Courses

View all Jewish Studies courses in the SF State Bulletin.

Fall 2019 Jewish Studies Courses

HEBR 101 First Semester Hebrew*
Rosenwald, M/W/F 12:00 p.m. – 12:50 p.m.
GE C2: Humanities Lower Division; SF State Studies: Global Perspectives

HEBR 201 Second Semester Hebrew*
Rosenwald, M/W/F 1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
GE C2: Humanities Lower Division; SF State Studies: Global Perspectives

JS 280 Introduction to Jewish Studies*
In August 2018, newspapers reported that Paul Ryan, the Republican politician who was then speaker of the House of Representatives, had learned that he was three percent Jewish. This leads to some questions: What does this even mean? Can you be three percent Jewish? What does it mean to be Jewish? What are Jews? This class is an introduction to foundational Jewish beliefs, stories, practices, and the ways understandings of Jews and Judaism have changed over time—including who is a Jew and whether one can, indeed, be three percent Jewish.
Gross, T/TH 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
GE C2: Humanities Lower Division

View the flyer for JS 280

JS/HIST 318 The Holocaust and Law: Complicity, Dissent, and Correction
How can genocide occur within a society that prides itself on intellectualism, culture, and logic? In studying the Nazi legal system, this course explains how German intellectuals, leaders, lawyers, and civil servants enacted a legal code that moralized, expedited, and condoned the annihilation of minorities (Jews, homosexuals, mentally and physically disabled, and Roma-Sinti) and marginalization of women and Africans. Genocide, unlike crimes of passion, requires planning and logic. This course explores how a society used reason to enact unprecedented mass murder. Lastly, we will examine how the crimes of the Holocaust were dealt with after World War Two and how such trials informed the prosecution of genocide criminals today.
Herr, T/TH 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

View the flyer for JS 318

JS/HUM 379 Jerusalem
The dynamics of Jerusalem’s intellectual, artistic and social life with emphasis on the great works that symbolize the contribution of that city to human culture. Jerusalem is where religions and politics converge and sometimes lead to heated debates, yet some of the most passionate arguments in the city tend to focus on where the best hummus place can be found.
Weiss, M/W 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
SF State Studies: Global Perspectives; UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities

View the flyer for JS 379

JS 405/CINE 314 Film and the Holocaust
This course surveys the representations of the Holocaust in the cinematic medium. This is not a history course. Rather, we explore the problems of narrativizing the Holocaust—inevitably things get “lost in translation.” We examine how the Holocaust has been treated in various genres—from melodramas to comedies, from documentaries to experimental films.
Kerner, online

JS/CWL 437/ENGL 533 The Holocaust and Literature*
Spanish writer Jorge Semprun declared that if he was to survive Buchenwald, the Nazi concentration camp, he would use only literature to represent what had happened to him and all the others taken by the Nazis. French dramatist Charlotte Delbo insisted that to know what happened at Auschwitz, another Nazi concentration camp, one “had to enter the camp,” but that entrance required literature with its special effects on the imagination. Retrace the narratives of Holocaust survivors who conscious of their immediate extermination fashion a “last look” at how to represent their experiences during the Holocaust.
Millet, TH 4:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
SF State Studies: Global Perspectives, Social Justice; UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities

JS/HIST 449 American Jewish History*
“Two Jews, three opinions,” the old saying goes. When members of the first American Jewish community arrived in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (now New York) in 1654, the very first thing they did was try to sue each other. This course examines American Jews agreeing and disagreeing (mostly disagreeing) with each other from the colonial period to the present day. We will move between studies of specific Jewish communities and ideas of national American Jewish communities. What does it mean to be part of a community? How do communities function and how are they maintained?
Gross, T/TH 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
American Institutions: United States History; SF State Studies: American Ethnic & Racial Minorities, Social Justice; UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities

View the flyer for JS 449

JS/CWL 480 European Jewish Writers*
They were students. They worked in factories. They spent their nights at cafes, arguing for hours. They danced on table tops in Barcelona. They were homeless in Marseille. They made wine in Germany. They painted, wrote, sculpted, sketched, all with a view to defining their Jewish lives in literature. Come and discover a part of the universe of comparative Jewish literatures.
Millet, T/TH 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m., HUM 115
SF State Studies: Global Perspectives, Social Justice; UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities

View the flyer for JS/CWL 480

JS 485 Modern Israeli Literature
Survey of the works of modern Israeli writers of fiction, poetry, and drama; conceptual underpinnings of modern Israeli aesthetic projects in literature; how Israel’s multilingual heritage marks the modern writer. Modern Israeli literature reflects the real and sometimes surreal essence of life in Israel, which means it is always filled with fiction, poetry, and drama. Lots of drama. Come see how and where your drama converges with one of the world’s most complicated places.
Weiss, 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m., HUM 374

View the flyer for JS 485

JS/HUM/PHIL 501 Judaism, Christianity, and Islam*
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are integrally related. They share stories, traditions, values, and histories. Yet, Jews, Christians, and Muslims often take positions in opposition to each other in order to accentuate their differences. In this course the fascinating similarities and differences of these religions are examined through three primary perspectives: revelation, scripture, and interpretation. How do Jews, Christians, and Muslims conceive of divine revelation? What is its purpose in these religions? How does the idea of revelation generate scripture? How and why does scripture require interpretation? Special attention will be given to the stories of Adam and Eve and of Abraham in all three traditions. Besides reading about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, we will also read religious literature from the three religions in order to comes to grip with religious worldviews and notions of tradition. We will think about how these worldviews differ from the ways we look at the world in our secular society. What is required of students and teachers in a public university to learn and teach about religion? Why is a university approach to religion useful but problematic? Don’t miss the opportunity to take one of the most unique courses in the university!
Astren, M/W 3:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m., HUM 382
Fulfills the following GE requirements: UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities; SF State Studies: Global Perspectives UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities

JS 540 Antisemitism
News headlines remind us that antisemitism, from both sides of the political aisle, has reached its highest level since the 1930s. Join us for this seminar-style class as we learn about the history of Jew hatred from the ancient times to now. We’ll explore everything from the charge that Jews killed Jesus, to the blood libel where somehow folks thought that Judaism demanded the murder of Christian children, to the Holocaust, and finally to the ways antisemitism plays out in our current politics and mass media. In your education at State and in life, this class, sadly, is a must.
Dollinger, M/W 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
SF State Studies: Global Perspectives, Social Justice; UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities

JS 632/HIST 322 Jewish History 1: Beginnings to 1650*
Why does no one dress up as a Jew at the Renaissance Fair, when Jews were an integral part of Renaissance Italy? What does it mean to say that there was a Golden Age of the Jews of Medieval Muslim Spain? How did Jews negotiate relationships with the peoples among whom they lived and with whose cultures they participated?
This is a course that has it all. Persians, Greeks, Romans, the Caliphate and the Church. Venice and Constantinople, kingdoms and empires. Judah Maccabee, Jesus, Rabbi Akiva, and Muhammad. Charlemagne, Maimonides, the mad caliph al-Hakim, and Richard the Lionheart. Rabbis, philosophers, Jewish aristocrats in Spain, and Jewish courtiers in Egypt. Mystics, messiahs, and musicians.
Astren, M/W 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m., TH 428
SF State Studies: Global Perspectives; UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities

*Modern Jewish Studies major core course