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The Jewish Experience


The Jewish Experience

American Jewish Humor (B26)
By Stephen J. Whitfield
Max Richter Professor of American Civilization

This guide provides a provocative—not to mention, entertaining—look at what is distinctive about Jewish humor, especially in its American setting. With the likes of such comedians as Sid Caesar, Danny Kaye, Bette Midler and, of course, the inimitable Woody Allen, the reader is encouraged both to learn and to laugh.

American Judaism: A Reader's Guide (S117)
By Rachel Gordan, under the supervision of Jonathan Sarna, Professor of American Jewish History

"American Judaism" traces Jewish life from the colonial era through the present day. This reader's guide summarizes the central themes of each chapter and poses stimulating questions for discussion.

Bekitzur: 20th Century Hebrew Short Stories (S107)
By Yaron Peleg
Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies
 
Five Israeli short stories that open a profound window to the inner life of a country, from the displacement of Jews at the beginning of the 20th century, life in Palestine under the British Mandate, the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the burden of army duty in a beleaguered country and finally, to the ever-present legacy of the Holocaust.

Images of Jews in American Movies (B28)
By Stephen J. Whitfield
Max Richter Professor of American Civilization

This guide traces the depictions of Jews in American films over the last several decades, beginning with the ghetto films of the silent era, progressing through the so-called "assimilation" movies of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s and on to a period of ethnic resurgence enjoyed in films of the 1960s and later. The manner in which these trends in Hollywood are connected to the status of Jews in American society is also considered.

The Impact of Jews in American Popular Culture (BR57)
By Stephen J. Whitfield
Max Richter Professor of American Civilization

The role of Jews in American popular culture raises several important, if possibly unanswered, questions. How could so tiny a minority loom so large in the arts? From movies to the dramatic arts, from music to painting and architecture, why have American Jews provided such creativity for such a small population of immigrants? And to what extent is Judaism or Jewish identity and values relevant in understanding and appreciating such cultural achievements?

Jews in the Musical Theater (S111)
By Stephen J. Whitfield
Max Richter Professor of American Civilization 

How have Jews helped to shape the heritage of the Broadway musical? This syllabus identifies key figures and works that constitute a tradition that helped make the nation's music a force of unity and a source of joy and creative brilliance. Even more than Hollywood, Broadway represents proof of a Jewish yearning to exercise talent when provided the freedom and opportunity to do so.

Women in the Bible (B36)
By Marc Brettler
Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies

A study of the women of Genesis, Song of Songs, Ruth and Esther, as seen from different outlooks, including anthropological, sociological, literary and gender studies.