History Courses

Credit recommendation:   in History, Judaic Studies, Near Eastern Studies, or Religion

The Early Ashkenazim: 10th and 11th Century (Jewish History 303) 3 credits lower Objectives: Students will demonstrate proficient knowledge about historical events and personalities involving or affecting the Jewish people in medieval Europe; express understanding of how historical figures (Kalonymus family, R’Gershom, Me’ or HaGolah, the Chasidei Ashkanaz, and R Yaakov b. Yakar) made an impact on Jewish life through their major works and communal interactions; demonstrate an understanding of how the Jews living in medieval Europe interacted with their host countries and how major political and cultural events impacted the Jewish communities. Instruction: The Jewish History 303 examination is designed to assess the student’s knowledge of Medieval Jewish history in Central Europe from the 10th through the 11th centuries.

Spain and the Expulsion: 14th and 15th Century (Jewish History 307) 3 lower Objectives: Students will demonstrate proficient knowledge about historical events and personalities involving or affecting the Jewish people in medieval Central Europe; demonstrate understanding of how historical figures (Avner, Shlomo HaLevi, Yehoshua Lorki, R’ Nissim b. Reuven, R’ Chisdai b. Crescas, R’Yitzchok Abrabanel, Torquemada, Ferdinand and Isabelle) made an impact on Jewish life through their major works and communal interactions; discuss how the Jews who lived in Europe during the Middle Ages interacted with surrounding cultures and their influences by their host countries; express an understanding of the significance of major political and cultural events and their impact on the Jewish communities and individuals. Instruction: The Jewish History 307 examination will assess the student’s knowledge of Jewish history in Spain during the late Middle Ages, covering the period of 14th and 15th centuries. Topics include: the conversos; the riots of 1391; the Inquisition, the Holy Child of LaGuardia, and the refugees from Spain.

13th and 14th Century Europe (Jewish History 306) 6 lower level credits Objectives: Students will demonstrate proficient knowledge about historical events and personalities involving or affecting the Jewish people in medieval Europe; express understanding of how historical figures (Rashi and the Ba’alei Tosafos, the Rabainu Tam, R’ Yitzchok b. Shmuel, the Ra’avad and R’ Zerachyah HaLevi) made an impact on Jewish life through their major works and communal interactions; demonstrate an understanding of how the Jews living in medieval Europe interacted with their host countries and how major political and cultural events impacted the Jewish communities. Instruction:The examination is designed to assess the student’s knowledge of medieval Jewish history in Central Europe from the 12th through the 14th centuries. Topics include: the Second Crusade; early Christian Anti-Semitism; ritual murder libels; blood libels; host desecration; the French and English expulsions; and usury. The examination will assess student’s knowledge of Medieval Jewish history. Topics include: the Papacy; the disputations; the burning of the Talmud; emigration to Eretz Yisroel; the expulsion from France; the Black Death; rabbinic ordination; and 100 Years War.

The American Jewish Experience (Jewish History 310: 3 lower level credits. Objectives:Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to: identify the origins of the Jewish American communities; describe Jewish life in the colonial days; discuss the roles of the Jewish community in the early American culture and government; identify the effects of the American Revolution on the American Jewish community; distinguish between the culture of the American Jews and that of the European Jews who immigrated in the 1800s; distinguish between the cultures of the religious and non-religious Jews in American society; identify the political roles assumed by both the religious and non-religious Jewish communities in the United States; describe the disunity that has occurred between the religious and non-religious Jewish communities in the United States; identify and describe the different levels of religious observances of Jews in the United States; and discuss the cultural impact of the Jewish communities on contemporary American society.
Instruction: The American Jewish Experience course covers the experience of Jews of all levels of faith and observance through American history. The course starts in colonial times when only some Jews in the colonies lived side-by-side with the religious refugees from Europe and then continues with a discussion of the early American Jews. The course then traces the development of American Jewry and the incalculable impacts of the waves of Jewish immigration from Europe in the 1800s. The course deals with the burgeoning communities in many American cities and the disunity that arose from the growth of the community and influx of outsiders. The course also looks at the dichotomy between religious and non-religious American Jews and the divisions within the religious community. The course concludes with an examination of the roles of Jewish communities in and after World War II and their continuing roles to this day.
The History of Orthodox Jewry in the United States (1880-1945) (Jewish History 300) 3 lower level credits Objectives: Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to: articulate the challenges that Jewish immigrants faced from American culture and society; identify the obstacles that caused Jews to weaken in religious commitment and explain the various visions, methods and institutions involved in preserving tradition; discuss the accomplishments of Orthodox Jews in various aspects of American society; identify the cause and manifestations of anti-Semitism during this period; explain relations between Jews and Gentiles and Orthodox Jewish immigrant relations with previously established Jewish groups; predict the behavior of typical immigrants under various circumstances; and draw parallels from leaders, methods, and ideas of the time period to apply them to similar circumstances.
Instruction: This proficiency examination assesses students’ knowledge of the history of the Orthodox Jewry in the United States and the challenges they faced, primarily from 1880-1945. Topics include: influx of Russian immigrants, material abundance and threats to religious life, preservation of Torah traditions by the Orthodox community, other types of anti-Semitic movements, Jewish social and policlinic leaders, legislation related to the Jews, American Jewish responses to the holocaust and refugee crisis.
The History of Anti-Semitism in the United States (Jewish History 350) 3 lower level credits Objectives: Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to: identify and explain the causes of anti-Semitism in the United States from the Reconstruction era until the present; discuss significant anti-Semitic incidents and repercussions; identify and define various anti-Semitic movements and individuals; trace the growth of, and the obstacles leading to points of decline of, the Jewish influence in American politics; and identify different political motivations for anti-Semitism and link their manifestations in the United States with historical trends.Instruction: Jewish History 350 is offered as a proficiency examination that includes an extensive study guide and required readings administered through the Rechtschaffen Institute of Judaic Studies. Topics include: Post-Civil War United States, historical background of Jews’ relationship with his state, anti-Semitic patterns from Europe.

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