Fall 2013 Rabbinical School Courses

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discipline:


Bible
Cantorial
Education
Hebrew (on campus)
Interdisciplinary
Jewish Thought
Practical Rabbinics
Rabbinics





BIBLE
         

COURSE TITLE

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

COURSE NO.

Genres and Themes of Biblical Literature I
Syllabus 

Adelman

M, 11:30 am-1 pm

2

CG BIBLE 502A

This course will focus on Biblical narrative and legal discourse. The course will cover the arc of biblical history and historiography, examining prose selections from the Torah, as well as the historical books: Joshua, Judges, Samuel I and II and Kings I and II. Several sessions will also focus on legal, prescriptive and proscriptive material, including ritual and civil law. Particular attention is paid to the understanding of the Hebrew text and to the linguistic and literary characteristics of the different genres. First part of a two-semester sequence. Prerequisite: Hebrew IV 

Torah Core 1: Bereshit
Syllabus

Adelman

W, F; 11:30 am-1 pm

3

RB BIBLE 100

In this course, we will engage in close readings of selected passages in Genesis (Bereshit), with special attention granted to the dynamics between the matriarchs and patriarchs. We will hone our Hebrew text reading skills, with occasional forays into parallel Ancient Mesopotamian source. Students will be introduced to the basics of Medieval commentary (Parashanut), with a special focus on Rashi and his midrashic sources, in order to familiarize themselves with classic questions of rabbinic exegesis (parashanut). Level: Year 1

Torah Core 2: Shemot
Syllabus 
Rhodes Tu, F; 11:30 am-1 pm

3

RB BIBLE 200

 The Book of Exodus will be studied as the national saga of the Jewish people. Students will read selections from both Mekhilta and Shemot Rabbah, showing the uses of the biblical text in the halakhic and aggadic development of Judaism, as well as medieval commentaries and modern perspectives, including the importance of the Exodus and Sinai motifs in Jewish theology and the uses made of the Exodus paradigm beyond the bounds of Judaism. Level: Year 2

Torah Core 3: Vayikra
Syllabus 
Polen Tu, F; 11:30 am-1 pm

3

RB BIBLE 300

Standing at the very center of the Pentateuch, Vayikra reveals the priestly view of the relationship between God and Israel, and the interconnected dimensions of sacred time, space, and person. We will study major themes of Vayikra including the sacrificial system, the numinous power of the divine Presence, purity and impurity, the relationship between personal and social embodiment, the meaning of sacred time and the interplay of the ritual and the ethical. We will attempt to understand Vayikra’s theory of priesthood, including the paradox of self-referentiality and the paradox of initiation.
Attention will be given to the role of Vayikra in the context of the Pentateuch as a whole, with special focus on narrative elements such as the death of Aaron’s sons on the Tabernacle’s inaugural day. We will apply insights from anthropology, comparative theology and other contemporary disciplines, but our main emphasis will be a close and careful reading of the text.
Level: Year 3

Torah Core 4: Bamidbar
Syllabus 
Adelman Th, 11:30 am-1 pm

2

RB BIBLE 400

 (Due to the High Holy Days, the first class meets on Monday, Sept. 23)

This course examines the Book of Numbers (BeMidbar), drawing on historical-critical approaches, as well as classical Jewish parshanut. We will address themes such as: the role of census, tribal encampment, trials in the Wilderness, challenges to leadership and prophecy. Students will engage in a wide-range of reading strategies – from Tannaitic Midrash (Sifre) to Jacob Milgrom. Level: Year 4

Torah Core 5: Devarim Kates W, 11:30 am-1 pm 2

RB BIBLE 500

This course examines the book of Deuteronomy as a source of Jewish religious teachings and values, including readings from midrashic, medieval, and modern interpretive sources. It also discusses the place of Devarim in the emergence of rabbinic Judaism, including halakhic, ethical and devotional dimensions. Level: Year 5

Psalms: Between Poetry and Prayer
Syllabus
Savran M, 2:30-4 pm: Oct. 7-Nov. 25
1

RB BIBLE 150

In this course, students will engage in close reading of a number of liturgical psalms with an eye toward the connection between literary appreciation and prayer. The psalms will be chosen from different contexts in Jewish liturgy, with close attention paid to language, the overall structure of the psalm and the progression of the psalmist. How does a psalm express its meaning? Where is the psalmist at the beginning of the psalm, and where does the psalmist end up? What kind of process is demanded of the reader/pray-er in transforming aesthetic appreciation into prayerful significance? Level: Year 1

Introduction to Readings in Biblical Literature
Syllabus

Bock W, 11:30 am- 1 pm 2 RB LITER 500

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to, and to build their skills in, the reading of texts in the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible. The focus will be on learning to make use of the Masoretic apparatus of vowel signs and cantillation to read with precision; familiarization with the distinctive features of Biblical Hebrew morphology and syntax; making use of a Biblical Hebrew lexicon and concordance; and developing strategies for understanding the literal meaning of Biblical Hebrew texts. Level: Mekorot

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CANTORIAL
         

COURSE TITLE

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

COURSE NO.

Basic Nusach 

Torgove

F, 9-11:15 am

3

CG CANTR 517

(Due to the High Holy Days, the first class meets on Tuesday, Sept. 24)

This class is an introduction to the modes and motifs for synagogue prayer during weekday and Sabbath worship. Emphasis will be on basic proficiency in traditional prayer leading, rudimentary musical skills and an introduction to the liturgical structure of weekday and Shabbat services. Cannot count for graduate credit for students in the Cantorial Ordination programs. Level: Mekorot
 

Fundamentals of Ashkenazi Nusach
Syllabus

Mayer

F 9 am-1:15 pm

4

CANTR 550

(Due to the High Holidays, the first class meets on Tuesday, Sept. 24)

This course, which provides students with the skills necessary to lead daily services, serves as the foundation for the entire sequence of nusach for cantorial students. In the first part of the term students learn musical modes for Ashkenazic prayer chant and analyze their structural elements. Students then learn the specific motivic content for leading daily services within the Ashkenazic tradition. In practicum sessions, emphasis is on modal and motivic improvisation within the established framework of Nusach Ashkenaz. Students also learn appropriate congregational melodies for the daily services. Prerequisite: Musicianship Skills II, Liturgy of the Synagogue. Level: Years 3-5

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EDUCATION
         

COURSE TITLE

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

COURSE NO.

Models of Teaching in Jewish Education

Rodenstein

F, 9-11 am

3

CG EDUC 601

(Due to the High Holy Days, the first class meets on Tuesday, Sept. 24)

In this course, students will analyze a wide repertoire of teaching models in Jewish education, influenced by content, students and institutional contexts, which represent techniques, philosophical approaches and values of teachers. The course will examine rationales for choosing or adapting different models and students will practice alternative approaches. Features of lesson planning and how to structure lessons and courses for Jewish educational settings will also be considered. In addition, students will reflect on their own teaching experiences and collaboratively assess alternative ways to address the range of educational issues they encounter.

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HEBREW (ON CAMPUS)
         

All classes require purchase of a standard Hebrew-English dictionary. 

COURSE TITLE

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

COURSE NO.

Hebrew V
Syllabus

Davis

M, Tu, Th; 2:30-4 pm

4

CG HEBRW 205

Building on Hebrew III and IV, the two-semester sequence of Hebrew V and VI focuses on more advanced modern Hebrew language structures and prose writings. Students will deepen their understanding of the Hebrew language, with emphasis on skill acquisition and development through the extensive use of classical and modern texts. This course gives a systematic presentation of grammatical and syntactic principles of biblical and rabbinic Hebrew (including vocabulary). Texts of different styles, such as narrative, poetry, prophecy and wisdom literature, are examined with an emphasis on literary analysis. Level: Mekorot

Hebrew VII
Syllabus 

Bock

Tu, Th; 2:30-4 pm

3

CG HEBRW 207

For students who want to work with classical Jewish texts in depth, including students in the rabbinic and cantorial programs, this course will focus on the phonology, morphology and syntax of Biblical Hebrew. Solid prior knowledge of Hebrew, including mastery of the Hebrew verb system, is a prerequisite, as this course will assume such knowledge. It addresses aspects of Hebrew grammar that are distinctive of Biblical Hebrew, including the Tiberian vocalization (niqqud) and accentuation system, Biblical Hebrew's larger inventory of verb forms, and various syntactic features of Biblical Hebrew. Level: Year 1

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INTERDISCIPLINARY

 





COURSE NAME

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

COURSE NO.

Bet Midrash: Mekorot

Staff

M-F, 9-11:15 am

0

RB-INTD 050

Bet Midrash: Year 1

Staff

M-F, 9-11:15 am

0

RB-INTD 100

Bet Midrash: Year 2

Staff

M-F, 9-11:15 am

0

RB-INTD 200

Bet Midrash: Year 3

Staff

M-F, 9-11:15 am

0

RB-INTD 300

Bet Midrash: Year 4

Staff

M-F, 9-11:15 am

0

RB-INTD 400

Bet Midrash: Year 5

Staff

M-F, 9-11:15 am

0

RB-INTD 500

Regular Bet Midrash participation is a required part of the Rabbinical School program. Complementing formal classroom study, students will be paired in "hevrutot" for intensive study of Jewish texts. This takes place during daily Bet Midrash hours within a supervised study-hall setting, where tutors are available to help students work with the original sources and to discuss ideas and issues that emerge from the text study.

Introduction to Readings in Biblical Literature

Bock

W, 11:30 am-1 pm

2

RB LITER 500

Level: Mekorot

Jewish Life and Practice 1
Syllabus 

Klein

F, 11:30 am-1 pm

2

RB INTD 015

This course introduces aspiring clergy and educators to the basic sources, practices and complexities of the Jewish life cycle. Students will gain fluency in the essential terminology of the Jewish life cycle and will explore the multiple approaches to Jewish ritual observance. We will integrate primary text study, secondary readings and our own personal encounters with ritual practice in order to build fluency and comfort in the practice of Judaism. We will also pay particular attention to the issue of encountering this material as future clergy and educators. 

Havurot Staff W, 2:15-3:15 pm 0

RB INTD 175

Required for all Rabbinical students; optional for cantorial ordination students. Level: All

Capstone Seminar, Jewish Studies

Kanarek

Th, 2:30-4 pm

2

RB INTD 900

Year-long course—ends in May 2014: Meets Fall and Spring, 3 sessions per semester. Required of all graduating rabbinical students receiving a MAJS degree. Level: Year 5

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JEWISH THOUGHT        

 





COURSE NAME

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

COURSE NO.

Classical Jewish Thought 

Green

Th, 11:30 am- 1 pm

2

RB JTHT 318

(Due to the High Holy Days, the first class meets on Monday, Sept. 23)

Concepts and articulations of the nature of God, creation and revelation as they developed from biblical through medieval times, including consideration of rabbinic, philosophic and kabbalistic sources. Level: Year 2

Theology of Jewish Prayer
Syllabus

Polen

M, 11:30 am-1 pm

2

RB JTHT 100

The combination of historical, phenomenological and theological perspectives to begin the study of Tefillah and the siddur, and to gain as complete a familiarity as possible with the varied worlds of Jewish prayer, including the prayerbooks of traditional and contemporary communities, the styles of prayer, the inner life of prayer as taught by various masters and the theologies that underlie prayer and proceed from it. Prerequisite: Hebrew 7, Level: Year 1

Theology of the Jewish Year
Syllabus

Rose

M, 2:30-4 pm

2

RB JTHT 230

An exploration of the Jewish sacred calendar both in its historical origins and in the fullest context of later interpretation, from early midrashic sources to reflections in contemporary theology. Prerequisite: Hebrew 8, Level: Year 2

Medieval Jewish Thought 

Mesch

M, 2:30-4 pm

2

CG JTHT 519

This course will focus on the writings of four of the most influential writers and leaders of the Jewish Middle Ages. They are Saadya Gaon, Yehuda Halevi and Moses Maimonides (Rambam) and Nachmanides (Ramban). Saadya and Rambam were rationalists who believed in the ultimate importance of reason and its relevance to religion and to Judaism. Halevi, the poet and thinker, taught that while reason is important and useful, it is not essential for achieving the ultimate goal and purpose of religion. Finally we will look at Ramban who was a great Jewish thinker, mystic, rationalist, leader, poet and defender of Judaism. He intervened in the debate over the writings of Maimonides as a peace maker. We will be looking at these figures both as religious thinkers and religious leaders. How did they function as leaders and how did their overall understanding of Judaism affect their approach to community and leadership? Level: Years 3, 4

Contemporary Jewish Thought
Syllabus 
Judson Th, 11:30 am-1 pm 2

RB JTHT 518

The course will examine significant 20th century thinkers as well as the historical context from which they emerge. Over the semester we will study thinkers such as Mordecai Kaplan, Joseph Soloveitchik, Abraham Heschel, and Judith Plaskow among others. We will also be exploring the major trends in American Jewish history such as: denominationalism, immigration, American Zionism, suburbanization, Americanization and the evolution of synagogues. Level: Year 5

Introduction to the Study of Hasidic Texts
Syllabus
Green Th, 4:30-6 pm (beit midrash) and 7:30-9:30 pm (class time)
3

RB JTHT 600 C1

Non-rabbinic students need permission of instructor to take this course. Please see this class in two ways. On the one hand, this is a real text course. It is about gaining skills with the materials, doing and discussing the readings, and learning lots about early Hasidism. But it is also meant to be an experience of "hakhanah le-shabbat." We will do a text dealing with the week’s parashah. The course will be based on texts found in "Speaking Torah: Spiritual Teachings from Around the Maggid’s Table," just published by Jewish Lights. We will also be reading and discussing a long essay from my translation of "Hasidism for a New Era: The Religious Writings of Hillel Zeitlin," published by Paulist Press. Students should acquire both of these books. Other essays will be offered in coursepacks. Level: All (Elective) Hebrew Level: Hebrew 8.
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PRACTICAL RABBINICS        

 





COURSE NAME

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

COURSE NO.

Rabbinical Internship and Group Supervision

Judson

TBD

3

RB PRAC 550

Fifth year rabbinic students will be placed in internships and student pulpits at synagogues and other Jewish institutions in the greater Boston area. Level: Year 5
 

Rabbinical Internship and Group Supervision Judson TBD 3

RB PRAC 400

Students will be placed in internships at synagogues and other Jewish institutions in Greater Boston. Students will have on-site supervision and will also meet for group supervision on campus. Internships are designed to enable students to understand the relationship between their theoretical education and their practical learning. Level: Years 3, 4

Internship Seminar

Judson

Th, 2:30-4 pm

2

RB PRAC 349

In this semester we will be exploring the nature of the rabbinate. Through personal reflection, course readings, studying texts and meeting with rabbis in the field, we will be refining our own rabbinic visions. We will also be utilizing our internships to analyze professional issues in the rabbinate. Level: Years 3, 4

Senior Seminar
Syllabus 

A. Lehmann

Th, 11:30 am-1 pm

2

RB PRAC 515

This course provides an opportunity for students approaching graduation to investigate a number of current topics that face rabbis in their practice. Most of these topics involve issues of personal status and Jewish identity such as intermarriage, Jewish identity by birth, the role of non-Jews in Jewish families and communities, and conversion. Contemporary readings from a range of Jewish sources are integrated with primary text study. Students are encouraged to bring their personal experience to class discussions. Level: Year 5

Learning Effective & Reflective Leadership through Case Studies

Elkin

M, 4:30-6:30 pm: Sept. 16- May 23

6

RB PRAC 512 C1

The seminar will provide an ongoing, intensive opportunity for students to work with an experienced instructor/facilitator on specific cases and challenges arising in their internships/professional settings. The practice seminar will help students learn to be reflective and effective leaders by better understanding themselves, the communities and organizations they work with, and the relationship between the two. Semesters in length. Open only to participants in the full OLP Certificate program.

Learning Effective & Reflective Leadership through Case Studies

Lobron T, 4:30-6:30 pm: Sept. 16- May 23
6

RB PRAC 512 C2

The seminar will provide an ongoing, intensive opportunity for students to work with an experienced instructor/facilitator on specific cases and challenges arising in their internships/professional settings. The practice seminar will help students learn to be reflective and effective leaders by better understanding themselves, the communities and organizations they work with, and the relationship between the two. Semesters in length.  Open only to participants in the full OLP Certificate program.

 

Homiletics Anisfeld Tu, 2:30-4 pm 2

RB PRAC 490

Sermons offer an important context for meaningful dialogue between rabbis and their community. The process of preparing a sermon challenges rabbis to bring Torah to bear on real and significant questions and concerns in their own lives and in the lives of their congregants. This course will help students cultivate skills in sermon preparation and delivery. There will be an emphasis on encouraging students to develop their own voices and styles as darshanim. Learning to give and receive constructive feedback will be an important part of the substance and structure of the course. Available to Cantorial students with special permission of instructor. Level: Years 2, 3, 4

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RABBINICS        

 





COURSE NAME

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

COURSE NO.

Introduction to Mishnah

Leader

Tu, Th; 11:30 am-1 pm

4

CG RAB 513

This course is an intensive introduction to the form and content of the Mishnah, the first code of rabbinic law. Students will gain familiarity with classical rabbinic syntax, key concepts and frequent forms of rabbinic teachings, building a foundation for further study of rabbinic literature. Prerequisite: Hebrew 4, Level: Mekorot

Jewish Living Core 1: Berakhot
Syllabus 

Rosenberg

Tu,Th; 11:30 am-1 pm

3

RB RAB 100

Through intensive, guided study of one full chapter of the tractate Berakhot, this first semester inducts first-year rabbinical students into the discipline of traditional rabbinic learning. Course work covers essential themes in the field of liturgy while building skills that are necessary for reading, understanding, appreciating, analyzing and participating in Talmudic discourse and for accessing the full range of classical rabbinic sources. Level: Year 1

Jewish Living Core 3A: Nezikin
Syllabus 

Kanarek

M, W; 11:30 am-1 pm

3

RB RAB 340A

This course will study selected sugyot from the eighth chapter of Bava Kamma - perek ha-hovel. The chapter focuses on torts – damages. As we improve our skills in analyzing sugyot and rishonim, we will also discuss rabbinic conceptions of civil law. We will address questions such as: How did the ancient rabbis view human beings and their legal responsibilities to one another? How did the rabbis utilize scriptural exegesis in constructing their worldview? How did they understand shame? How did they understand social status and its legal consequences? How do we understand these categories? In our study, we will also utilize the works of some contemporary scholars of Talmud, philosophical as well as critical. Level: Years 2, 3, 4

Jewish Living Core 3B: Nezikin
Syllabus
Rosenberg M,W; 11:30 am-1 pm
3

RB RAB 340B

In this course we will study the second half of the second chapter of Bavli Abodah Zarah, dealing primarily with food laws and interactions between rabbinic Jews and non-rabbinic Jews/non-Jews. We will focus on careful and precise understanding of the Bavli text, increasing our familiarity and skill with learning Tosafot, and considering the various ways in which boundaries can be constructed, their costs and their benefits, and their relationship both to the group identity and to substantive shared values. Level: Years 2, 3, 4

Jewish Living Core 3C: Nezikin

Leader

M; 11:30 am- 1 pm

3

RB RAB 340C

In this course we will study the second chapter of Bava Batra. We will focus on the tension between individual activities and public welfare and the implications for environmental issues and ethics. The class will be taught in seminar style and students will be expected to teach on a regular basis. We will study Bavli, Yerushalmi, Rishonim and some academic scholarship. This class will meet once a week with 7 hours of required beit midrash time. Level: Years 2, 3, 4

Theories of Halakha

Leader

Oct. 24 and 31, and Nov. 7

1

RB RAB 423

 

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