Course Offerings

As always, check BUonline for the latest updates and the Harpur Bulletin for course descriptions and details. BUOnline is the official listing and has the latest updates.

Download the JUST Academic Planning Chart here (pdf, 320KB)

Summer 2017

Jewish New York (Gen Ed: C, H)jny
Professor Gina Glasman
Our course travels from tenements to talking pictures, from the political clubhouse to the vaudeville stage in search of New York City’s Jewish immigrant past. In exploring this encounter between Old World and New, we also trace the emergence of New York as America’s signature metropolis. History and literature, art and architecture provide our tools to examine this dynamic interplay between population and place in the early twentieth century.

Fall 2017

BUonline has the most up to date details on Gen Eds and meeting times. Please contact Prof. Karp or Prof. Friedman with any questions.

JUST 101, crn 28281

Title: Intro to Judaic Studies; T/TR 2:50-4:15
Instructor: Allan M Arkush,   

Commencing with key sections of the Bible and continuing with selections from the Talmud and medieval Jewish philosophical and mystical writings, this course will conclude with 20th century political tracts and short stories. Through these diverse sources, we will investigate the development over three millennia of central facets of what Mordecai Kaplan has called “Jewish civilization. Grades will be based on two exams during the semester (40%), class participation (10%), and a final (50%).

JUST 140, crn 29332/COLI 180R, crn 29430

Title: Survey of American Jewish Literature; M 4:40-7:40 "C,H"
Instructor: C. Beth Burch,  

Through the Golden Door traces through literature the realities and challenges of being Jewish in America from after the Civil War to the present. We will read in all genres, exploring topics such as the immigrant experience, acculturation and assimilation, anti-Semitism, generational conflicts and differences, gender issues, and continuing themes in the body of work. Offered regularly. 4 credits.

JUST 201, crn 28421/HIST 242, crn 28817

Title:  Jewish History Ancient to 1500; MWF 9:40-10:40
Instructor:  Jonathan Karp,  

This survey course examines the history, culture, philosophy, religion, and political experiences of Jews from the Biblical period through the second temple period, to the medieval period. Themes include the relationship between Jews, Christians and Muslims, Jews under foreign political rule (Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans), and the social and economic history of Jews in Europe through the middle ages. 

ISRL 227, crn 29441/ JUST 227, crn 29443

Title: Cultures and Society in Israel,  MWF 1:10-2:10
Instructor: Staff

This course is a study of the many religious, ethnic, political, and linguistic dimensions of modern Israeli culture and society. It examines the forces that affect them, the divides between them, their interactions with each other, and their manifestations in music, film, art, and literature.

JUST 331, crn 29691/HIST 384P, crn 29696sarajevo

Title:  Jews and Muslims; TR 11:40-1:05
Instructor:  Dina Danon;   

This course offers a survey of Jewish-Muslim relations from the emergence of Islam through the modern period. Beginning with the medieval period, topics covered include the relationship between Islam and peoples of the Book, Jewish communal life and self-government, participation in Mediterranean trade, the world of the Cairo Geniza, and intellectual and cultural achievements of the “Golden Age of Spain.” Moving to the early modern and modern periods, topics covered will include Jewish life in the Ottoman lands, the rise of European imperialism, the dissolution of empire and the emergence of nationalism. 4 credits. IF YOU HAVE TAKEN JUST 257 YOU CANNOT RECEIVE CREDIT FOR JUST 331.

JUST 351, 28430/ HIST 380B, crn 24548

Title:  Jewish New York; T/R 4:25-5:50 ‘J”
Instructor:  Gina Glasman;

Our course travels from tenements to talking pictures, from the political clubhouse to the vaudeville stage in search of New York City’s Jewish immigrant past.  In exploring this encounter between Old World and New, we also trace the emergence of New York as America’s signature metropolis. History and literature, art and architecture provide our tools to examine this dynamic interplay between population and place in the early twentieth century.

JUST 352, crn 27101/COLI 380A, crn16900/ PHIL 380F, crn 18958

Title:  American Jewish Thought; TR10:05-11:30 “H, J, P”
Instructor:  Randy Friedman;  

This course will review some of the central works of modern American Judaic thought, mostly from 20th century American figures. We will concentrate on philosophical questions and theological issues that arise in the contexts of American Jewish thought. We will examine how specific Judaic thinkers transform aspects of the Judaic tradition to fit the challenges of religious life in the modern and democratic age, and the response(s) to this transformation. The course begins with historical and sociological study of the American Jewish community, includes reading American Jewish literature and philosophical texts, and concludes with an in-depth study of the question of homosexuality and same-sex marriage in various American Jewish traditions and movements.

Prerequisites:  None

JUST 357, crn 29405/HIST 385D, crn 29421

Title: Jews and Power; W 5:50-8:50
Instructor: Allan Arkush;  

This course will address the question of the relationship of Judaism and Jewish tradition to political and military power. It will explore the ways in which Jewish thought and literature reflect a distinctive approach to the responsibilities of leadership and statecraft. It will focus on the treatment of these issues in ancient and medieval texts as well as on the ways these texts have been adopted (or rejected) by Jews confronting the new conditions of the modern world, both in the Diaspora and in the State of Israel.

JUST 371, crn 27605/HIST 385M, crn 27743

Title: The Ghetto, Jews and the City”; T/R 11:40-1:05 ‘A,C”
Instructor:  Gina Glasman;

European Jewry has always been, by and large, a quintessentially urban society.  Beginning with the pre-modern ghetto and ending with its 20th century counterpart, our class explores this famously urban phenomenon.  Spanning across the continent, from the cockney back alleys of London, to the seashore esplanades of Odessa, we consider key themes in the history of the European city, such as “ghetto” versus civic identity, the politics of toleration and of antisemitism, and the place of the city within society at large.  

JUST 384A, crn 23791 /HIST 381L, 22876

mapTitle: Sephardi Diasporas”; T/R 1:15-2:40
Instructor:  Dina Danon;  

Charts emergence of the western and eastern Sephardi diasporas in the wake of the Expulsion of 1492. Topics covered include settlement in port cities, involvement in Mediterranean and Atlantic mercantile networks, the converso experience, mass migration to Ottoman lands, encounter with Islam, the rise of Ladino, the impact of westernization, the rise of nationalism and 21st century Sephardi communities.

JUST 385A, crn 23724/COLI 380B, crn 22183/ENG 380M, crn 19194

Title: Holocaust Literature; TR 4:25 – 7:25
Instructor:  Paul-William Burch; 

Students in this course read literature of the Holocaust—the Shoah—including diaries, journals, memoirs, fiction, poetry and works of popular culture, informed by the belief that literary responses to the Holocaust are, as the poet Carolyn Forché has written, in themselves "material evidence of that-which-occurred." The course includes works by First Generation writers, victims and survivors who bear direct witness to the horror, as well as pieces by Second Generation writers, children and “offspring” of Holocaust survivors who bear witness to the witnesses and to events that they did not live through but that shaped their lives. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.  Cross-listed with English, Comparative Literature and Education. THIS COURSE IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS

JUST 420,

Title: Grammar for Writers; W 4:40-7:40
Instructor: C. Beth Burch, 

This course will renew your confidence in writing and speaking by giving you a new experience with grammar. The course provokes all writers to rethink English grammar from primarily a structural perspective. In a lecture/discussion format you will explore the formation of phrases, clauses, and sentences, rhetorical implications of grammatical choices, and modern English usage. You will also write many sentences to demonstrate a wide range of grammatical forms, structures, and rhetorical figures. This lively approach to grammar is especially useful not only for Judaic Studies students but for all students in writing-intensive disciplines.

ISRL 120/JUST 280Q/COLI 180P

Title:  Intro to Israeli Literature; TR 10:05-11:30
Instructor:  Lior Libman, 

This survey courses introduces students to the many forms of (poetry, short-stories, novels) and themes in (ethnic and religious tension, conflict, love, identity) Israeli literature. Texts will be read in translations. Texts in the original may be provided for students with relevant language skills.

ISRL 324, crn 29685 /JUST 380D, crn 25401
Title: The Kibbutz in Israeli Culture; TR 1:15-2:40
Instructor: Lior Libman

The course focuses on representations of the kibbutz, a unique Israeli social formation which aimed at combining Zionism and Socialism, nation-building and the construction of a new, just society. Throughout the past hundred years, the kibbutz has been portrayed in countless literary texts and visual images. In this class, we will analyze and discuss selected literary and cinematic works from different genres and periods to examine the history of the kibbutz-image and the relationship between it and the kibbutz’s history, while also asking, in a broader context, how social and political visions are shaped in images.

ISRL 347, crn 28307/ JUST 347, crn 15076/HIST 347, crn 15633

Title:  Modern Israel; T/TR 10:05-11:30
Instructor:  Shay Rabineau;

This course will trace the political and cultural history of Israel from the formation of the Zionist movement at the end of the 19th century to the last years of the 20th century. It will examine Zionist ideologies and settlement projects, the Israel-Arab conflict, issues relating to religion and state in Israel, the development of Israeli culture and other subjects.  Grades based on midterm (30%), final exam (30%), seminar paper (30%), and class participation (10%).

ISRL 386, crn 29824/JUST 386B, crn 23755

Title: Israeli Ethnography

Instructor: Staff


Ethnography is the main practice and source of explanation within cultural anthropology. Yet, what does it mean to explain Israeli realities through ethnography? This advanced course examines Israeli ethnography as a scholarly prism that bridges but also unsettles relations between personal perspectives and impersonal observations. We will read ethnographic texts about Israel; engage with particular Israeli dilemmas that emerge from ethnographic encounters; learn how ethnographic descriptions function as theories of Israeli life; and, explore ethnographic possibilities of explaining Israeli sociocultural dimensions beyond the text. We will do this with a critical attention to questions of ethics, positionality, and the politics of knowledge production, all of which shed light upon Israeli realities as much as they do upon the challenges and usefulness of studying Israel from an ethnographic perspective. 

 ISRL 427, crn 29435 /JUST 427, crn 29433

Title:  Environmental History of Israel; M 1:40-4:40
Instructor:  Shay Rabineau; 

This course focuses the problems and possibilities associated with settling large numbers of people in the contested land of Israel-Palestine with its limited natural resources, and examines the dynamics between environmental issues, politics, technology, and military conflict in the modern Middle East.

Jewish Non-Profit Organization - 27656 - JUST 259 - 01

The Jewish Non-Profit Organizations course will look at the organizations and systems that make up the Jewish community in the United States. The goal of the course is to deconstruct the concept of “community” and to understand how institutions fulfill the purposes of community. We will introduce the course by learning about the history of the Jewish community and Jewish communal institutions in the U.S. and how they came to create the landscape of organizations that exist today. We will also use different tools for analyzing organizations and how they function. The main part of the course will explore the rich, diverse and complex landscape of Jewish communal organizations that exist today. We will cover many types of organizations, some emerging organizations and how they fit into the landscape of the Jewish Non-Profit world. 

RELG 101, crn 28423/ JUST 280N, crn 23475

Title:  Religions of the World;T/R 1:15-2:40   (“G” “H”) 
Instructor:  Doug Jones,

This course examines the three major monotheistic religions, as well as other religions and religious traditions from across the globe. ​

RELG 361, crn 29260/JUST 363, crn 29261

Title: Bible & its Interpretations; TR 11:40-1:05 “H”
Instructor: Doug F. Jones,

This course takes a comparative approach to the history of biblical interpretation by looking at diverse communities within the Jewish and Christian traditions. How have these communities used the Bible to understand their place in history, address present tribulations, and even predict the future? Some topics include the theme of movement in the Torah and rabbinical tradition, 18th and 19th century biblical scholarship, the meaning of allegory in Catholic and Protestant interpretation, and the so-called literal sense of scripture. We will also close by considering the issue of biblical interpretation as it relates to new religious movements in America.



HEBR 101

Title:  Hebrew I; MTWR 8:30 – 9:30
Instructor:  Orly Shoer;  

Hebrew 101 is the first semester of Modern Hebrew. The course is designed only for students with very little or no previous experience in the language. It offers a communicative introduction to Modern Hebrew language and its culture. It emphasizes all facets of the language – comprehension, speech, reading, grammar and writing. The focus of instruction is on enabling students to develop basic vocabulary and communicative skills in Modern Hebrew centering on the students' immediate surroundings and simple daily activities.

By the end of the course students will be able to read and write short stories, voice their opinion, converse and use basic grammar.

Prerequisites: None

HEBR 203

Title:  “Hebrew III”; M/W/F 9:40 – 10:40
Instructor:  Orly Shoer;

Hebrew 203 is the third course in the Modern Hebrew program sequence, and the last course needed to fulfill the Binghamton University’s foreign language requirement. It focuses on increasing students' confidence in using the language in different social settings. This course is designed to advance the Hebrew learner to the intermediate-high level by introducing complex grammatical structure forms and sentences. Grammar teaching covers three of the main verb structures. The course concentrates on improving speaking, writing, as well as, working on text analysis and comprehension skills. 

Prerequisites: HEBR 102 with a grade of C- or better, a placement exam, or permission of the instructor.

HEBR 311

Title:  Texts and Readings; M/W/F/ 10:50 – 11:50
Instructor:  Orly Shoer;

Hebrew 311 is an advanced-intermediate Hebrew language and culture course that is intended for students who wish to further develop their vocabulary building and practice all four language skills, with an emphasis on reading comprehension, grammar, syntax, composition, vocabulary building and conversation. Students will advance their Hebrew language skills through reading, discussing and writing about a variety of texts, with some emphasis placed on short articles.

Prerequisites: HEBR 204 with a grade of C- or better, a placement exam, or permission of the instructor.


YIDD 101

Title:  Yiddish 1; M/W/F 10:50 – 11:50
Instructor:  Gina Glasman;

Yiddish 101 is an introductory language class: students learn simple conversational Yiddish and how to read and write, beginning with the Yiddish alphabet.  By the end of the Fall semester students will have composed their own short stories, gained a repertoire of Yiddish song, put together a compendium of commonly used expressions from this famously expressive language and finally, will have learnt about aspects of Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi culture, past and present. 


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Last Updated: 4/3/17