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Spring 2014

Heroes of the Shoah

Arnie Adler

As a sort of continuation of "History of European Jews," this discussion-based class would include a broad overview of the Holocaust, but focus on specific historic individuals of the Holocaust, including Jewish soldiers, collaborators and traitors, resistance fighters, political figures, religious leaders, musicians/artists and others. We will review and consider the impossible moral dilemmas many of them faced, their response to the crumbling world around them, how some triumphed and others failed, how they were viewed in their time and in historical hindsight, and if those historical judgments are necessarily fair. If time permits, the class will also include a discussion of the American Jewish response to events in Europe and a discussion of some deemed "Righteous Gentiles," non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews, reviewing what motivated them, and what aspect of their personalities and upbringing promoted them to act the way they did.

What's Nu?

Arnie Adler

The second semester continuation of our current events class analyzing issues of importance to us as Jewish students and as Americans. Likely issues we will be covering in the second semester include, but are certainly not limited to, the upcoming preparation for the 2016 presidential election, recent anti-Semitic incidents in a school district not far from Albany, the 2016 Winter Olympics , and updates on what's happening with Israel, Iran and the possible threat of nuclear conflict.

Mifgash Mishugas Players

Julie Adler

Actors wanted! Sign up to audition for the acting debut of the Mifgash Mishugas Players! We will be performing a dramatic staged reading of one of the following plays (from the following selections, based on the number of actors). Each selection has a strong theme from Judasim whether based on themes, concepts and/or actual history of the Jewish people.

The Rabbis' Greatest Hits

Sandy Johnston

In this course, we will learn some of the Talmud's most interesting stories. Through these texts, we will explore the world of the rabbis, and how their realities and ideas came to shape ours.

Judaism through the Ages

Sandy Johnston

In this class, we'll use a variety of Jewish rituals and activities--lifecycle events, prayer, and the like--to examine how Judaism has evolved over time. We'll study ancient, rabbinic, medieval, and modern takes on the key issues and important practices in Jewish religion.

Jewish Life Cycles

Alan Ginsburg

This class will cover the major events in a Jewish life, from birth to death. Each week we will explore a different life cycle event from baby naming ceremonials for the new born girl and brit milah to Jewish customs on death and dying. In keeping with the Mifgash format, local speakers will be brought in to help the students with particular topics. When possible visual aids will be use to help the students bring the topics to life.

History of Jews in America

Alan Ginsburg

This is a class on the history of Jews in America, including Albany. We will discuss the first Jews who came here from Brazil and had to fight to stay and for their rights. This class will also explore Jewish involvement in the American Revolution and discover interesting facts about the early synagogues.

How To Read Megillat Esther (and other tropes)

Margie Rosenberg

The purpose of this course will be to prepare students to participate in Megillah reading in their respective synagogues, or wherever they will be on Purim (Camp Ramah Tzad Bet reunion is on Purim this year). Students will be responsible to make their own arrangements with their synagogues, and, if first-time readers, are encouraged to volunteer for a small portion of the Megillah. After Purim (March 16), the course will continue with study and coaching of other tropes: Torah and Haftarah. Again, students will be encouraged to voluteer for Torah and/or Hartarah reading at their respective synagogues, and will receive coaching on these readings in this class.

Famous Israeli Court Cases

David Weinstein

The purpose of this class will be to teach the students about important issues in Israeli law and society through the lens of famous trials and appellate court cases. The class will give some background on the broader issues at stake in the case, and then learn about the facts of the specific cases. The class will use debates, and mock legal arguments and trials, to explain each issue. 

Jazz in Hebrew

Zoe Werboff

This class is a great opportunity to learn jazz dance and new Hebrew words! Taught by a professional dancer from Israel, this class incorporates modern jazz music and advanced hebrew vocabulary to train your body and your mind. Whether you are an experienced dancer or just enthusiastic about the chance to learn, this class is for you.

Avoda Aravit Part 2

Rivi Bahir

Using the Israeli television show of the same name, Avoda Aravit will take Hebrew language in a new direction. Each week, students will be given a synopsis of the episode, watch a short segment of the episode, and discuss it in depth in either English or Hebrew. The Beginners class will be watching subtitled content; the Advanced students will watch as it appeared on television in Israel. In January 2008, Isabel Kershner wrote in The New York Times, “In a refreshing departure, ‘Avoda Aravit’ focuses on a young professional Arab couple, Amjad and Bushra, and their way-too-smart, eye-rolling, preschool-age daughter, who live in an Arab village on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Amjad is a journalist working for a Hebrew newspaper. Hissic best friend, Meir, is a Jewish photographer there.” This course will be taught using a newly released curriculum from The Center for Educational Technology in Tel Aviv.

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