Jewish History

Chair: Ms. Miriam Wielgus
[email protected]

Department Goals
Our goal is for our students to familiarize themselves with the major, events, personalities, and trends in both ancient and modern Jewish history. We want our students to see and appreciate the relevance of Jewish history in connection to the Jewish world today.

Junior Curriculum
Ancient Jewish history from the Persian period to the Talmudic period
From Texts to Tradition, by Laurence Schiffman
From Texts to Tradition (primary source reader), by Laurence Schiffman

Ancient Jewish History from the Persian period to the Talmudic period

In the junior year we study the tragedy and triumph of Jewish history in the classical period. We begin with the Persian period and the return to Zion, continue on to the Hellenistic and Roman periods and conclude with the Talmudic period. We use a variety of sources ranging from primary sources to art and archaeology, to film, to bring our subject to life. Throughout the year we supplement and enrich our regular curriculum with a special “Israel in Wold Relations” curriculum that shows students the clear and important connections between the ancient and modern histories of Israel.

Senior Curriculum
Modern Jewish history - from the 17th to the 20th century
Texts: The Course of Modern Jewish History, by Howard Sachar
The Jew in the Modern World (primary source reader) Judah Reinharz

Modern Jewish History from the 17th to the 20th century

In the senior year we study modern Jewish history from the 17th – 20th centuries. Our focus is on the movements, ideologies, personalities and events that transformed and redefined the Jewish world in the modern period. Among the movements and events we study are Hasidut, the Haskalah, the enlightenment and the French Revolution, the conservative, reform, and neo-orthodox responses to modernity, the Holocaust and the birth of the State of Israel.

Elective Course
The Sephardic Experience
Texts: The Jews of Spain
Primary source reader (Created by Director)
Exams: midterm final
Project: portfolio

Albert Hazan Memorial Program in Sephardic Jewish History

This class explores the fascinating history and culture of Sephardic Jewry. We begin with the history of the Jews in Spain, move on to the emergence of the Sephardic diaspora, and then conclude with discussions of contemporary Sephardic communities. We use visits to religious and cultural institutions around New York City, films, music, and food to bring our subject to life. Trips include the Sephardic Film festival, the Spanish-Portuguese synagogue, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and a day in the Persian community of Great Neck, culminating in an end- of-the- year banquet at Kolbeh. A Sephardic heritage trip to Spain and Gibraltar, or Cuba, or Morocco is also offered.

Jewish History after High School

Students will hopefully have a stronger sense of Jewish identity and Jewish pride after they graduate
that will serve them well on the college campus and in the workplace.They will also be able to use and
apply the critical faculties they developed in analyzing the many historical primary sources we read in
both ancient and modern Jewish history.

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