Review Comment

Judaism

September 27, 2010

Schorsch, Jonathan
Judaism

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

In contrast to the many negative reviews, which unfairly paint Professor Schorsch in a negative light, Professor Schorsch is one of the more knowledgeable and approachable professors on campus. I cover the specifics of his courses more in the “Workload” section. In general, though, he is more than willing to answer student questions, encourages discussion, holds frequent office hours, and always answers e-mails promptly. I’ve had professors that were absolutely impossible to get in contact with, so it is a refreshing change of pace to have one actively encourage it and willing to elucidate any topic you did not understand in class or discuss related topics not covered in the general syllabus.

Workload:

In terms of workload, Professor Schorsch’s courses are about the same as other classes at Columbia University. Actual written assignments that need to be handed in are actually less numerous than in most other classes. Usually they consist of 2-3 very small papers (3-5 pp each) and 1 longer paper (10-15 pp) due at the end of the semester instead of a final exam. 20-25 pp total a semester is not much in comparison to other courses where I easily had to write around 50-60 pp over the course of the semester in addition to having a final exam. Additionally, if you have a problem and contact him, he is usually flexible and is more than willing to offer advice on suggested reading and finding sources for your paper topic.

Reading assignments each week can be slightly above average in length compared to other courses at Columbia. However, they are not insanely long as some other reviews would like to claim. When combined with the amount of reading an average student generally has to do each week throughout all their courses, the amount can seem overwhelming. However, Professor Schorsch never puts someone on the spot and understands that students are very busy and may be unable to completely read an assignment sometimes. I’ve found that even if this is the case, generally reading what little of the assignment you can is sufficient to still partake in the class discussion due to Professor Schorsch being more than willing to answer student questions. One negative is that total textbook cost can run higher than most classes. Professor Schorsch, however, encourages, students to find the text books cheaper online (and often the books are not required till a few weeks into the semester--with the first few readings online--to give students time to acquire the books).

January 12, 2010

Schorsch, Jonathan
Judaism

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Although Mr. Schorsch is a very intelligent and interesting person, this class could have been so much more than it was.
The weekly reading were impossible. You had to read like 100 pages or a whole book, and often he would fail to upload the files on time, so you have very little time to read it. Some read the material in the class while he was giving his lecture, some just gave up.

I do want to mention that he was very flexible with students' personal interest and was open to (virtually) any subject that is somehow related to judaism. In addition, he encouraged class discussion which is a very important part of such class.

Workload:

Three biographies (around 3-4 fages each), one major final paper (7-10 pages). It sounds light but he's a tough grader.

December 01, 2009

Schorsch, Jonathan
Judaism

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Professor Schorsch is a sweet, brilliant man but this class was completely terrible.

His lectures went above everyone's heads. Most of the class stopped doing the reading maybe after the third week. He assumes you have done the reading, and so maybe the class would have been interesting if I had done it, but it wasn't during those first three weeks for me, and I think most of my classmates voted the same with their feet. Only maybe half the class showed up most of the time, and probably of that half most were on facebook through the class because really, it is 100% unengaging. The syllabus listed attendance as 10% of the grade, but he never took role and there had to be too many people in the class for him to keep track in his head.

To his credit:
-He did stop for questions/discussion at the end of each lecture but questions were barely ever asked, which is sad because it seemed like he really wanted to hear what we had to say. Too bad he didn't realize nobody was responding because we had no idea what the hell he had been talking about.
-He seems completely happy to talk to anyone in office hours/after class.
-He smiles a lot and makes cute jokes.

Workload:

Weekly reading is heavy, but you don't actually need to do any of it at all.
Papers-three 3pg biographies, two 5pg research papers, one take-home final which I haven't taken yet... so maybe you do need to do the readings though they haven't been necessary so far.

January 09, 2006

Segal, Alan
Judaism

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Alan Segal is a brilliant professor but this class was definitely far from easy. I worked my ass off and got a B. I did learn more things from this course than I have from any course at Columbia/Barnard for a while, but still.

January 14, 2004

Segal, Alan
Judaism

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Segal is someone you'll either love or hate. His unashamed placement of his owns texts on the syllabus is laughable. His arrogance can sort of be admired abstractly for what it is. He is, however, one of the world's leading experts on Judaism. His class is ill-organized and -attended, but he really doesn't seem to care. He likes to hear himself speak, and I happen to be fascinated with Judaism so I liked to hear him speak also, but I knew plenty of people who had no use for him. It's a coin toss, but if you're very interested in Judaism, you'll like it.

Workload:

participation/attendance (at least that's what it says on the syllabus - mine became pretty spotty by the end), a minimum of three papers, he chooses the topics. You get rewrites, and the grades get better as you go along. I got an A-.

January 01, 2004

Segal, Alan
Judaism

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Overall-I highly recommend this class!!! Prof. Segal is highly knowledgeable in this subject and is very friendly both in and out of class. I took this class to fulfill a requirement and I walked away from the class learning a lot. Lectures engaging as he loves to use the projector with every one of his lectures.

Workload:

Reading is not necessary. No exams at all! 3 papers spaced out during the semester 6-8 pages long. Grading is fair...with effort...easy A/A-!

November 03, 2003

Segal, Alan
Judaism

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

I took this class in hopes of acquiring a basic knowledge of the history of judaism. Unfortunately, the lectures are somewhat disorganized and disjointed, and although the material covered is interesting, and professor segal engaging, I am completely confused as to the actual structure of this religion, and how it developed over time.

Workload:

3 papers. no midterm or final.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
RELB / RELI RELB RELI V2505: Judaism Alan Segal 2008 Fall MW / 11:00-12:15 PM 1