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Course: Jewish 75
Structure of class:
3 essays -30% (10% each)
Midterm - 20%
Final - 50%
First off... The class was a lot of reading. Two course readers, five books, and his book.It was around 300 pages a week on average. I thought the class would be a bit more relaxed, but the movies were not that fun to watch. Some of them lacked subtitles and the professor had to translate throughout the movie. It was really hard to pay attention in that class. The professor would go over a five page story in an hour. He tends to keep repeating everything he says over and over again. By the time you get to the movie, the second part of class, you are already brain dead. His midterm was super hard because he wrote it, English is not his first language so his questions were hard to decipher. He even managed to omit some parts of the question on the midterm! Everyone did pretty bad, but he was nice enough to make up a few points. The final was worth a big chunk of your grade. He gave us fourteen questions you had to choose twelve. I wrote through an entire blue book...
The TAs were really nice and helpful. They tried their best with what the professor gave them, I just wish the professor included them more in the making of the test. There were a lot of stories you had to remember, it all seemed too much sometimes.
Getting a good grade:
Read his book, Modern Hebrew Literature Made into Films, all his questions come out of that! Everything he lectures on is based off that! Except for the Agnon stories. Nearly all of the Midterm questions came from that book! Take notes on any detail that might seem important (Skip directors, production costs and responses from film critics that will not be on any of his exams) As for Agnon take good notes in class. Do well on his essays those are your buffer points for the big exam.
Midterm grade: B-
Corrected Midterm Grade: A
Final Grade in Class: A
Yes Prof Hakak is a caring and charming man, and he means well, but Jewish 175 is simply the pits. Shai Agnon's short stories are genius and classic Hebrew/Israeli literature, but other than that we read works of canonic Israeli authors, but not their magnum opus, which I was a lil' bummed about. The lectures drag on, even amongst the low-budget Israeli movies, and only towards the end of the quarter did Hakak involve the class in discussions. The room was too big for the 35 participants and therefore I feel too distant from everyone and Hakak. The only thing that got me through the class was my general knowledge of Zionism, Israeli history, and relationships between Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews. Otherwise I haven't the slightest idea how any non-Jews survived. On the other hand, if you're interested in easy classes over worthwhile ones, I recommend this!