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Spring 2021 Course Offerings

Classes begin on January 19th.

Registration is open from November 9 - January 25 for Spring 2021 courses.

To inquire more about enrolling in any of the courses, email our Director, Dr. Shay Pilnik at

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Teaching About the Holocaust Through Narrative, Film, Art, and Artifact

Instructor: Dr. Karen Shawn

This course will explore the power of age-appropriate Holocaust literature, testimony, poetry, historical documents, film, artifacts, and art to engage middle and high school students in an age-appropriate, chronological study of the Holocaust. As we examine text and visual media, we will analyze methodologies and materials designed to help our students understand this watershed through the thoughts, words, actions, and reactions of those who were there and of those who live in its shadow.

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At the Edge of the Abyss: Jewish Intellectual Responses to Nazism, 1933-1940

Instructor: Dr. Joshua Karlip

This course will explore Jewish intellectual responses to Nazism from the rise of Hitler in 1933 to the first year of World War Two in 1939-1940.  Recent historiography has moved beyond describing the physical destruction of European Jewry during the Holocaust to exploring its deep crisis and collapse in the years immediately prior to the war’s outbreak.  This course will, to quote one historian, seek to recover “the catastrophe before the Catastrophe.” 

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History of the Jews in Eastern Europe Since 1914

Instructor: Dr. Joshua Zimmerman

Survey of the political, social, and economic history of East European Jewry from the outbreak of the First World War to the end of Communist rule in 1989.  Topics include the character of the Soviet Jewish experiment; the evolution of Jewish life in interwar Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Lithuania; the impact of Nazi genocidal policies on the Jewish communities of the area, and the attempts to reestablish Jewish communal life after the Holocaust.

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Social Work and the Holocaust

Instructor: Matthew Mordecai Katz, M.S.W., M.Div., M.B.A., J.D

The events of 1933-1945 in Europe cast a shadow over its generation and their progeny in untold ways. Regarding this history, our course asks a twofold question: (1) how has the Holocaust impacted social work as a profession and (2) what can the profession learn from the Holocaust which might improve our ability, consistent with our “primary mission” as articulated by the NASW Code of Ethics, to both (a) heal its own victims’ psychological and spiritual injuries as well as those of others who have been victim to historical trauma; and (b) reduce the ongoing occurrence of intersubjective dehumanization and its harms. The course will also explore the notion of moral injury as it relates to both victims and perpetrators of atrocities and as a general hermeneutic through which the Holocaust might be understood within the bio-psycho-social-spiritual model regularly deployed in social work.

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