Art History: Jewish Art from Antiquity to Modern Israel

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ART 109

       Course Name: Art History: Jewish Art from Antiquity to Modern Israel

       Credits: 3 (0 lecture; 6 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course explores Jewish artists searching for original style from the building of the tabernacle in the desert till the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Focus is on the influences of non-Jewish styles on Jewish art and architecture in the Diaspora as a reflection of diversity and assimilation and the new challenges after the re-establishment of the state of Israel.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Students will identify and classify works of Jewish Art.
  2. Students will identify and attribute works of art from this culture as to date/timeline, region, artist, and style.
  3. Students will distinguish between a culture’s symbols, and the images, objects, sculptures, or structures they created.
  4. Students will analyze art work in relation to its religious, social and cultural meaning or significance.
  5. Students will discuss and integrate lecture and textbook content.

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

  1. Introduction to art history
  2. Definitions of Jewish Art
  3. Jewish art in the Biblical time
  4. Jewish art during the Greco-Romano era
  5. The evolvement of the Synagogue
  6. Medieval Jewish manuscripts
  7. Jewish art from Renaissance to the 19th century
  8. Tourist artists in the Holy Land
  9. Art and Zionism in the turn of the 20th century
  10. Art of the Holocaust
  11. History of Israeli Art
  12. Architecture of Jewish and Israeli museums

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. PowerPoint presentations with lectures stressing the iconological and formal importance of the work.
  2. Class discussion and student presentations of final project.
  3. Supplementary films/videos.
  4. Field trip to the Spertus Museum, Chicago and/or the Illinois Holocaust Museum, Skokie

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as a face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
  1. Class attendance
  2. Homework assignments/readings
  3. Midterm paper and final project
  4. Participation in class discussions

IX.   Instructional Materials

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

Textbooks and articles can include:

  1. Berkowitz, Michael. “Art in Zionist Popular Culture and Jewish National Self Consciousness, 1897-1914,” In Art and its Uses, the Visual Image and Modern Jewish Society, edited by Ezra Mendelsohn, 9-42. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.
  2. Fine, Steven. “Rethinking Jewish Art.” Archaeology 59 (2006).
  3. Levin, Gail. “Censorship, Politics and Sexual Imagery in the Work of Jewish American
  4. Feminist Artists.” Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues 14 (Fall 2007) p. 63.
  5. Harpaz, Nathan. “The 1920’s and Tel Aviv: Bauhaus on the Sands.” International Architect (London 1985): 40-41.
  6. ______. A Gift to Biro-Bidjan: Chicago 1937; From Despair to New Hope. Des Plaines, IL: Koehnline Museum of Art, 2000.
  7. Pazner Malkin, Felice. “The art in Judaism – The First 3000 Years.” Contemplate 2 (2003).
  8. Serlin, David. “Can a Building be Jewish?” Architecture 93 (2004).
  9. Soltes, Ori, Z. “What is Jewish Art?” Chronicle of Higher Education 49 (2003).

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

10% attendance
20% assignments
25% midterm research paper
45% final project

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Each instructor will determine attendance policy.
  2. Make-up exams, incomplete grades, late assignments are at the discretion of the instructor.

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

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.