I’ll never forget the profuse feeling of helplessness that I had experienced during my SOAR weekend shortly before freshman year began. Trying to pick classes seemed like an impossible task; not only did the list of general education requirements seem endless, but ultimately I had absolutely no idea what my interests were at the time. In the end, I enrolled in a First-Year Interest Group that focused on global relations. The core class was Jewish 231. Although I wasn’t enthusiastic about this course at first, taking it ended up being a valuable experience.
My classmates in Jewish 231 were of various religious backgrounds. While quite a few were Jewish, there were some who believed in Christianity. There were also several, like myself, who were agnostic. Due to the variety of beliefs, the class was full of insightful, yet respectful, conversations regarding religious beliefs.
The majority of the course focused on the history of Judaism, from when it was founded to the present day. Additionally, the course addressed misconceptions regarding Jewish beliefs and practices. Throughout the entire course, you will also learn about conflicts within the Middle East and how they originated.
The reason I am advocating for incoming freshmen to take Jewish 231 is that it will open your mind to understanding a different culture’s beliefs. Not only that, but any misconceptions of Middle Eastern conflicts will be replaced by a valid understanding of why these conflicts or occurring in the first place.