Spring 2014 Rabbinical School Courses

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

BIBLE
         

COURSE TITLE

COURSE NO.

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

Genres and Themes of Biblical Literature
Syllabus

CG BIBLE 502B

Adelman

M, 11:30 am-1 pm

3

This course entails an introduction to the full complement of Biblical poetry, in its literary and historical context, and to modes of poetic interpretation and analysis. The course will cover selections from the Torah, Psalms, Proverbs, and the Book of Job, as well as selections from the Prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah.  We will discuss poetry imbedded within narrative, genres of Prophetic writings, apocalyptic revelations, and wisdom literature. Second part of a two-semester sequence. Level: Mekorot

Torah Core 1: Bereshit 2
Syllabus

RB BIBLE 101

Adelman

W, F; 11:30 am-1 pm

3

The Jacob Saga and Joseph and His Brothers: Colorful coats, dreams and near fratricide, famine, exile, and reconciliation mark the dramatic narrative of Joseph and His Brothers in the last third of Bereshit. This course will engage in a careful reading of the biblical text, drawing on midrash as well as modern literary responses, from Israeli poetry to Thomas Mann's great novel. In addition to honing our text skills, we will consider various themes such as the problem of continuity/discontinuity (toledot), dreams and their interpretation, models of recognition and teshuvah, and family secrets and shame. Level: Year 1

Shemot II: The Book of Exodus in Hasidic Imagination
Syllabus

RB BIBLE 413 Green

Tu, F; 11:30 am-1 pm

3

The course will examine three major themes of Sefer Shemot – the exodus from Egypt, the Sinai Revelation, and the mishkan as they are seen in key writings of the Hasidic movement. Because the Hasidic teachings are late works based on multiple levels of earlier tradition, sources from the Talmud, the Zohar, and the medieval commentators will also be consulted. The course will serve three functions: 1) an understanding of the ways in which later mystical thinkers engage in the ongoing spiritualization of the tradition; 2) providing models for contemporary personal and spiritual readings of the Torah narrative; 3) developing textual skills for reading Hasidic and other late rabbinic Hebrew texts.

Torah Core 4: Bemidbar 2
Syllabus 

RB BIBLE 401 Adelman

Tu, 11:30 am-1 pm

3

A continuation of the course begun in the fall semester, this course continues examination of 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

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CANTORIAL
         

COURSE TITLE

COURSE NO.

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

Basic Cantillation
Syllabus 

CG CANTR 519

Treitman

F, 9-11:15 am

3

This class is an introduction to the basic concepts of Torah cantillation. Emphasis will be placed on acquiring the skills needed to chant Torah on weekdays, Sabbaths and Festivals using a common Ashkenazi trope. Topics will also include the rituals surrounding the Torah service, the history of cantillation/trope, correct contemporary pronunciation of biblical Hebrew, and the underlying syntactic structure of the system of cantillation. While this course is primarily for rabbinical students, others are welcome (depending on size of the class), provided they have adequate sense of musical pitch and the ability to read and translate biblical Hebrew. Does not count for graduate credit for students in the Cantorial Ordination programs. Does not count for graduate credit for students in the CEP. Prerequisite: Hebrew 4

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EDUCATION
         

COURSE TITLE

COURSE NO.

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

Rabbi as Educator
Syllabus 

RB EDUC 921

Kaunfer

F, 10:15 am-12:15 pm

3

The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to key educational areas that rabbis may likely encounter in their work, including teaching, interactive sermons, adult education, informal education, havurot, family education, and dealing with a Religious School. This semester will have a practical emphasis. One of the goals of this course is to provide the student with educational concepts, tools, techniques and resources which he/she can use in the student's future work in the rabbinate. Level: Year 2

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HEBREW (ON CAMPUS)
         

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

COURSE TITLE

COURSE NO.

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

Hebrew VI

CG HEBRW 206

Davis

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

4

Course will focus on developing student's ability to handle Hebrew texts from the biblical and rabbinic corpora, while advancing knowledge of Hebrew grammar and vocabulary. Texts prepared in advance by the students will be reviewed and discussed in class; in the first part of the course, these will consist of various genres of biblical texts, and in the secon, tannaitic and medieval texts. The language of instruction is both English and Hebrew. Level: Mekorot

Hebrew VIII 

CG HEBRW 208

Bock

Th, 2:30-4 pm

3

With a primary goal of building their skills in accurately reading and analyzing unvocalized Hebrew texts, students will read short stories of S.Y. Agnon with a close focus on their language. A portion of classroom discussion will be conducted in Hebrew, and students will have the opportunity to write short essays in Hebrew. Level: Year 1

Aramaic

CG HEBRW 211

Bock Th, 2:30-4 pm 3

Students will learn the basic features of Aramaic grammar, focusing on the dialect of Aramaic used in the Babylonian Talmud. A solid knowledge of Hebrew grammar will be expected, so that students can take advantage of systematic correspondences between Hebrew and Aramaic grammar. Some experience reading Talmudic texts will also be presumed. The texts that are read consist primarily of aggadic materials from the Babylonian Talmud. At the end of the course, other texts with liturgical and halakhic significance will be read as well.

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HISTORY
         

COURSE NAME

COURSE NO. INSTRUCTOR TIME CREDITS

Second Temple and Early Rabbinic Judaism
Syllabus 

CG HIST 151 Klawans M, 2:30-4 pm 3

This course is a survey of the diversity and development of Judaism in the ancient world, coveing some of the events and phenomena that shaped ancient Judasim: the impact of Hellenism, the Maccabean revolt and the Roman conquest. Some course time is devoted to the first century of the Common Era--the important period that saw both the birth of Christianity and the destruction of the ancient Jewish state, which in turn gave way to the beginnings of rabbinic civilization. Level: Year 1

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INTERDISCIPLINARY
         

COURSE NAME

COURSE NO.

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

Bet Midrash: Mekorot

RB INTD 051

Staff

M-F, 9-11:15 am

0

Bet Midrash: Year 1

RB INTD 101

Staff

M-F, 9-11:15 am

0

Bet Midrash: Year 2

RB INTD 201

Staff

M-F, 9-11:15 am

0

Bet Midrash: Year 3

RB INTD 301

Staff

M-F, 9-11:15 am

0

Bet Midrash: Year 4

RB INTD 401

Staff

M-F, 9-11:15 am

0

Bet Midrash: Year 5 RB INTD 501 Staff M-F, 9-11:15 am

0

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.

Tefillah Groups

RB INTD 150

Staff

W, 2:15-3:15 pm

0

Required for all Rabbinical students. Level: Mekorot

Jewish Life and Practice II
Syllabus 

RB INTD 016

Lehmann

F, 11:30 am-1 pm

3

Students will be introduced to the patterns and essential terminology of the cycle of Jewish religious life and other basic Jewish practices. Level: Mekorot

Israeli Women Writing Midrash
Syllabus

RB INTD 515 Biala

Tu, 11:30 am-1 pm

3

Recent years have seen a new and fascinating phenomenon of Israeli women writing contemporary Midrashim using classical rabbinic style, sources and language. We will study these texts—in the original and with translation—along with the classic Biblical, Rabbinic and other texts which they engage. We will also read them as a window into the spiritual and political lives of contemporary Israeli Jewish women. Level: Years 3, 4, 5

Gender, Power, Position and Leadership

RB INTD 804 Coentro Tu, Jan. 21, 9 am-5 pm; W, Jan. 22, 9 am-4 pm  1

Two-day intensive seminar required for the Organizational Leadership Certificate Program. A limited number of non-certificate students will be permitted to participate with permission from Dean of Rabbinic School. Students will explore the intersections of gender, power and leadership within Jewish institutions and the broader social context. Gender norms will be identified and discussed and students will have multiple opportunities to engage in dialogue relative to how these dynamics impact leadership identity and practice.

Additionally, students will share what they find challenging related to gender and power and will work together to explore the potential for change. The concept of power itself will be defined and examined and students will share how they, as leaders, personally deal with power disparities as well as where they have triumphed over difficulties created by power dynamics. The skills shared throughout the workshop will also be applied to a segment on successfully leading through change when gender and power dynamics are at play.

Open to students in the Organizational Leadership Program. All others need special permission.

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JEWISH THOUGHT
 

COURSE NAME

COURSE NO. INSTRUCTOR TIME CREDITS

The Zohar
Syllabus 

RB JTHT 608

Leader

Th, 11:30 am-1 pm

3

This course is an introduction to the Jewish mystical tradition and the reading of its central text, The Zohar. Students will be taught the symbolic language of Kabbalah and will learn to read passages in the Aramaic original, but also using the new translation and commentary of the Pritzker edition. Level: Year 5

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LITERATURE   
         

COURSE NAME

COURSE NO.

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

Introduction to Reading Biblical Literature II
Syllabus 

RB LITER 501

Bock

W, 11:30 am- 1 pm

3

A continuation of study begun in the fall, this course focuses on developing students' skills in reading Hebrew texts from the Tanakh, with a primary focus on narrative material. Students will learn to make use of the Masoretic apparatus of vowel signs and cantillation to read with precision; become familiar with the distinctive features of Biblical Hebrew morphology and syntax; learn to make use of a Biblical Hebrew lexicon and concordance; and develop strategies for understanding the literal meaning of Biblical Hebrew texts. Prerequisite: RB-LITER 500 Intro to Reading Biblical Literature

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LITURGY
         

COURSE NAME

COURSE NO. INSTRUCTOR TIME CREDITS

Liturgy of Yamim Noraim
Syllabus 

RB LITGY 593

Lehmann

M, 11:30 am-1 pm

3

Students will study the classic liturgy for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, including the history of the Mahzor and close reading of Piyyutim (Liturgical poetry). Level: Year 1

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PRACTICAL RABBINICS        
         

COURSE NAME

COURSE NO.

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

Lifecycle Seminar for Rabbis
Syllabus

RB PRAC 220

Judson

Th, 2:30-4 pm

3

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. Level: Year 2

Pastoral Counseling I
Syllabus

RB PRAC 310 Judson F, 9 am-12 pm 3

This course provides an overview of pastoral counseling, focusing on the counseling relationships that rabbis encounter. Students will gain an understanding of counseling, family systems, transference, self-care and other topics relevant to the role of rabbi as counselor. The course will also have an interfaith component and will be co-taught by Hebrew College and Andover Newton Theological School faculty. Level: Years 3, 4

Leadership Seminar

 RB PRAC 510

Shevitz

Th, 2:30-4 pm

3

As students prepare for ordination, this course provides a place to explore questions about leadership that will be important to their effectiveness in bringing their knowledge, skills and aspirations into the community. Using readings from both Jewish and general sources, case studies and exploration of their own leading and others', students will consider what makes a leader effective, the special challenges and opportunities of rabbinic leadership, the potential dangers a rabbinic leader faces and the role of vision – the rabbi's and others'- in creating vibrant communities that speak to people's hearts and minds Level: Year 5

Homiletics II

RB PRAC 491 Cohen-Anisfeld Th, 2-3:30 pm 3
Building on an understanding of darshanut as dialogue, we will use our time together this semester to develop skills in preparing and delivering divrei torah for a variety of contexts. Through intensive “workshopping” of divrei torah throughout the semester, students will have an opportunity to gain skills in: developing one’s own voice and presence as a darshan/it (including an awareness of one’s own strengths and weaknesses, and strategies for addressing personal goals for growth), developing a range of styles and forms to suit a multiplicity of goals, circumstances, and listeners, using learning and imagination to bring Torah to bear on congregants’ questions and concerns, expressing ideas in a manner that can be heard and understood by others, soliciting and responding constructively to feedback from colleagues and offering constructive feedback to colleagues.
 
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RABBINICS        
         

COURSE NAME

COURSE NO.

INSTRUCTOR

TIME

CREDITS

Introduction to Talmud
Syllabus

CG RAB 520

Rhodes

Tu, Th; 11:30 am-1 pm

3

Students in this course will learn the skills of analyzing a variety of Talmudic texts, aggadic and halakhic. How are Talmudic sugyot (thematic units of a Talmudic tractate) constructed? What are the recurring technical terms of a Talmudic "discussion"? What are the conceptual assumptions of Talmudic discourse? What are the social and cultural contexts of the sugyot? Students will learn basic Talmudic terminology, including a glossary of Hebrew and Aramaic terms and concepts, and how to use dictionaries, concordances and other reference tools to decipher and understand a Talmudic sugya. This course also includes selections from the commentaries of Rashi and the Tosaphot with an examination of their interpretive concerns and methods. Students will be required to record selections from the Talmudic texts in order to improve skills in reading Rabbinic Hebrew. Some previous exposure to rabbinic literature is desirable. Level: Mekorot

Jewish Living Core 1: Berakhot
Syllabus

RB RAB 101

Rosenberg

Tu,Th; 11:30 am-1 pm

3

A continuation of the fall semester, we will complete the fourth chapter of tractate Berakhot, then continue on to a study of sugyot relating to the sacrificial service, Shema, and the Amidah, as a means of thinking about various approaches to and purposes of "prayer." The focus continues to be both on building skills that are necessary for reading, understanding, appreciating, analyzing and participating in Talmudic discourse and on developing more sophisticated and nuanced thinking about prayer. Level: Year 1

Jewish Living Core 3A: Nezikin
Syllabus

RB RAB 341A

Leader

M, W; 11:30 am-1 pm

3

In this course we will study a selection of sugyot on the topic of Nezikin, mostly from Masechet Sanhedrin. The focus of the course will on improving students’ capacity to read and understand the Talmudic text, but also to move beyond translation and develop the skills to understand the large picture of a sugya, the conflicts and forces driving it.

Level: Years 2, 3, 4

Jewish Living Core 3B: Nezikin
RB RAB 341B Kanarek

M,W; 11:30 am-1 pm

3

In this course we will study selected sugyot from the eighth chapter of Bava Kamma. This chapter focuses on torts – damages – and specifically assessment and restitution for harm caused by another person. Through close readings of several sugyot, rishonim, and relevant articles, we will address questions such as: How did the rabbis utilize scriptural exegesis in constructing their worldview? How did the ancient rabbis view human beings and their legal responsibilities to one another? How did they understand social status and its legal consequences? How did they understand personhood? How do we understand these categories? This class aims to solidify and build on your previously acquired textual skills, and in particular to build your ability to use rishonim as interpretive reshapers of the Talmudic text. Level: Years 2, 3, 4

Jewish Living Core 3C: Nezikin
Syllabus

RB RAB 341C

Rosenberg

M, W; 11:30 am- 1 pm

3

In this course we will study the second half of the second chapter of Bavli Avodah Zarah, dealing primarily with food laws and interactions between rabbinic Jews and non-rabbinic Jews/non-Jews. This course assumes the ability to prepare the Talmud text and commentaries independently, with a focus on methodologies and the different ways to make use of parallel texts, rishonim, and aharonim. We will focus on 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

Halacha Nezikin RB RAB 427A Kanarek Tu, 2:30-4 pm

3

In this course we will study the development of some halakhic discussions that are relevant to immigration questions. Specifically we will address the questions of refusing entry for financial reasons, dealing with refugees, and possibly work relations. This course involves the study of many halakhic texts that are not available in translation, and is thus oriented towards students with good Hebrew text skills.

Level: Years 2, 3, 4

Halacha Nezikin RB RAB 427B Leader Tu, 2:30-4 pm

3

Examining the nature of our intertwined commitments to Jewish law and American law, this course will focus on the relationship of synagogue and State. Its goal is to help us articulate our Jewish voices on matters of public policy. We will begin by studying dina de-malkhuta dina (the law of the land is the law) and the First Amendment. This work will provide the foundation for a further exploration of selected topics of public policy through the lens of halakhah. Level: Years 2, 3, 4

Kashrut
Syllabus

RB RAB 426

Rosenberg

Tu, 2:30-4 pm

3

We will study a variety of laws relating to what contemporary Jews commonly refer to as "kashrut" (even as we complicate the idea that these laws are all part of one set of concerns), considering laws relating to the mixing of milk and meat, mixtures of permitted and forbidden foods, kashering utensils, and the kashrut of various kinds of cheese. Our primary focus will be acquisition of relevant data points and translating those data points into language that makes sense for various communities, though there will also be a secondary focus on skill-building with regard to study of Shulhan Arukh. For students desiring futher enrichment, the study of other halakhic texts such as Tur, Beit Yosef, and the various commentaries on the Shulhan Arukh will be provided as well.

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