INTRODUCTION TO JEWISH LITURGY Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman (Autumn, 1998) Introductory Considerations A Purpose of the Course The course will:
The 15 units listed below constitute the order and content of the lectures. Not all take equal time, however, and we will cover everything, either through extended lectures or through readings and brief classroom conversation. I do not take attendance, but the content of the lectures is such that without being in class regularly, it will be difficult for you to master the material. Just by being here, you will amass a set of notes summarizing the history of Jewish scholarship on the liturgy. I do not spend time translating. This is not primarily a text class, but a survey course. It is assumed that you can translate all prayers in basic liturgical Hebrew. The course is hard enough with sufficient reading and memorization that you may find yourself falling behind and anxious about the work. With so many in the class, it may become impossible for me to give you the full attention that you need to stay abreast of everyone else. But do let me know if you are worried. People do get through this, and they love what they learn. You came here to do work like this. I work myself hard to work you hard to make you the kind of graduate you want to be.
Bring a copy of Philip Birnbaum, Daily and Sabbath Prayer Book: Hasiddur Hashalem to every class. After the first week or two, we will consult it regularly as part of the lectures. For some topics, readings in advance are listed. Please read the material before coming to class. For others, readings after the lecture are called for. These will round out your understanding that you receive first by way of my lecture. In some cases, I will not lecture at all -- these being topics for which adequate reading material (entitled "independent reading assignments") is available. Optional readings are also given at times, but it is assumed that the required readings are more than enough to keep your interest occupied at this stage of your learning; you may want to come back to the optional things later.
C. Course Expectations
A final examination will cover everything in the course. If you do not keep up with lecture material, taking good notes and studying as we go along, you will have difficulty at the end. The material is vast, the readings are many, the lecturer talks quickly! Please be forewarned.
Mark off the Monday of exam week an examination that will take 3 hours, 9:00 - 12:00, and will cover all lectures and reading. Please do not ask to have the exam administered to you at some other time.
D. Extra Help
In past years, students with less than average background, or those whose college years did not include heavy reading assignments, found it difficult to keep up. This problem was exacerbated by the large class size. Once again, I anticipate a class of some 35 people. This year, I have asked the College to hire a senior student as a TA, and Jennifer Krausse has agreed to serve in that capacity. She will meet with those who wish for background classes on matters that I must take for granted but may be missing from the repertoire of information available to some students in the class. She will also meet to help student go over the readings, grasp complex lectures, and answer questions about the course in general.