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Jewish Studies June 2020 Courses

Jewish Studies June 2020 Courses

Spertus seminar

We're bringing your courses to you!

These webconferencing and online courses fulfill requirements for students in Spertus Institute's Jewish Studies MA and Doctoral programs.  

If you need to make changes to your registrations, please contact Spertus Institute Registrar Victoria Blum at

Synchronous Webconferencing Courses
Registration deadline is May 28, 2020

Who is a Jew?WHO IS A JEW?
Taught by Dr. David Gottlieb

Meets via Zoom
Sunday-Thursday, June 7-11, 2020 
9 to 11 am and 12 to 2 pm CDT each day

Course 5502 | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Second Level Core, MAJS Elective
DSJS Core Course, DHL Elective

Students in this course will explore the politically charged issue of Jewish identity, in Israel and across the Diaspora, historically and in contemporary times. Together we will seek to understand how the power to answer, “Who is a Jew” has become one of the central fault lines of Jewish religion, culture, and politics. The course is organized chronologically, beginning with the primary texts of classical Judaism associated with the question of Jewish identity. We will examine how Jewish identity boundaries have been created and challenged—by forces within and external to Jewish society—through the biblical, Second Temple, and rabbinic periods, right up to the present day.

Taught by Dr. Leonard Greenspoon

Meets via Zoom
Monday evenings from 6 to 8 PM CDT
June 22, 29, July 6, 13, 20, 27, August 3, 10 

Course 4142 | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Second Level Core, MAJS Elective
DSJS/DHL Text Course, DSJS Elective Course

Much of the Hebrew Bible relates to starting wars, waging wars, and forging terms to end wars. During the tumultuous Second Temple and early rabbinic eras, there were times when the text was taken literally. But for the most part, from antiquity until the mid-twentieth century, Jews lacked military forces, making biblical analyses of these texts hypothetical. Nonetheless, the topic was perceived as no less urgent than if Jews commanded armies. Starting with biblical passages and working through Jewish interpretive traditions until the present day, explore how real-life shaped approaches to war and peace for successive generations of Jews. Then together we will then examine the relationship between Jewish tradition and contemporary practices in the State of Israel. Among the questions the course will address: What are the conditions for initiating warfare? Is nonviolence the desired choice? What distinguishes combatants and non-combatants? Is collective punishment ever justified? When and how should we seek peace?

Taught by Rabbi Dr. Devorah Schoenfeld

Meets via Zoom
Tuesday evenings from 7 to 9 PM CDT 
June 23, 30, July 7, 14, 21, 28, August 4, 11

Course 3522 | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Second Level Core, MAJS Elective
DSJS/DHL Elective 

The histories of Judaism and Christianity have been intertwined since the first century. Students in this course will examine the influence that the two religions have had on each other's history. We will explore the ways that Jews and Christians have interacted from the origins of Christianity until the present day. Specific topics will include the historic parting of the ways between Judaism and Christianity, Jewish-Christian polemic, and how each religion has influenced the development of the other's theology and doctrine. We will conclude by looking at the current state of relations between the Jewish community and various Christian denominations and at current challenges and opportunities in these relationships.

Register for any/all of the courses above 


Asynchronous Online Course 
Can be started anytime

Arch of Titus, World of the RabbisWORLD OF THE RABBIS
Taught by Dr. Victor Mirelman

Course 3502 | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Core Course

This course examines the emergence of rabbinic Judaism. Discover the differences between biblical and rabbinic Judaism and explore the creation of extra-canonical rabbinic literature including Mishnah and Talmud. Learn how the rabbis of late antiquity dealt with theological issues such as revelations, sin, and repentance, as well as the relationship between human nature and the divine. Learn about Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes and the encounters between rabbinic Jews and people of other faiths. Against the backdrop of the destruction of the Second Temple and of the Second Jewish Commonwealth, explore the normative and imaginative religious world created by the early rabbis as they defined a Judaism that could survive the realities of the post-Temple world.

Online Course Registration


Letter from the Dean

Dear Jewish Studies Students:

After weighing considerations and contingencies, we have decided to move the courses for our June Integrated Seminar to an online format. All four courses will be available online in different formats, taught by the same faculty scheduled to teach for the seminar.

One course will be offered synchronously during the time originally scheduled for the seminar. Two courses will be taught later in the summer, one evening per week for eight weeks. All synchronous courses will be presented through the Zoom webconferencing platform, allowing you to learn together in real time with your professor(s) and fellow students.

The final course will be taught in an asynchronous format, enabling students to advance at their own pace.

Unlike at the seminar, you will not need to choose between courses for a specific time slot; instead they will be scheduled so that should you desire to take all four, you will be able to do so. All will fulfill the same core or elective course credit requirements.

While the option of moving classes and programs online is not perfect, know that Spertus Institute has a rich history of distance education and online teaching, which many of you have experienced firsthand. Our faculty bring this expertise to bear for our students, maintaining a community of vibrant intellectual exchange while you advance toward your learning goals. 

Thank you for your flexibility.

Best wishes,

Keren Fraiman

Dr. Keren E. Fraiman
Dean and Chief Academic Officer
Spertus Institute

New Students

Considering a graduate degree in Jewish Studies? Your application and admission materials must be received six weeks prior to a course start date.

Spertus Institute graduate programs in Jewish Studies are offered through a unique blend of distance learning and intensive on-campus instruction. Courses cover Jewish history, thought, and culture, accompanied by study of classical Jewish texts. LEARN MORE>