MATERIAL TO KNOW FOR JEWISH BIBLE ASSOCIATION PROFICIENCY EXAMS
IN HEBREW AND JUDAIC STUDIES

 

Textual Analysis of the Pentateuch: Genesis

Objectives:  To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to prepare a textual analysis of Genesis, as well as the comparative analysis of the various studied commentaries; discuss and analyze literary aspects of Genesis’ main narrative; recognize the range of traditional biblical exegesis and its exegetes; explore ethical and narrative applications of the text and applied commentary; make value decisions about issues; and criticize or defend the activities of the biblical characters.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. The candidate is expected to be very familiar with the text of the biblical narrative of the Book of Genesis (Creation, Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, Deluge, Noah, Covenant, Tower of Babel, Abraham and Sarah, Ishmael, Sodom, Binding of Isaac, Jacob, Esau, Twelve Tribes, Joseph, Pharaoh, Dream Interpretation, Famine in Egypt, Israel in Goshen, Jacob’s Blessings), and familiarity with selected commentaries in traditional biblical exegesis (Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nachmanides, Abravanel, Radak, Ktav V’ha’kabbalah, Or Hachayim, Sforno). One section will contain 5-6 unseen passages with commentaries and the student will be required to answer questions on the commentary.

Recommended readings:

  • JBA study guide
  • knowledge of pshat of each parsha

Textual Analysis of the Pentateuch:  Exodus

Objectives:  To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to prepare a textual analysis of Exodus, as well as the comparative analysis of the various studied commentaries; discuss and analyze literary aspects of Exodus’ main narrative; recognize the range of traditional biblical exegesis and its exegetes; explore ethical and narrative applications of the text and applied commentary; make value decisions about issues; criticize or defend the activities of the biblical characters, and find inconsistencies or fallacies in their behavior. In topics on biblical law, the candidate is expected to be able to analyze the basic premise and state the rule from the text, be able to classify or arrange the components, and predict how the law is applicable in modern life.

Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. The candidate is expected to be very familiar with the structure of the Book of Exodus (two main sections) as well as with the text of the biblical narrative of Exodus (slavery in Egypt; birth of Moses; burning bush; Moses sent to Pharoah; Ten Plagues; Exodus from Egypt; splitting of the Red Sea; Manna from Heaven; Sabbath laws; appointment of judges; giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai; social laws; building the Tabernacle in the desert; Golden Calf; Thirteen Attributes; Garments of the Priests) and familiarity with selected commentaries in traditional biblical exegesis (Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nachmanides, Abravanel, Radak, Ktav V’ha’kabbalah, Or Hachayim, Sforno). One section will contain 5-6 unseen passages with commentaries and the student will be required to answer questions on the commentary.

Recommended readings:

  • JBA study guide
  • knowledge of pshat of each parsha

Textual Analysis of the Pentateuch: Leviticus

Objectives:  To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to prepare a textual analysis of Leviticus, as well as the comparative analysis of the various studied commentaries; discuss and analyze literary aspects of Leviticus’ main narrative; recognize the range of traditional biblical exegesis and its exegetes; explore ethical and narrative applications of the text and applied commentary; make value decisions about issues; and criticize or defend the activities of the biblical characters. In topics on biblical law, the candidate is expected to be able to analyze the basic premise and state the rule from the text, be able to classify or arrange the components, and predict how the law is applicable in modern life.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. The candidate is expected to be very familiar with the text of the biblical narrative of the Book of Leviticus (burnt offerings; meal offerings; peace offerings; mistake offerings; guilt offerings; priest’ portion; installment of the priests; inauguration of the Tabernacle; death of Nadav and Abihu; laws of kosher animals and fish; laws of childbirth; laws of leprosy of skin and clothes; laws of bodily discharges; Yom Kippur service; prohibition against eating blood; forbidden sexual relationships; laws of the first fruits; laws of priests and high priest; holidays; sabbatical year; laws relating to lending of money; laws of slaves; reward and punishment; endowment evaluations) and familiarity with selected commentaries in traditional biblical exegesis (Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nachmanides, Abravanel, Radak, Ktav V’ha’kabbalah, Or Hachayim, Sforno) One section will contain 5-6 unseen passages with commentaries and the student will be required to answer questions on the commentary.

Recommended readings:

  • JBA study guide and knowledge of pshat of each parsha

Textual Analysis of the Pentateuch: Numbers

Objectives:  To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to prepare a textual analysis of Numbers, as well as the comparative analysis of the various studied commentaries; discuss and analyze literary aspects of Numbers’ main narrative; recognize the range of traditional biblical exegesis and its exegetes; explore ethical and narrative applications of the text and applied commentary; make value decisions about issues; and criticize or defend the activities of the biblical characters. In topics on biblical law, the candidate is expected to be able to analyze the basic premise and state the rule from the text, be able to classify or arrange the components, and predict how the law is applicable in modern life.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. The candidate is expected to be very familiar with the structure of the Book of Numbers (main sections) as well as with text of the biblical narrative of Numbers (census; camp arrangement; duties of the Levites; redemption of the first born; responsibility of the Levite families; suspected adulteress; the laws of the Nazirite; the Menorah; Miriam’s punishment; 12 spies; laws of offerings; the sabbath violator; rebellion of Korah; punishment of the rebellion; the Red Heifer; Moses hitting the rock; war with Edom; death of Aaron; war with Canaan; confrontation with Sichon and Og; Bilaam attempted curse; Pinchas; division of the land; laws of vows; borders of Israel) and familiarity with selected commentaries in traditional biblical exegesis (Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nachmanides, Abravanel, Radak, Ktav V’ha’kabbalah, Or Hachayim, Sforno). One section will contain 5-6 unseen passages with commentaries and the student will be required to answer questions on the commentary.

Recommended readings:

  • JBA study guide and knowledge of pshat of each parsha

Textual Analysis of the Pentateuch: Deuteronomy

Objectives:  To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to prepare a textual analysis of Deuteronomy, as well as the comparative analysis of the various studied commentaries; discuss and analyze literary aspects of Deuteronomy’s main narrative; recognize the range of traditional biblical exegesis and its exegetes; explore ethical and narrative applications of the text and applied commentary; make value decisions about issues; and criticize or defend the activities of the biblical characters. In topics on biblical law, the candidate is expected to analyze the basic premise and state the rule from the text, be able to classify or arrange the components, and predict how the law is applicable in modern life.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. The candidate is expected to be very familiar with the structure of the Book of Deuteronomy: address to the people, exhortation, moral demands as well as the text of the biblical narrative of the Book of Deuteronomy (recollection of events, encounters and victories; Moses’ plea; loyalty to God; setting up the cities of refuge; the 10 Commandments; reward for obedience; non-sacrificial meat; idolatrous prophet and city; kosher and non-kosher animals; tithes; sabbatical year; establishing judges and police; kings; laws of witnesses; laws of inheritance; rebellious son; rape; divorce; laws of employees; first fruit; covenant with God; Song of Moses; Blessing of Moses) and familiarity with selected commentaries in traditional biblical exegesis (Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nachmanides, Abravanel, Radak, Ktav V’ha’kabbalah, Or Hachayim, Sforno) One section will contain 5-6 unseen passages with commentaries and the student will be required to answer questions on the commentary.

Recommended readings:

  • JBA study guide and knowledge of pshat of each parsha

 

Laws of Kashrut: Elementary Level

Objectives: To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to recall terms; give examples; choose the best statement that applies; identify the results of a scenario; distinguish between possibilities; solve problems from vignettes; and find errors in a scenario.

Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. Content covered includes: Underlying concepts and principles of the laws of Kosher food as found in the Code of Jewish Law, Yoreh Deah: nevelah, treifa, foods which cannot be batel; davar she’beminyan, davar chashuv, laws of kashering meat; shechita, nonkosher animals, fish, insects, blood, hadash, challah, pat akum, bishul akum, yayin nesech, stam yeinam, hag’alat kelim.

RECOMMENDED  READINGS:

  • Ehud Rosenberg, Meat and Dairy: An illustrated halachic guide (New York: Feldheim Publishers, 2004)
  • JBA Study Guide

Laws of Kashrut: Intermediate Level

Objectives:  To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to recall terms; give examples; chose the best statement that applies; identify the results of a scenario; distinguish between possibilities; solve problems from vignettes; find errors in a scenario; and design and formulate a solution to a new problem integrating knowledge from several areas and supporting the solution.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions.  Content covered includes: Underlying concepts and principles of the laws of Kosher food as found in the Code of Jewish Law, Yoreh Deah:  Bitul b’rov, bitul b’shishim, ben yomo, yavesh b’yavesh, lach b’lach, chelev, kli rishon, kli sheni, irui.

RECOMMENDED  READINGS:

  • Ehud Rosenberg, Meat and Dairy: An illustrated halachic guide (New York: Feldheim Publishers, 2004)
  • JBA study guide

Laws of Kashrut: Advanced Level

Objectives:  To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to recall terms; give examples; chose the best statement that applies; identify the results of a scenario; distinguish between possibilities; solve problems from vignettes; find errors in a scenario; and design and formulate a solution to a radically new problem integrating knowledge from several areas and supporting the solution.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. Content covered includes: Underlying concepts and principles of the laws of Kosher food as found in the Code of Jewish Law: Yoreh Deah: Chozer v’ne’or, noten taam lif’gam, taam k’ikkar, kavush ki’mevushal, maliach k’roteach, reicha milta, zei’a, nat bar nat, efshar le’sochto, chatichah naa’seyt nevela, heteira bal’ah, davar charif, birya, davar she’yesh lo matirin, tataei gavar.

RECOMMENDED  READINGS:

  • Ehud Rosenberg, Meat and Dairy: An illustrated halachic guide (New York: Feldheim Publishers, 2004)
  • JBA study guide

Laws of Sabbath: Elementary Level

Objectives:  To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to recall terms; give examples; chose the best statement that applies; identify the results of a scenario; distinguish between possibilities; solve problems from vignettes; and find errors in a scenario.

Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. Content covered includes: Underlying principles and concepts of the laws of Sabbath as found in the Code of Jewish Law, Orach Chayim: melacha, mutar, patur, chayav, 39 avot melachot, mishkan, av, tolada, sh’vut, muktzeh, eruvin, hotza’ah, and positive commandments of: zachor, oneg, kavod, prayers.

RECOMMENDED READING:

  • JBA Study Guide

Laws of Sabbath: Intermediate Level

Objectives:  To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to recall terms; give examples; chose the best statement that applies; identify the results of a scenario; distinguish between possibilities; solve problems from vignettes; find errors in a scenario; and design and formulate a solution to a new problem integrating knowledge from several areas and supporting the solution.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. Content covered include: Underlying principles and concepts of the laws of Sabbath as found in the Code of Jewish Law, Orach Chayim: melechet machshevet, kil’achar yad, maaseh oman, mekalkel, melacha she’eina tz’richa legufa, psik reisha, psik reisha d’lo nicha lei, psik reisha d’lo ichpat lei, mit’asek, shogeg, shinui, choleh b’shabbat

RECOMMENDED READING:

  • JBA Study Guide

Laws of Sabbath: Advanced Level

Objectives: To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to recall terms; give examples; chose the best statement that applies; identify the results of a scenario; distinguish between possibilities; solve problems from vignettes; find errors in a scenario; and design and formulate a solution to a radically new problem integrating knowledge from several areas and supporting the solution.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions.  Content covered includes: Underlying principles and concepts of the laws of Sabbath as found in the Code of Jewish Law, Orach Chayim: the av melacha and tolada of each of the 39 melachot.

RECOMMENDED READING:

  • JBA Study Guide

Elementary Modern Hebrew
Objectives:  To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to read vocalized and unvocalized texts, write page-long compositions and comprehend simple reading passages; understand the consonant and vowel systems, their divisions and characteristics; analyze Hebrew words as to their roots, prefixes and suffixes; identify parts of speech; inflection of verbs and nouns; translate English sentences into Hebrew, use the pronominal form, switch statements into questions, switch singular sentences into plural form, and write 120 word essay on one of three topics.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. Content covered includes:  Hebrew alphabet, writing system (print and cursive), sound system, simple and complex language constructions, elementary grammar and a vocabulary of approximately 600 words.

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

  • JBA Study Guide
  • Edward Horowitz, HOW THE HEBREW LANGUAGE GREW (New York: Ktav, 1960; reprinted 2001)

Intermediate Modern Hebrew
Objectives:  To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to read a Hebrew story, translate it into English, answer questions on the story in Hebrew, and paraphrase Hebrew stories in his own words; write a 200 word essay on a topic that incorporates previously learned grammar and syntax, inferring more advanced grammatical structures from contextual sentences and placing correct grammatical form, and thus integrate grammar learned to give proper tense and noun forms. Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. Content covered includes:  Vocabulary of 1200 words sufficient to read newspaper articles, poetry, and prose in simplified Hebrew and demonstrate further development of conversation skills.

RECOMMENDED READING:

  • JBA Study Guide
  • Edward Horowitz, HOW THE HEBREW LANGUAGE GREW (New York: Ktav, 1960; reprinted 2001).

Advanced Modern Hebrew
Objectives:  To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to:  read an Israeli academic journal article in Hebrew and answer questions in Hebrew on the text; to paraphrase in one’s own words one of the key points in the essay; answer cloze questions testing reading comprehension and language fluency by filling in the missing words or phrases; understand and use complex syntactical and morphological aspects of grammar such as: switching semichut from singular to plural, nouns and adjectives from singular to plural, noun declensions in singular and plural (e.g. chelkecha, chalakeicha), using connectives of time (le’achar, le’achar miken, lifnei, lifnei chen, b’meshech, b’mahalach, b’od, l’olam, mei’olam), of reason (biglal, b’shel, ekev, mipnei sheh, mi’keivan sheh, mishum sheh, mei’achar sheh), of result (lachen, l’fichach, k’totza’ah mikach), of concession (lamrot, al af, af al pi sheh, omnam, aval, af al pi chen), of purpose (k’dei, k’dei sheh, l’ma’an), of comparison (l’umat, l’umat zot, b’nigud l’kach, v’ilu), of condition (im, ilu, lu) and their tenses (ilulei, lulei), and of contract (aval, ach, ulam); understand and use verb conjugations and verbal nouns in shelemim (all binyanim and in passive pu’al and huf’al), gizrat peh nun (in simple: lipol, nafal, in passive (nifal) k’hinaten, nitan, gizrat peh yod (in simple: laredet, yerida, in causative (hifil), l’horid, horada, gizrat ayin vav (in simple: lakum, kima). There is also an involved composition where the candidate must express an opinion on a timely topic (social, political, or scientific).
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. The main focus at this level is on syntax, fluency, and lexicon with a review of more complex morphology. Expected vocabulary is 4,000 words. 


Elementary Biblical Hebrew
Objectives:  To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to identify letters, parts of speech, grammatical forms and syntax; analyze a verb for its root stem by making connections among different pieces of information learned and formulate what these connections mean; assess grammatical questions and give correct answer; incorporate all the grammatical syntax and morphology learned and correctly translate 15 lines of biblical prose; be able to use the Brown, Driver, Briggs Lexicon; parse verbal forms according to root, person, number, and gender; switch perfect to imperfect and vice-versa; inflect nouns; and infer from context of biblical verse the proper tense and meaning of a word.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. Content covered includes: Nouns and adjectives; the article (He’ Hayyidua’), the nominal phrase and the noun-clause; the interrogative pronoun; the dual form; the genitive and the construct state (Semichut); numerals: cardinal and ordinal numbers; the pronoun: the personal pronoun – the separate pronoun, the pronominal suffixes, the demonstrative pronoun, the relative pronoun, the interrogative and indefinite pronouns; the particles: prefixed prepositions, prepositions with pronominal suffixes (prepositions in the singular nominal pattern and prepositions in the plural pattern);  conjunctions (ki, ya’an, ‘ekev, ‘al ki, ‘asher, ‘im, pen, ‘af, ‘af ‘asher etc.);  basic nominal patterns; verbal morphology: root vs. pattern (binyan) plus the seven binyanim; the tenses: katal (perfect), yiktol (imperfect), vayyiktol, vekatalti, participle forms, infinitive forms (absolute and construct form); the modal forms (cohortative, jussive, imperative); some basic syntactical issues: nominal vs. verbal clause, relative clause, infinitive phrase. Selected biblical passages (prose) are taken from: Genesis 22, 27, 29. I Samuel 11, Ruth 1.

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

  • BDB = F. Brown, S.R. Driver, C.A. Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (reprinted ed.) Boston: Houghton, Mifflin 1906 [student is urged to purchase this text.
  • JBA Study Guide (which includes the Sefer Imrei Madrich which lists the roots of each biblical verse)

Intermediate Biblical Hebrew
Objectives:  To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to identify more complex parts of speech, grammatical forms and syntax such as irregular binyanim, conjugation of prepositions, tautological infinitives, infinitive construct, nominal clauses, relative clauses, conjunctions, word order, more complex modal forms of the jussive, cohortative and imperative; analyze a verb for its root stem; assess grammatical questions and give correct answer; incorporate all the grammatical syntax and morphology learned and correctly translate 11 lines of biblical prose and 6 lines of biblical poetry; parse verbal forms according to root, person, number, and gender; switch perfect to imperfect and vice-versa; switch katol to yiktol forms and vice-versa; inflect nouns; switch composite verbs to regular separate form; and infer from context of biblical verse the proper tense and meaning of a word.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. The main focus at this level of Biblical Hebrew is on syntax and lexicon (vocabulary), with a review of verbal and nominal morphology. Content covered includes: recognition of the shoresh: verbal morphology (reversal): paradigms of the binyanim (the strong verb paradigm, verbs with pey gronit, with ayin gronit, and lamed gronit, verbs with double ayin, weak verbs, verbs of pey yud, pey nun, ayin yud/ayin vav, lamed yud/lamed heh, pey alef, lamed alef), verbs with pronominal suffixes (accusative pronoun); nouns with possessive (genitive) pronominal suffixes (conjugations of singular and plural forms); conjugations of prepositions (e.g. ba’avuri, ba’avurech; the tense system: the use of the perfect (qatal) and the imperfect (yiqtol), the imperfect with vaw ha’hipuch, the perfect with vaw ha’hipuch; the tautological infinitive (e.g. haloch halchu, tarof toraf); construction of the infinitive construct with subject and object (la’asoto, b’vo’o); the nominal clause (sheker ha’chen, hevel ha’yofi); types of subordination and coordination;  the relative clause; conjunctions (ki, ya’an, ekev, al ki, al ken, ka’asher, pen, af); word order. Textual material will be taken from: (prose) I Samuel 19-21, Exodus 19-20;  (poetry) Amos 1-2, Isaiah 6, and Psalms 1 and 126.

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

  • BDB = F. Brown, S.R. Driver, C.A. Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (reprinted ed.) Boston: Houghton, Mifflin 1906 [student is urged to purchase this text.
  • JBA Study Guide (which includes the Sefer Imrei Madrich which lists the roots of each biblical verse)

Advanced Cantillation of the Bible I (Torah reading)
Objectives:
 To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to recognize the text distinguishing it from other liturgical pieces; be able to rapidly adapt to different repertoire; recall the appropriate information (melody) from among many possibilities; focus on the proper melody from among many; assemble the components in one’s mind; and express the melody with classic interpretation, and be able to sing the melodic line within the basic rules of Hebrew grammar, specifically: proper smichut of the words and proper pronunciation.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions.  Content covered includes: The music and grammar of the cantillation system concentrating on the Polish-Lithuanian and German tradition and covering the five books of the Bible. The candidate is expected to read and chant according to the specific musical notation of each book any verse at random and demonstrate awareness of thematic content and its relationship to the melodic nusach. The student is graded using the Julliard vocal performance evaluation form.

RECOMMENDED READING:


Advanced Cantillation of the Bible II (Esther, Ruth, Lamentations, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes)
Objectives:  To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to recognize the text distinguishing it from other liturgical pieces; be able to rapidly adapt to different repertoire; recall the appropriate information (melody) from among many possibilities; focus on the proper melody from among many; assemble the components in his mind; and express the melody with classic interpretation and being able to sing the melodic line within the basic rules of Hebrew grammar, specifically: proper smichut of the words and proper pronunciation.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. Content covered includes: The music and grammar of the cantillation system concentrating on the Polish-Lithuanian and German tradition and covering the ta’amim of the books of Esther, Ruth, Lamentations, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes. The candidate is expected to read and chant according to the specific musical notation of each book any verse at random and demonstrate awareness of thematic content and its relationship to the melodic nusach. The student is graded using the Julliard vocal performance evaluation form.

RECOMMENDED READING:


Sabbath Prayer Chant and Liturgy
Objectives:
 To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to recognize the text distinguishing it from other liturgical pieces; be able to rapidly adapt to different repertoire; recall the appropriate information (melody) from among many possibilities; focus on the proper melody from among many hundreds; assemble the components in his mind; and express the melody with classic and own interpretation and being able to sing the melodic line within the basic rules of Hebrew grammar, specifically: proper smichut of the words and proper pronunciation.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. Content covered includes:  Shabbat prayer chant and its interpretation in the contemporary synagogue in its formal and improvisational aspects; application of nusach components of the music. The candidate is expected to recognize and chant according to classic Nusach melody and mode any verse at random from the following three hour long Sabbath service: Kabbalat Shabbat, Shacharit, and Musaf and demonstrate awareness of thematic content and its relationship to the melodic nusach. The student is graded using the Julliard vocal performance evaluation form.

RECOMMENDED READING:


Three Festivals Prayer Chant and Liturgy
Objectives:
 To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to recognize the text distinguishing it from other liturgical pieces; be able to rapidly adapt to different repertoire; recall the appropriate information (melody) from among many possibilities; focus on the proper melody from among many hundreds; assemble the components in his mind; and express the melody with classic and own interpretation and being able to sing the melodic line within the basic rules of Hebrew grammar, specifically: proper smichut of the words and proper pronunciation.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. Content covered includes: Prayer chant for the Three Festivals and analysis of all the Festival services with an emphasis on special music for the TAL and GESHEM prayers and improvisation techniques. The candidate is expected to recognize and chant according to classic Nusach melody and mode any verse at random from the following four hour long Three Festival holiday liturgy: Maariv, Shacharit including Hallel, Musaf including the classic Tal and Geshem recitations and demonstrate awareness of thematic content and its relationship to the melodic nusach. The student is graded using the Julliard vocal performance evaluation form.

RECOMMENDED READING:


High Holiday Prayer Chant and Liturgy: Rosh Hashanah
Objectives:
 To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to recognize the text distinguishing it from other liturgical pieces; be able to rapidly adapt to different repertoire; recall the appropriate information (melody) from among many hundreds of possibilities; focus on the proper melody from among many hundreds of possibilities; assemble the components in his mind; and express the melody with classic and own interpretation and being able to sing the melodic line within the basic rules of Hebrew grammar, specifically: proper smichut of the words and proper pronunciation.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. Content covered includes:  Days of Awe machzor, sections of the piyutim; the Days of Awe services and traditional melodies; analysis of various motifs and of the MiSinai tunes; Rosh Hashanah prayer chant and liturgy. The candidate is expected to recognize and chant according to classic Nusach melody and mode any verse at random from the five hour long Rosh Hashanah liturgy: Maariv, Shacharit, Hineni, Musaf and demonstrate awareness of thematic content and its relationship to the melodic nusach. The student is graded using the Julliard vocal performance evaluation form.

RECOMMENDED READING:


High Holiday Prayer Chant and Liturgy: Yom Kippur
Objectives:
 To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to recognize the text distinguishing it from other liturgical pieces; be able to rapidly adapt to different repertoire; recall the appropriate information (melody) from among many hundreds of possibilities; focus on the proper melody from among many hundreds of possibilities; assemble the components in his mind; and express the melody with classic and own interpretation and being able to sing the melodic line within the basic rules of Hebrew grammar, specifically: proper smichut of the words and proper pronunciation.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. Content covered includes: Days of Awe machzor, sections of the piyutim; the Days of Awe services and traditional melodies. Analysis of various motifs and of the MiSinai tunes; Yom Kippur prayer chant and liturgy. The candidate is expected to recognize and chant according to classic Nusach melody and mode any verse at random from the eight hour long Yom Kippur liturgy: Maariv, Shacharit, Musaf, Neila and demonstrate awareness of thematic content and its relationship to the melodic nusach. The student is graded using the Julliard vocal performance evaluation form.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Elementary Talmud
Objectives: To prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to read any unseen page of the Babylonian Talmud; understand the Aramaic grammar and vocabulary; comprehend talmudic legal expressions and terminology; understand types of statements (information statements, legal statements, explanatory statements, qualifying statements, and arguments), information questions (resolution of a legal issue, authorship of a citation, source of citation), attack questions (that statement is false or unnecessary), answers to attack questions (new explanation; qualification limiting the law; attack on the question), logical proofs, and laws presented in association with a case, and how they are linked to form the dynamics of talmudic logic and argumentation, and how to learn from basic commentaries such as Rashi; infer the underlying premise of the talmudic text, evaluate the relationship between parts of the legal discussion, restate in one’s own words, and support the different points of view; propose alternative suggestions; state what ideas justify conclusions and defend this position.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. Content covered includes: Reading and translation; talmudic idiom; talmudic expressions and terminology; analysis of dynamics of talmudic logic and argumentation; and analysis of basic commentaries, such as Rashi. The candidate is expected to read and understand unseen Aramaic texts.

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

N.D. Rabinowich, Talmudic Terminology (New York: Mozanim Publishing, 1996)

  1. Krupnick, The Gateway To Learning: A Systematic Introduction To The Study Of Talmud (New York: Feldheim, 1981)

Aryeh Carmell Aiding Talmud Study (New York: Feldheim, 1991)

Haim Perlmutter Tools For Tosafos (New York: Targum/Feldheim, 1996)

  1. Feigenbaum Understanding The Talmud: A Systematic Guide To Talmudic Structure And Methodology (New York: Feldheim, 1988)
  2. Frank Grammar For Gemara: An Introduction To Babylonian Aramaic (Jerusalem: Ariel Publishing, 1975)

Intermediate Talmud
Objectives:  In addition to the learning objectives in Elementary Talmud, to prepare for the examination, the candidate is expected to be able to read and comprehend advanced commentaries from previously unseen texts which have a plain answer buried among a mass of material; ferret out the one line interspersed between many paragraphs in the commentary that gives the legal codification and understand their particular approach to the text based on their comments; infer the underlying premise of the talmudic and commentary text; evaluate the relationship between parts of the legal discussion; restate in one’s own words and support the different points of view; propose alternative suggestions; state what ideas justify conclusions and defend this position, and suggest which commentary is more logical and appropriate to the topic.
Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. Content covered includes: Advanced commentaries (Tosafot, Rosh, RAN, Nimukei Yosef, Ritva), determining alternative interpretations, asking relevant logical questions, the talmudic argumentative and deductive process, and the methodology of early commentators and its effect on codification of Jewish law. The candidate is expected to read and understand more complex unseen Aramaic texts.

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

  • N.D. Rabinowich, Talmudic Terminology (New York: Mozanim Publishing, 1996)
  1. Krupnick, The Gateway To Learning: A Systematic Introduction To The Study Of Talmud (New York: Feldheim, 1981)
  • Aryeh Carmell Aiding Talmud Study (New York: Feldheim, 1991)
  • Haim Perlmutter Tools For Tosafos (New York: Targum/Feldheim, 1996)
  1. Feigenbaum Understanding The Talmud: A Systematic Guide To Talmudic Structure And Methodology (New York: Feldheim, 1988)
  2. Frank Grammar For Gemara: An Introduction To Babylonian Aramaic (Jerusalem: Ariel Publishing, 1975)

Advanced Talmud
Objectives:
 Self-preparation of text, emphasizing medieval and later commentaries, and development of the student’s ability to prepare and collate studies in primary sources. The exam tests for proficiency in reading complex unseen texts; reading, understanding and extracting principles in early and later commentaries; ability to abstract a principle from a given argument; comparing instances of the principle in other areas; analytic skills in arguing a position when dealing with complex texts of early commentators, codifiers, and later commentators. The student will be expected to read through extensive commentaries where only concrete examples are given and be required to extract the underlying legal principle; be able to compare instances of the legal principle in other areas; and argue a position when dealing with these complex texts. The student will be able to infer the underlying premise of the talmudic and commentary text, evaluate the relationship between parts of the legal discussion, be able to restate in his own words and support the different points of view, be able to propose alternative suggestions, be able to suggest in which situation the commentator’s premise does not hold; be able to state what ideas justify conclusions and defend this position, and be able to suggest which commentary is more logical and appropriate to the topic. The student will also be to analyze and conceptualize and apply it to structure of Jewish law.

Instruction:  The proficiency examination process is intended to measure a body of knowledge that the candidate has acquired through other learning experiences. Each examination is administered under secure and proctored conditions. Content covered includes: Self-preparation of text and advanced commentaries (Tosafot, Rosh, Ramban, Ran, Ritva, Nimukei Yosef, Baal Hamaor), reading, understanding and extracting principles in early and later commentaries; determining alternative interpretations, asking relevant logical questions, the talmudic argumentative and deductive process, and the methodology of early commentators and its effect on codification of Jewish law. The candidate is expected to read and understand more complex unseen Aramaic texts and advanced commentaries.

Ethics of the Fathers 201

This advanced upper level exam covering the first three chapters of the Talmudic tractate Pirkei Avot will require the student to demonstrate a command of Mishnaic Hebrew, being able to understand a Mishna and commentaries such as Rashi, Bartenura, Rabbenu Yonah and Maimonides, and deal with moral dilemmas such as equality before the law, does the crime fit the punishment, importance of getting a job, prohibition of shaming people.

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

  • knowledge of each Mishna
  • JBA study guide

Ethics of the Fathers 202

This advanced upper level exam covering the last three chapters of the Talmudic tractate Pirkei Avot will require the student to demonstrate a command of Mishnaic Hebrew, being able to understand a Mishna and commentaries such as Rashi, Bartenura, Rabbenu Yonah and Maimonides, and deal with moral and communal issues such as how to handle disagreements, the proper way to provide comfort to people in distress, theories of education, and proper judgment.

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

  • knowledge of each Mishna
  • JBA study guide

History 201

The proficiency exam for this semester long equivalent course will require the student to display a broad knowledge of the history of the Jewish people from the times of the Patriarchs until the destruction of the Second Temple. The period of the patriarchs: Abraham and the reintroduction of monotheism; fraternal strife and the right of succession; Egyptian oppression. The birth of a nation and the period of the judges: Moses and the Exodus; the Covenant at Mount Sinai; Joshua and the conquest of the land; the Judges; Samuel and the failed experiment in monarchy; Philistine threat. The period of the prophets and kings: David and the establishment of the monarchy; Solomon; the divided kingdom; the prophets; the Babylonian Exile and return; Malachi and the end of prophecy. From Ezra to Hillel – the period of the zugot: Ezra and the Great Assembly; the spread of Hellenism; the Maccabee revolt and its aftermath, Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes; the Sanhedrin and the Zugot; Herod’s rise to power; Hillel; Rome’s influence; origins of Christianity; King Agrippa; war with Rome, fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the Second Temple.

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

  • Philip Ginsbury and Raphael Cutler The Phases of Jewish History (Jerusalem: Devora Publishing, 2005)
  • JBA study guide

History 202

The proficiency exam for this semester long equivalent course will require the student to display a broad knowledge of the history of the Jewish people from the times of the destruction of the Second Temple until the establishment of the State of Israel. The Tannaim; Jabneh and the work of reconstruction; R. Akiva and the bar Kochba revolt; Rabbi Judah the Prince and the Mishna; the period of the Amoraim in Eretz Yisrael; the period of the Amoraim in Babylon; political developments in the Roman Empire; religious oppression; completion of the Talmud. The Savoraim, the Geonim, the Exilarchs, the Karaite schism, Hasdai ibn Shaprut; the rise of Islam; Jewish life in Northern Europe; Rabbenu Gershom. Rashi and the period of the Rishonim: Rashi, the Tosaphists; the Crusades; conditions in Medieval Europe; expulsion of the Jews from England and France; North Africa and Spain; the RIF, Maimonides; Nachmanides; Asher ben Yechiel and the TUR; the decline of Spanish Jewry; the Marranos; the Inquisition; expulsion from Spain and Portugal. R. Yosef Karo, the Shulchan Aruch and later authorities: golden period of Polish Jewry; R. Moses Isserles; Prague and Rabbi Loew; Shabtai Zvi and false messiahs; the Chmielnicki massacres (1648); the Baal Shem Tov and the rise of Hassidism; the Gaon of Vilna; Moses Mendelssohn and Jewish Emancipation; Mitnagdim and Maskilim; the rise of the Reform movement; the Jews of Russia; emigration to the United States;  Hovevei Zion and Bilu; World War I; the Balfour Declaration; the rise of Zionism; the interwar years; World War II and the Holocaust; the birth of the State of Israel.

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

  • Philip Ginsbury and Raphael Cutler The Phases of Jewish History (Jerusalem: Devora Publishing, 2005)
  • JBA study guide