Graduate-Level Courses Open to the Public | Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

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Graduate-Level Courses Open to the Public

Each semester, we invite adults to take classes alongside our rabbinical students, and many have welcomed the challenge. If you are interested in a course, please email the instructor directly, as noted below. The tuition schedule is at the bottom of the page.

Fall semester begins the week of Aug. 27, 2019. If you are interested in participating via video conference, please contact Mary Buhring, Director of Academic Administration at 215.576.0800 ext. 138 or MBuhring@RRC.edu. All courses are in Eastern time.

 


 

Fall 2019 Courses

MEKHINAH RABBINIC HEBREW I

Instructor: Rabbi Vivie Mayer

Meeting Details: Mondays and Thursdays, 9:50-11:40 a.m.

Course Description: We will study the language of the Mishna and the Siddur through these two primary texts. This course helps students build a foundation of vocabulary, syntax, rabbinic idiom, and halakhic terminology.

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email Rabbi Vivie Mayer directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.

 

 

JEWISH TRADITIONS I

Instructor: Rabbi Vivie Mayer

Meeting Details: Tuesdays, 9:30-11:20 a.m.

Course Description: In this Mekhinah course, students will explore traditional Jewish beliefs and practices. Through primary texts (Bible and Mishnah) in translation, students will encounter the fundamentals of prayer, kashrut, Shabbat and festival observance. This course also investigates the phenomenon of halakhah (Jewish lived practice) and how it evolves through ever-changing times.

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email Rabbi Vivie Mayer directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.

 

 

MEKHINAH TANAKH I

Instructor: S. Tamar Kamionkowski, Ph.D.

Meeting Details: Wednesdays, 9:30-11:20 a.m. and Thursdays, 1:30-3:20 p.m.

Course Description: This course introduces students to the language and literary features of the biblical texts. Students learn the vocabulary, grammar and stylistic elements of biblical Hebrew that will allow them to read and translate the narrative texts of the Bible.

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email S. Tamar Kamionkowski, Ph.D., directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.

 

 

BIBLICAL CORE: CIVILIZATION

Instructor: Elsie R. Stern, Ph.D.

Meeting Details: Tuesdays, 9:30-10:50 a.m. and Thursdays, 1:30-2:50 p.m.

Course Description: This course explores the history, literature and thought of the biblical period. Students will trace the evolution of the Bible and devote special attention to the emergence of a distinctive Israelite worldview in the context of the ancient Near East.

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email Elsie R. Stern, Ph.D., directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.

 

 

TANAKH I

Instructor: S. Tamar Kamionkowski, Ph.D.

Meeting Details: Tuesdays, 2-4:50 p.m. and Thursdays, 9:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m. (includes beit midrash)

Course Description: Students will work with lexical resources and critical commentaries to build biblical Hebrew translation skills and to cultivate the ability to recognize nuances in the text. The course engages readings that explore biblical texts from a variety of perspectives. During the first semester, students will focus on narrative texts from Genesis and Exodus.

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email S. Tamar Kamionkowski, Ph.D., directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.

 

 

TALMUD I / TALMUD II

Instructor: Sarra Lev, Ph.D.

Meeting Details: Tuesdays, 9:30-11:20 a.m., Wednesdays, 1:30-3:20 p.m., and Thursdays,  1:30-3:20 p.m.  (includes beit midrash)

Course Description: This class initiates students into the study of the Babylonian Talmud, using selected passages from five of the sedarim of mishnah. Students will be introduced to resources, skills, and habits that can serve as the foundation for lifelong engagement with Talmud study, as both a spiritual practice and an academic pursuit. The course focuses on developing skills for analyzing halakhic sugyot (units of dialectical legal argumentation); some of the semester will include other kinds of discourse that are common in the Bavli, including narrative and biblical interpretation.

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email Sarra Lev, Ph.D., directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.

 

 

MIDRASH: BEREISHIT RABBAH

Instructor: Rabbi Mira Beth Wasserman, Ph.D.

Meeting Details: 2 hours Tuesday from 2 to 3:50 pm

Course Description: The study of selected passages from Bereishit Rabbah, a collection of rabbinical homiletical interpretations of the Book of Genesis.

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email Rabbi Mira Beth Wasserman, Ph.D., directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.

 

 

YEAR CYCLE SHIUR

Instructor: Joel Hecker, Ph.D.

Meeting Details: Mondays, 9:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m.

Course Description: This shiur introduces students to selected liturgical and halakhic texts related to each of the festivals. Students will spend two hours in hevruta with classical texts, followed by one hour of class discussion.

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email Joel Hecker, Ph.D., directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.

 

 

MEDIEVAL CORE: CIVILIZATION

Instructor: Rabbi Jacob Staub, Ph.D.

Meeting Details: Thursdays, 9:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m.

Course Description: This comprehensive survey of medieval Jewish civilization covers the period of the Geonim to the dawn of the Emancipation (seventh to 17th centuries). The institutions and literature of social, political, spiritual, halakhic and intellectual movements are studied in their historical contexts. The course makes special reference to the interactions of Jewish communities with neighboring societies; to the ever-changing forms of Jewish communal structures, beliefs and practices; and to diversity and controversy within the communities.

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email Rabbi Jacob Staub, Ph.D., directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.

 

 

MEDIEVAL CORE: THOUGHT

Instructor: Joel Hecker, Ph.D.

Meeting Details: Mondays, 1:30-3:20 p.m.

Course Description: This course introduces students to major trends and genres of medieval Jewish thought, specifically philosophy and mysticism. While it can be taken as a stand-alone course, it also functions as a companion course to Medieval Core: Civilization.

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email Joel Hecker, Ph.D., directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.

 

 

CONTEMPORARY JEWISH LANDSCAPE

Instructor: Laura Yares, Ph.D.

Meeting Details: Mondays, 3:30-5:20 p.m. and Tuesdays, 5-5:50 p.m.  (Course is online)

Course Description: This seminar surveys the 21st-century community in terms of its demography, sociology, institutions, problems and prospects. Discussion will focus on methodological questions, on the nature of the American Jewish community and on the practical implications of the material studied.>

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email Laura Yares, Ph.D., directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.

 

 

TEXT AND PRACTICE: HILKHOT BERAKHOT

Instructor: Joel Hecker, Ph.D.

Details: Thursdays, 1:30-3:20 p.m.

Course Description:  This course engages in some of the primary texts (primarily rabbinic and halakhic) that led to the establishment of the regimen of daily, periodic, and occasional blessings. The Talmud, in the name of Rabbi Meir, says that we are obligated to recite 100 blessings a day. While many of these are liturgical, we will focus on birkhot ha-nehenin (blessings regarding pleasure—including food), birkat ha-mazon, and blessings on wondrous events. The intent of the course will be to learn about and try out using blessings as a way to enhance our own spirituality.

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email Joel Hecker, Ph.D., directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.

 

 

PSALMS

Instructor:S. Tamar Kamionkowski, Ph.D. 

Meeting Details: Tuesdays, 9:30-11:20 a.m.

Course Description:  In this course, we engage in close readings of selected psalms, devoting particular attention to the poetic features of these texts, their original settings and functions, and how they might be reinterpreted and utilized in contemporary Jewish life.

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email S. Tamar Kamionkowski, Ph.D., directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.

 

 

RESEARCH SEMINAR

Instructor: TBD

Meeting Details: 2 hours once per week (TBD)

Course Description:  This course is designed for students who want to explore a particular topic deeply through scholarly and/or field research. During the beginning of the semester, students will familiarize themselves with Jewish studies research tools and methods. As the semester progresses, class time will be devoted to student presentations of their research in-progress. Over the course of the semester, students will write research papers (approximately 20 pages) on their topics.

 

 

EXPLORING A JEWISH THEOLOGY OF LIBERATION

Instructor: Mordechai Liebling

Meeting Details: Wednesday, 1:30-3:20 pm

Course Description We will explore creating a Jewish Theology of Liberation by looking at Jewish thinkers, and then Liberation Theology as it has been developed by Latin American, Black, Womanyst, Feminist and Eco-Feminist thinkers. We will raise questions as to how applicable these ideas are to the Jewish communities that we want to address.

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email Rabbi Mordechai Liebling directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.

 

 

MUSLIMS IN AMERICA

Instructor: Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Ph.D., and Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu, Ph.D.

Meeting Details: Thursdays, 3:30-5:20; field trips (details TBD)

Course Description: After a brief introduction to Islam as an evolving religious civilization, this course will focus on American Muslims today: the diversity of Muslim communities (Black American, immigrant, Sufi); the unprecedented freedom of American society giving rise to new expressions of Islam; how 9/11, and the subsequent “war on terror” have impacted the experience of Muslims; Muslims and American politics; the evolution of interfaith dialogue from Judeo-Christian to “Abrahamic” feminism and LBGT issues in Muslim life. Emphasis will be placed on the relationship between Muslims and Jews in this country, exploring commonalities, conflicts and complexities. Sources will include lectures by guest Muslims (in person, and on Skype), blogs, podcasts, autobiographies, fiction, and films.

Ahmet Selim hails from Turkey and has lived in the US for more than a decade. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Boston University and a Master’s in International Relations from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. His research focuses on the American religious landscape, politics of ethno-religious identities, and Muslim minorities in the West. He has taught classes on race and ethnicity, international relations, and Islamic studies at Boston University and George Mason University.

In addition to his work for CAIR Philadelphia as Outreach Director , Ahmet Selim is  an instructor and the Content Editor for the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason Univeristy’s academic blog, Maydan.

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Ph.D., directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.


Late Fall 2019 Courses

BIBLICAL HEBREW - ONLINE COURSE

Instructor: S. Tamar Kamionkowski, Ph.D.

Meeting Details: This course will run for 12 sessions beginning mid-November 2019 (course start date and weekly meeting time TBA.) All course sessions will take place in real time on the Zoom platform.

Cost: $750

Course Description: This online course covers the basic verb forms, syntax and vocabulary of Biblical Hebrew. For students who are relatively new to Hebrew, the course will provide an introduction to the foundations of the language. More advanced students will deepen their understanding of the language and ability to read Biblical texts. The course covers: a review of the vowel system and its importance; construct forms or semichut; the conjugations of Qal verbs; an introduction to the strong verbs of other binyanim (Piel, Hiphil and Niphal) and Biblical Hebrew syntax, word order and vav consecutive (or vav hippuch). 

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email S. Tamar Kamionkowski, Ph.D., directly. Be sure to include the course title in your email.

 


 

Tuition for Graduate-Level Courses Open to the Public

Not for Credit $500 per Course
  $180 per Worshop
For Credit $1250 per Credit
RRC Alum $36 Registration Fee
RRA Member $36 Registration Fee
Affiliated Community Member (Not for Credit) $360 per Course
  $180 per Workshop
Jewish Professional $180 for First Course
  $360 Additional Course
  $150 per Workshop