Public Courses – Spring 2024
The ALEPH Ordination Program (AOP) opens a selected number of our graduate-level seminary courses to the general public.
Registering for classes:
If you you have already applied to one of the AOP Ordination program, or are currently taking a Public Course, please do not fill out the Public Student application form on the right. If you know your Populi login information, you may register for a course directly. If not, please email the AOP office at email@example.com with information about the course or courses in which you would like to enroll.
Otherwise, please register as follows: If you click on the registration button to the right you will be asked to fill out an application. Within 1-2 business days you will be sent a link telling you that an account has been created for you in our student management system, Populi. Once you use this link to create a password, you can select your course(s), according to the instructions that will be posted on the Home page under your account, under where it says “The Feed”.
If you have any questions about registration, please contact the AOP office:
Your registration is provisional. We will confirm enrollment as soon as possible or about two weeks before the course starts. Please NOTE that students taking a course for credit have priority of enrollment.
Each video-conference course has 13 weekly meetings and is conducted live using Zoom (required: high speed internet, webcam, and microphone). Our Spring 2024 semester starts on January 28 and ends on May 23 – the instructor will determine the schedule of class meetings within these dates.
Course Fee (except for Rabbinic Hebrew Workshop – see below):
- $618 for Public Auditor – no credit ($600 + 3% T’rumah Financial Aid Fund fee)
- $1,133 for Public Student – credit-earning ($1,100 + 3% T’rumah Financial Aid Fund fee)
- There also is an Adminstrative Fee of $50 per semester.
How to Register
STEP 1: IMPORTANT! Please view the “Public Courses Policy and Learning Contract” document and read it carefully. As part of the registration, you will be asked to affirm that (a) you have read the document and (b) you comply with its terms.
STEP 2: If you click on the registration button below you will be asked to fill out an application. Within 1-2 business days you will be sent a link telling you that an account has been created for you in our student management system, Populi. Once you use this link to create a password, you can select your course(s), according to the instructions that will be posted on the Home page on your account, under where it says “The Feed”.
NOTE: If you you have already applied to one of the AOP Ordination program, or are currently taking a Public Course, please do not fill out this form. If you know your Populi login information, you may register for a course directly. If not, please email the AOP office at firstname.lastname@example.org with information about the course or courses in which you would like to enroll.
Spring 2024 Public Courses
Jewish Music History
Instructor: Hazzan Marlena Fuerstman
Tuesdays 3 – 5 pm (eastern)
Starting on February 6 (please note that this is the week following the start of the semester)
This course addresses a wide range of topics under this heading, including known scholarship on early Jewish music, the cultural contexts in which the multiplicity of Jewish communities developed their musical traditions, and Jewish music in modernity. Some lecture titles (by way of example) are: The Music of the Temple; Early Jewish Music and its Influence on Early Christian Chant; Cultural and Denominational Diversity in Jewish Liturgical Music; The Basic Elements of Ashkenazi Modality; Environmental Influences upon Cantorial Music; European-Jewish Psalm Settings; Learning to Chant the Bible in the Bukharan-Jewish Tradition; Sulzer’s Musical Style in the Context of 19th-century German Romanticism; A Hundred-and-fifty Years of Jewish Art Music: from the French Revolution to the outbreak of World War II.
Biblical Hebrew 102
The Public Auditor option is not available for this intensive language course.
Instructor: Rabbi Fern Feldman
Wednesdays 1 – 3 pm (eastern)
Starting on January 31
Areas covered: nouns, verbs and other topics in grammar. In the fall semester (101), students will learn the binyan pa’al (qal) in all its tenses. In the spring semester (102) they will learn all the rest of the seven binyanim. The goal of these courses is a solid grounding in translation of Hebrew texts from TaNaKH and Siddur.
If you have passed Biblical Hebrew 101, you will be prepared for Biblical Hebrew 102. If you want to start with Biblical Hebrew 102 without having taken 101, please be able to conjugate all tenses in the binyan paal (qal), as well as the rest of the content in EKS First Hebrew Primer through chapter 20. Biblical Hebrew 102 employs texts from Genesis, parashiot ha-shavuah, and Siddur.
Rabbinic Hebrew Workshop
Instructor: Rabbi Dr. Natan Margalit
Wednesdays 3:30 – 5:00 pm (eastern)
Starting on January 31
Course fee: $750 for Public Student, $550 for Public Auditor
This workshop will offer practice and instruction in Rabbinic Hebrew, both Rabbinic Hebrew Level One: Mishnaic Hebrew, which is relatively similar to Biblical Hebrew, and Rabbinic Hebrew Level Two, Medieval Rabbinic Hebrew, which includes a number of Aramaic terms that are common in the Talmud. We will also work on some common roshei teivot (abbreviations) reading without vowels and reading Rashi script. (For those who have taken Reb Natan’s Reading the Rabbis courses through Hebrew College, this will follow a similar format). We will be primarily studying texts from the Mishnah along with medieval commentaries.
The workshop may be taken by students who have passed Biblical Hebrew 102 or an equivalent level of Biblical Hebrew as approved by the instructor.
Ancient Israelites, Judeans, and the Making of a People
Instructor: Rabbi Dr. Elizabeth Goldstein
Two Sections: Wednesdays 1 – 3 pm (eastern) (starting on January 31) OR Thursdays 1 – 3 pm (eastern) (starting on February 1)
How did we go from ethnos to religion? How well do such categories work to explain our history from the time of King Saul in the 11th century BCE to the ascendancy of the rabbis in the 6th century CE? What was “Judaism” before the rabbis became the power brokers of Jewish life? These key questions will help us discover ancient Israelite (and Judean) identity, practice, and beliefs and ask what they can teach us about who we were and who we remain — even in our own time.
The Merkavah: A History of the Visionary Path in Jewish Mysticism
Instructor: Dr. Yosef Rosen
Wednesdays 12 – 2 pm (eastern)
Starting on January 31
The Glory: Ezekiel’s Visions; Ascents: Enoch & the Apocalypses; Archangels: Metatron & Yahoel; Whispers: Rabbinic Secrets & Sociality; Angelic Sing Along: The Heikhalot; The Intelligences: Maimonides & The Iyyun Circle; The Merkabah in Early Kabbalah
Over two millennia ago, Jewish mystics began to address their own diasporic experience, filled with grief, disconnection, trauma, and hope, with a vivid and bold claim: Spirit can be accessed anywhere by cultivating visions of the Merkabah—an animate and mobile chariot made of wings and wheels. Practitioners of this visionary path became the founders of Jewish mysticism and the progenitors of Kabbalah. This course explores the evolution, spiritual symbolism, and ritual practices of Merkabah mysticism. By traversing two thousand years of religious history (593 BCE – 1250 CE), this course will enable you to acquire a big-picture understanding of both Kabbalah and the origins of Jewish mysticism. Along the way we will learn about archangels, apocalypses, heavenly ascents, the value of secrets, the aesthetics of mysticism, meditation techniques, mythological revolutions, and diasporic theology.
Jewish Traditions of Sacred Time
Instructor: Rabbi Vivie Mayer
Wednesdays 11 am – 1 pm (eastern)
Starting on February 7 (please note that this is the week following the start of the semester)
This course will cover shalosh regalim and Yamim Noraim, paying attention to the ways that seasons give way to seasons and moods and foci shift through time. Course goals:
1. To understand the patterns and moods of the Jewish calendar as they express agricultural, mythic-historical, halakhic, and mystical points of view.
2. To become familiar with the particular practices and liturgies associated with each of the festivals and their seasons.
Foundations of Jewish Philosophy and Theology
Instructor: Rabbi Dr. Aubrey Glazer
Wednesdays 3 – 5 pm (eastern)
Starting on January 31
This course offers an introduction to foundational concepts in Jewish philosophy and theology by a diverse selection of thinkers, placing their ideas in the context of contemporary debates. In building a lexicon of foundational concepts in Jewish philosophy and theology, we will continually be considering their relevance and applications for thought leaders and activists within and beyond a Jewish Renewal context of community building.
Introduction to Hasidut
Instructor: Rabbi Dr. Mimi Feigelson
Tuesdays 1 – 3 pm (eastern)
Starting on January 30
This course examines Hasidic approaches to the major ideas and pathways of Judaism. We will explore the central themes in Hasidism through studying selected texts authored by great Hasidic masters from the 18th century to the present. This journey will lead to an in-depth understanding of the unique Hasidic approaches to Jewish values and practices and an appreciation of Hasidism’s profound theological and psyChological insights.
Midrash from a Renewal Perspective: Contemporary PaRDeS
Instructor: Rabbi Dr. Leila Gal Berner
Tuesdays 11 am – 1 pm (eastern)
Starting on January 30
In the introduction to his book on the prophets, R.A.J. Heschel writes – “Prophecy is not simply the application of timeless standards to particular human situations, but rather an interpretation of a particular moment in history, a divine understanding of a human situation. Prophecy, then, may be described as an exegesis of existence from a divine perspective.”
We will use exegetical methods to get as close as we can to understanding how the prophets tried to share that “divine understanding.” Through careful reading of selections of biblical texts, in both prose and poetic styles, relating to both men and women identified as prophets, and informed by academic scholarship on these texts, we will attempt to come closer to understanding the biblical experience of speaking “from a divine perspective.” Towards the end of the semester, we will also spend some time studying the Classical Rabbinic rejection of prophecy, and the ways that some forms of that yearning for access to that “divine perspective” remained.
Students should have completed Biblical Hebrew 102 or the equivalent in order to enroll.