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Philosophy of Zionism


This course will serve as an intensive study of the modern political phenomena that has brought about a Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael. Who were these secular and religious Jews who brought about a complete change in Jewish affairs after a 2000 year Galut? What is Zionism? What happened in the 19th century to bring Zionism into the hearts and minds of the people? How does Israel today function as a Jewish state while also acting as a vibrant democracy? What happens when these ideals come into conflict? This class will introduce the student to the “movers and shakers” who shaped Zionist thinking. It will also expose the student to the issues and problems of a modern Jewish State that also functions as a democracy. Lastly, the student will learn to be familiar with the history of modern Israel.




Kabbalah and Halacha


In this course, we will learn about the history and development of both Halacha and Kabbalah, and we will then examine areas where Kabbalah factors into normative Jewish practice including the laws of hand washing, prayer, and wedding customs. We will then consider examples where Kabbalah appears to conflict with Halacha such as the preference found in
Kabbalah to have 12 rather than 2 challot on Shabbat. We will learn about Shabtai Tzvi and why his apostasy led many Jews to be wary of Kabbalah, and what our attitudes should be toward modern Kabbalah centers. We will close by looking at other phenomena such as the Kabbalistic significance of wearing a red string around one’s arm.




Holocaust Studies


What were the thousand years of Yiddish culture that was destroyed by the Holocaust? Who exactly were the six million men, women, and children slaughtered by their neighbors? What was the nature of the world they lived in? How did it happen?
The purpose of this class is:

  • To develop an understanding of the world of East-European Jewry
  • To understand what Nazism was
  • To learn about life in the Ghetto
  • To learn the extant of the Nazi atrocities
  • To understand the history of Christian Anti-Semitism
  • To explore different types of resistance, Spiritual vs. Physical
  • To explore the connection between the Holocaust and being Stateless
  • To understand the connection between Israel and the Holocaust




Israel Today


Aliyot, Balfour Declaration, Partition, War of Independence, Refugees, Right of Return, Six Day War, Judea & Samaria, Settlements, Borders, Water, Security Fence, Peace Process, Fatah, Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, Syria, Iran, Shiites, Sunnis, America, Knesset, Parties, Government, Elections, BDS, Apartheid State, Religious and Secular Dynamics, Economics, and more. Hold on for a whirlwind adventure as we lay the foundation of the Arab/ Israeli conflict and analyze the hottest current issues brewing in the modern State of Israel and around the world.




Mysticism of Twelve Shvatim through History


The themes of the twelve Shvatim are almost as ubiquitous as they are unexplored. In this class, we will try to understand these twelve paradigms and trace them from the past into the present. We will explore their development as well as their somewhat anomalous disappearance. The class is textual, analyzing relevant segments from Tanach.




Dignity of Difference


In this course we will consider Jewish/Christian relations over the last 2,000 years and Jewish attitudes towards Christianity. We will look at life in Israel during the lifetime of Jesus and reflect on Jesus as a Jew. We will consider the role of Paul in spreading the Christian message and his belief that Christians are now the ‘chosen’ people. We will examine how Christians have sought to reinterpret Tanach to further their ideals and how scholars such as the Ramban defended Judaism during the disputations of the Middle Ages. In addition, we will learn how to respond to the arguments presented by Christian missionaries.




Dignity of Difference II

In this course we will consider Jewish attitudes towards Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, both in terms of how Judaism regards the theology behind these religions, as well as the halachic propriety of the rituals of each of these religions.




Conversation Hebrew through Israeli Film

We will view contemporary Israeli movies and TV shows and use the topics raised as a springboard for conversations in Hebrew.




Israel Advocacy


In a time where ideological attacks on the State of Israel are on the rise, Jerusalem U presents a comprehensive Israel Education curriculum, which is intended to instill students with an understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict, with advocacy and organizational skills needed to support Israel on campus and in the general community, and with a sense of pride in
the Land of Israel and the Jewish People. Throughout the course, students will view many examples of video footage from the Israeli, Palestinian and world media, participate in class debates over contemporary issues, and learn to respond to some of the most common allegations and threats facing Israel, such as the Apartheid accusation and the origin and  predicament of the 1948 refugees. Students will also explore the notion that Israel is not only about the Arab-Israeli conflict and strengthen their sense of pride in Israel’s accomplishments as a modern, democratic state.



Learn more about the thought-provoking courses we offer in Tanachmore-arrow Halachamore-arrowJewish Thought and Philosophymore-arrow



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