Spring 2018 Courses

Judaic Studies
Spring 2018 Courses

How to Register for Students

How to Audit through the Senior Adult Learning Center


JST 201 | Introduction to Judaism

JST/HST 318U | Jewish History II: From Medieval to Present

JST 319U | Rabbinic Culture in the Roman World

JST/HST 381U | Kabbalah: The Jewish Mystical Tradition

HST 399 | History of Antisemitism (2 credit mini course)

HON 407 | The City in Israeli Society: Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (Instructor Approval Required)

UNST 421 | CAPSTONE: Grant Writing for Jewish Culture


JST 201 | Introduction to Judaism
INSTRUCTOR: Loren Spielman
TIME/DAYS: Tuesdays & Thursdays - 10:00am to 11:50am
LOCATION: University Technology Services 310 (UTS 310)
CRN: 62106

Judaism is a religion of ancient ties to a foundational text, a land, a people, and a way of life. It is also a world civilization that has undergone surprising changes in its more than 3,000 year history. In this course we will explore the religious beliefs and practices of Judaism, from its Biblical origins to the variety of its modern forms.

No prerequisites are required.

JST 318U / HST 318U | Jewish History II: From Medieval to Present
TIME/DAYS: Mondays & Wednesdays - 2:00pm to 3:50pm
LOCATION: University Pointe 207
CRN: 65139/65132

This course surveys Jewish history from approximately the year 1000 to the present, covering major developments in Jewish society and culture in the medieval Islamic and Christian realms, early modern Europe and the Mediterranean, and the modern world. Topics include the rise of the Spanish and northern European Jewish communities, trends in Jewish religious thought (including the emergence of kabbalah), expulsions from western Europe, new settlements in Ottoman Empire and Poland, changes in Jewish civil status in the modern age, Jewish migrations and political movements (including Zionism), the rise of U.S. Jewry, the Holocaust, and the establishment of the State of Israel.

This class is the second in a two-semester introduction to the study of Jewish history, religion and culture, but the first half of the survey is not a prerequisite for this course. University Studies cluster: Global Perspectives.

JST 319U / HST 319U | Rabbinic Culture in the Roman World
INSTRUCTOR: Loren Spielman
TIME/DAYS: Tuesdays & Thursdays - 2:00pm to 3:50pm
LOCATION: Cramer Hall 359 (CH 359)
CRN: 65474/65133

After the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE, Jewish society experienced a radical transformation. From the ashes of the now defunct cult in Jerusalem, a new form of Judaism emerged, rooted in the study and interpretation of sacred texts and centered around the life of the Rabbinic sage. A flourishing of literary activity during the first seven centuries of the Common Era produced the foundational texts of Rabbinic Judaism, the Mishnah, Midrash and Talmud, which continue to give shape to modern Jewish practice and belief. Through a survey of this rich and textured literature, this course will examine the roots of the Rabbinic movement. Asking critical questions about who these rabbis were and what they promoted as their core practices and beliefs, we will devote special attention to the ways these early rabbis related to other segments of ancient Jewish society, reacted to the emergence and spread of Christianity, and negotiated living in the predominantly pagan environment of the Greco-Roman city.

University Studies cluster: Interpreting the Past.

JST 381U / HST 381U | Kabbalah: The Jewish Mystical Tradition
TIME/DAYS: Tuesdays & Thursdays - 12:00pm to 1:50pm
LOCATION: Karl Miller Center 245 (KMC 245)
CRN: 65140/65134

Surveys the origins and development of the Jewish mystical tradition in the context of Jewish religious, social, and intellectual history. Topics include mystical visions in ancient Jewish texts; medieval Kabbalah and the Zohar, the foundation text of Jewish mysticism; the inner life, structure, and genders of God; the nature of evil; gender and sexuality; and contemporary uses of Kabbalah.

University Studies cluster: Interpreting the Past.

HST 399 | History of Antisemitism - Intensive 2 day course (2 credits)
INSTRUCTOR: Nina Spiegel with guest lectures from John Efron and PSU Judaic Studies/History Faculty
TIME/DAYS: Sunday April 15 and Sunday April 22 - 9:00am to 5:00pm
LOCATION: Karl Miller Center 350 (KMC 350)
CRN: 65691

This intensive mini-course, held over two Sundays, will chart the development of hostility towards Jews from antiquity to our day. In lectures and discussion, students will gain an understanding of how anti-Jewish hostility has persisted over millennia even as it has adapted to individual historical and geographic contexts. Topics include: anti-Jewish bias in the ancient world and foundational Christian sources; social and economic marginalization and expulsions in medieval Europe; the emergence of political and racial antisemitism in the nineteenth century; Nazi antisemitism; and contemporary expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment, including left- and right-wing antisemitism.

Instructor: Prof. John Efron, Koret Professor of Jewish History, University of California, Berkeley. Prof. Efron is the author of Medicine and the German Jews: A History and Defenders of the Race: Jewish Doctors and Race Science in Fin-de-Siècle Europe.

This course is made possible thanks to a grant from the Oregon Jewish Community Youth Foundation.
More information on the event page and course page.


HON 407 | The City in Israeli Society: Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
INSTRUCTOR: Nina Spiegel
TIME/DAYS: Fridays 12:00pm to 2:50pm
LOCATION: Epler 107
CRN: 65068

While only a 45 minute drive apart (without traffic), these two cities have entirely different characters in contemporary Israeli society.  Considered the New York of Israel, Tel Aviv was established in 1909, priding itself as a secular Jewish city with no history.  Jerusalem, in contrast, has a rich ancient history and deep religious significance.  This course will investigate the history and development of these two urban centers over the twentieth century and into the early 21st century, examining questions such as: how do these two cities serve as windows into broader themes and tensions within Israeli society at large?  Why are they so commonly contrasted to each other in the Israeli imagination? How are they portrayed in songs and films? The course will cover topics including: architecture, the arts, politics, religion, gender, and ethnicity.

This Honors Seminar is open to Judaic Studies Majors and Minors with Instructor approval. Contact Nina Spiegel (nspiegel@pdx.edu) if you are interested in taking this course for Judaic Studies credit.


UNST 421 | CAPSTONE: Grant Writing for Jewish Culture
INSTRUCTOR: Sarah Liebman (sarahliebmanpdx@gmail.com)
CRN: 65642

Students will collaborate to write grants to support local Jewish education and culture non-profit organizations. Students will develop grant research and grant-writing skills and learn about the challenges facing non-profits and the community. All programs supported by the grants will be open to Jews and non-Jews.  No prior knowledge of Judaism or prior grant-writing experience is required. Partner organizations may include Oregon Holocaust Resource Center, Portland Hillel, Morasha Jewish Community Alliance for Education, Portland Florence Melton School of Adult Learning, and Oregon Jewish Museum.