Torah--ancient scrolls in Jerusalem

Yeshiva University CollegeNOW Courses


JPH 1131 Introduction to Jewish Philosophy (3 credits)

Instructor: Dr. Daniel Rynhold

Major Topics: Philosophical foundations of Judaism; readings from classical and contemporary writers; major religious and national issues and philosophical concepts; first semester: basic beliefs; second semester: contemporary issues.

This course enables students to understand and engage with some of the classic works from the history of Jewish philosophy. After an introductory discussion of what Jewish philosophy is, we turn to Jewish philosophy’s medieval “golden age,” in which thinkers, including Judah Halevi and Moses Maimonides, grappled with some of the most challenging metaphysical issues, such as: Did God create the world? Can human freedom be reconciled with divine foreknowledge? Are the Commandments rational?

Beginning with the rather inauspicious excommunication of Baruch Spinoza, we explore how modern Jewish philosophers like Moses Mendelssohn, Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig and Joseph Soloveitchik have been interpreting Judaic questions for current times.

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JUDS 1491 Interpersonal Relationships (3 credits)

Major Topics: Ethics, charity, slander, revenge, usury.

Instructor: Rabbi Dr. Daniel Feldman

This course addresses fundamental questions and overarching themes in Halacha and human relations:
• Is ethical the same as halachic?
• Do the laws of bein adam l'chavero differ from ben adam l’makom?
• What is the mandate of chesed?

Through text, rich discussion and reflection, students learn about the obligations Jewish law places on the relationships between people. Similarly the course overs how the Torah regulates our interpersonal behavior through prohibitions, how we understand the prohibition of loshon hara in the contemporary culture, and how we understand and apply the definition of tzedakah.

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JHI 1521S Jews in Medieval Spain (3 credits)

Major Topics: Social, economic and communal development of various communities of Sephardic Jews.

Instructor: Dr. Ronnie Perelis

Medieval Spain, with its vibrant Muslim and Jewish populations, was one of the most complex and culturally rich European societies of its time. It served as a bridge for intellectual, artistic and scientific imports from the East to the European north. Its experiment with convivencia—“the living together” of three different religions within the same society—was unheard of in pre-modern Europe.

This course investigates the cultural history of Spanish Jews (the Sephardim), from the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in 711 until the Expulsion of 1492. With convivencia as our lens, we examine the possibilities and limitations of multicultural tolerance by studying the socio-political and cultural trajectory of the Sephardim and their Christian and Muslim neighbors.

The texts for this course include a wide range of Sephardic writing that includes the poets of the Andalusian Golden age, the neo-Aristotelian philosophers and scientists, travel diaries, converso dramatists and the music of the Aljamas as preserved in Ladino ballads.

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PSY 1010 Introduction to Psychology (3 credits)

Major Topics: Personality, positive psychology, identity.

Psychology is a course about you and me – a course about all of us. We will examine why and how we think, feel, and act as we do. Together we will survey the broad field of psychology, exploring such topics as the brain, memory, thought, language, emotion, personality, and even the new positive psychology. We will discuss leading researchers and their groundbreaking work. And as a Torah U’Madda oriented course, topics will be presented also from this unique perspective. Finally, we will emphasize how psychology is learned from, and applied to, real life situations.

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