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Jews and Judaism: An Introduction



The identity of contemporary Jews is greatly diverse and consists of various elements including religion, culture and ethnicity. Starting with the present and reaching back towards the past, this course will offer a survey of the various forms of Judaism, the holidays and the liturgy.

Course objectives

The student will gain insight into the ever changing identities and manifestations of Jews and Judaism.
The student realizes that terms such as religious or secular do not sufficiently cover the varied and ever-changing lifestyles and forms of expression in Judaism.
The student is challenged to think about models used in the study of religion.
The answers to the exam questions should be clearly formulated and well argumented.


Timetable Religiewetenschappen
Timetable OCMW
Timetable MOS
Timetable Minor Religion in a changing world

Mode of instruction

Weekly lectures and an excursion to the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam

Course Load

  • Total course load: 140 hours (5 ecs x 28 hours).

  • Hours spent on attending lectures: 2 hours per week x 13 weeks = 26 hours

  • Excursion: 4 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature: 55 hours

  • Time to write a paper (including reading / research) and prepare for the exam: 53 hours

  • Exam: 2 hours

Assessment method

  • a paper relating to the museum excursion to be handed in mid-semester 40%

  • written examination with essay questions at the end of the semester 60%

The minimum grade for the paper is 5.5 and for the examination 5. An average of 6 is the minimum passing grade for the course. Rewrites of the paper are to be submitted within 2 weeks after receiving a failing grade. A resit for the written examination is possible.


Blackboard will be used for registration as well as for course information, the weekly schedule, announcements, assignments and reading material.

Reading list

  • E. van Voolen, Joods leven thuis en in de synagoge (Parthenon 2011) or H. Goldberg, Jewish Passages. Cycles of Jewish Life (University of California Press 2003) entire book.

  • M. Satlow, Creating Judaism. History, Tradition, Practice (Columbia University Press 2006) entire book.

  • B. Holtz, Back to the Sources (Touchstone 1984 and later) capita selecta

These books will be made available on the reserved book shelf in the University Library. However, as they are to be read in their entirety, students are expected to purchase them. Satlow is available online via internet and Goldberg is available online via the University Library.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


All queries should be posed to Prof. Frishman via her university email address.


Participation in the excursion to the Jewish Historical Museum as well as attending the film screenings are mandatory.