Midrasha/MOJU Courses for 2021-2022



The Letters Project 2022

Sundays; January 23 – February 27
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

A partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council. This course is based on Yossi Klein Halevi’s book Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor: with an Extensive Epilogue of Palestinian Responses. Each week, class will be taught by a different Rabbi or Community Leader from across the Twin Cities. This course will culminate in each student writing a letter of their own, which they will have the opportunity to enter into a national contest. 

This class and student stipends are made available by generous donations from Eloise and Elliot Kaplan and Robin and Jon Parritz. This project is sponsored by JCRC and supported by a grant from an Anonymus Fund of The Minneapolis Federation.

REGISTER HERE for The Letters Project

שמוֹת, השם, שמי: The Power of Names in Jewish Life

Tuesdays; January 4 – February 22
4:30 – 5:30 PM
Instructors: Earl Schwartz and Nina Samuels

In this class, we explore the power of names and naming, the very first action attributed to human beings in the Tanakh. We start with Tanakh and early and medieval rabbinic sources, along with more recent thinking about names and naming, names we do speak, and names we do not – all in light of our own experience of having names, knowing names, and giving names.


Semester Classes

The Making of the State of Israel

Mondays; October 4 – December 13
5:30 – 6:30 PM (Time adjusted)
Instructor: Dr. Arie Zmora
Tuition: $200

Do you know how Israel was established?
This class will explore the history of Israel and its establishment from 1880 – 1948 and answer questions such as: What was the Zionist movement? Who were the leaders? What was the Balfour Declaration and how did it provide the foundation for the establishment of the State of Israel? We will follow the footsteps of the pioneers of the first and second aliyot, who came to the land of Eretz Israel in the 19th – early 20th centuries and founded private and collective agrarian villages. We will learn about the formation of Hebrew culture and biblical connections to the land. We will also explore the tensions and violent clashes between Jews and Arabs and their social and political implications on the road to the foundation of the land of Israel and the impact of the Holocaust on world public opinion.

Violence in Jewish Law and Thought

Tuesdays; October 4 – December 14; March 1 – May 18
4:30 – 5:30 PM
Instructor: Rabbi Yosi Gordon
Tuition: $200 per semester (may register for one or both semesters)

1st Semester: Violence in Jewish Law 
2nd Semester: Violence in Jewish Thought

Violence is all around us: on the streets, in our schools, in acts of terrorism, in wars around the world, and sometimes even in our homes. It fills the media. How can society deal with violence without becoming itself a cause of more violence? In our course, we will become the judges in an imaginary murder case. We will know the victim, know the perp, but ask, “Is it really murder?” To answer the question, we will consult a 1900-year-old book. We will then try to answer, why is there violence, why is there anti-Semitism, and what is our obligation in a violent world?

Year-Long Courses

Corruption and Cruelty: The Real Story of Esther

Thursdays; October 4 – May 18
4:30 – 6:00 PM
Instructor: Rabbi Yosi Gordon
Tuition: $800

The Scroll of Esther, read on Purim, is usually seen as a jolly fairy tale about a silly king, a courageous queen with a kindly uncle, and a wicked villain who gets his comeuppance at the end. It is, in fact, a dark parody of corruption and cruelty, salted with elements that should not be taught to children, and strangely applicable to the year 2021. It’s a lot more than you can anticipate.

The Israeli-Arab Conflict 

Wednesdays; October 4 – May 18
5:30 – 6:30 PM (Time adjusted)
Instructor: Dr. Arie Zmora

Will there ever be peace in Israel? What are the obstacles? 
Brace yourself for a fully immersive and incredibly controversial discourse on the Middle East Conflict. This course will focus on the complex and nuanced ways that Israeli Jews, Arab-Israelis, Palestinian writers and poets, as well as scholars outside the region, have addressed the middle east conflict. The compelling writings of Arab and Israeli literary and political figures will expose the students to multiple perspectives of the conflict. To better understand the political controversies of the different communities, we will also read essays on the controversial topics at the center of the public debate addressed by Israeli, Arab, and American scholars.

College-level Hebrew

Days and times are subject to change based on enrolled students’ availability

College-level Beginning Hebrew 1

Tuesdays/ Thursdays: October 4 – May 18
6:00 – 7:30 PM

For beginners whose goal is proficiency in modern Israeli Hebrew. Leads to speaking, listening comprehension, and reading/writing Hebrew. Emphasizes communication proficiency. Cultural materials are incorporated. No prior Hebrew experience is required.

College-level Advanced Beginning Hebrew 2

Tuesday/ Thursdays: October 4 – May 18
5:30 – 7:00 PM

For students whose goal is proficiency in modern Israeli Hebrew. Leads to speaking, listening comprehension, reading, and writing Hebrew with emphasis on communication proficiency. Cultural materials incorporated. Continuation of Beginning Hebrew 1.
Students enrolling in Advanced Beginning Hebrew 2 must have completed Beginning Hebrew I and received a passing grade, or have instructor approval.

College-level Intermediate Hebrew 3

Mondays / Wednesdays: October 4 – May 18
6:30 – 8:00 PM
Instructor: Rabbi Yosi Gordon

Strengthens and extends proficiency in speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension of modern Hebrew. Read and discuss prose, poetry, news, and film. Taught primarily in Hebrew.
Students enrolling in Intermediate Hebrew 3 must have completed Advanced Beginning Hebrew 2 and received a passing grade, or have instructor approval.

College-level Advanced Intermediate Hebrew 4

Tuesdays/ Thursdays: October 4 – May 18
7:00 – 8:30 PM
Instructor: Dr. Arie Zmora

Extensive reading of simplified modern Hebrew prose selections. Discuss poetry, newspaper, film, and TV in Hebrew. Israeli cultural experiences. Hone composition, listening comprehension, and speaking skills to prepare for proficiency exams. Taught in Hebrew. Continuation of Intermediate Hebrew 3.
Students enrolling in Advanced Intermediate Hebrew 4 must have completed Intermediate Hebrew 3 and received a passing grade, or have instructor approval.

College-level Advanced Hebrew 5

Mondays / Wednesdays: October 4 – May 18
6:30 – 8:00 PM
Instructor: Dr. Arie Zmora

Advanced studies in a variety of genres/media, including fiction, poetry, drama, film, and journal. Emphasizes expanded oral/written self-expression. Materials from several periods are used to prepare for future specialized studies. Taught in Hebrew. Has a prerequisite of Advanced Intermediate Hebrew 4. This course may be taken multiple times.
Students enrolling in Advanced Hebrew 5 must have completed Advanced Intermediate Hebrew 4 and received a passing grade, or have instructor approval.