I have been teaching all levels of Modern Hebrew language since 2004, first at the University of Washington, later in Portland State University and now at Bucknell, where I also coordinate the Hebrew program. My approach is somewhat different in relation to contemporary language teaching methodology. While embracing “language in context” and the strive for “communicative competency” in agreement with the ACTFL guidelines, my teaching still places a strong emphasis on detailed instruction of Hebrew grammar and the development of sensitivity towards the systematic qualities of the language. That includes a limited and practical exploration into Hebrew and English linguistics, which students usually find fascinating. By the end of my second year course, students do not only master the material and beyond, but also have a strong ground for future and independent learning of Hebrew.
My teaching of literature over the years developed two centers of gravity: Jewish writing and close readings. My courses at Bucknell include:
HEBR/HUMN 215: Hebrew Bible & Modern Literature: The course examines how materials from the Hebrew Bible are reworked in modern literature and culture, focusing on Hebrew and American traditions. We discuss writers, such as Dan Pagis, Mark Twain, Amos Oz, Herman Melville, John Steinbeck, and Shulamith Hareven.
ENLS/UNIV 268: Jewish-American Literature: Examines the literary and cultural production of American Jews through the study of diverse series of texts and films. We discuss Abraham Cahan, Henry and Phillip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, Saul Bellow, and Art Speigelman.
HEBR/UNIV 236: Israel – Literature, Film, Culture: Course explores Israeli culture in its historical, ethnic, religious, linguistic, and geographical context through literature, film, political discourse, photography, and other texts. We discuss Amoz Oz, David Grossman, Benyamin Ze’ev Herzl, Sayed Kashua
HEBR/UNIV 250: Jews & the City : The course explores the Jewish urban experience in the early 20th-century in Warsaw, New York, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. Readings include I. B. Singer, Abraham Cahan, Amos Oz, S. Y. Agnon, A. B. Yehoshua, Leah Goldbreg.
HEBR 251/UNIV 263: The Jewish Uprooted: The course explores the figure of the uprooted in modern Jewish literature and culture, focusing on early 20th-century Hebrew, Yiddish, and Jewish-American writing. Readings include: I. B. Singer, Abraham Cahan, Aharon Appelfeld, Philip Roth, Yosef Haim Brenner, Haim Nakhman Bialik, Mary Antin, Anzia Yezierska.
HEBR 252/ UNIV 262: The Modern Jewish Experience in Literature & Film: The course explores modern Jewish life around the world through a variety of perspectives, including literature, film, history, and memoir. Emphasis is placed on Jews in Israel and the U.S., as well as on immigration and the Holocaust. Readings include: Sholom Aleichem, I. B. Singer, Abraham Cahan, Aharon Appelfeld, Philip Roth, Ka-Tzetnik, Primo Levi, Sasson Somekh, Mary Antin, Amos Oz.
HEBR/ UNIV 292: After the Holocaust: Israel&US: The course explores the impact of the Nazi genocide on the postwar West. Topics include: the life of Holocaust survivors, the ways in which different countries and societies approach the Holocaust as an event and memory (Israel, United States, Germany, Poland), the Holocaust and the Arab world, the impact of the Holocaust on Jewish faith, Holocaust denial, and trans-generational transference of Holocaust trauma. Our readings include research in history and society, documentary and commercial films, original documents, fiction, poetry, memoirs, and we will have guest speakers and a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.