Jewish Studies

Instructor(s):
Jo Bruce
Mondays, April 29-May 20|10-11:30 a.m.

Terse and often mysterious, the stories of the Bible contain gaps and unanswered questions. Though often mistaken as no more than children's stories, the sages of the Rabbinic period created interpretative tales - called Midrash - in response to their questions about the Bible and to express complex theological and ethical ideas.

Instructor(s):
Matt Goldish
Mondays, April 29-May 20|6:30–8:30 p.m.

This course examines the story of the Maharal of Prague and his Golem—a clay man animated through Jewish mystical wisdom. The story of Jews and artificial men, however, is both older and newer, deeper and more popular. We will discuss the idea of the magical man from the Talmud until the 20th century in rabbinic literature, fiction, and film.

Instructor(s):
Brian Amkraut, Executive Director of the Siegal Lifelong Learning Program, CWRU & Alanna Cooper, Director of Jewish Lifelong Learning, CWRU
Tuesdays, April 30-May 21|7-9 p.m.

Books today serve as a dominant form for disseminating and consuming information. But the book—as a platform for writing and reading—is relatively new, and it may one day become obsolete. The bound and printed paper book was preceded by tablets, scrolls and manuscripts, and it may become a historical relic as electronic media takes over.

Instructor(s):
Larry Josefovitz
Thursdays, May 02-May 23|1-3 p.m.

Wagner’s final opera, Parsifal, premiered at the second Bayreuth Festival in 1882, was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in 1903, and found its way to the New York Yiddish stage in 1913. Despite Christian symbolism and possible antisemitic suggestion, the opera has inspired Jews to listen, perform, and promote a work of genius.

Instructor(s):
Anthony Wexler
Wednesdays, May 08-May 29|10-11:30 a.m.

This seminar considers the work of two of America’s most celebrated Jewish literary figures, who represent very different strands of American Jewish writing. Philip Roth’s assimilated characters seem cut off from the wellspring of Jewish identity, and even actively rebel against the tradition.

Instructor(s):
Alex Jassen
Monday-Wednesday, June 03-05 |10-11:30 a.m. (Includes light breakfast)

Today, the standard Hebrew Bible contains 24 books. But these did not appear as a single text at one sudden historical moment. Canonizing the Bible (deciding which books should be included and which should not) was a centuries-long process, that involved discussions among many religious and scholarly leaders.

Instructor(s):
Alex Jassen
Tuesday-Thursday, June 04-06 |1:30-3:30 p.m.

This course covers key moments in early Jewish history, spanning from the end of the Biblical period to the emergence of the religion that we know as Judaism today. Included is the story of Christianity’s origins. We will meet sectarians (including Samaritans, Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and early followers of Jesus).

Instructor(s):
Michael Weil
Wednesdays, June 12-26 |10-11:30 a.m.

Photographer, nurturer of fellow artists and gallery-owner, Alfred Stieglitz’s own work has often been overshadowed by that of his wife, Georgia O’Keeffe. Read his biography, and learn about Stieglitz’s work as a renowned photographer, as well as his revolutionary influence on the American art scene.

Instructor(s):
Judith Shamir, Michael Weil, Matt Goldish
Wednesdays, June 12-26; July 10-24; July 31-August 14|10-11:30 a.m.

Join us for all three of our book discussions of the Jewish Lives series this summer. All classes are held on Wednesdays, 10-11:30 a.m.
 

Alfred Stieglitz: Taking Pictures, Making Painters

Wednesdays, June 12-26

Instructor: Michael Weil, Photographer

Instructor(s):
Judith Shamir
Wednesdays, July 10–24|10-11:30 a.m.

Named Israel’s National Poet at the age of only 28, Haim Nahman Bialik’s deeply personal writing established a profound link between the secular and the traditional that would become paramount to a national Jewish identity in the 20th century.

Instructor(s):
Matt Goldish
Wednesdays, July 31-August 14|10-11:30 a.m.

Born in 17th century Portugal, Menasseh and his family were forcibly converted to Catholicism. Suspected of insincerity, and in fear of the Inquisition, they fled to Amsterdam where Menasseh came to serve as a key intellectual and religious figure.