Insights into Diaspora communities
Courses in ancient history typically cover the Babylonian captivity and the Assyrian deportation, how Jewish settlements established organised communities of Jews in Babylonia.
Students study how institutions were developed, including the beit knesset which has come to be known as the synagogue ( house of assembly)- where governance, study and worship were undertaken. In fact, this fundamental framework that was established over 2500 years ago has seen to persist and continue to be a model of governance/ gathering for diaspora Jewish organisationa ever since.
Students learn about ancient Diaspora communities such as that which flourished in Alexandria -perhaps the most culturally rich Jewish Diaspora in early Jewish history. They are taken through the establishment of communities in the Middle East, in the Mediterranean world and then follow the story of increased Jewish migration to both southern and northern Europe, Southern Africa, Australia, America etc, but also in far smaller numbers to East Asia,
Outbreaks of persecution, massacres and the Holocaust are central aspects of these courses.