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The Brandeis University Bulletin is the official resource for class information.

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Academic Courses

BGI strives to enhance the academic curriculum offered to undergraduate and graduate students at the Brandeis University by supporting the development of innovative academic courses related to the history and culture of Russian Jewry and issues that contribute to the continuity and sustainability of the Russian Jewish community in North America.

The following courses were created and are offered with the support of the institute: 

Russian/Soviet Jews: Dual Identities in Text, Image and Music


Russian Language Program, Department of German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literature

This course introduces students to a number of Russian Jewish artists and writers who created in the Russian language and who made significant contributions to 20th-century Soviet and Russian literature, cinema, theater, and music. Through analyses and discussions of texts, images and music created by Russian-speaking Jews, students will explore the role Russian Jews played in shaping the Soviet and modern Russian culture.

Individual Lives, Common Story
: Experiential Learning Practicum


Russian Language Program, Department of German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literature

This supplemental practicum course is designed to provide students with hands-on experience conducting oral histories fieldwork at the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center and being engaged in a much needed community service benefiting Russian-speaking elders. The practicum is based on the principles of experiential learning (EL), which emphasizes connecting the knowledge received in the classroom to the real-life issues that exist in our society, and allowing students to reflect on the knowledge gained from real-life experiences.

The goal of the course will be the exploration of life experiences of the generation of Russian speakers who survived WWII, experienced various forms of anti-Semitism in post-war Soviet Union, and eventually immigrated to the U.S. The project is designed to bridge the intergenerational gap between Russian-speaking seniors and youth in order to generate the exchange of valuable wisdom and strengthen community.

The course is designed to meet the needs of Russian heritage speakers who have had little or no formal training in their first language and who aspire to develop their proficiency in Russian to the level of a full native speaker. The course gives a systematic introduction to the rules of Russian morphology and syntax with emphasis on correct spelling of word endings. All grammar is presented in context: readings range from short works of prose fiction to articles from the contemporary Russian press. Students are encouraged to involve parents and other family members in their efforts to develop the language further.

Russian for Heritage Speakers


Russian Language Program, Department of German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literature

The course is designed to meet the needs of Russian heritage speakers who have had little or no formal training in their first language and who aspire to develop their proficiency in Russian to the level of a full native speaker. The course gives a systematic introduction to the rules of Russian morphology and syntax with emphasis on correct spelling of word endings. All grammar is presented in context: readings range from short works of prose fiction to articles from the contemporary Russian press. Students are encouraged to involve parents and other family members in their efforts to develop the language further.