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New Course Development Grant

The New Course Development Grant is given to exemplary faculty members, at the University of Florida, for the purpose of developing a new course in Jewish studies. This grant is designed to allow the Center for Jewish Studies to continually expand the curriculum and significantly enhance undergraduate education at the University of Florida. At the same time, the grant supports faculty research and development by funding travel and the purchase of books and equipment needed to carry out projects. The grants are also used to subvent publication of academic work.


Nina Caputo received a course development grant to update her survey course on medieval Jewish history and to develop a lecture course on the history of the Jews of Spain. She taught her updated Jewish history survey during the Fall of 2005. The new course included slide presentations on material culture as well as presentations on core concepts and ideas. Caputo will teach “The History of the Jews of Spain” in the Fall of 2006. This class covers the history of Iberian Jewry from the 10th century through the expulsion of 1492, and then follows these communities into representative exile communities.

Gerald Murray received a course development grant to prepare a course on the Anthropology of Judaism. He spent a month on the Gaza Strip, in a religious agrarian moshav (Ganei Tal) whose houses were eventually destroyed by bulldozers of the Israeli army in August of 2005. He spent three weeks in other parts of Israel interviewing Israeli sectors in favor of the pullout from Gaza. The course on the Anthropology of Judaism deals in part with the internecine religious antagonisms among Jews themselves which played themselves out during this period. The course is currently being taught in the Spring of 2006 under a joint Anthropology and Jewish Studies listing.

Kenneth Wald received a course development grant for a new undergraduate course on Judaism and Politics. The funds have been used to obtain machine-readable datasets that contain information about Jewish voting trends in the United States. These data will be used both for instructional purposes and as a basis for student research projects in this and other courses. The course will be taught in the fall of 2006.

Patricia Woodsreceived a course development grant for a course on “Women and Politics in Israel”. The course will be taught for the first time in the fall of 2006 and will be co-listed with the Department of Political Science. The course development award supports a book-length research project centered on extended interviews with comparative analysis of religious-secular conflict in the legal sphere in Israel. The funding is being used to support travel to Israel to conduct follow-up interviews by Dr. Woods, and to support a graduate research assistant, Yael Harari, who is an Israeli lawyer and doctoral candidate in Political Science. In addition to providing research assistance, Dr. Woods and Ms. Harari are working with the attention of co-authoring on aspects of the project.