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Adult Jewish Learning at Gratz College
The Gratz College Scholars Program is for adults who enjoy learning in an intellectual atmosphere with instructors who are highly regarded experts in their fields.
Our summer session offers classes for two consecutive weeks: the week of July 8 and the week of July 15. Each class will meet for four days, Monday-Thursday - $125 per class
JULY 8 – JULY 11
9:30 – 11:30 AM– Dr. Ruth Sandberg
Angels and Demons
Yes, traditional Judaism does believe in angels and demons! This class will explore the role of angels in the Bible, the developing personalities of angels in rabbinic literature, the biblical figure of Satan, and references to demonic forces in ancient Jewish literature
9:30 -11:30 AM - Dr. David Rabeeya
From Arab Spring to Muslim Winter
The course will explore the religious, cultural and historical backgrounds of Middle Eastern groups including Al Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood. Special emphasis will be placed on the schism between Sunni and Shite Islamic groups and its effect on the stability of the region as well as on Israel and the US. The Iranian threat and its effect on the region and the world will also be discussed. The tinderbox in the Middle East will be explored through these topics.
1:00 – 3:00 PM– Dr. Joshua Gutoff
Talmud on the Edge: Strange Stories of Death, Desire and Power
In this class we will examine and explore four Talmudic discussions where stories of odd and extreme cases are used to explore profound questions and reveal insight into the human condition, moral life and the search for God.
1:00 – 3:00 PM – Dr. David Rabeeya
An Introduction to Islam, the Arab Culture and the Arabic Language
Explore the roots of Islam and gain insight into today’s Arab and Muslim way of life. The Arab cultures and the inner connection between the Arabic language and the customs and mores among Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa will be discussed. This class will also compare and contrast Islam to Judaism and Christianity.
JULY 15- JULY 18
9:30 – 11:30 – Rabbi Jon Cutler
Theodicy: Good and Evil in Judaism
This is the week of Tisha B’Av and in light of that we will examine the Jewish understanding of theodicy. Theodicy is a response to the evidential problem of evil- that the occurrence of evil in the world is evidence against the existence of an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God.
A theodicy seeks to show that it is reasonable to believe in God despite evidence of evil in the world and offers a framework which can account for why evil exists. We will examine how the Bible, the Rabbis, Medieval, and Modern Jewish thinkers attempt to justify the existence of God in light of evil.
9:30 – 11:30 – Dr. Reena Sigman Friedman
The American Jewish Experience in Film
We will discuss trends in American Jewish history using 4 classic films that illustrate these trends. The films are "Hester Street," "The Jazz Singer", "Gentleman's Agreement" and "Avalon." These films explore the Jewish struggle and response to assimilation, religious identity and anti-Semitism.
For more information please contact Barbara Rosenau, Director of Adult Jewish Learning at 215-635-7300 x182 or [email protected]