Introduction to Jewish Studies

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HIS 136

       Course Name: Introduction to Jewish Studies

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course offers a general overview of the history of Jews and Judaism, beginning with the Biblical period and ending with modern times. Course is a multidisciplinary introduction to Jewish Studies.

IV.   Learning Objectives

A.        Describe the major eras covered associated with the history of Jews and Judaism.
B.        Describe the achievements of the Jews in political, cultural, and social terms
C.        Compare representative works of literature and philosophy produced in an
introduction to Jewish Studies
D.        Explain the ethnic and cultural diversity of Jews and Judaism and the origins of
political, cultural, and ethnic conflict as associated with an introduction to Jewish Studies
F.        Analyze primary and secondary sources associated with the history of Jews and

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

    Introduction: the Jews
    The Jews and the Non-Western World
    The Jews and the Western World
    Jewish Culture and Music
    Jewish Literature
    Jewish Film
    Jewish Women
    The Holocaust
    The Jewish People after 1945
    Jews in the 21st Century

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Classes will include a variety of instructional methods such as: lectures, in class discussions, group activities, document and film analysis, and the use of new technologies.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to:
A.Read a standard textbook and research materials;
B.Write outside of class the equivalent of 15-20 double-spaced typed pages in the form of a term paper, book reviews, summaries of journal articles, short research papers, and/or other kinds of writing;
C.Complete quizzes, worksheets, a midterm, and a final exam;
D.Distinguish between primary and secondary sources as the foundation of modern historical scholarship;
E.Interpret primary sources critically by analyzing their historical contexts;
F.Formulate historical interpretations and defend them critically with reference to primary and secondary sources; and incorporate into historical interpretations as an understanding of historical causation knowledge of important figures and events and their chronological relationship to each other and an awareness of the contingent relationships using several variables;
G.Participate in in-class and out-of-class activities.
H.Course may be taught as face-to-face, media-based, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at