Course Descriptions


Spring Quarter (S18)

Dept/Description Course No., Title  Instructor

This course approaches controversial and provocative topics in religion through dialogue, always noting that these topics are never agreed upon and never resolved, so that we must learn to manage the permanent tensions that exist between us all in a multi-religious society. One provocative topic about religion is introduced in a Tuesday lecture, discussed in small groups on Wednesday, and discussed again with the full class in the lecture hall on Thursday. Students must write a one-page single space essay for each Wednesday discussion. And students have to speak to get higher grades.One small research/writing project. Two books. No tests. No prerequisites.
Days: TU TH  11:00-12:20 PM


Examination of the rich world of Jewish Mysticism in its historical and modern day contexts and its place in Jewish Tradition and Israeli culture. We will focus on Kabbalah and Chassidism and will note their differences and their interconnections. The original texts of the great Kabbalists and Chassidic Masters will provide our source material throughout the course.  Our clear and definite goal will be the demystification of the mystical!  Weekly quizzes & assignments, midterm, and final exam.

No knowledge of Hebrew is required; all readings are in English.

This course satisfies GE IV and VIII.
Days: TU TH  02:00-03:20 PM


The goal of this course is to explore the long and fascinating relationship between Jews and Germans in
German-speaking lands from the medieval period to the present. Through historical readings, literary texts,
essays, memoirs, and films we will address some of the following questions:
• How did the Jews come to be in German-speaking lands?
• How did Jews in Germany live in the medieval and early modern periods?
• What is the Yiddish language and how did it develop in Germany?
• Why have Jews had it so good in Germany during some periods, and so bad during other periods?
• What was the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah) about? What effect did it have on Jewish and
German culture in the 19th and 20th centuries?
• What are the roots of modern anti-Semitism?
• What was German-Jewish life like in the Weimar Republic and the Nazi years?
• What was it like to grow up as a Jewish child during the Holocaust?
• What were the effects of the Holocaust on German-Jewish survivors and their children?
• What was the state of German-Jewish culture and relations in post-World War II period?
• How has reunification in 1990 affected German-Jewish culture and German-Jewish relations, and
what is the state of the culture in contemporary Germany?
• And the million-dollar question of the quarter: Was German-Jewish history an inexorable path to
The course is conducted with a combination of lecture and discussion (but primarily in lecture format), with
the grade based on attendance, focus-question homework activities, online quizzes, and a final exam. No
knowledge of German is necessary. Basic knowledge in European history is assumed. No prerequisites.
Materials include a range of genres, including the two required textbooks (see Course Materials) and Ruth
Kluger’s memoir, Still Alive. For each epoch we investigate will be accompanied by a literary or other sort of
contemporaneous text, such as lyric poetry, short fiction, letters, and essay/pamphlet (e.g. Luther’s writing
about the Jews). Our study of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries we will also include film clips
from both feature films and documentaries.
Days: TU TH  09:30-10:50 AM

Courses Offered by the Jewish Studies Minor or other Schools at UCI

Spring Quarter (S18)

Dept Course No., Title   Instructor