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 tution schedule is at the bottom of the page.

Spring semester begins the week of Feb. 11, 2019. If you are interested in participating via video conference, please contact Rob Naborn, Director of Academic Administration at 215.576.0800 ext. 310 or RNaborn@rrc.edu.

 


 

JEWISH TRADITIONS 2 

Instructor: Rabbi Vivie Mayer 

Meeting Details: Wednesdays, 1:30-3:20 p.m. Eastern time

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 RABBINIC HEBREW 2 

Instructor: Rabbi Vivie Mayer 

Meeting Details: Mondays, 1:15-3:05 p.m. and Thursdays, 3:30-5:20 p.m. Eastern time

Course Description: This course continues to introduce students to the poetic language of classical, Rabbinic-era prayer, and the discursive language of the Mishnah through selected texts of the Passover Haggadah and Mishna Tractate Pesachim. Students build vocabulary and learn to recognize syntactical and literary forms. The students encounter central theological themes within classical Judaism through the exploration of the prayers, halakhot, and midrashim of the Mishna and the Haggadah. 

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 2

Instructor: S. Tamar Kamionkowski, Ph.D.

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

Course Description: This two-semester course introduces students to the language and literary features of the Biblical texts. Over the course of the year, 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. This semester the course focuses on the verbal forms (binyanim), syntax and first readings of Biblical narrative texts. 

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.

 

RABBINIC CORE: CIVILIZATION

Instructor: Rabbi Mira Wasserman, Ph.D.

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

Course Description: An exploration of the religious cultures of the Jews during the Second Temple and rabbinic periods. We will begin by investigating the diversity of Jewish communities in Roman Palestine and the diaspora while the Temple still stood, examining different conceptions ofJewish identity, of Scripture, and of the biblical past among different Jewish groups. For most of the semester, our focus will be on the texts, institutions and culture of the Rabbis who came to define Jewish life following the destruction of the Temple. How did rabbinic Judaism come to be the dominant expression of Jewish life? How do rabbinic institutions and ideas emerge in interactions with Hellenistic Rome, Christianity and Sasanian Babylonia?We will study the historic conditions that were the context for the emergence of the rabbinic textual tradition, and explore the complexities of using rabbinic texts as evidence for the cultures of the Jews in late antiquity.  

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

 

RABBINIC CORE: INTRODUCTION TO RABBINIC THOUGHT & LITERATURE

Instructor: Sarra Lev, Ph.D. 

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

Course Description: This course is designed to introduce students to the major forms and genres of rabbinic literature. Students will touch on a few of the best-known texts, learn what questions to ask, learn how to read and understand them, and discuss why they matter, even millennia later. Students will study texts in the original language; the class will consist primarily of reading and interpreting the selected texts. 

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.

 

TANAKH 2

Instructor: S. Tamar Kamionkowski, Ph.D.

Meeting Details: Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Eastern time

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; during the second, they will focus on poetic texts, especially those that are haftarot or appear in the liturgy.

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.

 

CREATION IN THE BIBLE

Instructor: S. Tamar Kamionkowski, Ph.D.

Meeting Details: This course will run on a digital, asynchronous platform, which means that students can work at their own pace each week. The course includes video lectures, YouTube videos, group activities, discussion groups and assigned readings. Students and the instructor will be in touch with each other at least four times per week. 

Course Description: Biblical narratives and poems about creation reveal assumptions about the nature of God, the origins of humanity and relationships between God and humanity. More importantly, creation stories reveal the values and ideologies of those who tell the stories. In this course, we will immerse in biblical creation texts to become sensitive readers of stories of origins – whether biblical, personal or institutional. We will explore how rabbis can use personal stories of origin in a variety of rabbinic settings. Ability to engage with biblical texts in Hebrew is required.  

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.

 

ADVANCED TEXT GUIDED BEIT MIDRASH 

Instructor: Joel Hecker, Ph.D.

Meeting Details: Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Eastern time 

Course Description: This class is an opportunity to study a text of your choice in hevrutah in the beit midrash. Here’s how it works: You and a hevrutah pick a text that you want to study. Once you have identified the text, meet with a faculty member in whose subject area the text falls to determine what sections of the text you will read and how you will demonstrate your learning throughout and at the end of the semester. If you have a text you want to study, but don’t have a hevrutah, please let Joel know and you will figure next steps together. We are excited to try this experiment and hope that all of you who are hankering for more text study will register!  

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.

 

TEXT & PRACTICE: HILKHOT PESAH 

Instructor: Joel Hecker, Ph.D.

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

Course Description: This course will lead students through some of the core texts as well as practical halakhah regarding ritual practices of Passover. We will spend several weeks studying the ways in which hamets is defined, and how the talmudic and halakhic traditions delineate the modes through which one eliminates it—in other words, dealing with the laws of kashrut through the narrow lens of leaven. Subsequently we will study the laws of the seder as discussed from first sources in Scripture, Mishnah, and Talmud, and proceeding through Rashi, some Tosafot, Rambam, and Shulhan Arukh.

Please note that while homiletical interpretations may inform some of the texts that we study, the course is intended to provide rigorous text study of the laws of practice on Pesah.

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.

 

MONEY IN OUR LIVES AND IN SOCIETY 

Instructor: Rabbi Mordechai Liebling 

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

Course Description: The Talmud teaches, “One who wishes to acquire wisdom should study the way money works, for there is no greater area of Torah study than this. It is like an ever flowing stream….” Students will examine how money works in their own lives, in institutions they serve, in Jewish history and in the larger society. They will examine traditional Jewish sources as well as current economic and financial teachings for practical and theoretical lessons. There will be an experiential component to the class. 

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.

 

ARABIC FOR INTERFAITH ENGAGEMENT 

Instructor: Sharon Gershoni, Ph.D. 

Meeting Details: Tuesdays, 4-5:50 p.m. Eastern time 

Course Description: Would you like to be able to reach out to Muslim American dialogue -partners or to Arabic speakers in the Middle East? This course is designed to teach basic Arabic to English speakers who know Hebrew. The method of instruction is based on learning cognate vocabulary - Arabic words that are similar to Hebrew words - adding one letter at a time.

Following this course, students will be able to:

  • read and write simple, meaningful Arabic sentences; 
  • use or recognize some common Arabic words and phrases in conversation;
  • explain the linguistic similarities between Hebrew and Arabic; 
  • elevate religious and political dialogue with Arab and Muslim counterparts through better understanding of our shared linguistic heritage; and
  • set the stage for further study of modern Arabic or of Qur’an. 

Course Notes: View the textbook here. See a short video depicting the course. 

To inquire about taking this course as a non-matriculated student, please email Sharon Gershoni, 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