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Eastern Michigan University Evening Learning Series

Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Evening Learning Series

The Eastern Michigan University Judaic Studies Department, the JCC, and the Jewish Federation of Ann Arbor have partnered to bring college level learning opportunities to the JCC.   This class will be taught in an interactive classroom style. While there will be no tests or quizzes, participants can expect weekly reading assignments. Participants are welcome to take one course, but are encouraged to take both for an evening of learning! Refreshments will be served between classes, and there will be time for socialization.  

COST: $75 per course JCC members,
       $90 per course non-members


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Taught by Professor Marty Schictman

January 29, February 5, 12, 19    
7-8:15 p.m.
At the JCC


Course Description

Since arriving in the United States, Jews have found themselves alternatively persecuted and assimilated.  They have occupied an uneasy space between being regarded as a racial minority—a scientifically unsupportable claim which, nonetheless, is believed by many Americans, including many Jewish-Americans—and a religious minority. Out of this often awkward relationship with the majority culture, American Jews have fashioned a literature that simultaneously looks back to the Torah, back to the Jewish ghettos of Eastern Europe, as well as forward towards a defining role in the intellectual life of the twenty-first century.  In this brief course of study, participants will read a small sampling of poetry from one of our nation's most vibrant minorities.

The cultural position of American Jews has been the subject of in­tense discussion among authors and scholars.  This course will be no exception.  You will undoubtedly hear points of view being expressed that may conflict with your own. I hope this course will be a forum for a great deal of discussion and debate, and I hope that each participant will contribute to a frank, open atmosphere.


Week 1            Emma Lazarus, “In the Jewish Synagogue at Newport;” “1492;” “The NewColossus”                   

                        Aaron Glanz, “The God of Israel;” “New York”                                  

Week 2            Irving Berlin, “God Bless America”

                        Muriel Rukeyser, “More of a Corpse than a Woman;” “To be aJew in the Twentieth Century”                                                                                     

Week 3            H. Leyvik, “To America”

                        Allen Ginsberg, “America” 

Week 4            Howard Nemerov, “Nicodemus”

                        Denise Levertov, “Illustrious Ancestors;”                                         

                        Phillip Levine, “Zaydee;” “The Sweetness of Bobby Hefka”

Martin B. Shichtman is Director of Jewish Studies and Professor of English Language and Literature at Eastern Michigan University.  He has been a fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and at Brandeis University’s Schusterman Institute for Israel Studies.  He has been recipient of a Mellon Partnership grant with Smith College. He has also directed several National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars for School Teachers and an NEH Focus Grant, teaming teachers from EMU with teachers from Detroit’s Mumford High School.  Dr. Shichtman has authored two books, edited two collections, and published more than thirty scholarly articles.  He has presented more than 100 papers at international, national, and regional conferences.



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