JUDAISM THROUGH FOOD Instructor: Eric Mazur Day, Time: Location: Office Hours: T / Th, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. CLASS WEB PAGE: http://facultystaff.vwc.edu/~emazur/Classes/RELST181.html COURSE DESCRIPTION
A hands-on introduction to Judaism. From feasts to fasts, you will explore the history, texts, and traditions of Judaism through the study and first-hand encounter with its foods; their place, preparation, restrictions, and geographical variations that are central to the religious and cultural experience of Judaism.
By the end of the semester, students enrol ed in this course:
1) Should be familiar with the basic history, practices, and diversity of Judaism; 2) Should have an appreciation for the study and analysis of a religious tradition through its basic
3) Should be familiar with how foods and food-related practices can be used to examine symbolic
actions and cultural and social relationships.
The following texts are available at the VWC bookstore. You are free to purchase them elsewhere, but should check with me to be certain you are purchasing the proper edition(s).
Cox, Harvey. Common Prayers: Faith, Family, and a Christian's Journey Through the Jewish Year (COX)
Heschel, Abraham Joshua. The Sabbath (HESCHEL)
An additional reading is available as a PDF, and can be downloaded from the class Web site:
Cohn, Jacob. The Royal Table: An Outline of the Dietary Laws of Israel (COHN)
Jewish scriptural readings (marked TANAKH in the Schedule) can be found on line at:
Historical materials related to Judaism (marked HISTORY in the Schedule) can be found on line at:
In addition, articles may be distributed electronical y or in class, or linked to the class Web site. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPLETING ALL OF THE READINGS, INCLUDING ANY ON-LINE READINGS OR READINGS DISTRIBUTED IN CLASS. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR FAILURE TO OBTAIN READINGS OR READING ASSIGNMENTS DISTRIBUTED IN CLASS.
RESPONSIBILITIES & EVALUATION
Class Participation (50 points)
You are expected to attend all scheduled classes and complete al assignments. In addition, you are expected to participate ful y in regular discussions, and engage the materials in class. Regular and thoughtful participation in class, as wel as enthusiastic participation in the assignments, will be rewarded in this category. Mindless blather wil not. Class participation grades wil be assigned in three areas:
1) Class attendance, participation, interaction—including “FIELD TRIPS”: (20 points);
2) Reading responses (4 x 5 points each = 20 points)
Four times during the semester you wil respond to the reading materials and submit a very short (1-2 pages, single spaced) statement that briefly explains and analyzes the readings and relates them to the discussions and demonstrations in class.
You are expected to keep track of your eating habits (what you eat, and when). YOU ARE NOT EXPECTED TO KEEP A KOSHER DIET; the purpose of this journal is to encourage mindful eating—to be aware of your eating. As the semester progresses, you may wish to supplement your listings of food with reflections related to the course. Food journals wil be col ected periodically.
Heschel Analysis (10 points)
On the assigned date, you wil submit a written analysis (2-4 pages) of how Abraham Heschel’s The Sabbath might relate to the food-related practices of Shabbat.
Mid-Term (20 points)
The mid-term exam will cover readings and class discussions. More information related to the format wil be provided closer to the exam date.
Final Project (20 points)
The final project wil involve readings and class discussions. More information related to the format wil be provided closer to the end of the semester.
While you are free to refuse to taste any of the foods associated with the class, you may be asked to handle—or may come into contact with—foods or food ingredients. Students with medical dietary restrictions (such as food-related al ergies) or religiously / conscientiously held food-related dietary restrictions (such as vegetarianism or veganism) must notify me at the beginning of the semester so that the proper precautions can be observed. Students wil NOT be forced to jeopardize their health or conscientiously held beliefs, nor will students’ grades be adversely affected. SCHEDULE OF READINGS & ASSIGNMENTS READING / ASSIGNMENT
Geertz, “Religion as a Cultural System” (.pdf)
Hal , “Introduction,” Lived Religion (.pdf)
FIELD TRIP #1: Shabbat service
Roof, “Blood in the Barbeque? Food and
Faith in the American South” (.pdf)
Douglas, “Deciphering a Meal” (.pdf)DUE: Reading response #1 Feb. 7, 12, 14 PURIM SHPIEL (7:30 p.m., Location TBA) Feb. 26-28 FIELD TRIP #2: “Kosher-style” deli March 7, 12 DUE (3/12): Reading response #2 FIELD TRIP #3: Food shopping
(corner of Wesleyan & Diamond Springs)
DUE: HESCHEL analysis Mid-Term EXAM March 26-28 (Spring Break) CLASS SEDER
Torah Fasts: The Holiness of Not Eating COX: chapters 3, 9, 13
April 11, 16, 18 April 23-25 DUE (4/25): Reading response #3 April 30-May 2
Life & Food: “Hatching, Matching, &
DUE (5/02): Reading response #4 Final Project DUE: by 3:00 p.m. (Monday) DIRECTIONS TO CONGREGATION BETH EL 422 Shirley Avenue Norfolk, VA 23517-2109 From Virginia Beach:
Take 264 W al the way to the end (stay in the left two lanes) to Waterside Drive. Stay on Waterside Drive as it winds through downtown and changes names several times (Busch Street, Llewel yn). Take a left at Shirley Avenue (1st left after the light at Princess Anne Road). Go past Maury High School, and we are the right side of the next block.
Take I-64 E/US-60 E. Take exit 276 for I-564/US-460/Granby St toward Naval Base. Slight right at US-460 W/Granby St. Turn right at E 27th St. Turn left at Llewellyn Ave. Turn right at Shirley Ave and go past Maury High School. We are on the right side of the next block.
Classroom Policies (“The Fine Print”)
Unless otherwise noted, the following are the general policies by which student work will be evaluated for those categories that appear on the syl abus.
Al materials are graded based on a ten-point scale:
In order to earn a grade of 90 or above, student work must provide evidence of advanced creative thinking or scholarly reflection / engagement beyond the bounds of simple recitation or description. Work that simply recites or repeats the data or arguments of other sources but contains no evidence of advanced creative thinking or scholarly reflection/engagement wil earn a grade no higher than an 89. Work that is inferior to that which is expected at the college level wil earn a grade no higher than 75.
The assignment of extra credit is my decision, and is usual y connected with your participation in (or attendance at) extra- and co-curricular events. Unless otherwise stated, extra credit wil be evaluated only if your final grade is close to a grading threshold (see above), and will be applied only at my discretion.
Evaluation of in-class participation wil be based on three components:
1) Class attendance; 2) In-class discussion; 3) Evidence of reflection on reading assignments.
It is expected that students attend al scheduled class meetings. Mere class attendance is considered average, and wil result in a “Class Participation” grade of 80%. Less than regular and consistent attendance wil result in a lower grade. Students observed “texting,” sleeping, or conversing excessively with classmates will be considered absent for that day. EXCUSED ABSENCE: Do not seek my permission to miss class. We presume that you are an adult; if you decide that another activity is more important than any particular class, accept that there may be consequences to your decision. Students who miss class are responsible for al work and assignments. Do not make a habit of missing class. Irregular patterns of attendance wil be addressed in the class participation grade, in addition to any intel ectual deficit caused by the absences. HELPFUL ADVICE
I assign the reading, but I may not go over it in class unless specifical y requested. The reading is your opportunity to encounter the materials; our class is our time to explore beyond the readings. However,
you wil be held accountable for ALL readings AND class discussions for any quiz or exam (depending on the class’s syl abus). Readings should be completed by the date given in the syl abus, unless otherwise directed by me. GENERAL POLICIES
1) Announcements, changes, and general information not communicated in class wil be
transmitted via electronic mail (“email”). Students are responsible for checking for such information in a timely manner.
2) Papers or exams submitted electronically wil NOT be accepted; 3) Al unclaimed assignments will be destroyed at the end of the following semester; 4) Unauthorized col aboration is considered academic dishonesty, and is strictly forbidden.
Students wil be held to the VWC Honor Code, and are expected to be familiar with it. Any evidence of academic dishonesty wil be investigated and prosecuted to the ful est extent possible.
5) Cel ular telephones must be turned off or set to “vibrate” mode in class.
COLLEGE-WIDE POLICIES & INFORMATION
COLLEGE-WIDE WEATHER-RELATED DELAYS / CANCELATIONS: 455-5711. INCOMPLETES: VWC policy: “An Incomplete is given at the discretion of the instructor when circumstances beyond the control of the student prevent the completion of course requirements.” See Catalog, p. 34. POLICY ON SPECIAL NEEDS &/OR ACCOMMODATIONS: Virginia Wesleyan Col ege recognizes, and is sensitive to, students with special needs. In order to use accommodations, students must first register with the col ege’s disability services coordinator, Fayne Pearson (455-3246), and provide the col ege with appropriate, professional documentation. If you need accommodations in this course (extra time for exams, oral examination, etc.) because of a documented disability, or if you have emergency medical information to share, please make an appointment to see me during my office hours.
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