewing classmates, talking about all classroom routines, and a variety of university-related topics, etc. Basics of Hebrew grammar will be acquired as well.

JWST 106 Hebrew II (Elementary/Intermediate)
(cross-listed as HEBR 106)
Completion of basic Hebrew. Increasing mastery of the basic skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Prerequisite: JWST 105/HEBR 105 or equivalent.

JWST 107 Hebrew III (Intermediate)
(cross-listed as HEBR 107)
In this course, we continue developing speakng, listening, reading and writing. The sutdent is expected to be comfortable using the present tense to discuss (orally and in writing), listen or read about a variety of Topics concerning the present, such as the university, food and family. Only minimal knowledge of past tense is expected in the beginning, since the past tense is a major grammatical topic this semester. Some topics that will be covered this semester also include being able to discuss body parts in detail and one's external appearance, aches and pains, describe one's activities throughout the week, and tell time. Grammatically, we will extend our knowledge of verbs in the present tense and concentrate on learning a variety of past tense patterns. We will be exposed to texts, song, and video throughout the semester. Prerequisite: JWST 105 and 106/HEBR 106 and 106 or equivalent. Four years of high school Hebrew acceptable in lieu of JWST 105 and 106/HEBR 105 and 106. Satisfies Arts and Science foreign language requirement. Only three credits of Hebrew count towards the Jewish Studies Minor.

JWST 201 Issues and Ideas in Jewish Studies
A different speaker is featured each week in this one-credit course. A wide variety of topics focusing on Jewish thought and culture in both historical and contemporary context will be considered. Students will develop insight into the kinds of Judaic research and scholarship that is taking place at the University of Delaware and in nearby communities.

JWST 202 Biblical and Classical literature

JWST 254 The Jewish Holocaust: 1933-1945
(cross-listed as HIST 254)
Focuses on the infamous "Final Solution," with particular emphasis on the roots of anti-Semitism, National Socialist policies and plans, ghetto and camp life, the Einsatzgruppen, resistance, the politics of rescue, and the art and literature of the Holocaust.

JWST 267 Seminar: Topics and Texts in Jewish Law
In this course we will look at seminal rabbinic texts (Mishnah, Talmud, and Law Codes) on selected topics pertinent to current Jewish practice. We will also examine the current understandings of those practices within the different Jewish denominations. Topics include, but are not limited to: dietary practices, the Sabbath and holidays, prayer, gender roles, life cycle events, mikvah (ritual immersion) and relationships with non-Jews. The course will begin with a three-week overview of halacha (Jewish law), the texts concerned, and the Jewish denominations. Assignments will be a one-page reflection paper due weekly. Students may petition to have the class count for three credits if they write a significant research paper (16-20 pages) on a topic in Jewish practice and its contemporary manifestations, per consultation with the instructor.

JWST 208 Introduction to Jewish Philosophy
(cross-listed as PHIL 208)
This course examines, at an introductory level, the fundamental issues in the philosophy of religion. Students will be guided through a survey of historically important philosophers who have approached these issues, and will learn how they have utilized both general theological approaches to resolving the tension between philosophy and religion and the uniquely Jewish attempt to do so. Topics will include: God, miracles, good and evil, divine commandments and free will.

JWST 267-011 Modern Jewish History
(cross-listed as HIST 267)
This course will cover the period beginning with the mid-19th century rebellions in Europe. It will focus on the Jewish role in the idealist and often utopian movements as well as the role of the middle class, increasing anti-Semitism, and the rise of the Zionist movement. It will continue through the two World Wars and the foundation of Israel, through the Yom Kippur War and the treaty between Israel and Egypt.

JWST 308-010 Topics in Jewish Theology
(cross-listed as PHIL 308)
This course offers a critical evaluation of the theological views of major branches of Judaism on such topics as the significance of Israel, the status of Jewish law, the meaning of Jewish ritual and the mission of the Jewish People. Students will be encouraged to develop their own theological position, whether Jewish or not. The course is designed especially for Jewish Studies minors and philosophy majors, but all students are more than welcome to the class.

JWST 348 Twentieth Century Jewish-American literature
(cross-listed as ENGL 348)
What is "Jewish" and what is "American" about "Jewish American literature" and what does the term imply? What is Jewish humor? Can it be related to the Jewish stage? We shall think about these questions as we read twentieth-century writing that has been described (by its authors or by others) as examples of "Jewish American literature." The class will consider such issues as the immigrant and post-immigrant experience, ethnic and cultural identity; the place of gender; and the relationship of Jewish American literature to other minority discourses. Readings include short stories and novels by Anzia Yezierska, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Bernard Malamud, Rebecca Goldstein, Cynthia Ozick, Elie Wiesel, Melvin Bukiet, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, and Chaim Potok. Course requirements are: one 5-7 page essay, two examinations, and daily journal entries on the fiction.
This course fulfills both the university's multicultural and breadth requirements. It also fulfills the English Department distribution requirement and the Jewish Studies Program requirements for the minor.

JWST 349 Introduction to Jewish Sources
(cross-listed as ENGL 349)
This course examines the central texts which form the basis of Jewish thought, religion, and culture: the Torah, or Hebrew Bible (in translation) and the interpretive traditions which have evolved to understand it (e.g. Midrash, Rashi, contemporary theology) as sources of uniquely Jewish meanings.)

JWST 350 Studies in Jewish Literature
(cross-listed as ENGL 350)
How have writers imagined and portrayed Jewish exile? What does it mean to belong to a people, a place, a philosophy, a family, or a nation? With these questions in mind, this course will study a range of Jewish cultures as we read literature depicting the experiences and perspectives of writers who call themselves Jews, albeit for a variety of reasons. By placing our analysis of these texts into their cultural and historical contexts, we will examine questions about assimilation and passing, about what it means to belong to a people, a community, or a nation, and about the role of storytelling in shaping Jewish cultures around the world. This is a course that will not only trace rich and varied traditions of Jewish literary cultures, but will also address important problems or issues such as anti-Semitism, passing, conversion, Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Muslim relations, Diaspora, race, and ethnicity.

JWST 365-010 Lessons from the Holocaust for our Post 9/11 World
This course will examine the nature of heroism and survival in a world of violence. Texts will focus on individual stories as well as the unique combination of forces that combined to enable Bulgaria to save its 50,000 Jews. Readings will include Maus and In the Shadow of the Towers by Art Spielgelman, a variety of memoirs, a radio play by survivor Roman Halter, relevant videos (like "The Pianist") and other works highlighting how people deal with trauma. Examining such works in the aftermath of 9/11 and the Virginia Tech murders can provide insight into the role of art in preserving our humanity. The course will consist of group work, a midterm, three short papers and independent study.

JWST 367-010 Jewish Mysticism
This course will serve as an introduction to Jewish mysticism. We will examine the development of Jewish mysticism over six distinct historical periods: Early mysticism, Kabbalah, Lurianic Kabbalah, Sabbateanism, Chassidism, and the antinomian tendencies of Modern mysticism. Through this historical overview we will also become familiar with the content and structure of Jewish mysticism. We will learn about sefirot, the nature of creation, levels of heaven, transmigration of souls, and language mysticism.

ENGL 365-010 Studies in literature: Jewish American Fiction and Drama
This course will include films, novels, plays, and other works by authors such as Chaim Potok, Philip Roth, Anthony Miller, and Bernard Malamud. Short, one-page papers, one midterm, and a final examination will be required.

HIST 377-010 Islamic Radicalism
This course addresses the background, historical development and present state of Islamic fundamentalist movements.
The course satisfies university multicultural requirements.
Note: Islamic Radicalism is not yet cross-listed as a Jewish Studies course, but credit will be accepted towards the fulfillment of the Jewish Studies minor requirements for those who take the course this fall (2004).

JWST 380-010 History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
(cross-listed as HIST 380)
This course intends to contribute to a better understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict by exploring its roots and its historical complexity. After examining the religious traditions of Judaism and Islam, the course will discuss the origins of Zionism as well as the nature of Arab/Ottoman and Levantine society in the 19th century. We will next study the relationship between the early Zionist settlers in Palestine, the indigenous Arab population, and the British mandate authorities, until the proclamation of the state of Israel in 1948. The final part will be devoted to the successive wars between Israel and its Arab neighbors, the rise of Palestinian nationalism, and the protracted search for coexistence between Jews and Arabs, culminating in the current preliminary peace accord.

JWST 409 Contemporary Politics: World Problems
(cross-listed as POSC 409)
Critical areas of international politics. Taught in Israel during Winter Session. The Winter Session progam in Israel earns 3 credits towards the minor; an additional 3 credits may be applied towards the minor at the discretion of the instructor.

JWST 452 Problems in Urban Politics

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