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Course Offerings

Course Evaluation Results

Course Details

Spring 2018-2019
* COM 202 / JDS 203 / REL 203 (EM)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Introduction to Jewish Cultures

Lital Levy

This course explores the relationship between culture, history, religion, and ethics in global Jewish experience from the Bible to the present. Following representations of themes such as sexuality, suffering, and mysticism, we'll debate the boundaries between religion and culture and see how ethical questions play out in cultural forms. How does Jewish law, ritual, and custom inform Jewish culture, and how does culture sometimes push back against religious norms? Topics include Bible and Talmud, kabbalah, sexuality, Yiddish, Arab Jews, Zionism, Jewish music, food, literature, cinema, and comics. No background required; readings in English.

Sample reading list:
Robert Alter (translator), The Wisdom Books: Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes
Jill Soloway (creator), Transparent (television show)
Art Spiegelman, Maus
The Babylonian Talmud (selection)
Joel and Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
Sholom Aleichem, Tevye the Milkman and The Railroad Stories

Reading/Writing assignments:
Preparation for each class will total about 50-70 pp reading or viewing of a 1.5-2 hr film (occasionally supplemented with brief readings). Writing assignments: two 5 pp papers, each on a single week's topic (one due any week before the mid-semester break and the second due any week in the second half of the semester, at the student's discretion) and one final paper on Deans Date, 8-10 pp.

Requirements/Grading:
Quizzes - 10%
Papers - 65%
Class/Precept Participation - 15%
Other (See Instructor) - 10%

Other information:
No matter if you've attended a Jewish school or never met a Jewish person before Princeton, there will be much for you to learn in this class. Students of all backgrounds are welcome.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
40772 L01 11:00:00 am - 12:20:00 pm T        Enrolled:47 Limit:99
40773 P01 11:00:00 am - 12:20:00 pm Th        Enrolled:47 Limit:99