University of Rochester Hillel Foundation Launches Free School of Jewish Studies

A core group of students under the leadership of Robert Ganz, Student Coordinator, have developed a Free School of Jewish Studies at the University of Rochester Rabbi Joseph H. Levine, director of the university B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation, announced today. Over 300 people have enrolled in courses ranging from “Zionism and Modern Israel” to “Classical Hebrew Literature, from “Jewish Cookery” to “Modern Jewish Thought and Social Problems.” There are also courses in Yiddish language and in conversational Hebrew. The entire program has been student motivated, Rabbi Levine said. A representative group of students planned courses on “Elie Wiesel, The Holocaust and The Problem of Belief,” “Jewish Mysticism,” “Hassidism” and other themes. “There is a balanced approach between use of Jewish texts and classic sources and also the literature of the human situation in modern Jewry.” Rabbi Levine stated. Faculty and rabbis of the community serve as instructors.

A teamwork approach is used. Reform, Conservative and Orthodox rabbis will cooperate in the course in “Contemporary Jewish Thought” offered by Rabbi Levine. Prof Samuel Adler, Hazzan Samuel Rosenbaum and Cantor Stephen Richards will utilize a teamwork approach to “Jewish Music.” Rabbi and Mrs. Abraham Karp share the teaching of the course on Elie Wiesel. Rabbi Karp is of Temple Beth El. Another husband and wife team is Dr. and Mrs. Richard Gollin, both in English Literature. Rabbi Herbert Bronstein, Temple B’rith Kodesh, teaches “Jewish Mysticism.” Representative enrollment includes the following: 70 in “Jewish Mysticism,” 60 in the course on “Elie Wiesel, The Holocaust and the Problem of Belief”; 50 in “Jewish Cookery”; 35 in Zionism’ 35 in “Modern Jewish Thought and Social Problems,” according to Rabbi Levine. Although these are free, non-credit courses open to the university and general community, students are continuing to explore the possibility of credit courses on Jewish Religion at the university. The response has been very favorable and exciting, he added.

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