Teaching

My pedagogical approach emphasizes access to primary sources by building textual skills, contextual knowledge, and personal engagement with the material.

Topics include:

  • Medieval Jewish history – Ashkenaz, Sefarad, and beyond
  • Jewish philosophy
  • Rambam and Maimonideanism
  • Codification & halacha
  • Classical Bible commentary – parshanut ha-Mikra
  • The development of Kabbalah
  • Heresy and Orthodoxy

Courses

Jews and Judaism in the Medieval Period

Spanning three formative periods of Jewish history, this wide-ranging socio-cultural overview covers the Sefardic world, the Ashkenazi sphere, and the later Middle Ages when the two worlds collide.

  • Part 1: The Sefardi World – Geonim to the “Golden Age,” 500-1200 — source sheet (PDF download)
  • Part 2: The Formation of Ashkenazi Culture, 800-1200 — source sheet (PDF download)
  • Part 3: Synthesis and Dissolution – Ashkenaz and Sefarad at the Crossroads, 1200-1500 — source sheet (PDF download)

Philosophers and Mystics – Medieval Jewish Intellectual History

This course examines the crisis of meaning encountered by medieval Jews and their creative responses to finding renewed meaning in classical texts, whether through rationalist and mystical lenses.

Medieval Bible Commentary (Parshanut ha-Mikra)

Teaching parshanut has been a pedagogical evolution; in its current iteration, I teach this course using Sefer Bamidbar. We begin by studying each major commentator separately, including Rashi, Rashbam, Ibn Ezra, and Ramban. Parashat Balak serves as the first time we bring all four voices together on the page, by which time students are conversant with the commentarial styles of each. Time permitting, we then look at other commentaries as well, such as Se’adyah, Chizkuni, Bekhor Shor, Kli Yakar, and others, along with supercommentaries on Rashi and Ibn Ezra.

Classics of the Jewish Tradition – Introduction to the Jewish Bookshelf

This foundational course, taught to graduate students in Jewish Studies, Jewish Education, and the rabbinate, encompasses the Jewish bookshelf after the close of the Talmud and into modernity. Emphasizing genre as opposed to authors or works, it includes philosophy, commentary, halakhic codes, responsa, and piyyut.