Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Esther Raizen (on leave 2019-2020)

Associate ProfessorPh.D., University of Texas at Austin

Associate Professor; Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies
Esther Raizen (on leave 2019-2020)



Modern and classical Hebrew language, linguistics and literature; Teaching Hebrew as a foreign language; Jewish history and culture, Holocaust studies; Computer-assisted instruction and computational linguistics, assistive technology; Education administration; Student development; Women and war


HEB 381H • Intensive Hebrew I

41950 • Fall 2013
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM MEZ 1.208
(also listed as HEB 601C)

This course is the first semester of intensive Hebrew language instruction.


Raizen, Modern Hebrew for Beginners


To be provided by instructor.

HEB 130D • Hebrew Across Disciplines

41315 • Fall 2012
Meets M 2:00PM-3:00PM MEZ 1.104

Students read and discuss Hebrew language materials related to the subject matter of another designated course.

HEB 346 • Parents/Children In Hebrew Lit

41318 • Fall 2012
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM UTC 1.136

This course surveys the notion of parents/children relationships as it is reflected in Hebrew literature from Biblical times to modern days. Topics like responsibilities and expectations, love and betrayal, and the roles of different family members in child rearing and in the support of the elderly will be discussed in conjunction with the assumption that the family has served as the cornerstone of Hebrew culture, and that the complexity of issues involved in family relationships mirrors the complexity that defines the individual and collective struggles with the confines of the Jewish faith and conflicts that have characterized Jewish nationalism at various points in time.

The course is taught in Hebrew, and all reading materials are in Hebrew.


Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Samuel I II, Kings I II, Job, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs)

Texts in prose and poetry available on the course Blackboard site

Grading Policy

Class attendance and participation 20%

Weekly journals 30%

Final Paper (~10 pages, in Hebrew, typed) 50%

ISL 373 • Isrl/Palestine: Parallel Lives

41495 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 301
GC (also listed as J S 363, MEL 321, MES 342)

Palestinian and Israeli societies have lived side by side for generations, developing their cultural traits in parallel and often within a framework marked by animosity and mutual rejection.  What is the role of popular culture in shaping the political and social consciousness of these societies? Can we find in the respective popular cultures the marks of interaction and mutual influence in addition to the obvious signs of conflict? The course will explore a variety of themes considered central to both societies, focusing on their expression in popular culture.  Students who complete the course successfully will be able to articulate the fundamental values of these societies and draw lines of similarity and difference between them as they reflect on the history of the region and its future.  The themes covered will include, among others, child rearing, rites of passage, romance, dress codes, cuisine, nature conservation, commemoration practices and the power of language.  Each theme will be observed in both societies, with Dr. Mohammad driving the Palestinian perspective and Dr. Raizen driving the Israeli one.  The course will culminate in group projects that will draw on the perspectives of both societies.

The course will be taught in English, and does not assume familiarity with a regional language.  Students will be taught 150 or so words and phrases in Arabic and Hebrew in the course of the semester, and will be introduced to a number of regional proverbs in their original languages.


In addition to newspaper articles from Israel and Palestine and other media resources, we will read segments from the following books:

Rebecca L. Stein and Ted Swedenburg, eds.  Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture.  Duke University Press, 2005.

Motti Regev and Edwin Seroussi .  Popular Music and National Culture in Israel.  University of California Press, 2004.Alexandra Nocke.  The Place of the Mediterranean in Modern Israeli Identity.  Middle Eastern Studies Volume 47, Issue 1, 2011.

Grading Policy

Attendance and participation: 30%Three essays:   45%Final project: 25%

HEB 130D • Hebrew Across Disciplines

41370 • Spring 2012
Meets W 2:00PM-3:00PM MEZ 1.104

Students read and discuss Hebrew language materials related to the subject matter of another designated course.

HEB 321 • Hebrew Grammar

41280 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BEN 1.108
(also listed as HEB 382C)

The course explores phonology, morphology, and syntax of Hebrew, with emphasis on functional Hebrew grammar. For the drills, various texts are used, ranging from the Bible to modern newspaper articles and literary works. The part on Hebrew phonology consists of a detailed survey of the consonants and vowels, followed by a general study of vocalization rules, aimed at training the students in vocalizing and improving their sense of proper pronunciation and recognition of phonological variants. The larger part of the course is devoted to the study of Hebrew morphology. After learning noun patterns and the inflection of prepositions, a detailed study of the verb system trains the students in identifying verb forms as well as conjugating the various types of roots. 



To be provided by instructor. 



To be provided by instructor. 

HEB 611C • Intensive Hebrew II

41337 • Fall 2010
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM GAR 3.116

Course Description

The course, which builds upon HEB 601C, emphasizes composition, comprehension and conversation in Modern Hebrew, and provides a segue to upper-division Hebrew courses such as Hebrew Grammar, Advanced Conversation and Composition, and Introduction to Hebrew Literature. Oral discourse is maintained at maximal level, and small group/individual instruction sessions supplement the regular class routine. Audio-visual materials are frequently used. Students write short papers, present topics to the class and lead class discussions. Active participation in class discussions is a decisive element in students' participation grade. Not open to native speakers of Hebrew.

Grading Policy

Participation 15%; Quizzes 30%; Homework 20% Presentations 5%; Midtem exam 10%; Final exam 20% May vary with instructor.


Information on texts will be provided by the instructor.

HEB 346 • Hebrew Via Popular Culture

41892 • Spring 2010
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM MEZ 1.206

see attached

HEB 346 • Parents/Children In Heb Lit-W

37650 • Spring 2004
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CAL 21

The goal of this course is to equip the intermediate student of Biblical Hebrew to become a more independent and proficient reader of the biblical text. Students will read, listen to, discuss, and write about the Hebrew Bible in its original language. Class time will be spent activating Hebrew vocabulary and grammar by reading and discussing biblical narrative prose and poetic texts. Students will learn and practice how to use the major lexicons and reference grammars of Biblical Hebrew. Preparation for class will include reading, listening, and homework exercises.

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    Calhoun Hall (CAL) 528
    Austin, TX 78712