Take a Look at the CJC’s Fall 1-Credit Course Offerings!

The Center for Jewish Civilization is pleased to announce its lineup of Fall 2020 (virtual) one-credit courses! For a look at our complete Fall 2020 course offerings, visit this link.

Bringing Nazis to Justice, JCIV 025

Professor Andrej Umansky

Saturdays: Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31

11:00 AM – 1:30 PM

Course Description

After the Nuremberg trials, Germany and other countries brought Nazis to justice for Holocaust-related crimes. These trials ran over decades, with varying degrees of success. State interests, legal issues and public opinion were some of the many hurdles to justice. The most recent trial against a Nazi criminal ended in July 2020: Bruno Dey, a guard at the concentration camp of Stutthof in Poland, was found guilty of complicity in the murder of more than 5,000 prisoners. Dey was handed a two-year suspended prison sentence.

Why do these trials still take place? Why are they taking place only now, almost 80 years after the fact? We will approach these questions and others during the class through analysis of trial material, historical backgrounds and geopolitics. This 1-credit course runs from 11:00am -1:30pm EST on 5 consecutive Saturdays: October 3, October 10, October 17, October 24, and October 31, 2020.


Israeli National Security Decision Making, JCIV 279

Professor Sarah Fainberg

Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays: Nov. 16 – Nov. 20

11:00 AM – 1:30 PM

Course Description

This modular course provides a hands-on insight into Israel’s national security challenges, dilemmas, strategies, policymaking, and implementation in an increasingly turbulent and volatile Middle East. Together we shall explore the unique conditions that have framed Israel’s national security decision-making including Regional and Great Power dynamics, the weight of the intelligence agencies and of the military vs. the relative weakness of the civilian national security organs, and the limitations resulting from the proportional electoral system. We shall also examine rising variables in Israel’s national security thinking and strategy including, among others, information warfare and societal resilience. The course includes four lectures and a wrap-up wargaming session: 1) Israel’s Emerging Threats in the Regional and Global Arenas 2) Adapting Israel’s National Security Doctrine 3) Israel’ Decision-Making in Practice: Structure, Mechanisms, and Power Struggles 4) Case Study Analysis: The Israeli-Russian Tango in Syria and Beyond 5) Wargaming Session. Students will participate in the wargame simulation by playing the moves and countermoves of Israel’s national security stakeholders. Students shall be trained to formulate security assessments, generate policy-oriented solutions, and examine their policy objectives and unexpected outcomes. This course is designed to improve decision-making skills across a wide range of policy areas and empower students and young professionals in the foreign policy and national security realms. This is a non-standard class. Dr. Fainberg’s 1-credit course meets from November 16 – November 20.


To Pray or Not Pray? JCIV 017

Rabbi Rachel Garner

Tuesdays: Oct. 15 – Dec. 18, 10:00 AM – 10:55 AM

Saturdays: Nov. 14 & Dec. 5, 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM

Course Description

To Pray or Not to Pray? Judaism as a Civilization Is Judaism a religion or an ethnicity? Do Jews believe in the Afterlife? My grandmother never went to synagogue, so why did she care if I married a Jew? What does it mean to sit shiva? This broad exploration of Judaism will take as a point of departure the notion that Judaism is neither a religion nor an ethnicity but instead a civilization. It will have two central foci. First, we’ll explore what it means to define Judaism as a civilization. Second, we’ll take a deep dive into the religious dimension of the Jewish Civilization as we study the core religious ideas and practices that animate, shape and reshape Jewish life. Students with all levels of background are welcome. The intention is that this course will have something for everyone. For those entirely new to the subject, it should serve as an accessible introduction to Judaism. For those with more familiarity with the subject (on any level of depth), this course aims to shed new light on the existing ways one thinks about and understands Judaism. Rabbi Rachel Gartner’s 1-credit course meets from October 15 – December 18, 2020.