Follow Up On Judaic Classes

By: Sarah Brill  |  May 12, 2020
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By Sarah Brill

In March, I wrote an article outlining the fact that students get locked out of lower intermediate and intermediate Judaic classes because of upperclassmen who refuse to take proper level courses. Upon registering as a junior, I noticed that for many of the lower intermediate Bible and Jewish studies (JUDS) courses there were about five spots still available. When I consulted an upper sophomore friend, she told me that the administration is making sure that she will be able to register for lower intermediate classes. I believe the reason for the five upperclassmen limit is because the administration plans to open up the slots once registration for lowerclassmen begins on Monday, May 11. These five-slot classes also contain no waitlist, indicating that the administration plans to edit this status once lowerclassmen start to register. 

Additionally, an email was sent out on May 8 from Ms. Deena Rabinovich, stating the necessity of reserving lower intermediate and intermediate courses for underclassmen: “Elementary and lower intermediate classes are introductory courses. By the time a student has reached upperclassmen status, she should be taking classes on the Intermediate level and above. To guarantee the optimal learning experience for yourself and all students, please register for Judaic Studies classes at your level.” This email, along with the five-slot restriction, grants underclassmen a chance at registering at their level, thereby guaranteeing that they will succeed in their Jewish studies. 

Thankfully, the five-slot limit does take into account those who have either transferred from another institution or feel that they have not learned enough Hebrew to attend an intermediate/upper intermediate class, because not many upperclassmen feel that way. As a transfer student and a student who came to this school in my sophomore year, knowing little to no Hebrew, I am grateful for the five-slot limit because it allows me the opportunity to register for lower intermediate classes when the intermediate classes become full, but I am left suspicious of whether these are enough slots. There are other students like me who, when the intermediate classes are filled up by seniors and upper juniors, cannot physically take an upper intermediate or advanced course because of the professor or rabbi’s pace and the Hebrew level required. Regardless, it is a necessity that students who cannot manage the pace of an intermediate setting, not be robbed of the opportunity to learn from a lower intermediate level.

It seems that the Judaic administration noticed that they made a mistake in the past and also noticed that many students who were lowerclassmen were not excelling in their Jewish classes because the classes were too advanced. Whether the administration read my article or not is null– I am grateful that they have finally instituted a policy that takes into account both Judaic level and class registration. 

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