Fall 2020 Course Highlights

“Mystical Prayer in Judaism” with Rabbi Arthur Green
[2 graduate credits]
Tuesdays 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. — Taught Online

Readings for advanced Hebrew students in R. Meir Ibn Gabbai’s Tola’at Ya’akov, a sixteenth century Kabbalistic commentary on the daily prayerbook. Background reading will include key concepts of Kabbalistic thought and devotion.

Rabbi Dr. Arthur Green was the founding dean and is currently rector of the Rabbinical School and Irving Brudnick Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Religion at Hebrew College. He is Professor Emeritus at Brandeis University, where he occupied the distinguished Philip W. Lown Professorship of Jewish Thought. He is both a historian of Jewish religion and a theologian; his work seeks to form a bridge between these two distinct fields of endeavor.

“Classical Jewish Thought” with Rabbi Jordan Schuster
[2 graduate credits]
Wednesdays 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

In this course, we will be exploring rabbinic conceptions of creation, desire, and
G-d. Grounded in 20th and 21st century scholarship on rabbinic thought, our conversations will additionally rely upon our reading of primary source materials in the Hebrew original.

Rabbi Jordan Schuster serves on the faculty of the Hebrew College Rabbinical School and is Director of the Mekorot program. Jordan taught Yiddish literature and language at Columbia University in New York and studied psychoanalysis and queer theory in San Francisco.  He loves to bring Jewish texts – both classical and modern – to life with his students, and he feels blessed to watch how the meanings of these texts shift, refract and evolve as his students forge a way through them together.  

“Genres and Themes of Biblical Literature” with Dr. Rachel Adelman
[3 graduate credits]
Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. — Taught Online

This course will focus on biblical narrative and legal discourse. We will cover the arc of biblical history and historiography in its Ancient Near Eastern context, examining prose selections from the Torah, as well as the historical books: Joshua, Judges, Samuel I and II, and Kings I and II, with a foray into the early Second Temple Period. A few sessions will also focus on legal sections, 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.

Dr. Rachel Adelman provides a dynamic, open approach to text study, drawing on a wide range of sources, from Tanakh and classical midrash to modern Israeli poetry. She holds a Master of Arts in Jewish Studies from Matan/Baltimore Hebrew University and a Ph.D in Hebrew literature, with a specialty in midrash, from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is also currently pursuing a rabbinic degree through Hebrew College. When she is not writing books, papers, or divrei Torah, it is poetry that flows from her pen. 

Please contact Laurena Rosenberg for information on other courses.


Required classes

  • Two courses in Hebrew language (8 credits)
  • Genres and Themes of Biblical Literature (3 credits)
  • Introduction to Mishnah and Jewish Practice Seminar (3 credits)
  • Introduction to Talmud (3 credits)
  • One additional Biblical text course (3 credits)
  • Electives to total 14 credits in the chosen track – either in Jewish History and Thought courses OR Jewish Text courses
  • Graduate Research Seminar Thesis class (2 credits)

Sample Jewish History and Thought Track Electives

  • Classical Jewish Thought
  • Medieval Jewish Thought
  • Modern Jewish Thought
  • Mystical Prayer in Judaism
  • Theology of the Jewish Year
  • The History of Zionism and Israeli Society

Sample Jewish Text Track Electives

  • Core Text — Torah 1 — Bereshit
  • Core Text – Rabbinics 1: Berakhot
  • Theories of Halakhah
  • The Book of Ruth
  • Mishnah 1 – Tannaic Texts
  • Hilkhot Tefillah