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Course Offerings

Course Offerings

Jewish Studies

Independent and Online Courses
For Enrolled Spertus Jewish Studies Students

These courses are offered on an ongoing basis.
They can be started anytime after a student is admitted.
Click on course title for faculty and course description. 


Orientation: Introduction to Jewish Studies
Introductory Biblical Hebrew I, II, and III

The Bible and the Ancient Near East
The World of the Rabbis
Jews and Judaism in the Middle Ages
Early Modern Jewish Experiences
Modern Jewish Experiences
Contemporary Jewish Experiences


History of Antisemitism I: Antiquity to Late Eighteenth Century
History of Antisemitism II: Dawn of the Enlightenment to the Present
History of Jewish Biblical Interpretation

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Synchronous Jewish Studies Webconferencing Courses

Faculty and students "attend" class together via iMeet. 

Prayer and Liturgy
Taught by Rabbi Dr. Moshe Berger
Course 4163 | 3 credits
Wednesdays, November 29-January 3 from 6:00 to 8:30 pm CST
(No class December 20)

This course explores Jewish prayer as a halakhic phenomenon, as well as a theological, spiritual, and communal event. We consider the evolution of the liturgy through the biblical, classical rabbinic, medieval, and pre-modern periods. We also examine the standardized liturgy as a model for interpersonal communication.

Readings in Rabbinic Midrash
Taught by Dr. Gary Porton
Course 4165 | 3 credits
Wednesdays, January 17-February 14, from 6:00 to 8:30 pm CST

The term “Midrash” is used to describe many different phenomena, but it is most typically a literary term that finds its root in the explanation of passages in the TaNaKh.  In this course, we will examine rabbinic Midrash specifically by reading and discussing examples (in English translation) drawn from the major midrashic texts completed in late antiquity:  SifraMekhiltaSifréGenesis RabbahLeviticus Rabbah, and Pesiqta deRav Kahanah. The course explores these rich and variegated texts as well as the contexts in which they were created and the impact they have had on Jewish thought. 

Jewish Humor
Taught by Dr. Leonard Greenspoon
Course 4240 | 3 credits
Tuesdays, April 10-May 8, 2018 from 6:00 to 8:30 pm CST

Humor is often identified as a characteristic feature of Jews and Judaism. In spite of a history of crises and living on the edge (or perhaps because of this history), Jews have frequently created or resorted to humor. In this course, you will explore different descriptions and instances of humor as well as what makes types of humor “Jewish.” We will look at examples from the Hebrew Bible through the Talmud and medieval period, then on to the Enlightenment and into the 21st century. In the process, we will discern common features of “Jewish humor” as well as acknowledge the individualism and eccentricities of many of the figures we discuss.

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2018 Jewish Studies Onsite Seminars

Twice a year, Spertus Institute holds Jewish Studies Seminars onsite on our Chicago campus. Seminars offer dedicated time to advance your studies, learn with skilled and accomplished faculty, and engage with your fellow students from around the world. During seminars, courses are offered that meet program requirements for students in Jewish Studies master's and doctoral programs.

This year's seminars are scheduled for:

March 11-15, 2018
July 8-12, 2018

Seminar course and faculty information will be announced in late 2017. 

Letter from the Dean

Dear Jewish Studies Students:

We are pleased to provide you with a schedule of course offerings.

This list includes ongoing online courses and a series of new courses that will be delivered via web-conferencing.

There is quite a range of exciting courses, taught by distinguished international faculty, delivered in a variety of ways to meet your needs, schedules, and interests.

If you have questions, feel free to email me at or contact Dr. Victor Mirelman (Jewish Studies Faculty Chair) at

We look forward to learning with you.
Dean Bell
Dr. Dean P. Bell
Provost and Vice President
Spertus Institute

Why Spertus Institute?

  • Welcoming nondenominational environment open to all
  • Distinguished international faculty
  • Flexible scheduling and locations, distance learning available
  • Opportunities to pursue individual interests
  • Extensive resources


At Spertus Institute, we embrace the idea that the wisdom of Jewish thought and the richness of Jewish experiences inform Jewish society and Judaism today. Our programs encourage intellectual and spiritual reflection. Students grapple with Jewish ideas in the service of their personal, professional, and communal advancement.

Course Costs for Admitted Students

  • Masters level 
    $350 per quarter-hour credit 
    ($1050 per 3qh course)

  • Doctoral level 
    $400 per quarter-hour credit 
    ($1200 per 3qh course)

A registration fee of $25 is also required.

For New Students

Spertus offers graduate programs in Jewish Studies through a unique blend of distance learning and intensive on-campus instruction. Students — from half a dozen foreign countries and more than two dozen US states — come to Spertus for week-long academic seminars. Seminars include a range of courses in Jewish history, thought, and culture, accompanied by study of classical Jewish texts.

Applications for Jewish Studies programs are accepted all year. MORE>