The Center for Small Town Jewish Life offers several courses each year through the Jewish Studies program. Here is a sampling of recent classes.
This humanities lab course explores the various intersections between religious traditions, socioeconomic structures, and faith-based communities/organizations (among others), with particular attention to dynamics in Waterville. Students gain a deeper understanding of religious and other ethical approaches to issues related to wealth, poverty, and inequality. Students develop skills associated with community organizing and non-profit leadership through meaningful engagement with organizational partners and produce recommendations for addressing local challenges that draw heavily on field and library-based research.
For decades, ordinary citizens have exercised their power on a local and state level using the principles of congregation-based community organizing (CBCO). In this hands-on introduction to the principles of CBCO, students will learn how to organize to build power and create political change. With special attention to the Jewish texts that underlie this work, we will focus on the history of Jewish involvement in social justice movements as a case study for making change. Guest speakers from across the country will share their experiences.
Designed as an introduction to the art of public speaking. Its goals are twofold: 1) to analyze the stylistic and structural elements of great religious sermons and speeches 2) to develop the skills required to write effective speeches and deliver them in a professional context. The course will include two sessions a week dedicated to examining text, and a weekly lab to focus writing and delivering speeches. The final project for the course will include the delivery of a public address on a social justice topic at a local community organization in the Waterville area.