COURSES OF INSTRUCTION
Courses in the regular semesters meet once per week, except for Hebrew, which meets twice a week. Classes may require additional contact through online or email communication, and may have other onsite requirements (e.g., attendance at minyan or beit midrash). The calendar varies because of coordination with the Jewish holidays, but the semester will include 15 or 16 weeks of classes or required instructional activities.
Selected courses are offered in online or intensive formats. Please see Online Courses for general information, and check also the schedule of classes.
For courses at the 200 level, Hebrew I is prerequisite; at the 300 level, Hebrew II or permission of instructor; at the 400 level, Hebrew III unless otherwise noted.
Click on any section below to explore courses
CANTORIAL MUSIC AND PERFORMANCE (CN)
CN 3100 Weekday Nusach
One-semester course introducing the nature of cantorial work, including basic skills to begin to work in congregations and build the accomplishments necessary to meet criteria for performance; along with practice in traditional prayer motifs for weekdays, Rosh Chodesh, and fast days.
CN 3105 Musicianship
Music theory and practice, including reading and understanding music, sight-singing, ear training, transposing, arranging, and other skills. (Requirement for some students).
CN 3110 Repertoire Coaching
Individual training with a vocal coach appointed by the Academy; four semesters required, 1 credit each semester, normally while enrolled in Shabbat and High Holiday Repertoire. Unique tuition schedule.
CN 3115 Guitar and Song Leading
Basic guitar competency and song leading repertoire for synagogues and other contexts. Strongly recommended.
CN 3150 History of the Cantorate
Development of the cantorate from the Talmudic period to the present, focusing on the changing status and functions of the profession and its denominational variations.
CN 3201-02 Shabbat Nusach
Two-semester sequence teaching traditional prayer motifs for Shabbat.
CN 3211-12 Shabbat Repertoire
A variety of modern prayer motifs for Shabbat
CN 3250 Music in the Hebrew Bible
Survey of musical references in the Hebrew Bible, with emphasis on the roles of music in devotional and everyday life.
CN 3251-3252 Jewish Music History
The history of Jewish music from ancient times to the present.
CN 3281-82 Cantillation for Cantorial Candidates
Two-semester course incuding skills and tools needed to chant from Torah and Haftarah in the traditional Ashkenazic form; history and sources of cantillation; varieties of cantillation needed for different occasions in the Jewish calendar; methods of teaching cantillation for bar and bat mitzvah students.
CN 3301-02 Yamim Nora’im Nusach.
Two-semester sequence teaching traditional nusach for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
CN 3311-12 Yamim Nora’im Repertoire
A variety of modern prayer motifs for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
CN 3320 Musical Diversity
Survey of music from diverse locations, movements and historical periods; designed to enhance listening enjoyment, appreciation, and knowledge.
CN 3360 Music for the Jewish Life Cycle
Study of traditional and contemporary music of life-cycle passages, including study of the halacha and Jewish calendar as applicable.
CN 3365 Youth and Adult Choir Direction
Techniques and resources for directing youth and adult synagogue choirs, with special topics related to the use of music in Jewish schools.
CN 3395 Cantorial Improvisation and Recitative
Techniques of improvisation in a variety of musical environments and independent study in recitative, for students in final year only.
CN 3400 Nusach for Shalosh Regalim
Traditional and modern prayer motifs for Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah.
CN 3410 Jewish Musicology
Theories and methods in the critical study of Jewish music, past and present.
CN 3420 Concert Repertoires
Advanced study of various repertoires, including Yiddish, Ladino, and other concert music; and modern folk repertoire, including music from Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, Debbie Friedman, Craig Taubman, Julie Silver, and others. Repeatable with permission of instructor.
Chaplaincy students take courses in various departments; see above for the requirements of the course of study.
CP 3311 Creative Life Cycle Rituals
Study of the spectrum of life’s passages and milestones, including childbirth, puberty, conversion, marriage, singlehood, mid-life, divorce, aging, and death; illuminated using halachic material, study of traditional customs, personal narratives, and insights derived from contemporary practice.
CP 3312 Mourning into Dancing: Transforming the Experience of Loss
Traditional Jewish rituals of death and mourning understood through halachic material, personal narratives, and contemporary practice.
CP 3275 Crisis Intervention, Addiction, and Trauma
Study of professional approaches to crisis intervention, including approved practices in immediate intervention, appropriate referrals, follow-up, and dealing with relevant community agencies at various levels of intervention; and to addiction and anti-social behavior resulting from physical or emotional trauma, along with applicable philosophical and religious thought, such as theory and practice of forgiveness, mussar and self-improvement, the nature of supportive communities.
CP 3280 Spiritual Care Studies with Clinical Pastoral Education
Extended form (scheduled over two semesters). Repeatable up to eight semesters with permission of instructor.
Chaplaincy as a profession, with field experience and regular meetings as a class. This series provides academic studies that give course credit in tandem with CPE training and clinical experience. Successful completion of both aspects results in six semester units per year and, at the end of the year, and one unit of accredited CPE training.
In their clinical practice, students will be exposed to diverse situations where a chaplain’s services are needed. They will study personal skills and rabbinic wisdom in dealing with those who are ill and their relatives and friends. They will learn to develop a comprehensive spiritual care program for a specific site, and to work as part of a treatment team. They will acquire skills of charting, interviewing, writing verbatims, ethical wills, personal spiritual journals, and genograms. In class discussions, they will compare various situations and build their knowledge of Jewish institutional and educational resources and will become familiar with other faiths and cultures, and with their approaches to spiritual care.
Each year, the academic segment will focus on a different theme to gain exposure to important thinking in the field, and to develop the depth of thoughtful reflection expected of our students. Themes might include spiritual assessment, theology of spiritual care, classics of spiritual growth, etc.
CP 3285 A summer intensive version of CP 3280, with clinical training. Offered periodically.
The Hebrew program is designed to give students full command of the Hebrew language in order to study the Bible in the original Hebrew, to comprehend the meaning of prayers in the Siddur, and to study major commentaries. All levels, from beginners to advanced, are offered. Each Hebrew class meets twice per week for two semesters, to earn three credits each semester.
Entering students must have taken a proficiency examination in Hebrew (see above, p. 15) to determine where their Hebrew studies should commence.
HB 1001-02 Introduction to Biblical Hebrew I, II
Declension of nouns with prepositions and possessive endings; construct forms (word pairs); past, future, imperative and infinitive verb forms; verbs in the pa’al structure; vav reversing.
HB 1999 Individual Studies in Hebrew
Enrollment by permission of dean only.
HB 2001-02 Intermediate Biblical Hebrew I, II
Continuation of verb study, with three structures and their classification.
HB 3001-02 Intermediate Biblical Hebrew III, IV
Continuation of verb study, with the three further structures; study of excerpts from Tanakh for translation and advanced grammatical analysis, using all the forms and patterns studied.
HB 4001-02 Advanced Biblical Hebrew and Introduction to Rabbinic Hebrew
Transition from biblical to rabbinic Hebrew; reading midrashim and commentaries.
HB 4501-02 Intermediate Rabbinic Hebrew
Reading selections from Hebrew texts, including a variety of texts for rabbinical studies; repeatable for three terms with permission of instructor.
JEWISH HISTORY AND THOUGHT (HT)
Note: HT 3101 through 3202 must be taken in sequence, followed by HT 3300. There are no specific Hebrew prerequisites for HT courses unless noted.
HT 3100 Survey of Jewish History
For non-rabbinical students: A one-semester survey of Jewish history from post-biblical to modern times.
HT 3101 World of the Bible
Study of literature, history, and religious concepts of ancient Israel and Judah in the context of the ancient Near East, with focus on the basic theological and spiritual substance inherent in the biblical treasure-trove. Modern literary and historical-critical scholarship will be employed to understand biblical texts.
HT 3102 Second Temple and Rabbinic Periods
History of the Jewish people from approximately 400 BCE through the 10th century CE. Study of documents and scholarly histories illuminates the dramatic developments within Jewish life during the periods of the late Second Temple, Mishnah, and Talmud. Special attention is given to the dissemination of the oral Torah and the emergence of the figure of the sage, followed by the geonic period. Prerequisite: HT 3101.
HT 3103 Medieval and Early Modern Periods
Survey of the political, intellectual, and social history of the Jewish people during the millennium from the early European medieval period (11th century) to the scientific Enlightenment. Prerequisite: HT 3101-02.
HT 3104 Modern Jewish History
Survey of Jewish history from 1800 to the present, including topics such as emancipation, Haskalah, Hasidism, changes in Jewish and life styles in Europe; emigration to America; early Zionism and yishuv, the establishment of the state of Israel, World Wars and Holocaust, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Prerequisite: HT 3101-02-03.
HT 3200 Survey of Jewish Thought
Overview of major Jewish thinkers including significant theological or philosophical issues from medieval to modern times.
HT 3330 History of Jewish Community Structures
The formation of Jewish community structures, denominations, and agencies from the early 1800s to the present, including study of their changing impact in modern times.
HT 3340 World Religions
Study of selected religious traditions, emphasizing how Jewish leaders can address themselves to issues of contemporary relevance in their own congregations and in relations with other religious communities.
HT 3495-3499 Special Topics in Jewish History and Thought
Special topics in history or thought, such as studies of specific sectarian Jewish movements, in-depth studies of particular periods and their issues, important philosophers; or historic Jewish perspectives on current issues.
HT 4000 Independent Studies in History and Thought
Advanced topics in specialized areas designed for individual study.
LITURGY AND TEFILLAH (LT)
LT 3100 Introduction to Jewish Liturgy
Explication of the patterns of the Jewish liturgical day, week, and year, so that students become familiar with what is in the traditional siddur. The weekday shacharit service will be studied in English for its basic structure, important themes, and the history of the service and variations in contemporary prayer traditions.
LT 3190 Tefillah Skills and Jewish Musical Traditions
Basic skills in tefillah, leading services, and coordinating services with music, including choreography of the shacharit prayer and Torah service, changes in the service according to time and calendar; and cantorial and liturgical traditions and contemporary synagogue music in a format useful to the congregational rabbi.
LT 3195 Cantillation for Rabbis: Torah and Haftarah
Private or semi-private coaching for various levels of students. Special tuition structure applies.
LT 3301-3302 Intermediate Liturgy
Close textual study of specific portions of the liturgy including Heikhalot and Merkvah themes. The year-long course includes the Torah service; Shabbat liturgy; Kedushah in various formulations; and the holiday cycle. Prerequisite: LT 3101, HB 2002, MS 3101.
LT 3495-3499 Special Topics in Liturgy
Advanced studies in specialized areas, such as specific liturgical traditions or in-depth study of commentaries and halachic issues related to Tefillah. Repeatable with permission of instructor.
LT 4000 Independent Studies in Liturgy
Advanced topics in specialized areas designed for individual study.
MYSTICISM AND SPIRITUALITY (MS)
MS 3101 Introduction to Mysticism and Spiritual Psychology
Introduction to the basic vocabulary of Jewish mysticism, with a survey of its origins in classical mystical literature and medieval Kabbalah; followed by examination of mystical and kabbalistic concepts in modern psychospiritual applications. Texts are studied in translation to develop facility in thinking in mystical terms.
MS 3102 Introduction to Hasidut
A survey of the Hasidic movement which has inspired much of modern mysticism, beginning with the Ba’al Shem Tov and followed by his students and other important leaders. Basic concepts and practices of the classic Hasidic period will be emphasized, and modern developments from Hasidic roots will be selectively studied.
MS 3210 Psychospiritual Themes in Tanakh
Through study of selected themes, such as the Garden of Eden, the Akeida, the dreams of Jacob, and the figures of Moses, Jonah, and Job, this course probes the growth of the soul through the encounter with the numinosum and traces the details of the heroic journey as envisioned from various biblical perspectives.
MS 3250 Mussar
Psychospiritual teachers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from Reb Yisrael Salanter through the Chafetz Chaim, in their historical contexts. Methodologies and similarities to modern psychological thinking will be articulated.
MS 3321 Studies in Hasidic Texts
Advanced study of selected Hasidic texts of historic or theological significance; topics vary. Examples: the Baal Shem Tov, the Tanya (Likutei Amarim) of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, or the stories of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.
MS 3340 Visionary Traditions
Investigations into prominent ancient texts important to the mystical tradition, including Enochian materials and texts from Qumran as well as biblical and rabbinic texts.
MS 3391 Zohar
Study of selections from one of mysticism’s most important texts, the Zohar (13th century), working with difficulties of translation and conceptual innovation; selected examples of later thinkers using Zohar may also be considered.
MS 3495-3499 Special Topics in Mysticism
Study of major themes or writers in mysticism, such as Lurianic Kabbalah, or Hasidic masters; mysticism of the Temple; mysticism and modernity. Course is repeatable with permission of instructor.
MS 4000 Independent Studies in Mysticism
Advanced topics in specialized areas designed for individual study.
PROFESSIONAL SKILLS (PR)
PR 3110 Spiritual Development Seminar
Facilitated groups to develop skills in self-examination, creating an atmosphere of trust and support, and working in cooperation with one another in professional capacities. One unit per semester; required registration each term for six terms, unless exempt due to enrollment in CPE.
PR 3125 Spiritual Dimensions of Torah
Torah study with attention to exploring personal responses to the sacred text of our tradition and the sacred texts of students’ personal lives. Jewish inspirational texts add depth and dimension to the study of biblical and liturgical texts and practices. One credit per term; repeatable for up to four credits.
PR 3220 Rabbinic Leadership in Ritual Life
Study and practice of traditional Jewish ceremonials, including performing weddings and executing divorces, presiding at namings and circumcisions, conducting bar/bat mitzvah ceremonies and funerals.
PR 3221 Homiletics
Practical, hands-on experience in the art of sermonizing and communication from the pulpit. Students prepare and deliver sermons on the weekly Torah readings, holiday themes, and life-cycle events which are analyzed and constructively criticized by classmates and the instructor.
PR 3250 Jewish Professional Ethics
Study of a range of issues in Jewish ethics, such as ethics of speech in personal and communal contexts, interpersonal and sexual behavior, financial matters and charitable actions, with attention to the special role of the rabbi in a Jewish community.
PR 3330 Spiritual Direction
Introduction to spiritual direction as a tool for Jewish professionals to empower individuals to develop their relationship with God and their inner spiritual resources.
PR 3340 Bioethics
Study of contemporary issues in medicine, including important case studies and with close attention to the perspectives of Jewish law. Topics considered will include abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, and critical choices in health care.
PR 3350 Practical Rabbinics for Synagogue & Community
Practical issues in synagogue administration and finance; working with boards and professional organizations; intergroup relations; connections to Israel.
PR 3411 The Art of Counseling
Instruction and practice in the skills needed to be an effective counselor, particularly artful listening skills and a sophisticated recognition of what is required to create a healing relationship.
PR 3412 The Art of Chaplaincy
The nature of chaplaincy, focusing on the theory and pracice of spiritual care and developing an awareness of oneself as a spiritual caregiver. Topics include the history of bikhur cholim, developing appropriate listening skills, learning about chaplaincy in a variety of settings, understanding the art of being a presence to patients and residents, and adapting Jewish rituals to chaplaincy situations. Field trips included.
PR 3460 Jewish Education
Exploration of themes in Jewish education, including learning styles, moral leadership, technical skills, and issues and dilemmas in contemporary Jewish education.
PR 3461 Adult Jewish Learning
Explorations in developmental psychology and adult education theory, in connection with current community practice, to develop an understanding of issues in adult learning. The emphasis will be on how Jewish education can lead to higher levels of creativity, stronger identity formation, and greater involvement in Jewish texts.
PR 3466-3469 Special Topics in Jewish Education
Issues of relevance to the 21st-century Jewish educator, including new technology, school-community relations, and developing and supervising religious schools.
PR 3495-99 Special Topics in the Rabbinical Profession
Special studies in the art of the rabbinic profession, for example issues in leadership, management, or specific areas of work such as advanced spiritual direction.
PR 4000 Fieldwork Support Seminar
Seminar concurrent with fieldwork, for discussion of issues relevant to work in various parts of the Jewish community. Required in each year of a student’s fieldwork placement, unless one year is in CPE.
RB 3180 Introduction to Rabbinic Literature
Introduction to the main textual resources of rabbinic literature – Mishna, Midrash, Talmud – with focus on understanding the context and use of the material in rabbinic studies. For non-rabbinical students.
RB 3195 Basic Texts of Jewish Life
Study of Pirkei Avot, a classic Jewish text of rabbinic perspectives on life, and portions of Sefer HaMitzvot by the Rambam (Maimonides), providing an overarching perspective on the structure of Jewish life and law.
RB 3200 Introduction to Mishnah and Talmud
Introduction to the structure of the Mishnah and Talmud, with selected study of specific topics in order to provide a conceptual and practical basis for further Talmud study. Co-requisite: RB 3210.
RB 3210 Beit Midrash
Supervised study accompanying rabbinic text courses; required concurrent enrollment for students in Talmud classes. One credit per term.
RB 3230 Codes
Literature of the Codes from traditional perspectives. After a survey of the history of code literature and issues, students will undertake textual study of specific works such as Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, the Shulchan Aruch, and of response literature.
RB 3250 Fixing God’s Torah
Criticism of the Bible in Talmud and commentaries, using a variety of sources in English and Hebrew. Formerly RAB 290.
RB 3270 Studies in Midrash
Study of selected portions of midrashic literature such as Midrash Rabbah, Yalkut Shemoni, and others, introducing students to the world of rabbinic theology and ethics as expressed through tale and metaphor. Repeatable with permission of instructor.
RB 3301-3302-3303 Talmud I-II-III
Study of selected portions of Talmudic tractates with halachic and aggadic themes. After a consideration of the Mishnaic foundations, this course introduces students to the methods and language of Talmud, with gradual improvement in skills of language and approach, particularly Talmudic “organic logic.” Study of selected sugyot will illuminate specific Jewish religious values. Prerequisite: HB 2003 and RB 3200. Concurrent registration in RB 3210 required; students must participate fully in Beit Midrash in order to receive credit for Talmud.
RB 3310 Talmud Topics
Study of specific topics with attention to skills, for broadening the student’s scope of knowledge and developing greater familiarity with the idiom of the Babylonian Talmud. Co-requisite: RB 3210. Repeatable for different topics.
RB 3340-49 Topics in Halacha:
Halachic studies relevant to significant elements of Jewish practice, including:
RB 3340 Choshen Mishpat.
The essential section of the codes of Jewish law relating to ethical practice in daily life, including business ethics and high standards of behavior in the community and workplace.
RB 3341 Guard Your Soul.
Food and kashrut, health, and the environment.
RB 3342 The Value of Life and Lives.
Ethical reflections on human and animal life based in rabbinic texts.
RB 3345 Bikkur Cholim and Avelut
Laws of visiting the sick and and those in mourning.
Other topics include hilchot tefillah, luach (calendar), marriage and divorce, conversion.
RB 3380 Resources and Methods in Rabbinics: The Rabbi’s Library
How to access and employ the bibliographical, textual, and electronic media to locate information, research topics, and develop your own “Rabbi’s Library” for divrei Torah and other purposes. Required for all rabbinical students.
RB 3400 Talmud Seminar
Building on the skills already acquired, the student begins to understand complex Talmudic arguments and delves further into the commentaries of Rashi and the Tosafot. Rishonim, Codes, and Responsa on specific Talmudic issues may be used to understand the ongoing dialogue on major issues. Repeatable as topics vary. Prerequisite: RB 3303 and TN 3301; concurrent enrollment in RB 3210 required. Students must participate fully in Beit Midrash in order to receive credit.
RB 3420 Contemporary Perspectives on Rabbinic Literature
In-depth study of Talmud and Midrash as strategies of discourse in specific historical contexts, with emphasis on detecting implicit assumptions and core values of the rabbis. Selections will be chosen to illuminate the texts, based on recent studies of the role of sages and students, gender issues, and the relations between Jews and other peoples. Prerequisite: RB 3300 (Intermediate Talmud) or permission of instructor.
RB 3495-3499 Special Topics in Talmud and Rabbinic Studies
Special topics in the Talmud, rabbinic theology, or responsa literature; advanced studies in Aggada; or comparative studies in Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds.
RB 4000 Independent Studies in Rabbinics
Advanced topics in specialized areas designed for individual study.
TN 3101-02 Introduction to Tanakh
A two-semeter sequence surveying Chumash, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim. The two semesters may be taken independently. The courses will study the content and structure of biblical books with commonly used Jewish commentaries in English, and will provide an overview of critical methods, major literary theories, and important archeological research that has bearing on biblical studies.
TN 3201 Chumash with Rashi and Mikraot Gedolot
Study of the Torah text through Judaism’s most fundamental commentator and later classic medieval scholars. Prerequisite: Hebrew I or equivalent.
TN 3202 Chumash with Hasidic Masters
Introduction to the spiritual approaches to the Torah developed by Hasidic masters, analyzing the fundamental concepts they have used to interpret Torah. Original texts will be selected by the instructor; translations will be available. No prerequisite.
TN 3203 Chumash with 18th-20th Century Commentaries
Study of the Torah text with recent commentators selected from such outstanding figures as Samson Rafael Hirsch, the Malbim, Dovid Tzvi Hoffman, and the Torah Temimah. Prerequisite: Hebrew 102 or equivalent.
TN 3210 Direct Tanakh
A thematic introduction to Tanakh designed to help the student make connections among various biblical books, figures, and teachings, and to identify significant patterns. Prerequisite: Hebrew I or permission of instructor.
TN 3221 Topics in Nevi’im Rishonim
Selected readings from the early prophets (Joshua through Kings), using collections of narratives or recurring themes. Emphasis on improving Hebrew translation and textual understanding. Course title may vary with selections. Prerequisite: Hebrew 102 or equivalent.
TN 3260 Megillot
An examination of the five Megillot or Scrolls (Kohelet, Esther, Shir HaShirim, Ruth, Eichah) which are read on special occasions in the liturgical year,. Emphasis will be on the general structure of each book, with close reading and midrashic interpretations of selected portions.
TN 3270 The Wisdom Books: Issues of Meaning
Study of the books of Job and Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), challenging texts which have become classic explorations of the human search for meaning in an apparently meaningless world. Topics addressed include the purpose of life, the injustice that pervades human experience, and the meaning of suffering.
TN 3370 Tehillim
An intensive study of the Psalms as expressions of the struggles of faith. The course will involve reading, writing, interpreting, commenting on and singing Psalms. Content will include review of Psalm sets, such as Pesukei DeZimrah, Hallel, and Tikkun Hatzot; special attention will be given to daily reading of Psalms, as well as Psalms of specific occasions, holidays and situations.
TN 3422 Nevi’im Acharonim: Jeremiah and Ezekiel
Selected readings from the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel in the context of their own times and from the perspectives of later interpretation.
TN 3423 Nevi’im Acharonim: Isaiah and the Twelve
Selected readings from the book of Isaiah and the Twelve Prophets in the context of their own time and from the perspectives of later interpretation.
TN 3440 Shir HaShirim (The Song of Songs)
Struggles of love as expressed in the 117 verses of King Solomon’s Song of Songs, with emphasis on correct reading and translation, and various levels of exegesis, including secular, rabbinic, and spiritual.
TN 3495-3499 Advanced Topics in Tanakh
Topics of interest such as advanced parshanut, biblical archeology, biblical theology, or close study of specific themes.
TN 4000 Independent Studies in Tanakh
Advanced topics in specialized areas designed for individual study.