Fall 2015 Rabbinical School Courses

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  BIBLE   CANTORIAL   EDUCATION HEBREW  HISTORY  
 
INTERDISCIPLINARY JEWISH THOUGHT LITERATURE PRACTICAL RABBINICS RABBINICS

 

BIBLE
Genres and Themes of Biblical Literature I CG BIBLE 502A
M, 11 am-1 pm SyllabusAdelman
Level: Mekorot | 3 graduate credits


The first two classes will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 2 and 3, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This course will focus on biblical narrative and legal discourse. We 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 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 4

Torah Core 1: Bereshit  RB BIBLE 100
W, F; 11:30 am-1 pm
SyllabusAdelman
Level: Year 1 | 3 graduate credits


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").

Torah Core 2: Shemot  RB BIBLE 200
Tu and F, 11:30 am-1 pm  Syllabus | Rhodes
Level: Year 2 | 3 graduate credits 


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.

Torah Core 3: Vayikra RB BIBLE 300
Tu, 11:30 am-1 pm, and Th, 2:30-4 pm
Polen
Level: Years 4 | 3 graduate credits Syllabus


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 shall 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.

Torah Core 4: Bemidbar  RB BIBLE 400
Tu, 11 am-1 pm
SyllabusAdelman
Level: Year 3 | 2 graduate credits


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.

Torah Core 4: Bemidbar  RB BIBLE 400-J1
Jerusalem, time and location TBA
Frankel
Level: Year 3 | 2 graduate credits


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. Limited to Rabbinical School students in Israel.

Torah Core 5: Devarim RB BIBLE 500
W, 11:15 am-1 pm
SyllabusKates
Level: Year 5 | 2 graduate credits


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.

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CANTORIAL
Basic Nusach CG CANTR 517
F, 9-11:15 am
 Syllabus | Torgove
3 credits


This class is an introduction to the modes and motifs for synagogue prayer during weekday and Sabbath worship. Emphasis is on acquiring the skills needed to teach basic davening. Discussions also examine some theoretical and pedagogical issues in the teaching of prayer to children. 

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EDUCATION
Models of Teaching CG EDUC 601
W, 3:30-5:30 pm
 Rodenstein
3 graduate credits


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 that they encounter.

Graduate Research Seminar in Jewish Education CG EDUC 707
Monthly on W, 6:30-8 pm | Yearlong course ending May 2016
 Einhorn and Levites
1 graduate credit (on campus and online components)


This research seminar is the culmination of a student's years of study at Hebrew College and provides students with the opportunity to integrate their learning of Judaic texts with educational theories and practice. The final project allows students to further investigate a topic that intrigues them and relates to their work. Throughout the yearlong project, students will be guided by the seminar instructors, a faculty adviser of their choosing and by the seminar community itself. The project is then submitted as a bound written paper and presented orally at an end-of-year day of celebration.

Human Development and Learning CG EDUC 802
Th, 2:30-4:30 pm
 Levites
3 graduate credits


This course explores the relationship between human development and a lifelong trajectory of Jewish growth and learning. By exploring various developmental theories, including cognitive, psychosocial and moral development, students will gain a deeper understanding of the developmental needs of, challenges facing and opportunities for learners from early childhood through adulthood. Over the course of the semester, students will both analyze and design Jewish educational programs that address learners’ developmental needs.

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HEBREW
Hebrew 5 CG HEBRW 205
M, Tu and Th; 2:30-4 pm 
Roth
Level: Mekorot | 4 graduate credits


Building on Hebrew 3 and 4, the two-semester sequence of Hebrew 5 and 6 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.

Hebrew 7  CG HEBRW 207
Tu and Th, 2:30-4 pm
Bock
Level: Year 1 | 3 graduate credits
Syllabus


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 as it addresses aspects of Hebrew grammar that are distinctive of biblical Hebrew, including the Tiberian vocalization ("nikud") and accentuation system, biblical Hebrew's larger inventory of verb forms, and various syntactic features of biblical Hebrew.

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INTERDISCIPLINARY
Beit Midrash Staff
Level: Mekorot  RB INTD 050
Level: Year 1 RB INTD 100
Level: Year 2  RB INTD 200
Level: Year 3 RB INTD 300
Level: Year 4 RB INTD 400
Level: Year 5 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. 

Jewish Life and Practice I RB INTD 015
Level: Mekorot | F, 11:30 am-1 pm
Klein
2 graduate credits


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 RB INTD 175
Level: All | W, 2:15-3:15 pm | Noncredit only  Staff


This course is required for all rabbinical students; optional for cantorial ordination students.

Israel Seminar, Part I RB INTD 500
Level: Years 3 & 4 | Taught in Jerusalem | 3 graduate credits  Bromberg


This course is a series of conversations, including guest speakers, around key themes in Israeli life, both historical and contemporary. Culture, political and religious issues will all be considered. Open only to rabbinic students in the study-abroad program.

An Introduction to Zionist Thought RB INTD 509-E1
Aug. 26-28 and Sept. 1-3, 11:30 am-1 pm | 1 graduate credit  Syllabus | Bromberg, Judson


In this course, students will read a collection of readings that have been selected as an introduction to some foundational Zionist thinkers. Each day, students will be asked to read original sources by a thinker as well as some critical articles to give context to that person’s writings. Our hope is to provide a basic grounding in Zionist thought that will enable students to see how early Zionist debates continue to play out in contemporary Israeli society.

Heroines of the Qur'an (Meets at ANTS) CG INTD 614W
Th, 2:30-5:20 pm, Sept. 17 to Dec. 16 Ibrahim
3 graduate credits


This course introduces students to female figures that appear in Qur’anic narratives. Particular attention is given to those women who play central and heroic roles. Attention is also paid to ethical and ministerial lessons that arise from the narratives. The course welcomes and encourages comparative theological lenses. Prior experience with Qur’anic narratives is helpful but not required.

Capstone Seminar — Jewish Studies RB INTD 900
Tu, 2:30-4 pm (yearlong course). Meets Sept. 8, Oct. 13, Nov. 17, Dec. 8; spring dates TBA Kanarek
Level: Year 5 | 3 graduate credits


This yearlong course is required of all graduating rabbinical students receiving the Master of Arts in Jewish Studies degree. Course meets two to four sessions per semester.

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JEWISH THOUGHT
Theology of Jewish Prayer RB JTHT 100
M, 11:30 am-1 pm SyllabusGreen
Level: Year 1 | 2 graduate credits


This course will address the historical, phenomenological and theological perspectives on tefillah and the siddur. Students will gain as complete a familiarity as possible with the varied worlds of Jewish prayer, including the prayer books 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.

Theology of the Jewish Year RB JTHT 230
Th, 11:30 am-1 pm
 SyllabusRose
Level: Year 2 | 2 graduate credits


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

Hasidic Texts on Leadership and Blessing RB JTHT 606
Th, 11:30 am-1 pm
Polen
Level: Year 5 | 2 graduate credits Syllabus


This course will examine hasidic teachings on leadership and transformation. We will study models of personal growth, master-disciple relationships, charismatic figures, peer-to-peer influence, and blessing. We will examine the claim that hasidic leaders aim to reconfigure their knowledge at ever-deeper levels of mastery and ever-wider horizons of comprehension, and we will discuss the relevance of hasidic teachings for our contemporary lives. Throughout the course a central focus will be careful reading and analysis of the original texts.

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LITERATURE
Introduction to Readings in Biblical Literature RB LITR 500
W, 11:30 am- 1 pm
Bock
Level: Mekorot | 2 graduate credits Syllabus


Introduces students to, and builds 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.

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LITURGY
Liturgy of Synagogue Service RB LITGY 590
M, 2:30- 4 pm
A. Lehmann
Level: Year 1 | 2 graduate credits Syllabus


An introduction to the structure and content of Jewish prayer, this course examines the historic development of the synagogue and the siddur. The course begins with an exploration of the three daily services and proceeds to Shabbat and chagim (holidays). Conceptual, as well as literary, forms will be considered. Prerequisite: Hebrew 4 or its equivalent, or permission of the instructor.

Liturgy of Synagogue Service RB LITGY 590
M, 4:15-5:45 pm
A. Lehmann
Level: Year 1 | 2 graduate credits Syllabus


An introduction to the structure and content of Jewish prayer, this course examines the historic development of the synagogue and the siddur. The course begins with an exploration of the three daily services and proceeds to Shabbat and chagim (holidays). Conceptual, as well as literary, forms will be considered. Prerequisite: Hebrew 4 or its equivalent, or permission of the instructor.

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PRACTICAL RABBINICS
Lifecycle Seminar for Rabbis RB PRAC 220
Th, 2:30-4 pm
SyllabusJudson
Level: Year 2 | 2 graduate credits


This course will train students to officiate at Jewish lifecycle events: baby namings, b’nai mitzvah, weddings and conversions; officiating at funerals is covered in a class for third-year students. We will look at various ways contemporary rabbis perform these lifecycle rituals as well as the counseling process that accompanies each ritual.

Pastoral Counseling I (Meets at ANTS) RB PRAC 310
F, 9 am-noon
 Judson and Gill-Austern
Level: Year 4 (optional elective for Year 3) | 3 graduate credits


This course will explore in depth the ministry of pastoral care and counseling in times of grief and loss, with an emphasis on the theological dimensions in both Judaism and Christianity that assist persons to find hope and meaning in the aftermath of loss. We will explore together historical and contemporary grief theory, the various forms of loss and types of grieving, the role of attachment styles on grief and our relationship to God. We will examine how death is experienced differently through human development, the role of healthy and unhealthy religious coping in times of stress and focus on the reconstruction of meaning as essential to finding hope and a new future. Personal, theological and cultural understandings of death, grief and loss will be studied to appreciate both the universal and unique elements to grieving. Students will learn the tasks of grieving and how to facilitate healthy grieving within the context of congregational life and the role that pastoral empathy, counseling skills, rituals and funerals can play in this.

Rabbinical Internship and Group Supervision RB PRAC 400
Times TBD
 Judson
Level: Years 3 and 4 | 3 graduate credits


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.

Homiletics RB PRAC 490
Th, 11:30 am-1 pm
 SyllabusAnisfeld
Level: Years 3 and 4 | 2 graduate credits


Sermons offer an important context for meaningful dialogue between a rabbi and her community. The process of preparing a sermon challenges the rabbi to bring Torah to bear on real and significant questions and concerns in her own life and in the lives of her 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 voice and style as darshanim. Learning to give and receive constructive feedback will be an important part of the substance and structure of the course.

Rabbinical Internship and Group Supervision RB PRAC 550
Time TBD
 Judson
Level: Year 5 (optional elective for Year 3) | 3 graduate credits


Fifth-year rabbinic students will be placed in internships and student pulpits at synagogues and other Jewish institutions in Greater Boston.

Senior Seminar RB PRAC 515
Tu, 11:30 am-1 pm
 A. Lehmann
Level: Year 5 | 2 graduate credits Syllabus


The Senior Seminar 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.

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RABBINICS
Jewish Living Core 1: Berakhot RB RAB 100
Tu and Th, 11:30 am-1 pm
Rosenberg
Level: Year 1 | 3 graduate credits


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.

Jewish Living Core 3: Nashim uGevarim RB RAB 300A
M and W, 11:30 am-1 pm
Rosenberg
Level: Years 2, 3 and 4 | 3 graduate credits Syllabus


A study of essential Talmudic sources in Seder Nashim introduces classical rabbinic concepts, categories and practices concerning the roles and status of women and men. Students will read these classical rabbinic sources for their own understanding in light of the present day. They will consider issues that surround gender roles in contemporary Jewish practice through readings and discussions.

Jewish Living Core 3: Nashim uGevarim RB RAB 300B
M and W, 11:30 am-1 pm
Kanarek
Level: Years 2, 3 and 4 | 3 graduate credits


A study of essential Talmudic sources in Seder Nashim introduces classical rabbinic concepts, categories and practices concerning the roles and status of women and men. Students will read these classical rabbinic sources for their own understanding in light of the present day. They will consider issues that surround gender roles in contemporary Jewish practice through readings and discussions.

Jewish Living Core 3: Nashim uGevarim RB RAB 300C
W; 9:15-11 am 
Kanarek
Level: Years 2, 3 and 4 | 2 graduate credits


A study of essential Talmudic sources in Seder Nashim introduces classical rabbinic concepts, categories and practices concerning the roles and status of women and men. Students will read these classical rabbinic sources for their own understanding in light of the present day. They will consider issues that surround gender roles in contemporary Jewish practice through readings and discussions.

Hilkhot Avelut RB RAB 315
Tu, 2:30-4 pm
  SyllabusPerkins
Level: Years 2, 3 and 4 | 2 graduate credits


This course reviews the impact of illness, dying and death on the individual, family and community. We will both explore the essential halachic concepts that come into play at the end of life, and review the practical responsibilities of rabbis who perform funerals and guide the bereaved through the stages of Jewish mourning.

Hilkhot Kiddushin uGittin RB RAB 316
Tu, 2:30-4 pm
 Syllabus | Rhodes
Level: Years 2, 3 and 4 | 2 graduate credits


This course covers the laws of marriage and divorce. With a view to practical rabbinic applications, it surveys the essential rules and regulations that traditionally govern Jewish marriage ceremony and divorces. Having laid the groundwork for classical concepts and practices, the course considers present-day innovations, the challenges they pose and the opportunities that they provide.

Introduction to Mishnah CG RAB 513
Tu and Th, 11:30 am-1 pm
SyllabusLeader
Level: Mekorot | 3 graduate credits


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.

Israel Study Abroad for Rabbinic Students RB RAB ISRL
Level: Years 2, 3 and 4 | 6 credits per semester


Students spend a semester or more studying in Israel. Time in Israel is required by program. Institutions at which the student may study and courses from which the student may choose are specifically directed by the dean of the Rabbinical School. Courses of study are chosen with the particular student in mind, and will include Hebrew-language courses as well as intensive text study. Students must take a minimum of six credits per semester and may be required to do online coursework at Hebrew College during the semester as well.

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ELUL MINIMESTER
Torah and Haftarah Readings for Yamim Noraim RB INTD 110
1 graduate credit Adelman

Syllabus


In these five sessions, we will engage in a deep reading of the Torah and Haftarah readings for the High Holy Days, including God's response to Sarah and Hannah’s barreness (Gen. 21 and 1 Sam. 1-2), the Aqedah (Gen. 22), the prophet's promise of return for the Northern tribes sent into exile (Jeremy ch. 31), and the Book of Jonah. Special emphasis will be placed on the liturgical significance of these works in terms of the themes of remembrance ("zikhronot"), repentance and return ("teshuvah"). Limited to rabbinic and cantorial students.

Psalms in Scripture, Liturgy and Inner Work RB INTD 508
1 graduate credit 
Polen

Syllabus


There are three foci for this course: the psalms in
scripture, in liturgy and as guides to inner work. The first focus will place
the psalms in biblical perspective, examining their relationship to Torah,
prophets, and other sacred writings. We will also examine the central role of
psalms in liturgy and communal prayer life. Finally, we will have the
opportunity to work with psalms in our own lives as vehicles of spiritual growth.
 Limited to rabbinic and cantorial students.

Talking About Mistakes, Talking About Teshuvah RB RAB 300B
1 graduate credit  
Leader



This text will introduce some of the basic concepts of kabbalah and hassidut in regard to the year cycle in general, and will focus specifically on one master’s teachings regarding the High Holy Days. We will study texts from the book “
Yosher Divrei Emet” by Rabbi Meshullam Feibush of Zbarazh. Limited to rabbinic and cantorial students.

Tzelem Elokim RB INTD 505
1 graduate credit  
Green

Syllabus


This mini-course is based on a variety of primary and secondary sources, and will examine classical Jewish views on the creation of humans, human nature, body and soul, and the purpose of human existence. 
Limited to rabbinic and cantorial students.

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