Oakton kicks off Jewish studies program on Skokie campus
Oakton Community College's Jewish studies program kicked off this month at the Skokie campus. The program provides learners with an interdisciplinary study of Jews and Judaism. | Mike Isaacs~Sun-Times Media
OAKTON JEWISH STUDIES
Location: 7701 Lincoln Ave., Skokie (and Des Plaines campus)
What: Eighteen semester hours designed for interdisciplinary study of Jews and Judaism.
Fall courses: History of the Holocaust; History of the Middle Ages; Art History: Jewish Art from Antiquity to Modern Israel; Beginning Hebrew I; Intermediate Hebrew I
Phone: (847) 635-1458
Updated: August 30, 2012 4:38PM
SKOKIE — When Oakton Community College began classes this month, it introduced a time machine into the past — about 3,000 years into the past.
That’s how long Jewish civilization has shaped history and the world, which is explored in the community college’s new Jewish Studies program.
“Many prestigious universities around the world have a Jewish Studies program, but Oakton is one of the few community colleges in the country to offer such a concentration,” said Jewish Studies Coordinator Wendy Maier-Sarti.
The Oakton history professor recently had a book published — “Women and Nazis: Perpetrators of Genocide and Other Crimes During Hitler’s Regime, 1933-45.” It was the result of 10 years of research into women who committed genocidal acts on behalf of the Third Reich.
Oakton planned an Introduction to Jewish Studies class for the fall, but it was scrapped because of low enrollment. Maier-Sarti said it will be offered in spring after word about the program has had time to percolate.
“By the very nature of its interdisciplinary approach, this program provides an opportunity to understand and appreciate the complexity and also the diversity of Jewish studies,” Maier-Sarti said.
The Jewish Studies concentration, an 18-semester-hour program, is available at both the Skokie and Des Plaines campuses.
Maier-Sarti said the concentration is dedicated to “the support of academic research, civic and community outreach, coordination with Jewish organizations, public lecture series, and symposia” to both educate and challenge community learners to be informed, responsible and capable global citizens.
Concentration requirements include History of the Holocaust and eventually Introduction to Jewish Studies, but students must also complete four additional classes designated as Jewish Studies courses or sections.
This fall, they include History of the Middle Ages, Art History: Jewish Art from Antiquity to Modern Israel, Beginning Hebrew I and Intermediate Hebrew.
There also are three fall events scheduled for the Skokie campus, including:
• “Reason vs. Revelation: A Jewish Alternative” from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sept. 13. in room P103. Explored are the role reason plays in the Jewish tradition and the ways in which reason and revelation may not be mutually exclusive.
• “Imagined and Guilty Identities: Remembering the Kindertransport” from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 11 in room A145-152. The Kindertransport saved nearly 10,000 predominantly Jewish children.
• “The Jewish Jesus” from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 16 in room P103. Reviewed will be ways in which studies of Jesus’ life and teachings downplayed or ignored his Jewish historical context.
Students meeting the requirements for the Jewish Studies concentration will have a notation added to their transcript. They must complete a Jewish Studies Concentration Completion Form and meet with Maier-Sarti.
“We welcome all those who wish to enrich their learning experiences with a basic overview of Jewish culture or want to delve further into the heart of Judaic studies,” Maier-Sarti said.