course
Judaism

Sep 2010

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.

Jan 2010

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.

Dec 2009

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.

Jan 2006

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.

Jan 2004

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.

Jan 2004

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.

Nov 2003

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.