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This class was tough, even for a south campus major. Naturally as a writing class, the readings and essays took up more time than did my other, major field related classes, so prepare for that. Professor Smoak is an excellent lecture and tries to stay impartial by offering a more analytical perspective of the history of Jerusalem, although I disagree with a few points. Material was fascinating, but readings did feel a little out of place. Armstrong was basically the only book that offered any ancillary information on top of lectures. Essays were tough and made up around 70% of your the grade. Essays are also dependent on the TA, so pray that your TA does not grade harshly. Midterms and finals were short with a little bit of everything in them (mc, short answer), but are only worth 10% each or something, so please, put a huge effort in them. Overall, I probably would not retake the class because of the massive time commitment, but it was a very interesting class.
I've taken JS 150A, Hebrew 101A, 101B, and I must say he is one of UCLA's finest professors. He's clear as to what he expects, no surprises. His test are very fair and he's a great lecturer. He cares that you are learning and is very interesting. I would highly recommend taking Professor Smoak if possible, you won't regret it.