Monday, April 27, 2009

Two fall courses in Jewish Studies: "Zionism and Contemporary Israeli Society" and "American Jewish Cinema"

Two special visiting scholars will teach courses this fall:
Yossi Turner JSTU-J 303 “Zionism and Contemporary Israel”
Pearl Gluck JSTU-J 303 “American Jewish Cinema”

Professor Joseph Turner was raised in NYC in a modern Orthodox environment and made aliyah after high school. He did his doctorate with Eliezer Schwied at the Hebrew University and is presently a professor at the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem. His main scholarly project, which also affects his teaching, is what he calls “the philosophy of Jewish existence” that deals with, among other things, Zionism, the Diaspora (and their relationship) and the theological implications of both. He is an engaging teacher and very intellectually invested in the contours of contemporary Jewish life, both here and in the Israel. He is extremely popular with the students at Schechter, both Israeli and American. He brings a wide knowledge of modern Jewish thought and a particularly deep knowledge of Zionist thought.

Internationally-celebrated filmmaker Pearl Gluck ( will teach “American Jewish Cinema,” (see course description below).

Please note: Students may repeat JSTU-J 303 with different topics for a maximum of 9 credits.

Seats are still available in these two courses:

JSTU-J 303 Arts & Humanities Topics in Jewish Studies (3 cr.) Yossi Turner
Zionism and Contemporary Israeli Society
(10 seats have been set aside for Jewish Studies students in #29806: email if you would like to reserve a space in this course.)
MW 4:00-5:15 #27334

This course is intended to 1) deepen the students’ understanding of social, cultural, religious and political realities in present day Israel, and 2) compare these present-day realities with the late 19th and early 20th century Zionist visions that led to the development of the Land of Israel as a Jewish homeland. It is intended that this comparison will deepen the students' understanding of questions and challenges facing Israeli society in the present.

Fulfills: Jewish Studies History & Society course; A&H


JSTU-J 303 Arts & Humanities Topics in Jewish Studies (3 cr.) Pearl Gluck
American Jewish Cinema
(15 seats have been set aside for Jewish Studies students in #29810: email if you would like to reserve a space in this course.)
TR 5:30-6:45 classroom #29809; T 7:00-10:00 p.m. film showings

In this course, we will explore quintessentially American media created by Jews, as well as serious representations of Jewish identity in mainstream cinema. Using a historical perspective, we will analyze these cinematic representations in relation to American Jewish history, anti-Semitism, Jewish mobility and immigration through the course of the twentieth century. We will explore the fascinating phenomenon of how Jews have defined themselves and the “American dream” in front of and behind the camera: Various filmmakers, actors, and producers kept their Jewish identity hidden in the celluloid closet, while others used film to express an “ethnic pride.” Through weekly screenings, readings, and discussion we will look at the identity continuum of Jews in American media, from Molly Picon to Sarah Silverman, Eddie Cantor to Ali G, and Carl Laemmle to Steven Spielberg.

Films include: East and West, The Jazz Singer, Cast A Giant Shadow, Gentleman’s Agreement, The Pawnbroker, Annie Hall, and For Your Consideration.

Selected Readings From:
Antler, Joyce. Talking Back: Images of Jewish Women In Popular Culture.
Bartov, Omer. The “Jew” in Cinema.
Carringer, Robert. The Jazz Singer. University of Wisconsin. 1979.
Cohen, Sarah Blacher. From Hester Street to Hollywood. Indiana University Press. 1986.
Desser, David and Friedman, Lester. 1993. American-Jewish Filmmakers:
Traditions and Trends.
Gabler, Neil. An Empire of Their Own.
Hertzberg, Arthur. The Jews in America.
Hoberman, J., and Jeffrey Shandler. 2003. Entertaining America: Jews, Movies and Broadcasting. Princeton University Press.
Moor, Deborah. At Home In America.
Prell, Riv Ellen. Fighting to Become Americans: Assimilation and The Trouble Between Jewish Men and Jewish Women. 2000. Beacon Press.
Rivo, Sharon Pucker. “Projected Images: Portraits of Jewish Women in Early American Film”.
Sachar, Howard M. The Course of Modern Jewish History, Random House. 1990.
Shohat, Ella. “Unthinking Eurocentrism” 1994. Routledge.
Whitfield, Steven J. American Space. Jewish Time. 1988. Archon Books.

Particulars: Requirements for the course include class participation, an in-class presentation, regular short film reviews, and a final paper.

Fulfills: Jewish Studies History & Society (old) and Literature & the Arts (new) course; A&H