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Prof. Carmel U. Chiswick Fall 2008

Room 2120 UH, e-mail M W 2:00 - 3:15

Phone 996-8721, Fax 996-3344 Room 389 BSB

Office hrs: M W 11-12 or by appt.

Web site: Call no. 27209

JSt 102 – Introduction to Jewish Studies: Religion and Culture

This course is a first introduction to Jews and Judaism for students of all backgrounds and religions. It approaches this subject from the perspective of modern social sciences including sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, demography, social psychology, and geography. The goal of the course is to study the behavioral characteristics of Jews as individuals and as a group, including relationships between individual Jews and their families, their communities, and their non-Jewish neighbors.

Readings will be assigned from each of these disciplines, primarily from the following materials that are available in the UIC Bookstore. Other readings will be assigned during the course of the semester, and useful information will be posted on the web as appropriate.


Nicholas de Lange, An Introduction to Judaism, Cambridge University Press, 2000. (ISBN 0-521-46624-5)

Raymond P. Scheindlin, A Short History of the Jewish People from Legendary Times to Modern Statehood, Oxford University Press, 1998. (ISBN 0-19-513941-0)

Martin Gilbert, The Routledge Atlas of Jewish History (6th ed.), New York: Routledge, 2003. (ISBN 0-41528150-4)

The course grade will be based on one midterm (25%), a short paper (25%), and a final exam (50%). The paper topic will be assigned after the midterm.

JSt 102 – Introduction to Jewish Studies: Religion and Culture

Course Outline





I. Introduction


II. History and Jewish Society


A. The First 1000 Years

De Lange, Ch. 1-6 Scheindlin, Ch. 1-2

  • October 13


  • October 20

[Levine Hillel Center, corner of Morgan & Taylor.]


B. The 2000-year Diaspora

De Lange, Ch. 7-9 Scheindlin, Ch. 3-11

  • November 17

Paper due


III. American Jewry

A. Jews in America


B. Judaism in America


C. Cultural Continuity and the Future of American Jewry

  • Wednesday, Dec. 10

Final Exam 1:00-3:00

High Holy Days 2008:

  • Rosh HaShanah Sundown September 29 – Sundown October 1

  • Yom Kipur Sundown October 8 – Sundown October 9

  • Sukkot Sundown October 13 – Sundown October 21

  • Sim[h]at Torah Sundown October 21 – Sundown October 22

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