Jan 292006
Authors: Skylar Rick

For the first time, CSU is offering an introduction to Judaism and Jewish philosophy class, but students must add the course by Feb. 1.

"We're not trying to change or reinforce anyone's own personal beliefs," said Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik , who is teaching the class. "It's also not 'Judaism for dummies,' it's quite complex and deep."

The class will apply controversial issues to the basics of the religion.

"We're going to do some background trying to give a basic comprehension of the foundation (of Judaism)," Gorelik said. "Some controversial issues will be discussed that will be open to input, but we want to provide, as objectively as possible, an outlook on Judaism."

Although this isn't the first religion class that has been available at CSU, it is the first centered entirely on Judaism.

"We have always taught Judaism, along with Christianity and Islam, in PL171, Religions of the West, and PL370, Contemporary Western Religious Thought," said Jane Kneller , philosophy department chair. "What classes we were able to devote to individual religions have depended on the availability of quality staff to teach these courses, as well as the funding."

Whether the class will be permanent is yet to be determined.

"It was simply a matter of getting the department faculty's approval to add a last-minute group study course to the curriculum for this spring, and the department was glad to do it," Kneller said.

But she is optimistic about the class sticking around for future semesters.

"Student demand seems to be there, and if all goes as planned, I don't foresee any problems," she said. "I sense an increased intellectual curiosity and interest on the part of the students in studying different ways of thinking about our place in our world and in the cosmos."

Some students believe the class is a good way to open their minds to new ideas.

"Its great to be able to have the opportunity to study different belief structures, even if we don't follow their principles," said Kelly Dalgetty , a freshman chemistry major. "It's a good opportunity to become well-rounded about the world's beliefs."

Skylar Rick can be contacted at campus@collegian.com.

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