Beren Campus Adds New Faculty to the Judaics Department

By: Abigail Grigoryan  |  February 13, 2021

By Abigail Grigoryan

The Rebecca Ivry Department of Jewish Studies at Stern College has added 12 new faculty members this past semester. “The Rebecca Ivry Department of Jewish Studies is proud to offer a wide range of classes on the Beren Campus this semester. Many of the classes are the result of collaboration with Undergraduate Torah Studies and the Yeshiva College Department of Jewish Studies. The classes range in topics and level to bring new options for the women,” said Chair of the Judaic Studies Deena Rabinovich. 

The new faculty include the following: Rabbi Ari Mermelstein is teaching an advanced class called “Introduction to Bible.” This course will focus on fundamental differences between religious and secular literature. Rabbi Kalman Laufer is teaching an advanced course called “Interpersonal Relationships.” This course focuses on understanding how halacha (Jewish Law) controls the flow of capital in all forms of transactions. Dr. Chaviva Levin is teaching a course called “Jews in Christendom.” The course will discuss how Jews and Christians encountered and responded to one another in medieval Europe. Professor Rachel Taubes is teaching an advanced class called “Book of Deuteronomy,” this course will examine how the book of Deuteronomy retells and modifies narratives and laws that were mentioned earlier in the Torah. Additionally, Professor Taubes is teaching a course called “Jewish Laws & Customs: Family Law” which focuses on the laws and values of Jewish relationships, marriage, and family life.

Further, Rabbi Shmuel Ismach is teaching a Jewish philosophy class called “Philosophy of Prayer: Origins and Destinations.” This class takes a closer look at the Jewish prayer book and the experience of Jewish prayer in an attempt to understand the practical goals of Tefillah (prayer). Professor Shira Sultan is teaching a course called “Book of Exodus II,” this course will focus on the second half of the book of Exodus with the help of the commentators Rashi and Ramban. Rabbi Zev Reichman is teaching a class called “Polish Hasidim” this course will explore Hassidic traditions through study of classic terms and concepts of Hassidic thought. Rabbi Dov Lerner is teaching “Topics: Malbim and Modernity,” the course will examine the major social and political revolutions that define the modern age, and how they impacted the Jews of Europe. Dr. Jess Olson is teaching “Modern Jewish History.” This class will observe modern Jewish history while focusing on the social, cultural and intellectual history of Jews in Europe, the Mediterranean and Middle East, and North America from the 16th through the 20th centuries.

Dr. Gila Schwerd is teaching an advanced course called “Topics: Challenging Situations in Tanach,” this course will provide an in-depth and text based study of challenges endured by characters in Tanach (the Bible). Dr. Joshua Karlip is teaching an advanced course called “History of Polish Jewry,” which will follow the history of early modern and modern East European Jewry through the medium of drashot (Torah teachings). Dr. Joseph Angel is teaching “Psalms,” an advanced course which will focus on both traditional and modern commentaries through a selection of psalms.