Good Things Come in Threes: New Course Offerings at Hebrew College

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

If it's true that good things come in threes, registrants for spring semester might wish to consider these new course offerings at Hebrew College. The first two courses listed are offered at the reduced rate of $500 when taken noncredit.

Registration is under way. To get started, click here.

To view all course listings, click here.

For more information, email Sara Shalva, director of enrollment management, at

The Holocaust and Jewish Life: Jewish Identity and Its Transformation Since 1945

Meets Thursdays from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., beginning Jan. 31
Instructor is Provost Barry Mesch, the Stone-Teplow Families Professor of Jewish Thought
3 graduate credits (may also be taken noncredit at reduced rate of $500)

holocaust prisoners

In the years following the end of World War II, Jews have struggled to face the enormity of the Holocaust. This struggle has had a deep and lasting impact on Jewish identity throughout this period, both in Israel and in the Diaspora. It took a while for the Holocaust to emerge as a central feature of Jewish consciousness after 1945. But once it did, it had a profound effect on Jewish identity. Has that effect diminished? What are some of the ways that Jewish identity has shifted, and what role does the Holocaust play in Jewish identity today? This course will examine some of the themes and questions that beset the Jewish community and allow participants to reflect on how these themes have been transformed in the 21st century. We will utilize literature, theology, sociology, film, psychology, memoirs, etc. as we embark on this journey of discovery.

Searching for God and Self: Spirituality and Tradition in the Jewish Philosophy of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik

Meets Wednesdays from 7 to 9 p.m., beginning Jan. 30
Instructor is Jacob Meskin, assistant professor of Jewish thought and education
3 graduate credits (may also be taken noncredit at reduced rate of $500) 

joseph soloveitchikPerhaps alone among modern Jewish thinkers, R. Joseph Soloveitchik produced a philosophy of authentic selfhood deeply rooted in Jewish tradition. He drew on a dazzling array of sources, including contemporary physics, "halakhic" codes, kabbalistic literature, modern mathematics, secular poetry, 19th and 20th century philosophy and, above all, the Talmudic tradition of which he was a recognized master. Taking advantage of the recent burgeoning of translations and secondary works devoted to Soloveitchik, this course will offer a user-friendly overview of Soloveitchik's life and work, with a focus on the following goals: clarifying Soloveitchik's overall philosophical position and his debt to other thinkers; explaining his use of Talmudic and other traditional materials; exploring his relationship to modernity and modern values; and analyzing the details of his spiritual and psychological vision of selfhood.

Franz Kafka and His World

Offered online, beginning Jan. 28
Instructor is Abigail Gillman, associate professor of German and Hebrew at Boston University
4 graduate credits or noncredit

franz kafkaStudies the writing of Franz Kafka (1883-1924), the best-known German prose writer of the 20th century, in English translation. Structured according to broad topics that mark the contours of Kafka's body of writing: the individual within the family; the individual within society, functioning in the domains of work, the academy and the legal system; the quest for metaphysical certainty; and the crisis of Jewish identity in the modern world. Since Kafka's oeuvre is compact, we will be able to read a large part of it: the three novels, most important short stories, aphorisms, diaries, the letter to his father and his lecture on Yiddish. A series of expository and creative-writing assignments will provide further practice in interpreting and writing about literature.