Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

Jewish classes at SJSU! (7 of ’em)

Posted by jlifer on November 23, 2006

Victoria HarrisonFinally San Jose State can start showing off its Jewish Zionist pride!

Dr. Victoria Harrison was hired as the Jewish Studies coordinator in August to serve as a “Jewish and Zionist voice on campus.”

Mad props to History Dean Dr. Jonathan Roth, who made it all happen.

It’s a huge step up from English professor David Mesher (warning: his homepage is FABULOUS), who previously ran the program in his spare time, but couldn’t dedicate enough time to expand and improve the course list. He also is not a Zionist and is a self-described atheist.

Harrison, on the other hand, headed the Kehillah High School’s English department for four years, and was a part-time lecturer at SJSU. She has long been involved in both the Jewish community (like the film festival) and the university. Welcome!!

(see below for a schedule of classes)

Harrison has only been at her new post for three months, but she’s already cracking at it.

“My real goal is to figure out where the Jewish students are and what they want to learn about,” Harrison said.

(Hint: super-students DBI and J-Lifer are chillin’ in Israel.)

What better way to entice students than to make some Jewish studies classes fulfill Gen. Ed. requirements? And there are scholarships worth $500 for students pursuing a Jewish Studies minor.

Seven Jewish studies classes, covering a range of topics such as the history of the Jews, ancient Near East, Holocaust literature, media coverage of World War II and three levels of Modern Hebrew.

Harrison says come next fall, there will be a Jewish film class that’ll pair with the Jewish festival and fulfill a university-wide arts requirement.

She’s also bridging the gap between campus efforts and the Jewish South Bay for much needed funding and support.

Courses that attract less than 15 students rely on supplemental funding from private donations and community grants, such as Modern Hebrew, which rarely fills past 10 students.

But now that the Talented Mrs. Harrison is on the job, this program is gonna make a comeback and will be successful enough to hold its own.

Just a tip from my own “work the system” experience: there’s a way to major in Jewish Studies by taking advantage of CSU intra-system concurrent enrollment, where students can take online classes (Chico has a lot of e-J-classes). It’s tricky but doable.

This spring, although no new classes are offered yet, cover a variety of Jewish issues.

History of the Jews is taught for the last time in the spring by history professor Aaron Goldman, but will be picked up by another professor in the future. The class focuses on Eastern European Jewry, but the curriculum will broaden to include global Jewry next year.

Ancient Near East is taught by Dr. Roth and covers the civilizations of the Hittites, Assyrians, Persians and Hebrews, up until the Roman conquest.

Dr. Harvey Gotliffe examines media coverage of the Holocaust in “World War II and the Press,” which is offered jointly with the journalism and mass communications department.

The Holocaust Literature course, taught by Dr. Harrison, reviews memoirs, poetry and other works about the Holocaust by survivors and second and third generation Jews.

Three Hebrew courses, taught by Rina Katzen, are offered at the elementary, intermediate and advanced level, but are second-semester classes and require instructor permission to enter.

For more information, go online to http://www.sjsu.edu/depts/jwss/ or contact Dr. Victoria Harrison at 408.924.5547 or victoria.harrison@sjsu.edu.

Registration is open for most students, and community members can take these classes through Open University.

Considering a Jewish Studies minor? Just want to learn about Jewish history, culture, literature, language with some fabulous professors?

The SJSU Jewish Studies Program offers the following courses for spring semester:

History of the Jews—HIST/ JWSS 154 (T TR 12-1:15 AM), Professor Aaron Goldman

Teaching this course for the last time before he retires, Professor Goldman surveys European Jewish History from the 18th century to the present, offering a social, political, intellectual, and economic analysis of an ancient people in the modern period.

Ancient Near East HIST/ MDES/ JWSS 115 (T TR 3-4:15), Professor Jonathan Roth

This course studies the great river civilizations (Nile, Tigris-Euphrates and Indus) from 3500 BC to the Roman Conquest, including the empires of the Hittites, Assyrians, Persians and Hebrews. It examines politics, culture, and religion, tracing the development of the Greek, Roman and Christian cultures.

WWII Press Coverage: Holocaust Concentration Camps and Japanese Internment CampsMCOM/ JWSS 136 (T TR 10:30-11:45), Dr. Harvey Gotliffe

The course investigates World War II media coverage of the Holocaust and concentration camps in Europe and the relocation and internment camps in the United States for Japanese Americans. Survivors from both groups speak to the class.
Holocaust Literature—CLIT/ ENGL/ HUM/ JWSS 122 (F 9:00-11:45), Dr. Victoria Harrison will study works by writers who were victims, survivors, witnesses, and second-generation tellers of the Holocaust. We will supplement the memoirs, fiction, and poetry with films and speakers; Holocaust Remembrance Day will be commemorated with special campus events.

HEBREW COURSES: As Mrs. Rina Katzen is teaching Hebrew, she exposes students to Biblical text, archeology, linguistics, and the study of ancient and modern Israel. Each course is year-long, so admission at the second semester will be by permission of the instructor.

Elementary Hebrew HEBR 10B (T TR 10:30-11:45), Intermediate Hebrew HEBR 15B (T TR 1:30-2:45), Advanced Hebrew HEBR 102B (T TR 3-4:15)

Please contact Vicki Harrison, Jewish Studies Coordinator — victoria.harrison [at] sjsu.edu, 924-5547 — with questions or for information about course enrollment.


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